My guest today is bestselling author Mel Sherratt. Mel writes gritty crime dramas and, as her alter ego Marcie Steele, romantic comedies. Since 2012 she has published ten novels and she has sold over half a million books. Mel started out as a self-publishing sensation when she released her first crime thriller, Taunting The Dead, as an indie author. Within six weeks it hit the Kindle top ten and was number one in Police Procedurals. Mel has since released two more books featuring DS Allie Shenton from Taunting The Dead, four books in The Estate Series and a standalone psychological thriller called Watching Over You.
We discuss daily routine, the importance – and difficulty – of staying healthy as a full-time author, and the how perseverance wins the day. It took Mel twelve years before she became an overnight success and I think her story is both reassuring and inspirational.
In the interview:
Mel on getting help with research for her police procedurals and how she turned her lack of police experience to an advantage by focusing on the point of view of the criminals and victims.
‘On the third one I think I’d realised that yes, maybe I can do this, it’s just storytelling… It isn’t write what you know, it’s write what you can go and find out and make sure it’s good.’
On feeling the fear but self-publishing anyway…
‘I put my women’s fiction out as a guinea pig first. So Marcie Steele I kept a secret for three years.’
‘If I don’t do it first thing in the morning I will be the worst procrastinator.’
‘You have to face that fear and you have to get up everyday and face that fear.’
‘I think my self doubt will always be there and I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you grounded.’
Mel also loves to read lots of short ‘how to’ craft books to keep her in the right frame of mind.
Mel uses a Fitbit to remind her to move around more often and to help avoid the health problems associated with long periods of sitting still.
Mel and I are both fans of Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn). Check out my interview with Joanna in episode #8.
Also in the show, I answer a listener question from Susan Mann (@susankmann on Twitter).
‘I’d like to ask how you tackle editing after the first draft. I don’t have a lot of time with work & family life. It’s a daunting task of editing the whole book. Writing bit by bit was easy. But how do you break it down into a re-write that doesn’t seem over whelming?’
I give my answer in the show, but if you have any tips on editing that you would be willing to share, please leave a comment on this post.
I give an update on my experience trying Headspace (meditation app) and mention (oh so casually!) that my new novel, In The Light of What We See, is out in one month.
Here’s the link to pre-order, just in case you are interested…
I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).
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Thank you for listening!