DIY Interview – Rochelle Melander
What is your blog URL?
Where were you born? Caracas, Venezuela
What schools did you attend? What was your course of study?
I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater and Religion (Magna Cum Laude). I have two Masters Degrees, one in theology and one in Biblical Literature from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Also, I received a fellowship from the Louisville Institute in 2006 to study for a week in Washington DC.
When and how did you discover you wanted to be a writer/author?
I have been writing since I was a little kid, and started writing professionally in my 20s. I have always been an avid reader, and writing books is an extension of my love for words.
Are you a published author? Yes
Please list your published material, with dates?
I have published 10 books. The most recent book is Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). Other books include: A Generous Presence: Spiritual Leadership and the Art of Coaching; The Spiritual Leader’s Guide to Self-Care; and Our Lives Are Not Our Own.
If these materials are books, are they still available, and from where?
They are all available at Amazon.
Please tell about your first publication – what was it, when, how you felt when it happened, problems you may have had, etc.
My first article was published while I was still in graduate school in a small academic journal. Everything about the publication was unusual: I called the editor, at the advice of a professor, and queried her verbally. She said yes. I wrote and submitted two articles. One was published right away, the other a year later. I felt elated. Of course, no other publication experience of mine has been quite that smooth!
Please tell about the most memorable moment(s) in your writing career.
For me it has been the wonderful moments of struggling to figure out how to communicate something and then the “aha” moment that follows.
Have you been on a ‘best seller’ list? Which one(s) and when?
Two of our books (my early books were written with my husband) sold more than 40,000 copies, which I hear puts us on the bestseller list.
What problems have you encountered in your career and how did you deal with them?
The biggest challenge for me as a writer has been the marketing aspect. For one book, the publisher forgot to put it in the catalog when it was released. For another, the publisher bought the book as a tie-in with one of their major publicity pushes–and forgot to include it in the literature. I’ve learned to do my best at the parts I can control and let go of the rest.
Did an established writer mentor you in your early days? If yes, how did the mentor help you?
I have had many mentors throughout the years. One of my current mentors was an editor for an early book of mine. We correspond quite regularly via email. He has had a lifelong career as a writer, and he reminds me that writing is about the career and not just a single book.
What genre do you most often write?
What other genres have you written?
Who are the authors who most influenced your writing and your career?
Madeleine L’Engle has been my role model for years. I loved her books as a child. When I became an adult, I discovered her nonfiction books. I loved it that she could write for both children and adults.
Who are the authors your read most often?
I read a lot of mystery books or crime fiction. I am a big fan of the more literary mysteries: P.D. James, Elizabeth George, Louise Penny, and so forth.
Please list the conferences/courses/webinars/workshops/seminars you have attended during the past year?
This past year has been a flurry of reading and writing, getting ready to release my book, Write-A-Thon. I have not been at any live events. I have attended several webinars with positive psychology teachers.
Have you mentored an aspiring writer? Would you mentor, if the opportunity arose?
I am mentoring right now.
What would you tell an aspiring writer who asks you for assistance?
Write every day. Follow your passion. Don’t let the poor market distress you. Keep at it!
What advice would you give to all up-and-coming writers?
Write, write, write, write. And then submit, submit, submit, submit. Yes, you will get rejected. But rejection teaches you how you can write better.
Are you involved in the ‘writing scene’ in your community/area?
Active. I run a writing program for kids in the city called Dream Keepers. Through Dream Keepers, I have taught writing to kids in libraries, at churches, and in the schools.
Do you teach any writing courses at any level?
I teach adult education, I teach online, Other. For adults, I teach about journaling for wellness and also social media for writers. I teach online every month and also at the local colleges. I also coach writers–individually and in groups.
What is the name of your current project?
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) – Released: October 18, 2011
What is the genre?
Non-fiction; writing reference
Please provide details of your upcoming blog tour, book tour, and/or book-signing.
I am on a blog tour through the end of November, with a few stops in December just for fun. All of the dates can be found at my web site: http://www.writenowcoach.com/write-a-thon/events.html
Is this work a stand-alone or part of a series?
Do you have any project(s) planned for the future?
Please provide some details of the project(s).
I am finishing a series of chapter books for children and working on another nonfiction book project.
What conferences/courses/webinars/workshops/seminars do you plan to attend in the next 12 months?
I hope to attend the Milwaukee Spring Writer’s Workshop in March. I will be at the ASJA conference in New York in April.
Are you involved in publishing in any other capacity?
Editor, Reviewer, Coach
Please provide any information you would like to share that is not covered above.
I am dedicated to supporting other writers through my work as a writer, editor and coach.
My thanks to Rochelle for participating in the DIY Interviews program!
PS: Please take a few minutes to read the Wedding Chapter from my soon-to-be-published book (2012) ‘Janelle’s Time.’ You’ll meet Richard and Janelle Grayson, the newlyweds, AND, meet Duke Logan Conor (he crashes the wedding) from my upcoming book, ‘Logan’s Time.’