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Interview with MC Dalton and Melanie Page
MC Dalton and Melanie Page’s Path to PublicationToday I chat with author duo, MC and Melanie, both fellow Australian Authors, who share with us their path to publication. Their novel ‘Iron Heart’ is scheduled for release on the 1st of June 2018.
Thank you both so much for taking part in this interview and sharing your Path to Publication with us all! I’m so looking forward to reading about both of your journeys!
Thank you Maddison. We are thrilled to be invited onto your website. We really appreciate the opportunity.
- How long have you been writing for?
We have each been writing for over a decade, but in different ways. MC has been more focused on short fiction whereas Melanie has been slowly writing longer works.
- How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?
Melanie first published in 2014 and MC in 2016. Our writing partnership is more recent. We have been working on related stories for a couple of years and started collaborating on our current novel, Iron Heart, last September. It will be coming out in June, so less than a year.
- Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?
We both make coffee or pour wine, then fluff around on social media for a while before writing. We exchange drafts by email but have a running conversation on messenger as well. When I (Melanie) finish a chapter, I send MC a message with just a running tally of the word count and she rushes to check her email.
- Are you plotters, pantsers, or somewhere in-between?
(insert crazy laugh here) Melanie is a semi-plotter who is trying to induce MC to at least acknowledge the concept of plotting. MC has all the wild crazy ideas; Melanie holds all the threads and tries to keep from getting tied in knots.
- What is your favourite part of the writing process?
Melanie – I love seeing the story slowly build itself on the page, particularly as the characters reveal more of themselves. MC – I love hearing the ding of messenger and opening the emails, reading the edited product. I have an idea what to expect, but it often takes my breath away. It is like having Christmas five evenings a week.
- What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?
And your next question is, which child is my favourite? Seriously, character is key, but if one is weak, the other are affected. They are a synergy.
- Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):
MC doesn’t grasp plotting (I’m trying to change that). We spent about two weeks exchanging ideas by email before starting to write, getting pictures of characters and settings, working out detail. And of course we wrangled and finagled as new elements somehow wormed their way into the story. When we are writing together, MC writes her draft of the current chapter in more or less detail, then sends it by email. Then Melanie reads it, takes a deep breath, rewrites it and sends it back for criticism. This works best for our individual skillsets. The editing has been ongoing for a few weeks and we just need a final check.
- How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):
As this is our first collaboration, it is hard to say. Perhaps 1 per year? We both have other projects on the go as well.
- Can you explain the process you took to become independently published?
Basically, we both (individually) got a Kindle Publishing account, filled in a ream of paperwork and then pressed the publish button. The learning curve came after. At the time, neither of us really had a clue.
- How did you cope with rejection?
We don’t cope with rejection terribly well, which is a great reason for going Indie. We considered submitting to publishers for Iron Heart, wrote up the query letter and everything. But at the end of the day, we didn’t want to wait three months just to get a polite ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.
- What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?
It is the detail, and all the little things that aren’t really little.
- Is there anything you wish you could do differently?
Not be so paranoid. Self-doubt is a killer. You need just the right amount of doubt to make you work your hardest, but not so much that it bogs you down.
- Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?
MC – Once you’ve done the final edit, read your work aloud to yourself. That is the litmus test.
Melanie – Poe said we need to know the end from the beginning. Once you know where you are going you can plan the journey, even if you take a few detours. And getting there is half the fun.
- Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?
Polish your craft. Write a great story, but write it WELL. And don’t be afraid to try something new – like collaboration. Iron Heart is a good story because collaboration doubles your strengths, halves your weaknesses and gives you another person who is as deeply invested in your story as you are.
- What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?
Melanie – I’m a great believer in ‘Build it and they will come.’ There are people whose work I buy because I know they write great stories. I’ve never visited their web site or signed up for their newsletter. Great work sells itself.
- What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?
We are busy plotting a ghost story (well, Melanie is plotting and MC is waving her arms and having brainwaves). Melanie is trying to finish a Regency and writing a how-to book for short stories. MC is editing her romance ‘Epona’.
- How can people connect with you?
Our BookBaybZ email, Facebook and website.
- Anything else you want to add?
We would just like to encourage people, not to be afraid to try something new. The publication scene is constantly reinventing itself. Our kind of collaboration might not work for everyone, but partnerships with like-minded writers, or people who can balance your strengths and weaknesses, can be downright incredible.
Thank you both so much for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. I cannot wait to read more of your books – and I’ve had such fun reading about the writing process of an author duo!!
And for those of you who want to read MC and Melanie’s fantastic book ‘Iron Heart” it will be available from the 1st June!‘Iron Heart’
Beauden Somerton is dying and he knows it. Then some fascinating research by an enterprising medical student puts hope within his reach. As she strives to mend his failing heart, he seeks to win hers.
Galena Tindale’s dream of being the first female graduate of Edinburgh Medical College comes crashing around her ears. Then she is offered a new opportunity, one that defies belief – and every medical convention.
Beauden and Galena, with the help of family and friends, must overcome prejudice and greed if they are to save both their hearts.
About MC Dalton:
MC Dalton has a background in business and nursing. She loves fantasy and romance, together where possible. Melanie Page is a voracious reader in a variety of genres but loves historicals and romance best. She has been teaching for almost twenty years.
MC and Melanie can be found on the following platforms:
|Instagram link:||@bookbaybz https://www.instagram.com/bookbaybz/|