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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Interview with Melanie Meadors (interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website
Back HATH NO FURY on Kickstarter

I was introduced to Melanie when Ragnarok Publications came into being. She was quite instrumental in making sure that all new releases were seen and heard around the blogosphere. I became friends with her a while ago and since then I've only gotten to know her better. She's now taken an active role in Ragnarok as well as other places. I invited her to talk more about her first anthology Hath No Fury, its origins as well as her SFF interests.

Q] Hi Melanie, welcome to fantasy book critic. I’ve known you for quite some time now via your role for Ragnarok as well as being an independent publicist. For the benefit of our readers, could you kindly introduce yourself and tell us about your nerdiness, & background?

MM: Hello, thanks for having me! You are absolutely right, I’m a freelance author publicist, the publicity/marketing coordinator for Ragnarok Publications as well as their brand new associate publisher, and I do the publicity and marketing for Mechanical Muse, an RPG company. I also write science fiction and fantasy, and I blog over at the Once and Future Podcast.

My nerdiness and background…well, by training/education, I’m a physics and astronomy nerd. My first publications were actually non-fiction articles about why Mars is so fascinating to people and things like that. I had never considered writing to be an actual career until later, when I realized that I spent my hours after coming home from the university writing until about 3 AM. I combined my love for science with my love for telling stories, and boom! Here I am!

Q] Thank you for that, going on to your role in Ragnarok publications, you have been involved behind the scenes for a lot of their projects since its inception. Can you please tell us as how it all began and what is most current role?

MM: I first became interested with Ragnarok when I saw their Kickstarter for Kaiju Rising. I have loved giant monsters since I was four years old, and had to back it. I got to know the guys behind the scenes, and helped them out a bit with some publicity. The rest is history—they decided to hire me to do all the publicity for Ragnarok a couple months later, and just recently I was promoted to Associate Publisher. So now in addition to publicity, I’m also handling a lot of the organization and left-brained part of operations there.

Q] I’ve been hearing about this anthology (Hath No Fury) for quite a while now so it’s really wonderful to see it being introduced in all its pomp & glory. Could you recount how this project came to be & what was the main inspiration for it?

MM: Joe Martin came up with the idea, and because I’m the most talented and awesome woman he knows, it was just the natural choice for him to choose me to be his co-editor ;). In all seriousness, I was very honored that he picked me to work with him. Our basic inspiration was just seeing all the awesome work that has featured women recently, and we just wanted to harness some of that in a Ragnarok anthology.

Q] I love the title for it and the implications left unsaid. Who came up with it and why did you select it?

MM: I believe it was Joe who originally came up with the title, but we had discussed it a lot before making it official. We are all about irony and being wise asses at Ragnarok, and Hath No Fury just seemed like a perfect way to turn the old sexist saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” on its head. People used to say that as a diminutive way of trivializing a woman’s anger. “Oh, was your husband late to dinner?” But women have the same fury and passion as any men do in fiction. It’s a kick ass title that kind of gives the finger to people who think ladies belong in the kitchen.

Every woman in this anthology has something important they are fighting for. Family, friends, their people, their homes. They are passionate, sometimes quietly, sometimes not. And I think that passion, that fury, is something that will resonate with readers and help them see that their own battles are worth fighting as well.

Q] Since this is your first time around with the editing hat. Can you walk us through how you prepared for it and what tips can you give for all newbies out there?

MM: Editing is hard work. For someone just starting out, I would say to have a vision for your anthology, and stick to it. Don’t give up just because things get hard. Once the initial excitement for the project passed and I was ready to get down to the nitty gritty work, I found that so many of the authors I wanted to take part in this book were just too busy. There were so many men who wanted to write for it. and the women wanted to as well, but they were always so busy with sick and aging parents, children who needed extra attention, supporting their husbands, finding time to write their novels, etc. And this was part of the whole point of doing this anthology—to show the battles all women have.

So I didn’t settle for second best, and I didn’t lose sight of what I wanted this book to be. When someone said no, I just buckled down and worked harder to find people who were right for the book, not just anyone. I’m pretty happy with our line up, though, and think we have something really awesome to share with readers.

Q] I love the lineup of authors that you & Joe have assembled. How did you go about it? Were there any favorites who missed out due to time or other commitments?

MM: Oh there were so many favorites, women who inspired me to become a writer that I really would have loved to welcome to the book, who just had way too much on their plates to contribute. But that’s just part of the life of an editor, and really, there are just so many awesome authors out there that we didn’t have a problem filling the contents. It was choosing just the right people that was the challenge. We had a list to begin with. One of the challenges of putting a book like this together is finding the right balance between name power and unknown talent. There are a lot of midlist folks in the anthology, a couple of pretty brand new people, and then some bestselling authors. All of them, I feel, are top caliber authors.

Q] You take quite an active role on Facebook, and other blogs. How do you find the time to do all of it and manage your writing along with the needs of your family?

MM: HAHAHAHA!! Oh, it took a long time of practice, and there are times when the balance is completely off. I’ve taken a couple years to be completely with family, I’ve taken time to focus just on my writing. A couple years ago I think I found a really good balance where I am able to have the time to do it all by becoming a time management wizard. But even so, there are times when some areas of life just demand more attention than others.

My son has autism and we homeschool him—that will always be top in the books. Sometimes he just needs to snuggle all day, and even though it feels like I have a crushing amount of work, that just needs to happen. It’s all about priorities and having very firm boundaries. I’ve basically cultivated my life where I work with people who know that my family comes first, and they will actually tell ME that I should just go and concentrate on that for a while. That’s something I really appreciate.

Q] What are you currently up to besides Hath No Fury, can you give us an inkling of your future projects?

MM: I just finished my science fiction novel a couple weeks ago, so I’m putting some extra revision work into that and then sending it off to see who might like it. I have some short stories and the next novel percolating, so hopefully soon there will be some good news in that area. I have a lot of balls up in the air right now, and there is a lot of just waiting to see which will land where.

Q] Among all the 19 tales that you folks have assembled, which one do you think is your fav and which one do you think will surprise most readers?

MM: I can’t pick a favorite—that’s like picking between children! But I think there are a lot of surprises in there for fans of particular authors. A lot of the authors experimented with different ways of showing a woman’s power, putting them in different situations from what is expected. And we have several men among our authors, whom we were very particular about choosing. I loved seeing what they came up with.

Q] Lastly what can readers expect from Hath No Fury?

MM: Readers can expect top notch stories featuring female protagonists. These are stories that both men and women can enjoy, that will push the boundaries of genre, that will inspire women and men alike. This book is a collection of speculative fiction, but it shows what women are capable in real life as well. There isn’t a feminist agenda behind this anthology. It IS feminist, by its very nature, but above all, these are simply stories that are the very best we could cultivate that showcase what we love about women. I think people of all genders will find this book to be enjoyable.

Q] Thank you very much for your time. In closing, are there any final thoughts or comments that you'd like to share with your readers?

MM: Thank you for hosting this interview! I really hope that people consider backing Hath No Fury. It’s a labor of love, and Joe Martin and I put a lot of work into making this an anthology that can be treasured. It will be on Kickstarter through September 7th.

NOTE: Hath No Fury cover art by Manuel Castañón and cover design by Shawn King. Doji Mariko artwork courtesy of the Legends Of The Five Rings wiki.


CTPhipps said...

Awesome interview!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Oh I've seen this kickstarter and the list of names to be in it. I wish we weren't going through a tight period with the pocketbook as I would really like to get in on this one. :)

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