Interview With Author Melinda B Hipple

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I’m Melinda B Hipple, author of science fiction, non-fiction, poetry and mystery. Born and raised in the Midwest USA, I’ve traveled extensively in the States and abroad. Besides my writing, I’m an artist and illustrator. I was winner of the 2014 Moorman Prize for Prose, and the town in which I live honored me in 2018 with their Excellence in Literary Arts award. I’ve had poems and short stories published in numerous print and online publications including three poems anthologized in First Water: Best of Pirene’s Fountain. My body of work includes, RAVEN, Home Front, Hotel Toledo, in a bottle of ink, and Camera Obscura. My newest release (authored and illustrated) is Ant Trails, a children’s book full of puns. Besides my own work, I’m an editor and illustrator for other authors.

You can find more about me at my website: www.melindabhipple.com

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Last October, I published a historical fiction novel, Home Front, based on diaries and letters from WWII that we found in my mother’s things after she died. Both my father and uncle were fighting in the Army Air Corps, and my mother worked in a Pratt&Whitney factory building airplane engines. Her diaries were such a personal touch to a story that’s been told so many ways. It’s the only non-fiction novel I’ve published, but it was begging to be written.

But science fiction has been my first love in literature since I was a child. I grew up on Buck Rogers and Star Trek, and on Saturday afternoon sci-fi movies. My sci-fi novel RAVEN is the first in a four-book series.

My poetry comes from a very personal place—both my free verse and the Japanese short-form poetry I write. I’ve published a book of haiku, tanka, and haibun, and another book of free verse. A poet I’ve become acquainted with over the last few years is working with me on a project that will combine our talents and, hopefully, produce a unique collaboration.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Writing has been a passion since early childhood. That passion was inspired by my mother’s love of reading, and by writers such as Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov. Getting lost in the worlds they would create helped me survive some of the difficulties surrounding my childhood.

# How do you deal with creative block?

So far, that has not been an issue for me. I realize that makes me very lucky.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Not having a good editor. Too often, books go onto the market with not just grammar errors, but issues that bog the writing down. Good editors are worth their weight in gold.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Just know that readers DO choose books by their covers. Having something professionally created can be well worth the money invested. If you don’t catch the reader’s eye to begin with, they will seldom read the synopsis.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I don’t let good or bad reviews affect me much. Neither change my focus on writing since I write what’s in my heart. Writing for others only diminishes the enjoyment for me.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I’ve developed more consistent habits, setting specific times of day to focus on the work. I’ve also learned to take breaks between edits. I need time for the material to feel fresh with each read-through.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

For my fiction novels, I tend to settle on the beginning and the end (not always), but I let the characters drive the story in between. I feel that, if I can surprise myself, I can surprise the reader. This has led to some very interesting plot twists. Writing one of the less savory characters in RAVEN did result in the need to overcome a somber mood. I may have gotten a little TOO much into character.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

Personal satisfaction is crucial for me, as I am my own audience first. Hopefully that translates to other readers who might connect to my writing.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

Emotions are important to my writing. I try to immerse myself in each character so that they come across as authentic. Sometimes, that also means spending a few weeks digging myself out of an emotional hole once the character has been written, especially if I relate to that character’s struggle or if I lose a character I’ve become attached to within a story.

# What are your plans for future books?

I have three sequels planned for RAVEN—one already in the works—and additional poetry and children’s books coming soon.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I went sky diving on my 40th birthday. Over two decades later, I’m looking forward to getting my first tattoo—dedicated to a friend I lost.