When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve always had a love of words since I was a little girl - a long, long time ago.
How long does it take you to write a book?
About four - six months. I do three, sometimes four drafts before I’m happy enough to show it to anyone for feedback.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
When I am drafting or rewriting a book, most days I start each morning by writing 2,000 words. I have to do it first thing or else the whole day can go by and then I just do anything like answer emails, set up an author interview on my blog, revamp my website etc. It all needs doing but not straight away. So I try to do as much as I can before breakfast. That way I’m more likely to continue - it’s like fooling the mind, I suppose, to get more done.
But often, like yesterday, I couldn’t settle until I had done all the other jobs so I didn’t sit down to write until the afternoon. I think this is when my mind is busy working on a scene that isn’t ready to spill out - well, it works for me.
When I’m just starting a project, it can take ages for me to get going but I make up for it at the end when the words come so fast I can’t keep up. So if I’ve done 3000 a day by some means, I’m happy with that. And yes, it might sound like a lot but it is my day job and also I do very dirty first drafts so I just get the words down and edit like crazy after.
Five - Three in The Estate Series, one standalone police procedural and one psychological thriller.
Which is your favourite and why?
Without a doubt, the last one I wrote, Watching Over You is my favourite. I was able to explore a character breaking down through the traumas of her life catching up on her. I exercised her dark side - she’s a sex addict, craving the rejection it brings as well as the attention. I chose two women characters because I wanted to create a sense of one woman falling in love again after losing her husband in a tragic accident and the other falling apart because she fell in love with her too.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. It’s just a snippet I’ll hear, or a photo I’ll see; a news bulletin that sparks off a chain of thoughts. I have an idea for book four, The Estate series because I heard the title as a song lyric. I think I’m a born dreamer.
Who is your favourite character from your own work and why?
Again this would have to be a character from my new book, out in January next year, Watching Over You. Ella was the character that broke down - by doing this she enabled me to take her on a journey where she absolutely terrified my editor and agent but they felt such empathy for her too. Ella isn’t afraid to do anything - neither am I, in my writing. Recently, I did a talk at a local writers’ group and a lady said to me, ‘the thing I like about you is that you’re not afraid to write about anything.’ It was such a compliment. My books are shocking but realistic.
Which character from the work of others do you wish you’d invented and why?
For me, that would have to be Bridget Jones. For years before Helen Fielding created her, I had an idea (I bet a lot of writers out there did too) to do the same thing - a diary of a single woman trying to find love. I just loved her - and she swore too! I’m a bit of a potty mouth in my books.
If you could have been someone from history involved in crime (good or bad) who would that be and why?
Hmm…does 1973 count? Because if so I’d like to be PC Annie Cartwright (Liz White) in Life on Mars - because she gets to kiss Sam Tyler (John Simms)…
What are you working on now?Because I’ve just got a traditional book deal which means that Taunting the Dead, my first novel, is going to be repackaged and published in UK, US and Germany in December this year, I’ve decided to write another book featuring the main character, Allie Shenton. It’s something I always intended on doing but as The Estate series took off, I didn’t think about it too much. Now I’m 25k into the first draft and absolutely loving it. Well, as much as you can love first drafts - I do find them quite painful to write!
Ever since she can remember, Mel Sherratt has been a meddler of words. Right from those early childhood scribbles, when she won her first and only writing competition at the age of 11, she was rarely without a pen in her hand, or her nose in a book. Born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Mel used her own city as a backdrop for her first novel, Taunting the Dead, and it went on to be a Kindle #1 bestseller in three different categories and a top 10 bestselling Kindle KDP book 2012 on Amazon.co.uk. She has also self-published three books in The Estate series. Determined never to give up on her dream of a traditional deal, Mel has recently signed a two book deal with Thomas and Mercer.
TAUNTING THE DEAD
SOMEWHERE TO HIDE
BEHIND A CLOSED DOOR
FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL
WATCHING OVER YOU (out Jan 2014)