Name Melody (Sargent) S. Lark – nom de plume
Where are you from
Originally Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve been around the world twice and love to travel.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am married with a 28 year old daughter. I started as a legal secretary, married into the Air Force and the rest is history.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My first novel, LIGHTED WINDOWS is in final edit and due out just after Christmas. Books two and three are in various stages of completion.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In high school, I wrote a short story that the teacher said was creepy. I got an A and was hooked.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing all my life, in journals, short stories for various newsletters (I was the editor of the Great Falls Crisis Center bulletin, wrote for various Wives Clubs and finished my first book about the Berlin Wall, it has been filed away)
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was living alone and met someone who worked for the government. He told me interesting snippets of his work.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve had to work at point-of-view issues throughout my writing. I will outline some but I generally have the opening scene and most of the time the ending before I start writing. So, style is free-style I would guess 🙂
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
LIGHTED WINDOWS is about Lilly a 911 operator from a broken home. She would walk around the neighborhoods at night to escape her abusive home life, hence, she would see lots of well lit windows.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is baggage. We all have baggage, kind of hard to get out of childhood without some, but how we handle our baggage is what counts.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
LIGHTED WINDOWS is set in Montana and that is very real!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I did live in Montana for four years and the blizzards portrayed in the book are real. I lived them.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Kurt Vonnegut, Shakespeare, Dickens. I loved the classics, the Bronte sisters and several feminist authors. I have read almost all of Kathy Reichs.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
We had local authors, James Rollins and John Lescroart speak to our library and I have been reading all of their works. I just finished a proofread for Romance author Jessica Scott and have another waiting for me.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
This may sound odd but after I read AMERICAN SNIPER, I’ve been reading a lot of the Special Operations authors and their first-hand views of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Launching LIGHTED WINDOWS, finishing my next one (working title) MIND MATTERS and the third book, IT’S ALL RELATIVE. I am in outline form on a book called DOT GONE and one called THERAPY. I have been making notes on my book ADVENTURES IN REAL ESTATE, based on my thirty plus years as a professional Realtor.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My best friend, Lisa. She and I have been friends since fourth grade and she was the first to read LIGHTED WINDOWS. She gave me such wonderful encouragement and turned me on to Goodreads.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is what I’ve been doing while earning a living. I’m finally able to take the time to gather all my notes into books. As to a career, well if you love what you are doing, it isn’t really work.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My opening chapters are a little off. I would like to tweak that whole first chapter or two.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started keeping a journal, we called them diaries, when I was in seventh grade. It grew from there I think.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
MIND MATTERS is going to be difficult to share in bits and pieces. The story centers around Annalee, an American intelligence asset who is an empath. The British Secret Service has a leak they cannot find and ask for U.S. for assistance. Annalee is sent to help and Ian is the British Secret Service agent assigned to her case. Ian is recovering from being shot on his last assignment and is not at all please to be babysitting an American freak. You can see how just pasting a few chapters might be confusing. 🙂
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time! I will start to write and lose track of time. My office will be getting dark and I’ll suddenly realize I skipped lunch.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh, this is a hard question! I read so many diverse authors and each of them teaches me something. I will be honest, so don’t shot me, I love Shakespeare. His tragedies are nearly straight for the Greek plays and his comedies have great depth.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet published but I will enjoy that part a lot.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Donna Collier did LIGHTED WINDOWS. I think you need a professional cover if you can afford it at all.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing and editing and editing and well you get the idea.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
You cannot proof your own work, period, I tried but when the finances allowed I hired a professional editor. He found things four other proofreaders missed. Worth every penny!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
When I started working on publishing LIGHTED WINDOWS I asked several Amazon authors for any advice they would share and they all said “Get an Editor!” When my editor, John Hudspith, found the word ‘t-shit’ instead of ‘t-shirt’ I knew I had received good advice. 🙂
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
This is a difficult question because all authors are saying something. My characters are composites of people I’ve known and some I wish I’d met. I think my words should help my readers see life is special and the past is only the foundation not the outcome.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It may not have been my first but, growing up, I loved Walter Farley, Jack London and had shelves of Scholastic paperbacks.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Life is funny if you look at it sideways. 🙂 I have buried so many people and pets I loved dearly, crying is as simply as remembering any of these wonderful souls.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Mother Teresa was a great light in this world. It may sound silly but I would have liked to have spend just a few minutes listening to her words.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She Lived, she died, see you on the other side” It’s true.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I read as you can see, I sew, I garden, I LOVE to travel anywhere at all. I take pictures and I love to listen to music. I write best to several play-lists because music moves me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Bones (of course) and right now Blind Spot. AMERICAN SNIPER, always makes me cry.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Oh, another tough one! Food – Chocolate! Color – Pink/Red. Music – Anugama is great for writing, One Republic, Enya, Loreena McKennitt and more, music is one of my passions.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I wanted to be a dancer, ballet. I have a high arch (not good) and it also takes talent. I didn’t really have that much talent. 🙂
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I started out on Tumblr but was told by other authors that Tumblr was for the ‘younger’ set so I now write: https://melodysgt.wordpress.com/ . I am a Facebooker: www.facebook.com/MelodySkyLarkAuthor and of course, I am @melodyskylark on Twitter.
Thank you so much for this great opportunity! You write really Good questions!! I am still learning and, I believe you should never stop learning, about publishing, writing and our options in the publishing world.