Lillian R. Melendez was born in New York, and grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. Writing since childhood, she began to publish her work when she was very young. She received a Bachelors degree in English with a minor in Psychology from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. Aside from writing novels, she also continues to write and publish short stories and poetry. Lillian is a member of Mystery Writers of America.
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
LM: I felt I reached success when readers told me their opinion on a novel they read. This meant that they actually read my books and were using their critical thinking skills to discuss the story. I love this!
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
LM: It took me three months to get published after I signed on with a publisher. Though, this time frame seems short, it took me five months for my manuscript to be finally accepted by a publisher from the over sixty query submissions I sent.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
LM: I create a schedule. I rarely do several different agendas in one day unless there is an important deadline that I have to meet. Promoting my book would be the focus on one day, submitting work when it’s finished is a focus on another day, and Sunday is the day when I do nothing and rest. The only thing I cannot do is schedule writing. This is the tricky part, because thoughts enters my mind when I least expect it. I have a notebook at home and use my iPhone’s note apps to write my thoughts down when I’m traveling. Then, when it’s time to write, I create the story from my notes as well as what is on my mind at that moment. I schedule my time to fit my regular 9 to 5 job, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing. I do believe that there is a time and day to do something rather than cramming different agendas all together. Life functions a lot smoother when I have a schedule and I try my best to follow it.
PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
LM: My second book, Auditory Viewpoint, was chosen to be entered into a book festival that had an auction event to benefit charity so I sent a signed copy. I was delighted to be a part of this.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
LM: It’s really up to readers to decide if my work sets apart from the rest. I am the writer; the creator of the story. I try to stay true to myself and my work and not care so much on what the publishing market is looking for. Readers have the final say of what they think of it through word of mouth.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
LM: When you get frustrated, take a step back and breathe. Never stop writing and consider asking other writers for advice. It’s important to get back to your creative work, because you have a talent and it would be nice to share it with the world. Enjoy the sometimes smooth and sometimes bumpy ride along the way. You cannot learn anything without trial and error. Your strengths and weaknesses are tested, but you will improve in your craft. Putting a manuscript in your draw for months shouldn’t be an option, unless you’re developing more ideas and doing revisions to submit it on a later date.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
LM: Communication through one on one with a reader or in a group setting is my most effective tool. In my opinion, you can pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to promote your book with ads and book trailers, but if you don’t focus on engaging with readers about your novels, then it still feels private, like a journal, even after you publish it. You risk only having a handful of readers know about your book.
Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Dismantling Vindictiveness was my first book (2011)
Auditory Viewpoint is my second book (2013)
The only hope for survival is an experiment in perception. Auditory Viewpoint.
PJ: Where can we buy it?
LM: Readers can purchase Auditory Viewpoint on Barnes and Noble and Independent bookstores as well as major online stores such as Amazon, Books a Million, and Barnes and Noble.com. Auditory Viewpoint and Dismantling Vindictiveness are also available internationally.
PJ: Thank you for taking part in the interview! Can you please leave the readers with one thing that might surprise them about you?
Many believe writers today write solely on computers. I simply cannot do this. I have to write on paper first, and not only that, I cannot write on paper with lines on it. It simply distracts my thoughts. I always buy a sketch book from art stores to write my stories on.