Mel Lewis, one of our featured Mompreneurs, has just published the third book and final book in her Libertalia trilogy. Congratulations, Mel!
In our latest chat, Mel takes a stand for South African Fiction Authors and I support her in this – starting with the amazing Mel Lewis herself.
I marvel at this Entrepreneur who is Mom to two tweens, runs a marketing business by day, teaches Yoga, hosts a fabulous podcast (links below)… AND has still found the time and mustered up the energy to write 5 books!
(Melina’s 5th book is currently being edited and will be out soon).
Can’t wait to get some me-time in December because I haven’t had a moment to read her latest books yet. Catching up on reading is on my relaxation wish-list-to-do list for the year-end holidays. Phew, it’s been an action-packed year.
The Libertalia series of books is aimed at 9-14 year-olds. This intriguing tale is set in the Eastern Cape and starts out in a private boarding school where four tweens meet who are all from different South African cultures.
It’s an adventure story with a touch of young romance, featuring hidden Matabele treasure, pirates and a sangoma.
I met with Melina after she published her first book in this series for tweens and teens, Libertalia: Lost Fortunes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (I hear I’m not the only Mom who enjoys Mel’s children’s books).
Here’s the video we shot that day in my friend Kathleen’s house while my son was happily learning to make amazing slime.
We also published this post which introduces Mel’s Libertalia series on Happy Human Pacifier: How to Help Children to Read
And last week we caught up with Mel again, after the successful launch of book 3, Libertalia: The End of an Era.
Here’s our latest interview on YouTube, where I discovered some exciting breaking news and we had fun chatting about everything from adulting to trying out new careers to teaching kids to read. Melina also gave me some amazing advice on how to finally get my own book written.
If you prefer to listen to the audio, I also uploaded it to our new podcast.
Mel Lewis – Children’s Author Interview
Lauren: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Melina: A lawyer, like in LA Law, a detective like MacGyver and a vet.
Lauren: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Melina: When I was 35
Lauren: How old were you when you wrote your first book?
Lauren: How long does it take you to write a book?
Melina: About a year or so, then another 6 months or more to edit it.
Lauren: Is there any part of the process you don’t enjoy?
Melina: Watching my Amazon sales report. It’s not what I want it to be.
Lauren: Which part of the process do you outsource to others?
Melina: Editing, proofreading, beta reading, design, DTP, illustration.
Lauren: Do you have a crazy work schedule when you’re writing?
Melina: Yes and no, depends on what you define as crazy. At the moment I’m trying something new out and I’m trying to write 3-4k words a day. Most days it’s impossible.
Lauren: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
Melina: No, sadly – I’m very boring. I think I should develop one. Does tons of milky tea count as a writing quirk?
Lauren: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Melina: Ideas for books come from anywhere – the ether, stories people tell me, the news. Anything is inspiring. Information that I need to research is usually from the internet, or I’ll interview people if I need a professional opinion, or I’ll visit a specific place.
Lauren: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Melina: How fun it is. I absolutely love coming up with stories. When you write in flow, it all just pours out and is magical. I also didn’t expect it to take as long as it does, I’m terribly impatient with editing and it drives me dilly!
Lauren: How do your books get published?
Melina: I’m self-published, so I’m it in terms of the publishing, but I work with a team of amazing women.
I have a very patient editor (because I’m not), as well as a proofreader, a designer and illustrator.
All these amazing people help me put a book together, but I’m the coordinator and make-it-happener. Which I love and am actually very happy to do!
Lauren: How do you promote your books?
Melina: Mostly social media, but I also annoy book shop owners and try and do live events too.
Lauren: How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Melina: Five. Wow, that’s tough, it’s like asking which of my children I prefer. I actually can’t say. They are all so different and specific to a certain time in my writing journey.
Lauren: What’s your number one piece of advice for a new writer?
Melina: Sit down and write. Then you have something to work with. No words = no product.
Lauren: Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say to you?
Melina: Yes I do. Mostly they are lovely and kind, but every now and then you get one or two who like to tell you they don’t like your material. Which is ok, I can’t be everyone’s thing. No one is!
Lauren: What do you think makes a good story?
Melina: A well thought out plot, beautiful descriptions, a clever twist, original setting, a smattering of romance.
Lauren: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Melina: Be with my family, swimming in the sea or walking in the mountain.
I also like journaling, watching a series and hanging with friends.
Lauren: What does your family think of your writing?
Melina: They are so supportive and kind. My children like my tween books and my husband usually reads all my very rough drafts. They are super lenient when I am in the zone.
Lauren: What advice do you have for someone like me who has wanted to write a book their whole life but just never get around to it. How did you get past that? Or wasn’t that a “thing” for you?
Melina: Your life isn’t over is it? It will happen when you’re ready, or when you sidestep all those judgments and fears. Don’t overthink it, just put pen to paper and the rest will come.
Get Melina’s books on Amazon
Please note: As an Amazon Affiliate I will earn a small commission from Amazon if you buy via the links below.
Book 1: Libertalia: Lost Fortunes
Book 2: Libertalia: Quest for Land
Book 3: Libertalia: The End of an Era
Adult Novel: After You Died
I Work For Me Podcast
Find it on Apple, Google and Spotify
Fun Fact: Melina interviewed me on her I Work for Me Podcast.
Support Melina on Patreon
Please consider supporting Melina’s writing and podcasts on Patreon.
Connect with Melina Lewis