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Interview: Mel Odom

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Mel Odom is a professional when it comes to the writing industry, he has over 100 novels to his name and has won multiple awards for his talent with words. If you haven’t read any of his work now is a good time to start.

What is your driving force as a professional novelist? 

I have a lot of stories inside me.  Fantasy stories, historical adventure stories, mysteries.  I usually imagine characters having a really tough time getting through life.  Sometimes it’s because of personal reasons, but sometimes it’s just the way things are at that time or in that place.  I get so interested in those “people” and their “problems” that I just have to write about them.  And I want to do it in a way that others can understand and be entertained by.  After all, the best stories in life are the ones that you can share.

When you first started writing what was the best piece of advice you were given? What is the best piece of advice you give out to budding authors?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is to not give up.  Whenever things get bad or seem uphill, that’s what I cling to.  Simple tenacity has seen me through more problems than anything else.  I also adapt.  If something’s not working for me, I move on to something else, then come back at a better time.  It’s better to be working than sitting around feeling bad about not doing something.  That’s the advice I give all writers.

When you do research for a book where do you start?

I start with character.  Who are the kinds of people that live in this environment?  What kinds of stories do they have?  How interesting can it be?  Who seems like they have the best story I want to tell?  Then I branch out the research from that point, making sure I cover as much as I can.  Sometimes the best plot twists come from facts you found that you weren’t actually in search of.

When you were young who were some of your favorite authors? How do you think they have influenced your writing career?

My favorite authors were Edgar Rice Burroughs (primarily the Mars books, but Tarzan as well), Robert A. Heinlein, and Andre Norton.  They each taught me to get a story up and running and keep it running.  It’s really strange because I’ve already written more books than all of them.  Didn’t know I would ever do that.

You have written over 100 novels, do you have a favorite?

I love the work I did on Hunters of the Dark Sea , The Rover, Blood Evidence and Apocalypse Dawn.  I think they’re all about characters in trying times that rise to the occasion.

What do you believe is the most important part of piecing a novel together?

The most important parts are character and pacing.  Plot seems to come naturally to me, and I always have plenty of it.  But I want to make sure the characters are clearly cut and understandable, and that the story yanks the reader into it and keeps him turning pages at a frantic pace.

Do you have any projects right now that  you are working on that you would be willing to share?

We’re going to contract on a 4th Apocalypse book, and there will be a 3rd NCIS novel.

Visit Mel Odom's website for more information on this fantastic author.

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About Katie T. Buglet

  • Great interview, Katie (along with your recent review of Mel’s “Hunters of the Dark Sea”) of one of BC’s best and most descriptive book reviewers.

  • Thank you