Today, I am in conversation with Sally Ann Melia. We met at Eastercon 2015 and after comparing our experiences in the publishing world, we sat down to do a nice interview. 

It is of course Giveaway time! Info on how to enter, at the end of the article.

FB: Tell us, how did you start writing?

SAM: For me it was emigrating to France that really started me writing. Whether it was the isolation of not speaking a foreign language well or that it is so difficult to bond with anyone when you are speaking in a second language, I’m not sure. But perhaps the most important factor, was that of opportunity. I was transferred to a normal French school where English was taught as a second language and I was obliged to sit in. My teacher said I was to sit at the back and be quiet. My mother suggested I practice writing in French.

It was the perfect excuse and a great opportunity to spend 3 hours each week writing fiction. And it was never short stories. I knew I was writing a novel. I have never looked back.

FB: What gave you the inspiration for your story?

SAM: I started writing in earnest the same year, as I saw Star Wars A New Hope, and when I look at the first book I wrote, it was a thinly disguised rewrite of the first Star Wars film – escape from prison cells, a cruel heartless father-figure, and four young protagonists. I think everyone has to start somewhere.  But do look out for the prison cell sequence in Guy Erma and the Son of Empire, that is more than just a curtsey to my original inspiration.

I had read science fiction for many years at the time, and had a subscription to OMNI. I don’t think you know where your ideas come from. For me it was Science Fiction at the start, and it has always been Science Fiction. Having said that I have written three novellas which are not science fiction. They tend to revolve around the world of the ballet, another great passion of mine, but I have to write this story, this great tale of Guy Erma first!

FB: What made you decide to go the self-publishing way?

SAM: I have tried to get published the traditional way, and have had many rejections. In fact I had given up writing altogether and was spending my creative energy writing and directing plays for the amateur stage in Surrey. I had a growing awareness of the self-pub movement, and to begin with I was just uploading manuscripts, and getting the thrill of holding the paperback in my hand.

[You can read about Sally’s itinerations of the novel, here.]

Finally, I joined the Hogs Back Writers, and I also joined Nigel Botterill’s Entrepreneurs Club. I set myself up as an author entrepreneur and I went for it! It was deliberate decision to set-up and build a small business, and I have never looked back.

FB: Is there a quirky/fun fact related to the book that you would like to share?

SAM: This was the book I never intended to write.  This was a long forgotten manuscript pushed to the back of a drawer. I wanted to write the next installment. I wanted to write about Guy and Teodor as grown-ups, but I realized to do that I had to polish off this early manuscript to provide the background and the empire, and to answer the one key question: how did a street boy and penniless orphan (Guy Erma)  meet and befriend the boy with the most power, money and influence across 13 planets  (Teodor of Freyne)?

Giveaway time! Sally has donated a signed copy of YA SF Guy Erma & the Son of Empire to our readers. For your chance to win a copy, follow us and send us a Tweet @thesffn, quoting ‘Guy Erma please!’ and if you don’t have a twitter account, you can leave a post on our Facebook page, quoting ‘Guy Erma please!’. Ok. You don’t have to say please.

The competition is now closed.