Welcome to author Melanie Snow who dragged herself away from the mesmerizing view she sees from her writing studio.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
I have two places that I love to hang out in. My writing studio is surrounded by large windows. Since I live deep in the woods, I get to observe the wildlife on a daily basis. I’ve watched moose saunter past, a baby bear stumble over fallen trees, and a mama hawk teach her fledgling to fly.
My outside place is on top of the mountain where The Spellwood Witches was conceived. Since I believe in telepathy and insight, I have a few rituals that get my intuitive side activated to write if I feel stuck. My favorite is to go on a hike with my dog Addie to this special mountain and when we reach the top, there is a rock we both sit on. I connect in with my spirit team and I get the latest download for my stories. It’s pretty wild—but it works for me.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I write daily and probably log in about thirty-five hours a week with all sorts of author tasks. My day starts with either a long open water swim or a long hike with my doggo. I’m also a professional animal communicator and medium. I work with people all over the world helping them with their animals, supporting them on their pet loss grief journey, and increasing their understanding of the human-animal bond utilizing an insightful and intuitive tradition.
My days are busy but I love all that I do. And yes, I do schedule downtime on the porch to read and cuddle with Addie.
How long on the average does it take you to write a book?
I love this question. Why? Because I can impress myself and say I can write and publish a non-fiction book in thirty days. But what happens when I write my paranormal cozies? Why not thirty days? There is so much more that goes into writing fiction—like brain power. It has taken me a while to shed the brain cells primed for non-fiction writing and move into weaving words creatively. So…to answer your question. The Spellwood Witches series took me two and a half years from start to finish.
How many unpublished books do you have?
I have four high fantasy books sitting in a file on my computer. The covers are done, the stories are edited. All I need to do is format them. You may ask why I haven’t put them out into the world. Honestly—I am not crazy about them. I decided to let them sit there for a bit and maybe this winter I will let them fly free. The protagonist in the series struggles with her freedom and is always running and hiding. I would say it’s time for her independence and sovereignty don’t you think?
Do you write under a pseudonym?
Yes, I do for each genre. I use Melanie Snow for my paranormal cozies and Wendy Van de Poll (which is my real name) for my non-fiction. I also have four children’s books, The Adventures of Ms. Addie Pants, which is written under Wendy and they are based on a true story with the rescue of my dog Addie. It’s a lot to manage but I have figured out a way to have it work out for me without going wonky. Actually, it’s fun having a “nom de plume.” I also have one for my high fantasy but I am going to keep that one hush-hush.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Naming my characters is one of my favorite things to do. I spend a lot of time with naming. When I finished writing the rough drafts of The Spellwood Witches I actually changed five names as I edited because as the characters grew their original name didn’t fit.
Since I have characters that chat with me, they get the final say of what their name is going to be. Sometimes they tell me without the need to do further research. Lativa for instance was extremely forthright with her name as was Clover Figcreek.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Welcome to my world. Most of my characters are great friends and we talk daily. I know that can sound a bit strange but honestly, I couldn’t imagine writing a story without the input of my characters. I know my characters intimately—even the antagonists and villains. I have a deep respect for my characters and I want them all to feel comfortable with voicing their opinions and stories. Yes, sometimes it can get to be annoying when they decide they want to talk when I am busy with other things but since we have a mutual respect for each other they do respect my boundaries as well.
As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?
Hands down it’s a wolf. I have had countless experiences with these majestic creatures. Their medicine has guided me on many of my adventures in the wild. My favorite story is during my time as a wolf biologist when I was tracking wolves. One day I was snowshoeing out on a frozen lake with freshly fallen snow. It was minus sixty degrees and there was no wind. I could hear my heart beating. I got a gut feeling something was watching me. I stopped and looked around. When I turned to look behind me there were a fresh wolf tracks but no wolf.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm…I have a few quirks or rituals to get my creativity flowing. I have to do some sort of movement before I sit down to write so I will go swimming in the lake that is near me or go for a hike with my dog. Since I am a foodie, I also have to have food in my stomach—there have been too many times I have given into writing first and have skipped breakfast. Not a good idea because after an hour I crash and my brain shuts down. The other thing I do is dance. When I am feeling stuck, I get up, put on some of my favorite music, and go for it.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Reading, hiking with my doggo Addie, long-distance open water swimming, cooking great healthy meals. As a full-time author, I make sure I include all of those in my daily self-care.
If you could choose to live in a world created in a book which book would that be?
Honestly, I’m content with living in the ecosphere I created with my intuitive spirit team for my series, The Spellwood Witches. It is a place for animals to thrive, where magic is ultimately accepted, and things are done to make the world a better place. It’s a great place to hang out. Yes, there are challenges there but that makes life interesting. It would be pretty boring if there wasn’t some mischief and mayhem.
Thank you for hosting me on the Cozy Capers blog today. Our visit was awesome sauce.
Melanie Snow is all about magic, faeries, and of course talking animals. She has an insatiable passion for nature, animals, and the exploration into the artes of her ancestors. Melanie weaves her true life adventures and intuition into her stories. Melanie has been followed by wild wolves in minus 60 degrees, hissed at by bobcat, and played ball with a wild owl. Her books have been published by Spirit Paw Press, LLC.