About the Author
Melanie Bateman was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States at age nine. She has an associate’s degree in fine art from Utah Valley University, emphasizing in illustration. From a very young age she’s had a passion for drawing, specifically nature and the human figure. It is from this creative look on the world that she began to write stories.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
It’s hard for me to get used to the idea of being an author when my passion has always been illustration, but I think it was in high school, after reading the Inkheart trilogy, that I decided I could do both if I tried really really hard. Looking at Funke’s illustrations at the end of each chapter gave me a different experience from the story, and it solidified my idea that pictures could tell their own story. I hope that The Time Key will give readers what Inkheartinspired in me.
2. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m starting the research stage of a story I’ve wanted to tell since high school. There are a lot of doodles, but no solid storyline yet. I will say it follows a minor character in The Time Key and a lot of it takes place during a similar version of our own World War I.
3. What does your writing process look like?
It looks like a jumble of scattered notes and papers everywhere. Honestly, I have no organized process. If I have an idea I will write it down wherever I can (I have a few Walmart receipts filled with notes). I usually keep a notebook or a sketchbook with me so that I can jot down whatever pops into my head. Generally, I start toying with an idea and try to build a story from it, all the while I research. I will read everything I can about the subject to feel comfortable about the time period and setting so that the prose feels authentic. When I have a good feel for the characters I will jump right into the story, and at this point not a lot of editing goes on until I finish, which allows me to be as creative as possible. A lot of this beginning process will include thumbnail sketches of what I want the characters to look like, how they interact with each other. Very similar to what you would see in the process of making an animated movie. Doodling helps me brainstorm and reach deeper into my imagination.
4. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
If you are really into time-traveling, I highly recommend 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It was a long read, but so worth it. I also enjoy Markus Zusak and Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
5. What period of history interests you the most?
I really love the early 20th century. As an artist, I love studying the art movements evolving during the first half of the century, and as a reader there is something I find refreshing in a lot of books that came out of that time period. A lot of cultural changes were happening all around the world during this time, which I find fascinating.
6. What inspired the idea for your idea for The Time Key?
A lot of ideas over the years went into writing The Time Key, but it really all came together just before my daughter turned one. My husband and I were having a discussion and he mentioned that if anything ever happened to our daughter and me he would probably turn into a miserable drunk. That’s when Stanley came to life for me, and the rest of the plot just came along as I wrote.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Besides sketching, I love fishing and hiking, or anything outdoorsy with my little family.
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