December 6th, 2019
I asked Terry where he would like to interview:
It’s August 1962 and we meet in a packed nightclub – the Cavern in Mathew Street, Liverpool. We are cramped inside a bouncing basement that stinks of joy, live music and damp. The arched brick walls drip with sweat and hundreds of teenagers twist and shout as they jostle to get near the stage.
We struggle to hear each other because a local band named The Beatles are performing Twist and Shout and the sound drives the crowd into a frenzy. John Lennon keeps pointing at Ringo for some reason. Smiling, we decide to postpone and just get up to enjoy the fun…
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Terry Melia: From an early age, I’ve always enjoyed the magic of great fiction. Reading the CS Lewis Narnia series as a child was always a special treat for me. I wanted to try and recreate a part of that magic for my own readers.
L: What are you currently working on?
T: Part 2 of the Tales from the Greenhills trilogy. I’ve got the bullet points created for part 3 and would be almost done with part 2 (20K words on paper) if the characters didn’t go off on an unplanned tangent. This freaked me out a bit when writing the published part one, but I’ve gotten used to it. You know your writing is in a good zone when the characters seem to come alive off the page with a will of their own and with a logic that you hadn’t thought of.
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
T: Too many to mention. Early inspiration came from CS Lewis as I’ve mentioned, others range from PG Wodehouse, DH Lawrence, Dennis Wheatley and James Herbert. I could go on forever with this.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
T: A few years ago, my daughter moved from UK Liverpool to go and live in Queenstown NZ. Our two grandsons – then aged 7 and 3 had practically lived with us for every weekend since newborn. I know they are now in one of the most beautiful places on earth with a fantastic lifestyle, but the wrench was almost unbearable. To fill the gap, I immersed myself with completion of the Tales from The Greenhills novel which had mulled around in my head for over a decade.
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
T: Reading. If there isn’t a book at hand, I’ll happily read the ingredients printed on a box of cornflakes. Football, I love to watch and support Liverpool FC. Since the Anfield stadium was expanded a couple of years ago, I can hear the Kop in full voice from my back garden. I Never Walk Alone.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
T: That’s the easiest question so for me. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. Even though I’ve read it dozens of times, I’ll always find a new passage of writing that will make me laugh out loud. The wordplay is genius.
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
T: Self-published – initially with Create Space, now with Amazon. The Print On Demand has revolutionised the publishing industry. Writers are no longer in the thrall of gatekeeper Literary Agents and Publishing Houses. If the writing is decent quality and compelling, the public can decide for themselves on whether or not to make it a success.
L: What are you currently reading?
T: Two novels by powerful and gifted writers with the same theme of evil and loathsome child sex trafficking. Sacrificing Starlight by David Pipe and Asylum by Carly Rheilan.
L: What genre do you read?
T: Any genre suits me as long as the writing is compelling. Glancing at my bookshelves, Detective Thrillers dominate. Michael Connelly (Detective Bosch), John Connolly (Charlie Parker) and Lee Child (Jack Reacher) – these take up most shelf space.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
T: At weekends, when I get in the zone, I’ll write from 8am to 8pm. Although, for the past 6 months that I’ve been using Twitter, I’ll break off for about 15 minutes each hour to feed my addiction in Liking and Following posts and people. Weeknights, I’ll edit and tidy up messes from 6pm to 8pm.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
T: I used to hate the word Absolutely instead of a simple Yes. Now, I only get hacked off with anyone effing and jeffing swearing when I’m in polite company.
L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
T: Milo Mindbender from Catch 22 – I’m with the MC Yossarian on this ‘…Yossarian still didn’t understand either how Milo could buy eggs in Malta for seven cents apiece and sell them at a profit in Pianosa for five cents…’
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
T: From reading a wide genre of fiction. Plus, I always carry a notebook when out and about to jot down ideas. I’m pretty quiet when in a group and don’t say that much, but my imagination basks like a shark capturing people moments.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
T: Beatles music is always near to hand. My favourite single piece of music is The Flower Duet for soprano from Les Delibes opera Lakme. I’m playing it right now. I dare anyone to listen to this and NOT get inspired.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
T: So many people say to me ‘I could write a novel!’ Get it down on paper that you can tap a desk with and savour the thud. You cannot do that with an idea in your head.
30 years working in IT. Also worked as a gardener, barman, painter and decorator, building site labourer, waiter, fork-lift driver etc… Married for 42 years. 3 beautiful children. 5 wonderful grandchildren. Part time actor. Qualified Librarian. MA in Screenwriting. Novelist with an audiobook due out soon.
Tales from the Greenhills – During the sizzling hot summer of 1976 in Liverpool, teenager Tommy Dwyer is rapidly approaching adulthood and dealing with the usual coming of age issues: temptation, gang violence, murder and helping to prevent the flooding of the streets with illegal drugs.
Buy it here! (US version)
Buy it here! (UK version)