I’d like to introduce Melina Druga, author of Angel of Mercy, an historical fiction novel set during the first world war. Melina is a freelance journalist, nonfiction author (with an historical fiction novel in progress) and history enthusiast. Her focus is on the period 1890-1920 with a particular interest in WW1 and how the war changed the lives of ordinary people.
What is one thing people wouldn’t usually know about you?
Most people don’t know that I’m trilingual. I speak English and Greek fluently and took six years of French while in high school and college. I can’t speak French very well anymore, but I can still read it.
How important are the names of any characters in your book?
The names are all important. I wanted everyone to have period appropriate first names, so I went to the United States Social Security Bureau and printed the list of the top 100 baby names from the 1890s.
How did you choose a title for your book?
My novel revolves around a World War 1 Canadian nurse who was serving in the medical corps. The nurses were nicknamed “angels of mercy” because of the comfort they brought wounded soldiers. Therefore, my novel is named Angel of Mercy.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Of course. There’s carpal tunnel syndrome and eye damage from computer screen’s glare.
What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
My biggest challenges were time and inner demons.
For many years, fiction writing was pushed to the back burner because of family obligations or obligations related to my freelance writing and editing business.
As for inner demons, I had to fight off an overwhelming sense of inadequacy brought about my someone who was supposed to help me improve my work but instead did nothing but criticize. It wasn’t even constructive criticism, and she refused to read past chapter three. I was devastated. I couldn’t return back to fiction writing until I was comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like what I write. I also had to accept that one person’s opinion doesn’t define me.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
My advice for new and aspiring authors is keep working at perfecting your craft. The more you write the better a writer you will become. Don’t bog your story down with details that don’t matter or are misplaced in the plotline. Don’t use dialogue tags other than “said.” Keep dialogue realistic. Avoid first person; it narrows your storytelling.
I see many grammatical, punctuation and style errors in indie books, so I would advise either learning these points on your own or using a professional copy editor or both.
How do you remain sane whilst writing?
Writing keeps me sane. I don’t know how I would be emotionally without it. I have tried to do other things, but writing keeps pulling me back in. I often say, “I didn’t pick my profession, I picked me.”
Are you jealous of other writers?
I am jealous of writers who can produce a polished novel in just a few weeks and months. Also, those who have figured out how to navigate marketing and social media.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I really enjoy Edith Wharton and the way she wrote about hypocrisy in the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age is one of the eras that I really love, and she lived through it and wrote about it first hand.
In addition, my motto is “educating and empowering through writing.” I aim to teach while also entertaining.
Where can I find out more about Melina and her book?
You can find Angel of Mercy in Kindle format here: :
You can meet Melina on Facebook here: http://www.melinadruga.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.