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Sally Ann Melia

Sally Ann Melia

sallyannmelia@gmail.com

Contact details: for press, speaking and signings, storytelling and SF writing advice

 

Biography

Sally Ann Melia was born in Wallasey, England in 1964 and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitanism city state of Monaco and became immersed in it many languages and cultures that easily co-existed side-by-side. On entering secondary school, she faced a dilemma – what to do while all her school mates were learning English? So for three hours a week, she was sent to the back of the class, where working in note books she started write. Inspired by the movie Star Wars which first appeared the same year, Sally knew from the start, her writing was going to be a Science Fiction novel.

Returning to the United Kingdom, to study Management Science at Swansea University, she had a chance to spend a year at Iowa State University. Note pads and books of writing were piling up but still no one story had yet emerged. On graduation Sally joined Barclays Bank but at the same time started to attend SF conventions in the UK, and became a member of Brum SF group. This was productive period with three novels completed and dozens of interviews and articles written for Interzone and the BSFA magazines.

After seven years at Barclays, Sally took a year out and went to live in Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria to concentrate on her writing. But after 12 months and a stack of rejections she went back to work, and started to build a new career in marketing communications. Setting aside her fiction, Sally joined the Ottershaw Players and Runnymede Drama Group and for the next ten years acted, produced and wrote plays, pantomimes and musicals that were performed in Addlestone, Ottershaw and Chertsey, Surrey. Career-wise she was writing brochures, newsletters and websites; as well as gaining experience running ecommerce websites and undertaking social media campaigns.

In 2010, Sally joining Vertu Plc as Content manager and Editor of two online magazines City Brief and Vertu Select, with the new role came a move to Farnham. Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers and set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire.

Sally currently lives in Farnham, she is married with two children.


Interview with Sally Ann Melia

Science Fiction from Sally Ann Melia

Welcome to my website. My names is Sally Ann Melia and I write Science Fiction. I have been writing all my life and I cannot think of a time when I did not make up stories and mostly write them down in notebooks, in pads, on the back of napkins, and yes in the margins of other books. For many years I wrote in a completely unstructured way, as I was compelled to just ‘tell the story’. The story I wanted to tell was of two friends, close as brothers and how their lives wove and connected together.

Those two friends were Guy Erma and Teodor of Freyne. Oh yes and of course… Karl Valvanchi

Teodor of Freyne, Science Fiction Hero

Teodor of Freyne

Guy Erma, Science Fiction Hero

Guy Erma

Karl Valvanchi, Science Fiction Hero

Karl Valvanchi

How I got started.

My story is that I started writing these tales when we moved to France, and I entered a French school, where the students were learning English as a foreign language. As an English girl who had passed her 11+ I hardly needed to learn English. So the teacher banished me to the back of the class with the instructions not to interrupt, not to answers questions and not to make any noise. Since I was still learning the French language, my mother helpfully suggested I practised writing in French. I did nothing of the sort, I started writing a novel. It was always a novel never a short story, a play or a screenplay, though I have tried my hand at all those forms since. Perhaps the most peculiar part of this story is that this first novel, in fact first two novels I wrote were written in French.

The Quickening

There is always one incident in a character’s journey that changes them as people, and sets their path ahead. For me, what happened was we were travelling back through France after a holiday in the UK, and all our luggage was stolen. In the normal set of events this would not have mattered except my parents had just emptied the house in England and were transporting back to our new French home such memories as my mother’s weddings dress and all the baby photos. All these and more had disappeared overnight, and somehow it seemed unimportant that ‘my book’, yes it was already called a book, had also gone.

“It’s OK I will just write it again.”

That’s what I told my mother, and from that point onwards my life had changed.

Years later…

It was not until I started working, when I finished all my studies and my professional exams that I really started to apply myself to a career in publishing. Not that I had not written in the intervening years, it was just I had not written anything that was publishable. I was working for Barclays Bank and I was posted to Birmingham, where I joined the Brum SF group, and there I met other budding Sci-Fi writers as well as published authors, established SFF artists and much more. My first SF convention was a Novacon and it must have been in 1988 or thereabouts. I was lucky enough to be able to take year out in my twenties when I applied myself to writing, wrote three novels, several screenplays, radio plays and dozens of articles and interviews. I used to run workshops at conventions on how to write a novel, and critique circles. During that time I received 27 rejections, and in the end out of money and out of time I went back to work.

First draft Science Fiction novel early 1980s

First draft Science Fiction novel early 1980s

First Typed pages

First Typed pages circa 1986

First illustrations from 'the book'. crica 1978

First illustrations from ‘the book’. circa 1978

Disenchanted, I shelved the manuscripts. I kept disc copies, and upgraded the files every time I upgraded my computer and software, but for ten years it was a dream gathering dust in a box in my garage. During that time I did others things, amateur dramatics with the Ottershaw Players, Gilbert & Sullivan with the Staines G&S choir, I competed at drama festivals, and I also got married.

Somewhere along the way, I heard about Lulu.com and started uploading the finished manuscripts into that platform and printed out my first paper copies.

Hogs Back Writers

I moved to Farnham in 2012 and decided not to join another theatre group, but to have another go at the writing. I joined the Hogs Back Writers. The HBW require new members to bring a sample of their work to the group to be read aloud. On the website they suggested an exercise to get you started. The week I visited their website, the exercise said, start a story with the words:

“It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Instead, I wrote : “It was not like looking for a needle in the haystack…” which is the first line of my novella Aliens in Paris, which I wrote in one long weekend before attending my first meeting.

Within a year, I had brushed off one of my old manuscripts and started the enormous job of rewriting it, and with each rewrite I created a new Lulu paperback. I also tried my hand at Nanowrimo, this really created some momentum, and I saw what could be achieved through daily writing sessions

Five drafts Science Fiction books 2012-2014

Five drafts Science Fiction books 2012-2014

 2013-Winner-Square-Button1

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire was published in November 2014

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire was published in November 2014

 Hacking Amazon

One book published. Time to celebrate and of course I did. But this was very short-lived for I discovered that one book is not enough and one 440 page book was not what was preferred by ebook readers.

So I decided to go all out to woo an Amazon audience and  republished the original book as an illustrated trilogy:

 

New Trilogy :

kidnap-270 hunter-269 exile-269
KIDNAP“I was fascinated by the story and thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.”Cassandra, Amazon Review HUNTER“Hunter, contains some of my favorite parts of the whole story…”Adam Oster, Amazon Review EXILERelease Date June 15th 2015