Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

#AuthorInterview ~ Angela Merlo


Angela Merlo - Author Angela Merlo is a featured writer on Wattpad. Her novel, Devil’s Lake, shot up into the top 10 in her genre within weeks of being featured, and recently she won 3rd place in @The_Night_Shift’s “Best First Scene” contestDevil's Lake

I’ve read Devil’s Lake and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants an engaging, lyrical, and astonishing experience.

Let’s get this interview started.

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Angela, you’ve been on Wattpad for about a year and a half now. Please tell us how you conceive of Wattpad and what motivated you to join?

I often refer to Wattpad as the “YouTube for books”. It’s large, popular, and free. Because it’s free, the quality of the content varies, and everyone’s on there for different reasons. The majority of users are readers, and not all writers are “serious writers” with big ambitions. But serious writers do come to the site, and even traditionally published authors have been posting their material on Wattpad in order to promote their work.

I joined for two basic reasons. First, I cared more about being read than making money.  The second reason was that I realized Wattpad’s method of syndicating a story would help me set deadlines for myself and encourage me to finish the novel.

Fascinating reasons to choose Wattpad, Angela.  Would you characterize yourself as what you called a “serious writer”?

Well, I’m dedicated to my novel. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with it; but, I grew up being told that the chances of getting published were like winning the lottery.  And the chances of turning fiction writing into a career were even harder.

There are a lot of people who are big on “You have to believe and shoot for your dreams”.  I view my writing as more of something I want to give back to the world. I don’t think any amount of money can compensate for the time it takes to write a good novel. For me, I have to believe that the value of the novel itself is worth my time.

For that reason, and the fact that I’ll be homeschooling my daughter next year, I don’t plan to write another.

Incredibly interesting that don’t you see your novel as something to make money with but as what you want to give the world Tell us a little about Devil’s Lake.

Devil’s Lake is a paranormal romance with some depth. The main character, Alison, struggles with some severe anxiety disorders. She is very disconnected from those around her and struggles to build meaningful connections. Then she meets Philip Dussault, an attractive young man from her past (or at least he claims to be. She has no memory of him…). She feels inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to a flame, but the most alluring characteristic he seems to offer her is a cure for her anxiety. Throughout the story there is a question over what Philip is, just how far his powers go, and whether he can be trusted.

The story takes place around the real-life Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin, USA; and, in the course of development, I read a lot of myths surrounding the lake, mostly Ho-chunk legends.

I’ve just got to ask, Angela—why was this story so important for you to write?

Well, the story began as something I’d been writing back in high school, and it was one of those stories I’d think about from time to time. I knew Philip’s emotions affected the weather. I knew Alison had gone through some traumatic events when she was twelve.  But Philip had always been the one who struggled with his self-image.

To be honest, this theme occurred in a lot of my high school fiction. I always had some character who’s emotions caused dangerous things to happen. I’d never really noticed the pattern before. Once I did, I realized it was an analogy to my struggles with anxiety disorders and how I saw myself.  I started realizing I could parallel the paranormal elements with a real anxiety disorder, and the story provided plenty of opportunities.

It’s more autobiographical in theme rather than in actual events. It’s a story I’ve written most directly to my younger self. If I could dedicate it to someone, it would be to anyone struggling with anxiety and depression.

You’re currently preparing your book for release as a paperback through CreateSpace. Why did you choose this route to publication over others?

Devil’s Lake is already available in digital format, free, on Wattpad. It seems silly to me to sell another electronic format when my readers can already read it free on their phones and tablets.  I view the paperback more like a “collector’s edition”. If fans love the book enough maybe they’ll want to own a real copy rather than a virtual one. It’s also there for my friends and family who still aren’t big fans of e-books, but who’ve expressed interest in reading the book.

The other reason is that it gives me the opportunity to “release” the book at the real Devil’s Lake. I thought it’d be a fun idea to register the paperback with BookCrossing.com. This allows readers to update the location of the book as it gets shared. Plus, what a cool thing to read a book that’s physically started its journey at the location it’s about.

Fantastic idea, Angela! I did the same thing with my novel—bought ten copies, registered them with BookCrossing and left them laying out “in the wild”, for whoever might read them and pass them along

One last question—what do you think physical publication might do for your book?

Whenever I consider my approach to publishing this book, it’s all based around the idea that I might not sell a single one. I’m not making any decisions with the promise of sales.

Totally fascinating, Angela

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and share your story with my readers :-)

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Visit Angela at her blog.

And, just before you, perhaps, ask Angela a question or two in the Comments, check out this trailer for her book:

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* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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