JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Deborah Fletcher Mello, author of Rested Waters
Rested Waters is the haunting story of Janay Tucker, a young woman who is forced to reflect back on her past and the memories of her tumultuous childhood when she receives notice of her incarcerated father’s death.
Rehashing history through the eyes of her paternal grandfather, James Tucker, Janay is made to flash back to a past with an abusive mother who dies a violent death, a father imprisoned for the crime and the family and friends left to help rebuild her future. Through a tapestry of human encounters, Rested Waters delves into the emotions and experiences of love and turmoil, racism and respect, flesh and spirit.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Rested Waters?
Deborah Fletcher Mello: Many, many, many years ago this story unfolded within the depths of a very dark and haunting dream. I’d been to church earlier that day, and I witnessed a child and her grandfather in prayer at the altar.
That night that little girl haunted me, admonishing me to witness the details of that story through her eyes. She demanded that I be her storyteller, and this book is that story come to life.
JP: What sets Rested Waters apart from other books in the same genre?
DFM: I have a very distinctive story-telling voice. My stories unfold like panoramic movies and tend to stand out for the sheer complexity and personality that I give to my characters.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Rested Waters getting out to the public?
DFM: I have always allowed my writing to stand on its own. In the beginning, I couldn’t afford to pay to promote my books. I wasn’t very good at making the most of free opportunities. But the strength of my writing sold one book and then the next, readers sharing with each other just what they loved or didn’t love about something I’d written.
Since then, I’ve gotten better about self-promoting and I work harder at it. But I still think that the quality of my writing is far better at selling itself than I am.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Rested Waters?
DFM: I allow my stories to tell themselves to me. The characters seem to take on a life of their own, and I’m only the conduit to get their tale onto paper. Once a story latches on, it doesn’t let go until I’ve gotten that very last word right.
This book was a quick write, the story unfolding within weeks. But it took over a year to edit, rewrite and edit some more before I was absolutely satisfied with the final product.
JP: What’s next for Deborah Fletcher Mello?
DFM: I have a holiday novella, All I Want is You, coming October 4, 2011, with author-friend Kayla Perrin. My story, “Her Holiday Gifts”, is the tale of renowned bakery chef Malisa Ivey who is accidentally trapped inside the platform for a massive New Year’s Eve cake she’s designed for the Whitman Corporation’s end-of-the-year, black-tie soiree. The platform is delivered to business tycoon Gabriel Whitman on Christmas Eve, and their holiday season kicks off with quite a bang!
And then of course, the Stallion men are back in May 2012 with brother Matthew Stallion’s story, Stallion Heat. Readers will finally discover who fathered family friend, Vanessa Long’s baby.
And always, I’ll be writing, writing and writing some more!
Joey, I just want to extend my appreciation to you for this opportunity. Although Rested Waters placed favorably in three writing competitions, the major publishing houses would not touch it. I was told that there was no audience for a tale of its kind, that no one would read it. The book eventually took on a life of its own. From start to finish, I’ve wanted to prove all the naysayers wrong.