Awesome Indies: Melophobia by James Morris

Posted May 27, 2016 by Emily in Awesome Indie / 0 Comments

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Melophobia by James Morris
Published by Kindle Press on September 22nd 2015
Pages: 265
Buy on Amazon

Melophobia: fear or hatred of music.
The time—now; the place—America, but in a world where the government controls all forms of art and creativity. Any music sowing the seeds of anarchy is banned—destroyed if found—its creators and listeners harshly punished.
Merrin Pierce works as an undercover Patrol officer assigned to apprehend a fugitive musician who threatens the safe fabric of society, only to confront everything she thought to be true – her values, upbringing, job, and future.
Can love survive in a world without music?
Publisher’s Weekly called it “a convincing alternative history novel and…an accomplished coming-of-age love story that asks big questions about freedom and expressiveness in the face of oppression.”

This one sounds like a great dystopian. The description reminds me a little of Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. Check out this interview and decide for yourself!

How long did this book take you to write?

From idea to finish, a little over a year, give or take a few tweaks. I spend a lot of time outlining first to make sure the story works, so that when it’s finally time to write, I’m bursting at the seams to go. The actual writing portion is strangely the quickest part; so much before that is looking out the window mulling over an idea or story problem!

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The hardest part of writing this book, or any book, is whether I’ve created a world or story where people will care. It’s the self-doubt. Ideas can either sound really exciting when you say them out loud, or they can sound remarkably dumb. Like “a shark terrorizes a small coastal town.” I might find that horribly stupid, unless, of course, it’s “Jaws.” Or “an alien is left behind and is befriended by a boy.” Yawn, right, unless it’s “E.T.” So, I wasn’t sure if people would care about a world in which music is illegal, you know? But you have to have faith that if something excites you that a reader might find it interesting, as well.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

I loved writing the ending. Writing this reminding me of the cadence of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” song. If you’re familiar with it, it starts slow, but as you listen it starts building up steam, and then by the end: wham, Robert Plant is wailing and singing and you’re singing along in the car, just rocking out. That’s how I felt by the time I had to write the ending: like an explosion, breathless.

What is your favorite book?

Wow, there are just too many to choose from! Depends on my mood though… for war reporting, it’s Michael Herr’s Dispatches; for a solid tear-jerking love story, The Fault In Our Stars; for a story that kept me reading while ignoring everything else, it’s The Secret History.

Is any part of the book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

I think all authors steal portions of themselves when they write – we have to in order to make something fictional seem authentic. I will say the part where Anders goes to a mosh pit happened to me, (and I’m much skinnier than the character of Anders.) It was a frightening experience because it seemed to instantaneously form around me – I had no intention of being part of it, and I got knocked around a bit before I got out of there.

What writers influenced you the most?

I read far and wide, from poetry to biographies, from young adult to techno-thrillers, and various nonfiction. There is always something new I pick up. But the two writers who’ve had the strongest influence are probably Ray Bradbury, in that his prose has “life.” You can feel when you read his work that there’s a person behind it, excited to share his story; it’s very palpable to me. The other is Stephen King simply because he can weave stories like no one else.

What book are you reading now?

I finally got around to picking up The Goldfinch and am nearing the end. Not my favorite book of Donna Tartt’s, but who I am to argue with a Pulitzer Prize winner?

How much research do you do?

I do as much research to lend an air of authenticity. I know some people go crazy with their research. To me it all depends on what the research is, and what it’s for. And a fair amount does spark new ideas. But I’ve found that if I’m spending too much time in research-mode that means I’m procrastinating, and I’ve got to ask myself why.

When you read, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I’m still an old-fashioned book-in-my-hand type of reader. I like feeling the weight of a book, seeing the pages I’ve read and how much I have left to go. Plus, I buy most of my books used, and sometimes you can find some neat doodles along the pages, or messages, from previous readers.

How do you relax?

I used to be someone who always was on the go, a “I’ll be happy when X happens.” And you know what? I’d get X, and it didn’t really make me happy. So, I’m trying to pivot into enjoying the day more, no matter what. And that means slowing down, reading a good book, paddleboarding when the weather is good, or swimming at the rec center. It’s helped a lot to try to achieve less, and enjoy more.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Jim Morris

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