This month's interview features published author, Melissa Franckowiak. I met Melissa on one of the many Facebook writing groups I am part of. Having a very demanding career, she still finds time to balance writing with her many responsibilities a practicing Anesthesiologist.
Debut author Melissa Crickard set goals in early childhood to be a best-selling novelist and physician. The daughter of an English and a Science teacher, Melissa attended Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Buffalo, and after being awarded two Bachelor’s degrees in Physical Therapy and Chemistry, she advanced toward her M.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, going on to become a diplomat of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
While training as a resident, Melissa recognized not only the critical problems facing medicine and society, but also the promise and limitless optimism that scientific advances and medicine abound with potential. Additionally, her English professors at the engineering based Georgia Tech examined countless works that raised questions of scientific ethics and the role of women in the field, which remained a necessary inspiration for writing medical thrillers. These themes, as well as her experience as a practicing Anesthesiologist, formed the basis for her fiction novels, which she began writing fervently after the birth of her son, Roman. She is the author a textbook chapter in the medical textbook, Complications in Anesthesia, and served as a contributing journalist for general medical stories for WGRZ Channel 2 in Buffalo, NY, belonging to the Association of Health Care Journalists. She holds a faculty position in the State University of New York at Buffalo Department of Anesthesiology. She lectures to residents and students and practices Anesthesia full time in western New York. She is currently a semi-finalist in the international business competition, 43North, for her startup company, PneumaGlide, P.C. She is currently C.E.O. of the medical device company and holds a utility patent for her invention. She was recently awarded a 7.5K grant from National Grid and a 40.2K grant from the University of Buffalo to promote the company. Melissa writes for the Buffalo magazine, Traffic, and is seeking an MFA in creative writing.
After completing her first mainstream fiction novel, Another Five Patients, a culmination of five interwoven stories that address larger issues of the modern hospital, she immediately initiated her second, plot driven commercial fiction novel, The Labrador Response.
Published Works: (if any)
Coming soon: Another Five Patients, The Labrador Response
Current Projects: (if any) Currently working on a literary novel.
When did you begin writing?
Does 3d grade count? We made books bound with kitchen string and rubber cement. Mine was about a purple man. I returned to writing seriously after medical school and after my first child, Roman.
Did you receive any special training or attend a school?
I'm beginning an MFA program at University of Texas El Paso this fall. I'm very excited about this.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Country music inspires me to write poignant characters, and I have a background in Chemistry and science to inspire me to write compelling plots.
Do you use any special resources when writing? (other books, computer programs, etc)
I use the Internet a lot. Most of the medical facts in my knowledge are still upstairs, fresh in my head from graduate school and many days on the job.
What is (in your opinion) the most important thing to remember when writing, and why is it so important?
Reading is essential to being a good writer. Everyone has there own style in storytelling, but a writer needs to find a voice that works for them. To do this, you must read many different writers.
What is (in your opinion) the most challenging part of writing, and how do you overcome it?
Moving through time and place is challenging. It gives a fourth dimension to a story that makes it seem not just a snapshot of the characters' stories, but their whole worlds.
Did you use an agent? (why or why not?)
I had an agent who sent my work out long before it was ready. I'm not sure she even read my book, and seemed more interested in selling my editing services. No agent is better than a bad agent. I am currently looking for a good one.
Did you use an Editor? If not, what process did you use to edit your work?
I do. Editing is important, and every writer has to edit their own work multiple times, but when it's as good as you think it can be, that's when it's time to turn it over to an editor.
How did you get your book published? (self-published, Vanity publishing, Mainstream publisher).
I'm still looking for a mainstream publisher. I'm considering using Createspace.
Do you handle your own marketing?
I'm looking into marketing and publicity currently. It's very important to a book's visibility and success, and I don't want to self publish until all my ducks are in a row and the books has its best chance for success.
What is your best marketing tip?
I don't know enough about this yet to comment. This is a learning point for me, too.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don't be afraid to write because you think it won't be "good." You can always change what you have on the page.
I would like to thank Melissa Franckowiak for her time and wish her good luck on her journey, her participation in this interview was very much appreciated. I hope my readers found this interview as helpful and informative as I did.
Until Next time,