Monday, July 29, 2013

Author Interview: Mel Obedoza

Today, I'm interviewing Mel Obedoza, the talented author who contributed a pair of short stories to "Quests, Curses, & Vengeance," the upcoming anthology from Martinus Publishing.  Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Mel.

MTI:  For starters, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Mel Obedoza:  I’m a part time writer, programmer, and virtual assistant, and full-time mommy from the Philippines. I like to keep busy, but in my downtime I love to read, write, watch TV, and play boardgames. I have a soft spot for romance, fantasy, anime, and manga.

MTI:  Getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

MO:  I’ve always loved to read and it often pained me to reach the end of a story, knowing that it would be some time before I could buy another book. So I thought to myself, why not make my own story? I still think that way when I reach the end of a good book. I like to write fantasy stories that almost always end with a dark or horrific twist (most of the time, I don’t really mean for that to happen. Really.)

MTI: Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

MO:  Roald Dahl. His books introduced me to the realm of fantasy.

MTI:  Ah, yes, James and the Giant Peach was one of the first books I ever read.

Your stories, “El Dorado” and “Be Careful What You Wish For...” appear in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, an eclectic collection of stories ranging from high fantasy to imaginative sci-fi adventures and even supernatural horror.  You had the opportunity to read many of the other stories that appear in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance in their original, rough draft form.  If you could, point out a few of your favorites.

MO:  This is a tough one. They were all excellent reads. If I have to choose some favorites, it would be (in no particular order) Poetic Justice, More Precious Than Rubies, Odin’s Spear, and Curses May Not Be Returned, Refunded, or Exchanged.

MTI:  Shifting back to your own writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

MO:  I’m always trying to finish my first novel (or at least a novella). Unfortunately, it’s a tale that involves heaven, hell, and something in-between, which I’ve been told won’t make for a popular read. I’ll probably have to shelve this at some point and start anew.

I’m also currently co-authoring a story for a hidden object game. It’s slow-going (Alas! Real life keeps getting in the way for all those involved in the project), but it is still persistently moving at its own pace and may yet be realized as a published app someday...

MTI:  Of everything you’ve written thus far, do you happen to have a “favorite” piece of fiction?

MO:  Yes, ‘Death Wish’, which was published by New Asian Writing in 2011. Oddly enough, despite enjoying light-hearted stories and movies, and detesting tragedies, I seem to have more success getting my darker (typically tragic) short stories published. This one, at least, had an upbeat ending, despite the ‘death’ theme. You can read it here.

MTI:  Other than your stories appearing in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, do you have any other works of fiction being published in the near future?

MO:  Sadly, not at the moment, no. I’m catching up with my day job and other projects (or should I say, they’re catching up with me?). I’m sure the writing bug will come back to bite me again. Eventually. I did recently have a piece of flash fiction published in Dagan Books’ FISH anthology, which is available here.

MTI:  When you have the chance, what kind of television program do you enjoy, if any?

MO:  I watch TV to unwind and relax, so I prefer comedies such as The Big Bang Theory and Psych. I confess I’m also a fan of Downton Abbey.

MTI:  Regarding music, is there anything special you like to listen to?

MO:  Nothing in particular. I listen to any type of music that catches my fancy, be it sentimental, Christian songs, pop, K-pop, J-pop, classical, or instrumental. At one point, my brother had me listening to heavy metal. I don’t think I ever took to rap, though.

MTI:  If you could name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored with, what would they be?

MO:  I can watch any movie by Hayao Miyazaki over and over again (except maybe Ponyo).

MTI:  You’ve got the attention of potential readers.  Is there anything you’d like to say to them, perhaps something to pique their interest in your work?

MO:  If you’re actually reading this, THANK YOU for your interest in my stories. They do so love to have an audience! If you would like to read more, hop on over to my humble list of published stories. There are a couple of tales that are readily available online, as well as a few other misfits in my free stories page that don’t quite fit anywhere, but still insist on having their tales told.

MTI:  As we wrap up this interview, do you happen to have a short sample for our readers?  Nothing too long, but maybe a few fresh paragraphs?

MO:  Sure, here’s a short excerpt from novella-in-progress entitled, ‘Netherworld’:

“Create…what exactly?” Paul asked. “What could you possibly need here?”

“Weapons, of course,” Richard said, sparing Paul a pitying glance for forgetting such an obvious thing. “The ones you warriors wield. We find that the weapons of the mortal world are quite useful against demonfolk.”

“Demons? Here, in heaven?”

“No, no, no!” Richard shot him an exasperated look. “Haven’t you been listening? This is not heaven. This is Netherworld. That is heaven!”

He pointed towards a simple wooden gate that was as big as a house. It was surrounded by a long stretch of pristine white walls. From his vantage point, Paul could not see where it ended, no matter where he looked.

“Well, it’s heaven’s gate, anyway,” the boy amended, looking quite sad. “But it hasn’t opened in many, many years.”

MTI:  Thank you for that excellent interview and free sample, Mel.  For those who want to read two of her latest stories, they can be found in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance.

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