When we buy a book or turn on our e-reader, most of us don’t think much about what goes into getting that story written and ready for purchase. One former Wynyard resident, Rosanna Gartley (Melsted) k
Question-01 : Can you give the readers some background about the two of you?
Answer : Rosanna: I grew up in Regina, met my husband Bruce Melsted at the U of S then moved to Wynyard in 1979. We raised our family here and in 1998 Bruce died in a plane crash. I remarried and moved to a small town just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I practiced as a nurse practitioner for many years, retiring from practice in 2014. That’s when I took up writing. Maggie: I grew up in Pittsburgh and still live there, practicing as a nurse practitioner in the field of obstetrics/gynecology. Rosanna was my boss at one time and that’s how we met and built a friendship. One day in 2014, we were visiting together and came up with the idea to become writing partners. Rosanna and I live about an hour apart.
Question-02 : Tell the readers about your current books.
Answer : Our current release consists of three books called The Lifestyle Trilogy. For those who are swingers, the term ‘lifestyle’ is code. If you participate in The Lifestyle, it means you are a swinger. Our main character goes through phases after she becomes a swinger. Each phase is explored in one of the three books. The titles of Arousal, Obsession and Shattered refer to those phases. Arousal has been published and will be available on Amazon as well as in Home Hardware, Wynyard, The Advance/Review offices in Wynyard and Foam Lake and The Golden Grain Bakery in Melfort. Obsession will be released in September and Shattered will be ready for purchase in late October. We are just beginning our marketing and are hopeful other locations, locally, will carry our books eventually.
Question-03 : Where did the idea for a swingers’ trilogy come from?
Answer : Maggie: Most people are curious beings, interested in learning about things they don’t know. Most of us don’t know much about The Lifestyle and don’t know any swingers. Or do we? In our research, we have discovered that they are a part of most every society but tend to stay hidden and anonymous. Our boss, neighbor, attorney or grocery clerk could be a swinger and we would never know. It’s an intriguing and unique perspective about sex and one doesn’t have to be a participant to read or write about it.
Question-04 : Where do your ideas come from?
Answer : Rosanna: They come from our imagination. Together, Maggie and I have well over 60 years’ experience in the health care field which has given us a handle on human nature. We research what we write so our readers can relate; we try to be as accurate as possible regarding people, places and events. For example, each restaurant mentioned in our books exists and everything the characters order from that restaurant is on the restaurant’s current menu. We try very hard to make our characters relatable and what happens in our books believable. Maggie and I start with a premise for the book. We know how the book will end and it’s our job to develop the characters and plot to reach that end in an entertaining yet believable way. We have a rough outline and we bounce ideas off each other all the time. We also write the dedication, acknowledgement and biographical pieces.
Question-05 : What happens when you have finished writing a book?
Answer : Maggie: After we have finished the story we get together and read it out loud to each other looking for mistakes and poor sentence structure. Once we have edited it ourselves a number of times and feel it is the best that we can make it, we send it to our professional editor, Sigrid, who lives in Ottawa. Once she makes revisions and suggestions, it’s returned to us for one last change. Once the book passes our and Sigrid’s inspection, she sends it to our publisher in Houston. At that point we start discussing cover and manuscript layouts. Rosanna: We leave the book in the hands of the publisher to format it and get it to the printer. We discuss pricing and distribution with our publisher at this time. Writing the books is almost the easiest part. The hardest part is the marketing and public relations. We can write the best book in the world but if no one knows it exists no one will buy it.
Question-06 : How do you publicize your books?
Answer : Rosanna: Total Recall Press assists us in organizing book signings and getting our books into retailers. They do press releases on our behalf as well. My sister, Mariette, who lives in Saskatoon is also helping us by setting up book signings and building us a Facebook page and website which is located at rmconte.weebly.com. We rely heavily on friends and family to spread the word for us as well. A testimonial is probably the best kind of advertising.
Question-07 : What is next for the two of you?
Answer : Maggie: We have several writing opportunities coming up. We have a very basic outline finished about life in a senior citizen’s complex, complete with all the characters that make up the staff, residents and their unique families. We are also focusing on writing a series of children’s medical books dealing with helping young children understand their chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease. We have also been asked to contribute to a children’s series featuring a Disney theme. That should keep both of us busy for some time!