Do you like science fiction? Henry Melton is one of my favorites in that field! Henry writes science fiction for young adults, but I feel that his stories are so brilliant that they can also be read and enjoyed by adults as well.
His novel, Lighter Than Air, has won the Eleanor Cameron / Golden Duck Award for 2009 Middle Grade Science Fiction. Check it out at
Read about him and his work in the interview that follows. Have fun!
How would you define yourself as a writer?
I suppose there’s two parts to that question; what do I write, and who am I. What I write is the easiest. For the past eight to ten years, I’ve been discovering that I like to write what is called Young Adult fiction. Young adult science fiction in particular. My larger body of work is general science fiction, with a few fantasies thrown in. But even the fantasies tend to have a ‘how it works’ flavor to them.
As a person, I’ve been telling stories since before I picked up a pencil, and it came so naturally that I had problems with ‘creative’ explanations to my parents when I got into trouble. Then there were stories of Alex the Martian I told to neighbor kids. I suppose it would have looked like the classic invisible friend to an outsider, but I knew I was composing fiction for their entertainment. Later, I discovered real science fiction and wrote little things, what would today be called flash fiction. It was a natural progression. I wrote for school, but they rejected my attempt to be part of the school paper–not enough school spirit and too much creativity. By the time I sold my first story I was confident I was a short fiction guy, but over time, they grew and now, all I write is longer stories.
Which titles have you published so far?
Emperor Dad was the first, where a teen discovers that his father may have invented teleportation. Roswell or Bust was a road trip through the American Southwest as a motel kid and the mute daughter of one of the Men In Black attempt to rescue the aliens that have been kept captive since the 1947 Roswell crash. Extreme Makeover is the tale of an overweight girl in the Pacific Northwest who was infected with alien nanobots. They tried to make her over into a weapon–their mistake. Lighter Than Air mixes a talented designer teen with a next door neighbor inventor who has discovered lighter than air foam. All goes well until his little sister gets mixed up with a shadowy figure on the Internet. Falling Bakward has a farmer kid discovering that the mysterious warm spot in the south field is actually a portal to another world where aliens have been waiting for him for 10,000 years.
Which is your favorite one, if any, and why?
My favorite novel is always the one I’ve just finished working on. I have fond feelings for them all. So, at this instant, I guess my favorite is Golden Girl, a time travel story, which I’m preparing for a September release.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I’ve been reading science fiction since childhood and the basic ideas of the genre; teleportation, aliens, time travel, etc. are just like air. However, I also travel quite a bit and I’ve found that I get inspired by certain places. In this current set of novels, each is born in a certain small town (flexible definition of small). Emperor Dad–Hutto, Texas. Roswell or Bust–Las Vegas, New Mexico. Extreme Makeover–Crescent City, California. Lighter Than Air–Munising, Michigan. Falling Bakward–Chamberlain, South Dakota. Golden Girl–Oquawka, Illinois.
By visualizing a real place where I’ve walked the streets and seen the sights, it lets me get into the life of the characters and to believe in the world I’m writing.
Why have you chosen this genre?
It chose me. I was watching NASA space flights preempting Captain Kangaroo in the morning before I went to elementary school. The best fiction in the school libraries was always science fiction. My father was in electronics and the laundry room was two-thirds filled with partially hand-built radio equipment that arc’ed inside the house during thunderstorms. And it didn’t hurt that science in school came naturally. I lived in a science fiction world.
Which are your plans for the future?
There will be more YA science fiction books, of course. I hope to keep traveling and finding inspiration. If I did nothing but re-work old stories up to my improving standards, I could keep putting out books for years, but I need to find a way to spend less time on marketing and promoting my books, and more on writing new ones. The publishing industry, with its demands on authors promoting their own work, is definitely limiting creative time. But I guess that’s something we all have to work on.
Where can readers find your books?
All of my books are available on the usual on-line bookstores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Bookstores can order them through Ingram. I have also put e-book versions out as Kindle and Mobi formats. However, if you would like to get a signed copy, go to http://www.HenryMelton.com/0/Webstore.html and order from me directly.
Have you ever experienced a writer’s block?
Yes. It’s easy enough to let the day to day stuff get in the way. That’s one of the reasons I love to travel. Getting behind the wheel and letting the scenery flow past gives me time to hear my own thoughts and let the story pieces fit together.
Any tips you would like to give us?
If you write, write lots. Nothing improves a craftwork skill like practice. It’s that skill, plus your honest thoughts that let your voice come through.
Do you have a motto?
Perhaps I do. I’ve said it enough. If you want to travel, “Travel now, while you still have the chance.” Nothing has enriched my life more than travel.
Buy my books! http://www.HenryMelton.com/0/Webstore.html