Writer Interview: Melissa R. Mendelson

Melissa R. Mendelson has written many books. She has had several of her short stories published on The Yard, and at other publications. We love Melissa’s writing here at The Yard: Crime Blog, and we wanted to get a hold of her to ask her some questions about it.

What led you to start writing?

The idea of writing never crossed my mind until the seventh grade, thanks to two Creative Writing Teachers, and the poetry started before the short stories.  And I wrote Dark Poetry, as my family loves to still remind me.  “Blood, guts dripping.”  I still have a few of those poems, one even mentioning cutting one’s throat to see what color they bleed, or just poems focused around Death.  I had a very dark persona back then, and it took a long time for me to realize how depressed I was.  And that depression came from trauma.  My poetry today is not dark and bloody with guts torn out.  I leave that for the short stories.

Do you draw from events in your life?

A lot of my main characters are based off me.  I break pieces of myself off, struggles that I’ve lived through, trauma, and I give it to them to deal with.  And those characters have their own hard time of dealing with what I’ve given them, but it doesn’t break them.  It redefines them, reminding me that I wouldn’t be the person that I am now, if I never lived through what I did back then.

What writers do you read or feel influenced by?

In high school, I consumed Stephen King books.  I would read everything from him.  Of course, I had to read Shakespeare and other books assigned to me from English classes, but the only one that really stuck with me was Edgar Allan Poe.   And all I wanted to read was Stephen King, and his work has been such an influence on me.  I feel that I’m getting closer to chasing after his footsteps, and some of my short stories have even been complemented on as being similar to his work, which makes me very happy.

What inspires you, or how do you become inspired?

A lot of things inspire me.  Recently, I watched the series, Five Days at Memorial, which inspired me to write a poem about it.   I saw the documentary Burn, which again, inspired me to write a poem about it.  I have entered a lot of writing contests that provide prompts to create a story from, and I really like those contests.  And with one contest, I created a story about an older woman on a train, riding to see her brother maybe for the last time, and I was listed as one of the Ten Finalists for that contest.  I just submitted another story to them for the final round, again based on their prompts, and I’m eagerly awaiting to see how I did with that.

What are your writing goals?

I am wrapping up 2022.  I can’t believe this year is about over.  I just had a book of poems published from Wild Ink Publishing called, This Will Remain With Us, and I am waiting on another project to wrap up, which involves a self-published collection of short stories called, Stories Written Along COVID Walls.  My last project for this year is to create an audiobook for a self-published novella, which I hope to start soon.  The novella has been edited, I have an artist working on the cover, but I want to make sure everything is good with the audiobook company that I’ve chosen.  Also, I have to make sure I have the money for it.

For 2023, I have three unfinished projects that have been rolling over since 2020, and I would like to finish them.  One of them is my Horror novel, Ghost in the Porcelain.  Now that I’ve learned some things about writing and publishing, I hope to find Beta Readers to review the novel once it’s done, hire an editor, and start the querying process.  I think 2023 will be a lot of querying, but we’ll see. 

You seem to write mostly in the horror and dystopia genres, what drew you to this?

I grew up watching a lot of Horror and Science-Fiction Movies.  A lot.  My oldest brother, Eric could not watch Horror movies alone, so he would make my brother and I watch with him.  And I secretly looked forward to watching them, at least, most of them, and I love Science-Fiction!  It never dawned on me that some of those Sci-Fi movies were Dystopian.  Somehow, I missed that, and I loved watching The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Amazing Stories.  No wonder I enjoy writing in these genres.

How often do you write each week?

I try to write every day, but I don’t.  I work as an Administrative Assistant eight to four, come home, have a small window before I make dinner for my parents and brothers, check email, and then watch something on the tv or Apple tv, then pass out.  I leave most of my writing for Saturdays and Sundays, but I do errands with my father in the morning first.  If I’m inspired, tired or not, then I will write during the week, but not too often.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I love music.  I have always loved music since I was a child, but I am not musically gifted.  Yet, I was obsessed with it, the idea of singing, and the obsession carried me all the way through high school and into college.  I was writing more at the time, in high school and college, but I wanted to sing.  Finally, I realized that it was not going to happen, but I still write lyrics sometimes.  I also write parody lyrics when I think of them, and they have been posted on the web.  Some are also on the website, Medium.

Do you have any advice for writers?

Don’t stop writing.  I’ve mentioned depression before, and my depression worsened in high school.  It took a very long time for it to end, and at one point, I stopped writing.  I lost years not writing, and I didn’t really have a support structure or encouragement until later on.  And then I wrote more, and I found communities on the internet such as Trigger Street and HitRecord and AuthorsDen that encouraged and supported me.  I’m sorry I lost so much time not writing, and I’m done trying to make up for that lost time.  I am just writing now, and I will keep on writing because that is who I am.


Melissa R. Mendelson is a Poet and Horror, Science-Fiction and Dystopian Short Story Author.  Her stories have been published by Sirens Call Publications, Dark Helix Press, Altered Reality Magazine, Transmundane Press, Wild Ink Publishing and Owl Canyon Press.  She also won second place in the Writer’sWeekly.com 24 hour Short Story Contest. She has written 16 books. Her most recent are, “Fragments of Yesterdays Past” , “Better Off Here”, “Stories Written Along Covid Walls“, and her newest is “This Will Remain With Us” all of which can be found and purchased at her Amazon authors page.
She has previously published the short stories “That’s Not My Face”, “Unprotected” and “The Dead Are Smiling.” on The Yard: Crime Blog.

You can also find her at her website. HERE.

This is her new book of poems. “This Will Remain With Us

From Amazon,
“This Will Remain With Us is a collection of poems written during the Covid-19 pandemic when Melissa Mendelson suddenly found herself declared an “essential worker.”

In the midst of the turmoil, she turned to poetry to document and cope with the challenge of the lockdown, and isolation.

A philosophical, liminal, insightful collection of poetry from a difficult time for the collective soul.”

We thank you Melissa for answering our questions, and working with us. We greatly appreciate all that you do.

Published by Chris Bunton

Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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