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Healing Words: An Interview with Mel Baker, author of Sleeping Under the Bridge

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Dr. Mel Baker grew up in Sydney, Australia. From a young age her artistic flare came out in her writing, acting, and painting. At age nine, Mel finished her first book, Is it a Dream or Reality?, on a typewriter. At seventeen, she designed, edited, and published a newsletter to encourage and inspire youth. Mel’s writing continued throughout life in various genres.

Mel is an adult educator, international speaker, writer, and film producer. She self-published four books, and the first of her life story trilogy was published by Atmosphere Press in 2022.

You can buy Sleeping Under the Bridge here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title came out of my story. Whilst it doesn’t capture the whole journey, it was the key moment in the first book in this trilogy. The other two titles then flowed very easily, as the bridge becomes a metaphor about living.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

It was amazing and overwhelming all at once. Here the long process of writing and all the steps following that toward publishing is realized. It was like getting a smack in the face at the same time as this awesome, amazing reward.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Writing about my experiences allows me to grapple with the harsh realities of life and bring healing. It has always been my hope and aspirations that writing books about my life experiences will be of encouragement to others who have also gone through trauma so they don’t feel as alone but will in some way be inspired.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I recently have embarked on producing a short film. I have learned so much about the film industry, met some incredible people who, like me, would give in to passion projects such as this to help inspire others. The short film, Say My Name, is set to release in 2023.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

First, it was finally getting to the end of writing the final draft, and then the most rewarding was working with Trista in improving the writing to take the book to another level. I often look back at her words of wisdom which drive my current writing projects. I can’t wait for her to start reading the next book!

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I do have an album with five of the original songs I wrote from the first edition (2003), and from the short film a composer and myself have added another five soundtracks that takes the story to another level. The five songs speak into topics that I raise in the book like love, hurting, homelessness, suicide, and finding hope. The soundtracks are moving, poetic, dark compositions, and the finale song Say My Name is an epic foundation to the book and film of the experience I write about from feeling nothing and living in an invisible world. Sleeping Under the Bridge will be launched later in 2023.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope that readers are transformed from their own trauma; that by reading my story of surviving childhood trauma and later adult trauma, that they too will find triumph over adversity.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am a third of the way into writing book two, Building the Bridge, and have outlined the final book in the trilogy, Climbing the Bridge. I am hoping book two will be published later this year, and Climbing the Bridge 12-18 months after that.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

As a writer you certainly feel part of a family who understands you. Every step is clearly outlined which makes it so much easier publishing with experts in every part of the field. They all illustrate and demonstrate various passions and skills that most certainly help you as the writer to produce the best book for you, and allow you to not worry about some areas you may not be an expert in. It is a different process than self-publishing, and though may not be affordable for some, it is most certainly worthwhile because you know the book you are trying to sell in the sea of billions is far greater than the one you would have done alone. I know that from experience.

You can buy Sleeping Under the Bridge here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.