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An Interview with Melody Fowler, author of How We Healed

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Melody is a free spirit born and raised in Vancouver, BC. She is a recognized painter and a poet. Her art has been showcased in local galleries and she published a book of poetry, Life Lyrics, in 2011. She now lives outside Vancouver with her husband Arric, where their backyard, affectionately known as the “Fowler Vineyard,” continues to produce amazing wines and jellies.

You can buy How We Healed here.

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

Writing has always been a way for me to process my thoughts and feelings. It is my meditation and my preferred method of therapy. Writing keeps balance in my life. I have a wide range of poetic influences—Charlie Bukowski, Maya Angelou, Khalil Gibran, Alice Walker, Joaquin Zihuatanejo, Natasha Carrizosa, fellow Canadians Chelene Knight, Joseph Kakwinokanasum, Shane Koyczan, and the late great Richard Wagamese. Poetry will always be my first love.

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

I worked for two prominent law firms and also for a psychiatrist. I spent nearly three decades working for a Crown Corporation in several different departments retiring in May 2021. My readers would likely be surprised to know I enjoy the rush of activities like bungee jumping and zip lining.

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

Originally the title for the novel was “Sistas.” However, Tyler Perry had a series by that name and I did not want there to be any confusion, or infringement issues. There were a couple other contenders: “Kindred” or “The Journey,” but “How We Healed” just fit the story better. It was a journey but not solely the protagonist’s; it was the journey of all the characters. Their lives weaved together, thus making them kindred.

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

I have had two covers and have deep feelings for both versions. The first cover was solid black with the hands of a black woman in open prayer. These hands belong to my dear friend Nakiya. She read the first few paragraphs in the original draft many years ago and encouraged me to pursue the story. Her belief in me meant so much. The second cover came about because I was advised that the original cover did not properly communicate the story. I contacted a graphic artist who had been our exchange student from Mexico in 1999. I was absolutely blown away with what Arturo created and it did make a big difference. In publishing you actually do get judged by the cover.

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

There are actual songs in this book—”Precious Lord” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and a couple of original songs by the character Raycie, who is bar singer. Raycie’s songs include: “If it ain’t you,” “Havana,” and “Down.” The music ranges from gospel hymns, upbeat latin, to blues.

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

I want the readers to come out on the other side understanding that we all our fighting our own personal battle and that we really are all in it together. My perfect reader is anyone who has had their heart broken by life.

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

Publishing How We Healed was a promise kept to my husband’s grandmother. Initially it was meant to be a biography, but with age, distance, hearing issues and ultimately her passing that wasn’t to be. She had life lessons she wanted to pass on—so I took many of the things she told me and with a huge dose of creative license was able to give that to her. Rest in peace, Great-Great Grandmother Loucindia.

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

This last year has not lent to much writing but I do have several works in progress. I have received much feedback requesting I write more on characters in this book—particularly Raycie, the bar singer. I have a non-fiction project that is about my travel adventures and another about being a compulsive gambler.

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.