17 Mar 2017

Interview with Silent author, David Mellon

David Mellon (SILENT, March 18th, Merit Press)


Can you tell us a little about your latest book SILENT?
Adi, a girl from India inadvertently ruins the plans of a sinister stranger named Coal. In return he takes her twin brothers from her and proposes a wicked game to find them. He gives her a watch with four riddles hidden inside and takes her voice from her for good measure. It’s June of 1914 and World War One is beginning. Things get messy.

What inspired you to write it?Before I started writing this book, I was a painter. My pictures were largely influenced by fairy tales and illustrations from books that I read as a child. I read a lot of fairy tales. Years ago, I stumbled onto a copy of Italo Calvino’s wonderful Italian Folktales. Story #31 was called Silent for Seven Years. In it, an exhausted father curses his sons, “The Devil take you both!” he says. And sure enough the Devil does. The boys’ dutiful sister goes off in search of her brothers. Adventures ensue. The fairy tale was like a catalogue of classic fairy tale tropes, filled with weird and wonderful imagery. I won’t go into it all here but my obsession with this story went on for years and ran the course from paintings to illustrated Children’s book to screenplay and finally, with the help of several semesters of writing classes at UCLA Extension, it became this book.

Is it part of a series?
I’m afraid the sequel is clawing its way up out of my psyche as we speak.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

At various points I had pictures of Daniel Day Lewis, Adrien Brody, and Donald Sutherland above my desk for Coal. All too old, of course. Nowadays? James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Foster, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Tom Hiddleston? So many different ways to go. Adi? That’s going to be a challenge. She’s out there though, somewhere.

What made you want to become an author?
See question 2. I was perfectly happy painting. Something happened.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
I wouldn’t want you to think I don’t love modern book covers as well, but, how about the 1900 edition of Andrew Lang’s Grey Fairy Book. Or Love is Enough. 1873 by Ellis and White. Cover designed by William Morris.

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
Stuart Little by E.B. White. Ignore those movies and sit down on a summer afternoon and see what the deal is with this book. All about longing and growing up and hoping for that thing to come along around the next turn in the road. Not to mention, E.B. wrote the most beautiful descriptions of place that anyone’s ever put on paper.

Who, or what, inspires you?

Birds in the trees.

Where is your favourite place to write?
Depends on the day. My office. Undergrind Coffee on Robertson. My front patio.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Hm. Let’s see. Hard to do better than To Kill a Mockingbird. Or Room With a View, maybe.

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
Alexandre Dumas. If you think there’s anybody who’s lived that’s better at plotting than Dumas, read Count of Monte Cristo, Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers and we’ll discuss.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. (Do I have to explain?)

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I was roommates with Andy Kaufman. (I was young.)

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.

Village Green. Trees in the morning, trees in the evening, trees all day long. 

David Mellon grew up in Denham Springs, a little town on a river in south east Louisiana. After attending San Francisco Art Institute and California Institute for the Arts he graduated from Art Center College of Design with a degree in Illustration. After years of painting pictures and drawing storyboards for film and tv commercials he discovered UCLA Extension Writers' Program where he was nominated for the 2016 Allegra Johnson Prize. Silent is his first novel. He's been a member of SCBWI since 2011. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Judith.
Visit David's website for more information, FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

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