Melvina Gray currently resides in Atlanta, GA. She worked as a certified medical assistant for many years before she decided to pen and self-publish her first book. She is a native of South Carolina. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and writing.
Melvina decided to write her book “Combat Related P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), The Willie Gray Story” to share her personal experiences and challenges living with her late husband, a Vietnam War Veteran who suffered severly with P.T.S.D. Her goal for the book is to try to help victims of P.T.S.D. and families to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of the disorder. She also wants to help families to better understand their loved ones.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Why did you write the book?
I wrote the book because I wanted people to know about the vivid and enormous effect PTSD had on our affect lives and living together.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
To write this book, I just gathered all of my notes and memories from the past years and wrote out a rough draft of how I wanted my story to flow. Once completed, I took to the computer and just spent hours on hours typing everything that I just envisioned. That was my regular routine.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I never really had to deal with the problem of writer’s block, simply because everything I wrote came from real life experiences that my family and I dealt with. Because I wrote everything in the chronological order that they happened, the book flowed very well for me, versus if I were writing a fictional novel.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Even though the task may be difficult, keep at it. There were times when I was just tired and felt like I couldn’t go any further, however I kept at it.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I wanted to bring more awareness to P.T.S.D. and how it affects individuals and their loved ones. I chose to write in this particular field because I wished to try to help victims of P.T.S.D. and families to recognize some of the signs and symptoms of the disorder though my own personal experiences. I want to help families to better understand their loved ones. I just want my book to be of some help to someone else so that they do not have to be in the dark about what’s going on.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I am a self published author. I wrote the story then turned the manuscript over to an editor. She did all of the legwork in regards to making sure that everything was worded and spelled properly. The book was submitted to the Copyright office through the Library of Congress. A cover was designed for the book and everything was submitted to the printing company for print!
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
Yes. I revised the book cover as well as re-edit the content upon further review of the book after publishing.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
I travel to various military bases around neighboring states thus far to do book signings and to promote the book. I have had speaking engagements, radio shows, and TV shows. My fondest memory has been visiting the military store inside the Pentagon for a book signing!
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
My greatest marketing strength as of now has been my personal book signings.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I currently use and prefer Amazon based on its simplicity and popularity.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I am a firm believer that people do judge books by its cover. Which is one reason why I changed my initial cover. I wanted it to be more engaging on the consumer’s eyes.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
There are tons of value in a review, especially a good review. You want to get a feel for how well your book is perceived by others. A good review is good publicity. It can be the difference between someone deciding to give the book a try or not.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
How it will be perceived by the audience and if I am able to have the impact on the reader that I hope it has.
What is the intended audience for you book?
The intended audience for my book are those who suffer from PTSD and their loved ones.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Try to seek the proper help before giving up on your loved ones. I believe that all is not lost. I am certain that there were many families who have been torn apart and some who have died never knowing that they had been suffering with PTSD. I urge you not to give up too easily on your loved ones. I saw how PTSD literally destroyed my husband’s life and how it almost destroyed our family’s lives. For all who are in the fight with this disease, please try to stay strong and stay encouraged. I pray and hope that others will find strength from my strength to carry on.
What makes a good story, why?
I believe that good stories contain characters and situations that the audience can relate to.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
My life story growing up.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
All of the characters were real life people. All of the events were also real. The only thing that was made up were some of the character’s names.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
The passing of my husband was 100% the main influence that inspired me to begin writing this book. All of what I have done has been in memory of him and using our experiences to help others that may suffer from the negative impacts of PTSD.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
I find it therapeutic. I also find it as a labor of love. I like knowing that I am able to turn what was a tragic experience (The passing of my husband) into something positive that can possibly help save someone else’s relationship.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
The advantage of self publishing is that you have more control of your book. You’re in charge of the direction you want to go with the book.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
My motivation came from the lost of my husband. I truly did not want the experiences that I encountered to be in vain. I wanted to get it out so other people could see what PTSD can really do to one’s life.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I think it is a book that can truly help toward understanding PTSD. To my knowledge, I do not believe that there are many books about PTSD that are from a spousal’s perspective. I give a vivid, first hand look into what it is like living with someone with PTSD.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
My least favorite part of the writing process was having to re-live the memories that cause me become emotional at times.