daily doodle 7Nice to meet you. Or, nice to see you again. 

Other places you can find me:

Twitter @melclayton

Instagram writermelclayton

Etsy: Swanga Studio 

You might, might not, find it interesting that I am a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (Go Seahawks!) where I earned a BA degree in English and an MFA degree in Creative Writing.

If you’re here to learn a little bit more about me, here’s what you should know first of all: I’m just your basic daydreamer, procrastinator, panic stricken writer ….paralyzed for long spells with fear and blocks….not very prolific but hoping to improve in that department.

I primarily write fiction. Thus far this has taken the form of plays (unseen by anyone but other students in a workshop in the 90s) and short stories (published online, in anthologies, and in out of print magazines with short runs). I aspire to finish a novel in the near future and have a very kind agent interested in seeing the finished product. That should be motivating, yet still the false starts and fears create blocks. However, his interest, any interest, in my work is flattering beyond belief. (So thank you to any subscribers and well wishers.) 

The question I get most often when I say I am a writer is, “What kinds of things do you write?”

My short answer is: “Hard-boiled crime fiction.” Then they’ll sometimes want to know what I’ve published and where and then there is the awkward, “Oh, so no NOVELS…nothing I would know?” vibe……or sometimes they just say “Oh. That’s nice” and move on, which I prefer. I’ve seriously considered lying about my career path.

Really, I am interested in various forms of writing and genres. But I’d say at the heart of most things I do there is a crime and some form of mystery. I am greatly influenced by the classic noir and pulp writers like Jim Thompson, Chandler, Hammett, and others. And also by modern writers with a lot of grit like Elmore Leonard, Charles Bukowski, and Joe Landsdale.

Is that all?

Hell no.

There’s the Irish writers like Edna O’Brien and Roddy Doyle and the Scots like Alasdair Gray and A.L. Kennedy. There’s Graham Greene and Samuel Beckett who reign supreme in my opinion. There is my love of the “naturalist” writers …Gothic lit….But…. that’s a good enough sampling to give you an idea of my taste.

Despite my claims of being a crime fiction writer, I have, however, also published some horror stories and was once a member of the HWA. But ultimately, I feel most of those were really just dark crime stories, sometimes with a touch of the supernatural. So it seems more fitting to say “crime” than “horror.” Got to love labels.