Interview with Expat author - Kay Xander Mellish
I’m Kay Xander Mellish, originally from Wisconsin, USA, and now a freelance journalist in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I visited Copenhagen on vacation and decided it was the kind of place I wanted to live. I went back to New York City, where I was living at the time, and job-hunted online until I found a company willing to hire me.
2. How do you make a living? Are you a fulltime writer?
For many years I worked in online communications for some of Denmark’s largest companies, but I now own my own consulting business in Copenhagen. I do native English copywriting, freelance content writing, Danish-to-English translation and American English voiceovers for videos. I like the freedom and the variety involved with working for myself.
3. How did you start the process of writing a book and get it published? Did you go to a publisher? Self-publish?
In the summer of 2013 I started the weekly ‘How To Live in Denmark’ podcast as a way to practice my voiceover techniques. I noticed that the transcripts of the podcast on my website were popular, so I edited them into book form and added some extra material to create the ‘How to Live in Denmark’ book. I used Kindle Direct Publishing as well as local e-book publishers.
4. What was the hardest part of taking your writing to a book format? Did you blog before writing your book?
I would say the hardest part was the copy-editing. I hired one professional editor to critique the general flow when the book was mostly finished, and then another to do copy-editing on the final draft. And, of course, I read the manuscript very carefully several times myself. Still, readers point out small mistakes in the text and I’m so embarrassed. The good thing about the eBook format is that you can fix them right away!
5. What is your perception of the expat book market? Or is there a niche you consider your book to be part of?
I think a lot of people enjoy the expat lifestyle, and may be thinking about the next stop on their expat journey. I hope a book like mine can be of service to people who are considering moving to Denmark.
6. What is your favorite part of the book?
Probably the prologue, which explains how and why I came to Denmark, and why I think living in Denmark is worth the challenges.
7. What was the most difficult part to write?
I think the most difficult part was simply putting the chapters in order and creating a flow that deliver value to a reader interested in the expat life in Denmark. I’m still not sure I did it right.
8. Besides your book, what book should everyone read?
I like ‘Danish Delight’, which is Monica Redlich’s account of being an expat in Denmark in the 1930s. Some things have changed since then – but many things have not.
9. What advice would you give to other expats that want to write a book?
I would suggest that they think about how they can serve their potential readers. Many types of books can be of service to readers – mysteries, love stories, humor books, or just straight-out guides – but you should think about what the person on the other end of the page will get out of it, not just what you ‘feel like’ writing. Also, if you are self-publishing, I suggest hiring a professional copy editor and cover designer to make sure your work looks polished.
10. What are you working on now? Do you have plans to publish another book?
I continue to write and perform the weekly ‘How to Live in Denmark’ podcast, and I will probably publish future books based on the podcast and the many questions I get from listeners about Denmark.