Dear Readers: A Letter from Carlton Mellick III


From the Desk of Carlton Mellick III

Dear Readers,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Carlton Mellick III. That is my real name. It’s not a pen name as a lot of people tend to assume. There really is a Carlton Mellick I and a Carlton Mellick II who came before me. None of us have middle names.  We are a bit like a movie trilogy in human form.

My grandfather, Carlton Mellick I, was the original and still the best of us. He was a classic. The one everyone remembers. The one who inspired the franchise. He was a self-made man who went from rags to riches due to his relentless determination and hard work ethic. He was the kind of guy who was scouted by the Chicago Bears only to turn them down because there wasn’t enough money in football for the lifestyle he wanted. He was kind of a legend in his day and succeeded at pretty much anything he put his mind to.

Then came my dad, Carlton Mellick II. The sequel. Like most sequels, he was a bit disappointing compared to the first one. He just didn’t have the same energy, the same spark that made the original so special. Raised by nannies and servants, living in his own personal guest house on the Mellick Estate, he wanted for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, Part 2 had his charms. He was humble, unpretentious and fun-loving. The problem was the sequel just wasn’t ambitious enough to match up to the original. He wasn’t interested in success or making money. He was perfectly happy living a poor, lower-budget lifestyle and didn’t need the success or acclaim of the first Carlton Mellick.

Then came me. Carlton Mellick Part Three. Like most thirds of a franchise, I’m the ridiculously over-the-top cheap-cash-in installment that is a complete embarrassment to the rest of the series. I am the Jaws 3, Rocky 3, and Rambo 3 of the Carlton Mellick trilogy. But I’m okay with that. Rocky 3 had Mr. T so it wasn’t a total waste.

I’ve always been proud to be the third in the Carlton Mellick trilogy. I was inspired by both my father and grandfather, and tried to be a good combination of the two. I was motivated by my grandfather at a young age. He was ambitious and believed that you can accomplish anything with hard work. So once I decided that I wanted to become a writer when I grew up, I wrote 100,000 words a year every year until I was able to write for a living at the age of twenty-four. Then I started writing 300,000 words per year.

But my dad was equally inspiring. He taught me to enjoy my work and not stress out over it so much. He taught me to only write the books that would be the most fun to work on. If it wasn’t for him, my books probably would have been much more bland and tedious. And if I didn’t learn to enjoy the writing process I probably would have burned out ages ago. Although, there is a part of me that wishes I didn’t take my father’s advice to heart. Perhaps I would be taken more seriously as a writer if I didn’t only write the kinds of books I like to write. My definition of fun is somewhat different than what most people consider fun.

My style of fiction is to write books with the most ridiculous concepts imaginable and then approach them in as serious and straight-forward a manner as possible. This is the kind of story I think is fun to write. My new book with Random House Hydra, Clownfellas, is a perfect example of this. Yes, it’s a mafia story set in a world where clowns are a race of people. Yes, there are clown hit men who throw exploding pies at their targets. Yes, there are clown strip clubs where the dancers have honkable breasts. But the fun I had writing this book came not just from the absurd concept, but in making such a silly concept real. I wanted to explore all of the characters in this clown world, learn all the hardships of living in a clown ghetto, figure out all the real problems that come from living in such a surreal universe. This is what I find fun to explore as a writer. And if I can make a reader forget all about how silly the concept is and actually care about the characters and the story despite the fact that it’s a book about members of a clown mafia, then I’ve succeeded at my job.

I hope you get a chance to check it out.

Take care,

Carlton Mellick III