All About Melanie

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I grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Sydney and as a keen horse rider, often competed in local gymkhanas and even broke in a few horses from time to time. As I was surrounded by animals, I decided at an early age to become a nurse, however I couldn’t stand the sight of blood and so opted for a career in teaching. It’s a bit ironic that I married a surgeon.

I read my first Mills & Boon novel when I was 17 and that encouraged me to continue reading romance novels; the lure of the tall dark handsome hero, who in reality I fell in love with and agreed to marry on our second date! We moved to Scotland so my husband could work and study for his MD in surgery. Two lively sons later I decided teaching was the last thing I wanted to do – I knew when I was beaten!

I went back to University and up-graded my teaching diploma to a degree and then went on to do a Masters but still I felt as if something was missing. I sat down one day and began writing and everything clicked into place – I had finally found ‘my brilliant career’! I write from a combination of instinct/pantsing and plotting/ planning. It rather depends on the story idea and the characters. My process has changed from when I first started where I wrote purely on instinct. But even with the best laid plan the characters will still insist on doing things their way! Because I am a keen athlete I find the times I swim really helpful-I find a three kilometre swim will often solve a plot dilemma!

I learnt to swim as an adult and after some great coaching, I went from a non-swimmer to National Top Ten in Master’s Swimming plus several State records. I look on any scary task now in much the same way I did swimming. Yes, I’m scared but I can at least try, rather than say I can’t. I guess you could say that’s my motto-Don’t say I can’t-Say I can try!!

Writing is a skill that can be learned and the best way to learn it is to read and to write. So many people feel they have a novel in them and very probably they are right-the only trick is to get it out. My advice to ‘would be’ writers is to write, write, and write even more. Carry a notebook at all times and jot down ideas. And like any other activity the more you do, the more it feels comfortable.

I hope you enjoy my stories and look forward to hearing from you.

a day in my life

questions & answers

Q: If you could have your time over what would you do differently?A:

I would have started writing earlier.  I talked about writing a book for years without ever doing it. I’m so glad I eventually sat down and believed in myself enough to do it. It horrifies me that I could have so easily missed out on the joys of being a published author.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?A:

I get inspired by things that happen to me or to other people, things I’ve read about in books or hear in the news, or things I observe in popular culture – even a line or two of a song can trigger a story idea. I think writers have a type of radar that is constantly on the lookout for story possibilities. That’s why is so important to write regularly as it keeps that radar tuned!

Q: Are you a plotter/outliner or a wing- it, see how it goes type of writer?A:

I used to think I was a wing-it writer but lately I’ve realized I do both. Some books seem to write themselves, but I think it’s because I’ve done a lot of subconscious processing before I sat down to write them. There is no right way to do it. I think each writer has his or her own process. I switch between both processes now depending on the book and the amount of time I’ve had to indulge in thinking time.