Okay, I am seriously giddy over here and fangirl-ing!
I’m so pleased to be doing an Author Interview with my favourite author, MELANIE DICKERSON!
She is a heroine of YA Historical Romance Fiction with her first book being a retelling of Sleeping Beauty set in Germany. This won a Christy Award and a book deal, shooting her career off into an epic Fairytale Retelling Series that now has 7 books in total. And she is finalizing her latest book for that series, The Silent Songbird, as we speak.
From there, she has gone on to write YA Historical Regency and another Series called “A Medieval Fairy Tale Series” a.k.a The Thornbeck Series. Each book is a mash-up of two different fairy tales. Each book has epic adventures, action, and of course, romance!
- Let’s start with your first book, The Healer’s Apprentice. That took you a long time to get published. First off, thank you so much for persevering so that we get to enjoy this wonderful work and series! But, how difficult was that process and what kept you going through it all?
It was pretty difficult, as it took me more than three years to get a “yes” from a publisher, and I got 32 rejections from both agents and publishers. What kept me going? I guess I’m just stubborn. J I also felt in my heart that that book was going to get published, and by a major publisher. I didn’t know when, just that it was going to happen! God kept me going with little nudges, like contest wins and finals and positive feedback, as well as other assurances that I was on the right track.
- Out of all of the fairytale stories, what made you choose Sleeping Beauty first?
It was my favorite Disney movie as a kid, but I was not even thinking about doing a fairy tale retelling. I was just watching the movie with my daughters and the thought occurred to me that it would be fun to write the story as if it really happened, to set it in Medieval Europe and make it realistic. At that time, I didn’t know that the fairy tale retelling genre even existed.
- Once you established Rose and Wilhelm as the main characters, how did you come up with the idea for follow-up books and was it difficult to continue the family ties for each retelling story?
I actually did not plan to continue the family ties. In fact, I planned to let each book stand alone, and the only connection between the books would be the fact that they were all fairy tale retellings. But when I got the idea for the third book, The Fairest Beauty, I thought it would be fun to use the same setting and have the hero be one of Rose and Wilhelm’s sons. It just fell into place, as the hero’s brother, Valten, seemed like he would make a great hero as well, and Rose and Wilhelm very accommodatingly had eight children. J
- Set in Germany, I love how each book seems so unique, yet you definitely know that these are retellings. How did you create each books’ uniqueness, while keeping to the story of the original fairytales?
All but two are set in Germany! The Merchant’s Daughter and The Silent Songbird, which comes out in November, are set in England. I have always liked fairy tales—the romantic ones, anyway!—and so I enjoyed fleshing out the stories, adding elements that seemed exciting or romantic or appropriate, and leaving out the things I didn’t particularly like about the original tale. I don’t know, they just kind of came about organically, as they say!
- Some characters I love and some I didn’t love as much (mainly their enemies, of course) But even still, Valten and Gabe were complete opposites in character. Who is your favourite character to write and who was the most difficult? Why?
Valten was really difficult and I did a lot of work on him. My publisher actually delayed the release of that novel, so I had roughly a year to do edits on it! At first he was a bit gruffer, but I added a bit more dialogue, and especially internal dialogue, in the edits that I did, and that softened him up a bit, and I kind of fell in love with him in the process. Haha! I love all my characters, but Magdalen was a lot of fun to write, and so was Gabe. Characters that are more outgoing and confident are just more fun.
- From the writing aspect, how important is it to have characters that aren’t so loveable?
It helps to show the good qualities of the likeable characters by juxtaposing them with the not so likeable characters. A compare and contrast type of thing. Plus, we have all felt wrongfully attacked at one time or another, had someone humiliate us or otherwise mistreat us, so we need to see fictional characters dealing with this same thing. It helps us work out these situations in our own lives. Not to mention it provides realistic conflict, which every story needs.
- Was it easy to jump into Regency compared to fairytale retellings? What was the contrast or most significant difference for you?
It’s a little difficult to go back and forth, but from a creative standpoint, I think it renewed me and made me enjoy writing both the Medievals and the Regencies I was writing. The main difficulty is the voice and the language.
- Would you ever want to venture into writing another genre? If so, which one? Or, why not?
I don’t know if I’d ever write outside the romance genre, but I might. J I like variety. I might even write a contemporary series someday.
- What do you have coming out next and what can we look forward to in the future from your works?
Next, after The Beautiful Pretender, is The Silent Songbird, a Little Mermaid retelling and a sequel, of sorts, to The Merchant’s Daughter. After that I have one more Thornbeck story, The Noble Servant, and two more Regencies, which don’t have titles yet but both come out next year. After that . . . I’m not sure! I have to get busy and figure that out. I’m praying about it right now, so we’ll see.
Thank you so much Melanie for doing this interview. Keep reading below to enter the FREE Giveaway of The Beautiful Pretender releasing MAY 17th!!
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It seriously is my pleasure and I look forward to anything you have coming out in the future. I am anticipating the Thornback Series especially. (The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest). How can I resist books with archery and fairytales. And I can’t wait to read your YA Historical Regency book that also came out!!! The Spy’s Devotion
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The Beautiful Pretender from Melanie Dickerson comes out MAY 17th. Don’t miss out this exclusive GIVEAWAY from Melanie Dickerson.
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