Let's welcome Melanie!
Please tell us a little about your journey to first getting published.
I’ve been writing stories since I was four but I didn’t write my first novel until the year I turned forty. I still remember the feeling of excitement I got when I sat down at the computer and starting writing. I still get it now. It took me three and a half years and five submissions before I got the call. By the time I sold, I had written over seventeen complete manuscripts to fill in the time while I waited for assessment on those five submissions.
How many books have you had published so far in your career?
48 books have gone on the shelves so far. I have just completed my 51st book, which will be out in November.
The world of publishing is ever evolving, how have you stayed on top of trends and continued to give your readers what they want?
I know what I want as a reader and how that has changed over time, so I guess I rely on my intuition to pick up on new directions romance is going in. But in this digital age fans will email directly and tell authors (and publishers/editors) what they want.
What has been the highlight of your publishing career so far?
I’m sure people would expect me to say winning the R*BTY in 2011, but while that was nice, it was an email I got late last year that nailed it for me. It was from an avid reader of romance who said my book Surrendering All But Her Heart was the best romance novel she had ever read. She listed the ways it had spoken to her, how it had made her feel, how the characters had stayed with her for days and days. But not only that, she said the book had changed her. I don’t there is any trophy or award that will ever mean more to me than that. It is what storytelling is all about-making the reader feel lasting emotion.
Which of your books is your favourite, and why?
I have a new favourite! It used to always be The Secret Baby Bargain, which was my 11th book but now it is Their Most Forbidden Fling, which is my 47th. But then just about every book I am working on is my favourite, but so says every writer.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I am a bit of both but having said that, I have found it sometimes depends on the book/ story idea/theme as to whether I plot or wing it. One thing I do know - I always have trouble with the back end of the book if I don’t know what my crisis scene is when I start out. Once I know my black moment I can write towards it, otherwise I am lost in the wilderness until I find that magic piece of the story puzzle.
What is the one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?
Write. I know it’s almost boring to hear it but writing is the only way. I always use swimming as an analogy as I spend a lot of time in the pool. No amount on books on swimming technique will teach a non-swimmer or a bad swimmer to swim. The only way is to get in the water and see how it feels. The more you swim, the fitter and stronger you get. Writing is exactly the same. Oh, and it helps to watch great swimmers ( and read great writers) so you can see how it’s supposed to be done!
The other gem of advice I endorse is: Describe your story in a sentence.
What do you love most about being a romance writer?
I love the experience of writing. Actually putting the words on the page is a source of great enjoyment for me. It really is like solving a puzzle, as I mentioned earlier. I truly believe just about anyone can write because it’s part of being human to be creative. We’ve been telling stories to each other since our knuckles were dragging along the ground. The real challenge is getting those words in the right order on the page so the reader experiences everything you want them to feel.
Thank you Melanie for joining us today.
Melanie has a copy of her latest release to give away to one commenter!
And visit Melanie at her website www.melaniemilburne.com.au