Always a fan of the written word, Brockville born and raised, Melanie spent many of her formative years reading.
The writing bug first bit when she was about thirteen, but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.
Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK.
In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel – especially to Scotland, although Paris rates high on her “must return to” bucket list as well. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.
A Shadow in the Past is her debut novel.
You can find her website – Melanie Robertson-King Author – at http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/
Her blog – Celtic Connexions – is at http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/
Thank you for joining us today, Melanie. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada and have lived in or around the city all of my life. Before my parents moved into the city when it was time for me to start primary school, we lived in a winterized cottage along the St. Lawrence River. The river is in my blood and I like to say that where I live now, I have a river view. Okay, you have to stand on the sidewalk out front of my house and look south but you can see the river.
My father was born in Scotland and although I’m Canadian by birth, I’m Scottish in my heart. So much so that I bought my husband and I plots of land in the “auld country”. Okay, these plots are only one square foot each but it’s enough that we can be called “Laird” and “Lady”. *grin*
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
My first attempt at writing was the summer after I graduated from grade 8. I wrote a story about some glamorous girls who were the partners of the hunks on the local hockey team. It went on… and on… and on. I don’t think it ever had a “proper” ending. But the neat thing was, I could draw reasonably well so illustrated it, too. Dare I refer to it as a graphic novel?
Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?
Believe it or not, I never set out to write for the YA market. I had time-travel romance in my mind from day one, but with the age I made my protagonist, it made it a difficult sale. It wasn’t until much later when attending a Brian Henry (he’s a former editor from Harlequin) workshop that I heard the term YA Crossover. The bells and whistles went off and I knew then, that’s where my novel belonged.
What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?
I guess even though I’m 50+ years old, I still think of myself as a teenager, but with the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years. I love to read YA as much as any other genre so it’s a natural fit.
The biggest challenge is keeping true to the way teens talk. A further complication is that my book is set in Scotland so I have to use the words and phrases local to that area. Having travelled through the country (long before I began writing seriously), there is a great variation in expressions from one part of the country to another.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
This is the back cover blurb which tells it all in just one paragraph.
Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.
What inspired you to write it?
I had just finished reading the first four books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. When I first heard about this author and her books, I jumped at the chance to read them mostly because they were set in Scotland. A co-worker loaned me the first book in the series and before I finished it, my husband had bought me the set of books from our local independent bookstore. A friend (also a DG fan) said that I could write something just as good so why not give it a go? So I did.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
4RV Publishing: http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com/robertson-king.php
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shadow-in-the-past-melanie-robertson-king/1112348992?ean=9780983801887
What is up next for you?
I’m currently working on book two in my Shadows series, tentatively entitled Shadows from her Past.
Do you have anything else to add?
Believe it or not, I’m basically an introvert so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about putting myself and my work “out there.” But now that I have, I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and am no longer backwards about being forward.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Melanie. We wish you much success.