Born in Iran, Melanie spent her formative years in Tunbridge Wells before setting off on her travels, which took her to Bahrain for four years, then onwards to various places around the world. Following her marriage to a film/tv professional, she spent a few hedonistic years following him around the world to various glamorous and not so glamorous film locations, with their two young children in tow.
A lifelong writer ever since her poem about a potato being made into a chip was so well received by her primary school assembly, she became a blogger during five years living in the heart of rural France and her first blog, ‘What French Dream’ was intended to show a more balanced view of life in France other than cheap wine and apparent endless sunshine. It made her, at times, only marginally more popular than the woman who put a kitten in a wheelie bin. The blog was eventually serialised in part by The Daily Mail. She has also written expat articles for The Daily Telegraph and is an occasional blogger for The Huffington Post and on her own blogs, The River Cottage Diaries and An Accidental Author.
Her first book, ‘L’Amour Actually’ is a fictionalised travel memoir based loosely on her adventures in France. Melanie says of the book, ‘some of it happened, some of it happened but not exactly as I wrote it and some of it didn’t happen at all. I leave the reader to decide which, but they might be surprised. Truth sometimes really is stranger than fiction.’
With a career that spanned publishing, Arts funding, celebrity PR and a two year stint as an air stewardess, she now divides her time between working for her local authority, where she is an expert on the number of cows in Wiltshire, raising fluffy Orpington hens, looking after her children and the world’s stupidest lurcher puppy and writing her next book.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always written ever since I was a child. People, places and events inspire me, often events from my own life. My first book, l’Amour Actually, is based on my adventures when I lived in France. My next book, still in the writing process, Suddenly Single, is equally loosely based on events in my life but told in a totally fictitious way.
Tell us about your writing process.
Most definitely a seat of the pants writer. I know where the story starts and ends but what happens in the middle is anyone’s guess. I have in my mind the main ‘events’ of the story but working out ways to link them in part of the fun of writing. I have a mental picture of my characters and often use photos of people and places as inspiration but for me, writing a book is a very organic process.
What advice would you give other writers?
Try and write a little bit every day. Make use of writing websites like Authonomy for feedback. Don’t give up!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I started writing my book, I uploaded it onto Authonomy, a writer’s website run by HarperCollins, to see if it had legs. It was well received so that gave me the motivation to continue. The commissioning editor of Summersdale read what I had uploaded and contacted me to ask if I was looking for a publisher (that was a tough question!) and the rest, as they say, is history. They commissioned the book based on the first 15 chapters and I became one of those rare and lucky writers who got published without ever having sent out a submission or received a rejection slip.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love books, as in real books, the ones that you can hold in your hand, admire the cover, smell the paper. I don’t own a Kindle and don’t read books online. I honestly believe that there will always be a need for publishers for those of us who still love real books.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Travel, Women’s Popular Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print