Name Melanie Jackson
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am married to a retried programmer turned writer and we share our house with a domesticated puma– I mean, a cat.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Last year I began writing and illustrating children’s books as well as writing cozy mysteries. It has been an uphill battle getting recognized but it sure has been fun.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My first poem was published in a magazine when I was seven. The bug bit hard and the urge to write has never left though I have switched genres several times.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was ready to be a poet at seven, but a writer? Hm… I had written 16 novels by the end of high school (none published. They were dreadful) but I was certain that this was what I wanted to do.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This begs the question of what was my first book. The first published book was a Scottish historical called Iona. I wrote it because so many of the historical romances I read got the history and culture all wrong.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I began writing in the third person, but have found that for cozy mysteries I prefer the intimacy of first person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I often take titles from famous sayings or historical events. Some quirky aspect of the story is good as well. For instance, Death of a Dumb Bunny or The Pumpkin Thief. Iona was named after the island where the story took place. It is the burial ground for the old kings of Scotland.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Many of my books can be read on a couple of levels. There is the fun adventure on the surface and beneath it there is usually something else beneath that. In Dominion I was dealing with a lot of questions that had come up when we had several deaths in the family. On the surface it was a time travel adventure but the grief I was feeling resonated with readers and I got a lot of mail from people who had recently lost loved ones and had found comfort in the story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
I have to believe what I am writing at some level so that I can make it real for the reader. The question of something being realistic comes down to the individual experiencing the book.
When I have doubts about someone being comfortable with a paranormal story I usually start them on A Curious Affair. If they can’t handle a heroine who believes that cats talk to her then they won’t do well with goblin spy thrillers.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. It is a kind of dystopic adventure– Hunger Games meets Independence Day.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Rick Yancey is new to me. Lately I have been on a kick of reading the novels of M M Kaye which are finally available in e format.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am at work on a new Miss Henry Mystery called Raising the Dead. The castle where Raphael is working has uncovered a vampire burial and Miss Henry has flown in to investigate.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Mrs. Sheehan, sophomore English teacher. She made sure that I got invitations to writing conferences and seminars. I began writing before the Internet and had been published long before knowing that there were groups like RWA and Novelists Inc. I joined them later but by then I had gotten used to hauling on my own bootstraps.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. This is how I make my living.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. Books are living things with their own minds and though I have a hand in shaping them, at the end of the day they are what they are and must make their way in the world.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It was The Night Before Christmas. When I was three, it dawned on me that someone– an actual person named Clement C Moore– had written this utterly wonderful book. I knew that I also wanted to do this magical thing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Raising the Dead
Raphael James sat like the Buddha contemplating infinity. His shadow wavered against the tarps that draped the throne in his studio. They moved uneasily in the drafts sneaking through the open door and made Juliet think of ghosts. It was not surprising that she would have this thought since most of the art Raphael restored was old, abused by age and war, and located in castles and cathedrals and other places ridden with haunts created by the evil that that man did– and had always done– to his fellow man, the soul made manifest and then wounded.
Sometimes those ghosts followed him home.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
These days my husband and I design our own books covers. If the author has any kind of art and marketing background it is best if they have a hand in cover design.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The first chapter, the last chapter, and all the in between chapters. Some books come easy– a gift from the gods. Others are months of labor. The odd thing is that there is no way to guarantee which book will be better or more popular.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn something. Most of my books require research and once you crack open Pandora’s box it is very hard to close the lid again. Right now I am looking at vampire burials in Europe and especially in England.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take care of yourself. Physically and mentally. Creativity is exhausting and you need to be on top of your game if you are in it for the long haul.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. I love you all!
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Ninon de l’Enclos– a French feminist from the 1600’s who wrote one of the first self-help sexual manuals. She once said ‘Men lose more conquests by their own awkwardness than by any virtue in the woman’.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Gardening and, as an offshoot, raising butterflies. This last year the Gulf Fritillary butterflies (thought extinct in northern California since the 70’s) have started staging a comeback. I am honored they are using my yard.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lately I have enjoyed Penny Dreadful and Orphan Black. Both are very clever and have great compassion in their writing.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors Page USA http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Jackson/e/B001ITVWYA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1456536536&sr=1-2-ent