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Introducing Melanie Milburne
Melanie Milburne grew up on small farm in Sydney and pursued a career in teaching, after having briefly considered a career as a nurse (which isn't so great for someone who feels faint at the sight of blood). After marrying a surgeon, raising a family and spending time living in Scotland, Melanie began writing and, she describes, 'I had finally found 'my brilliant career.' Lucky for us!
According to Fantastic Fiction, her first novel, His Inconvenient Wife, was published in 2003. Since then, Melanie has had some 30 books released - and that's not including the anthologies or series she's contributed to or books translated into languages other than English. That's some career! At the moment I am very much enjoying Bound by the Marcolini Diamonds and eagerly awaiting the next book in the Marcolini Diamonds series. Bring it on!
Below we have a very small selection of Melanie's books. Check our links section to the right for more by Melanie. If you've read Melanie's books and enjoyed feel free to write and tell me so, or if you're unsure where to start flick me an email and I'll request a couple to get you going.
Questions and answers
1. Why writing?
I have always written from as soon as I learned to read. I won certificates all through school for creative writing and wrote my first book when I was eight. It filled an entire exercise book and I was so proud of it. I felt as if I had accomplished something very important. I seem to remember it was about a dog and yes, it had a happy ending.
2. Why romance writing in particular?
I have been reading romance since I was a teenager, but even so I think I would have always headed towards writing it as the books I enjoyed the most I(either straight romance of not) always had some sort of love interest in them.
3. I remember reading somewhere that a happy ever after is compulsory for a Mills & Boon novel – is that true?
For the two lines I write for (Presents and Medicals) that is indeed true. It is to do with reader expectation. Our readers bank on that feel good factor at the end of the novel, to know the hero and heroine have resolved their conflicts and will commit, recognising they complete each other.
4. Do all Mills & Boon novels end in marriages or engagements?
I believe so but I have heard that in Modern Heat ( Sexy Sensation) that is not imperative as long as the hero and heroine have made some sort of commitment to each other.
Again I think it is the reader expectation thing. I recognise not all romance stories end happily ( think Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Dr Zhivago) but in series romance it is more or less a guarantee.
6. Do you get recognized while out and about in New Zealand/Australia?
I live in Hobart and have been in the press a lot so yes, I do get recognised a lot. I was interstate in Queensland a couple of years go after being on a National breakfast program and I was recognised in a shop. I found that totally surreal.
7. How often do you get fan mail?
Just about every day I receive emails via my website from fans. I must say it is one of the biggest delights of being a writer, to hear from fans about how much they have enjoyed a book/s.
8. Do people send you manuscripts and ask you to read them or pass them on to your publisher?
Not usually, but I have offered to mentor a couple of writers who I believe show promise and are prepared to work hard. I have also been involved with the isolated writers scheme and will happily read three chapters and give feedback.
9. Roughly how many do you get a year? What do you do with them?
If someone asks very nicely I will at least take the time to look at their work. I do a lot of reading so it is no bother. Mind you, I would have to put some sort of limit on it. I couldn’t read hundreds! The important thing to remember for an unpublished writer is that criticism is part of the process. I always try to find the positive elements in the work that comes to me, but also offer constructive advice.
10. What other genres do you read?
Crime, Thrillers, Biographies, Philosophy, Sociology, Historical, Chick Lit, and mainstream fiction.
11. Which other authors do you enjoy?
I am a great fan of Jodi Picoult, Harlen Coben, Ian McEwan and Nora Roberts.
12. What authors (romance or otherwise) have you met?
Too many now to list! The wonderful thing about being part of RWAmerica and RWAustralia is you get to meet all your favourite authors.
13. What authors (romance or otherwise) haven’t you met that you would like to?
I would love to have a chat to Nora Roberts. I am prolific but not that prolific. I would love to know her secret.
14. What can you tell us about your next book?
My next release is part of a two book series called The Marcolini Men. The second book is Bound by the Marcolini Diamonds. Mario Marcolini is a freedom loving playboy who suddenly finds himself the joint guardian of his best friend’s baby. The young woman who shares custody of little Molly is Sabrina, who has to make a decision over whether to relinquish Molly or marry Mario. The sparks fly from page one! It was a delight to write.
15. What freedom does your writing career bring?
It is a very portable career. I can take my lap top anywhere and write. Also I can more or less choose my hours, but I am very disciplined and stick to a schedule as it is too easy to be distracted. I am on a six book contract so I like to keep well ahead.
16. How long have you been writing?
Full time for six years but all up ten. I wrote my first full manuscript in 1999.
17. How long from the time of finishing your very first novel until it was accepted and published? What did that feel like?
Mmm well…I wrote 17 complete manuscripts and only submitted five or six of those before I sold. The sixth one was the one that sold and if I remember correctly it was one of the last ones of that 17 I wrote. It felt amazing to hear they wanted to buy my book. But I felt as if I had done the work and was ready for publication. I had the confidence by then to know I could do it again and again and again which is so important in series romance.
18. What would you name as your top read for 2008?
I really couldn’t say. I read voraciously so I lose count of who and what I’ve read. I guess Harlen Coben took my notice for his fresh way of engaging the reader’s emotions.
19. How many books do you release a year?
Six but I have previously done two years of seven, and one of those years I actually did seven books as well as a 30,000 word novella and a 10,000 word online read. Crazy, I know.
20. Do you belong to your public library and, if so how often do you visit or, if not why not? (Sorry, I work for a public library and am always curious about the library habits of authors).
I hardly ever go to the library other than to do a guest appearance. I buy all my reading material as it is a tax deduction and also I love to have my office full of the books I’ve read. Of course I have literally hundreds and I will have to do something about culling some soon.
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