Thank you for joining me for another exciting Author Spotlight!
Melanie Dickerson is one of my new FAVORITE authors – for her exceptional writing AND for her true-to-life portrayals of traditional fairy tales!
A bit about Melanie via her WEBSITE:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.
And here is my interview with Melanie Dickerson:
You talk a lot about researching the towns and time period of your novels. What research have you done for the fairy tale part? Do you study the original fairy tales written by the brothers Grimm, Hans Christine Anderson and Charles Perault?
I wouldn’t say I study them, but I usually read them. More often than not, my stories are loosely based on the Disney movie as much as they are on the original fairy tales. My goal is more to write a story with some of the familiar elements that people relate to the Beauty and the Beast story, or the Sleeping Beauty story, or the Frog Prince story. For instance, in my upcoming book, The Princess Spy, which is a Frog Prince story, the heroine loses something valuable—a family heirloom bracelet—in the well, just as the girl in the original story lost her favorite ball in the well, and the “frog prince” offers to get it for her. In return she is expected to do something for him. So I try to incorporate some of the little details of the story into my books, and I also try to use some of the same themes from the original story, as well as the overall premise.
Your story plots are so intricate and many times, it seems impossible that things could work out like the tales we know so well. Do you sketch out a rough draft or an outline before you start writing? How often does a plot twist surprise you in the middle of writing?
There is always at least one plot twist that surprises me during the writing of the book. I do try to have a rough outline, at least in my head, before I start writing, but the details tend to work themselves out as I write and think ahead. I don’t write detailed outlines, though, before I write the first draft, and the first draft usually just needs a little tweaking and editing before it’s ready to send to the editor at my publishing house.
How do you come up with the names of your characters? How close are they to the original names of the fairy tale heroes or villains?
Right now I’m trying to decide what to name my Rapunzel heroine, which is the book I’m about to start writing. Should I call her Rapunzel? Something similar? Or just some Medieval German name I like that seems right for the character? I don’t know, honestly. My Snow White character I named Sophie, since Snow White seemed too unrealistic, and for my Beauty and the Beast character, I named her Annabel instead of Belle because it seemed more British, which is where I decided to set that story. So I usually try to make the name similar but accurate to the time period.
You recently signed a new contract with Thomas Nelson. The first book you mention sounds as if it will be following a similar line as your YA fairy tales. How much more adult will those stories be?
They will not be very different at all. Maybe one or two extra kisses, and maybe a slightly more mature situation here or there, but not very different at all from my “YA” stories, which appeal to adults as well. The heroines will be slightly older.
Any chance you have an idea for Rapunzel’s story? That would be a tricky one to make “real” I would think. (Yes I asked this question with no idea of how Melanie would answer my above question…)
Yep. I have to start writing it right away since it’s due to my publisher in 4 months! The heroine is a surprise, so I can’t say too much about her, but you will catch a glimpse of the hero, Sir Gerek, at the end of The Princess Spy. He is one of Duke Wilhelm’s knights who falls in love with a mysterious midwife’s only daughter. But when the midwife decides to separate the two, Sir Gerek will do anything to find her and get her back.
Thank You Melanie for giving us your time and sharing a bit about your work!
I don’t know about everyone else but I LOVE reading about how an author goes about their process and what’s next for them. It makes me feel like I’m chatting with an old friend.
And it makes reading the books that much more special too!
And now here’s a look at Melanie Dickerson’s most recent release:
The Captive Maiden
A Cinderella Story
Happily Ever After…Or Happily Nevermore?
Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother.
So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart.
But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
And don’t miss the other fantastic titles in this wonderful series!
The Fairest Beauty
A daring rescue. A difficult choice.
Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie’s one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?
Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl’s inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them—they must also protect their hearts.
The Merchant’s Daughter
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.
Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.
Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger.
Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.
The Healer’s Apprentice
Two Hearts. One Hope.
Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.
When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.
Watch for her upcoming releases!
The Princess Spy
Coming in November!
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself ‘Lord Colin’ is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment.Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed.
Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
The first book in a NEW series Melanie most recently signed to publish with Thomas Nelson Publishers!
“Swan Lake” meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region’s most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the gamekeeper.
Jorgen is the gamekeeper for the wealthy margrave, and he is in pursuit of the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea that at night she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game.
Odette is caught up in a ring of black market sellers of poached animals. She thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. However, most of the animals are being sold by the greedy leader of the ring–her stepfather. When Odette discovers what he is doing, she threatens to expose him, putting herself in great danger.
The gamekeeper finds her poaching one night and shoots her, wounding her. When he realizes who she is, he hides her to keep her from being executed by the margrave and also to protect her from her stepfather. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the black market poaching ring . . . as they fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his gamekeeper is protecting a notorious poacher?
THANK YOU for joining me for this special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!
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