From across the vast divide of cyberspace, I sat down with up-and-coming author, Melanie Dent, to talk about her historical romance series, The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo.
T: Hi, Melanie. I’m really excited about the release of your first book, The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo: Volume One. Thanks for letting my readers know a little bit about the series. Your first book, The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo, is currently on Amazon, but is being published by Night early this year. Can you tell us about the book?
M: The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo is a historical novel about romance, friendship and treachery across class boundaries which were prevalent in England at the time.
T: How did you get the idea for the book? Did the story come first, or the characters?
M: I thought about the number of people who grow up in extended families or among strangers because for whatever reason their natural parents cannot take care of them. I don’t want to give away the plot, but let’s just say the circumstances of my heroine, Margaret’s, birth facilitate the need for her to be raised by people who are not her parents. She grows up a lady. The story came first and the characters just appeared from nowhere.
T: Who is your favorite character? Can you tell us about him or her?
M: Can I have one male and one female? Lewis Franklin is my favourite male as he is sexy, intelligent, compassionate, and possesses a great deal of personal integrity. My favourite female character is Lady Helena Lynchcliffe as she is strong, brave, and also very attractive despite her fragility in appearance. I like her because I can relate to her feelings when someone she cares about is taken from her. Again I don’t want to give too much away.
T: Your book is being published around the same time as the Titanic centenary. How does your book tie into this historical event and do you think the re-release of the movie will drum up enthusiasm about your book?
M: This is difficult without giving away part of the plot. Basically Margaret’s home life disintegrates when people she knows drown on board the ship, but basically the tragedy serves as a vehicle to get Margaret to where she needs to be for the story proper to begin. Lewis Franklin also lost a relative on the ship. I’m not sure if the re-release of the film will affect it much as the event is really only background and the story does not take place on board. I like to think that people will be on the look-out for new Titanic related books. If they enter ‘Titanic’ in the Kindle store, my book will come up as I used Titanic as a tag.
T: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects? Any other Lynchcliffe books on the horizon?
M: I have completed Vol 2: The Enemy Within which takes our characters through WW1 from declaration to Armistice day. Also Divided Loyalties which is a prequel that tells the story of Helena (before and after she becomes Lady Lynchcliffe) and her sister Celia. It explores the issues of sibling rivalry, love (between parents and daughters, husbands and wives and siblings) and also deals with difficult emotional issues such as the aftermath of rape and childlessness. I am currently writing Eye of the Storm: Volume 2 in the prequels series which is about Franklin’s early years (from the age of 12). I also have Volume 3 of the main trilogy which will be set in the early 1920s but does not have a title as yet and the 3rd volume in the prequels series, Prescription for Romance, which tells Dr Hamish George’s story.
T: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
M: Be persistent and don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism. However, never let critics forget that it is your book. Research what you need to. Use your own life experiences however positive or negative to shape your plot and characters. Join an online writing community. I personally recommend Night Reading. The friends you make online are invaluable as you can ask them for honest appraisal of your work, run new ideas past them and generally share disappointments and successes which people who are not writers will not understand.
T: Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your writing?
M: Agatha Christie, Ian Rankin, Stieg Larsson, and Peter Robinson (crime author). So I don’t see any of those in the Cuckoo books and the murder in The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo is nowhere near as good as Dame Agatha. I can’t be as good as her so I won’t even try.
T: Thanks, Melanie. I wish you the best of luck with your book. For those of you who are interested in purchasing a copy of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo: Volume One, it is currently available in the Amazon Kindle store. The paperback version will be released by Night Publishing early 2012. I’ll be sure to update the site as more details become available.
Melanie Dent was born & lives in Reading in England. She has been writing stories since childhood but The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo series is the first idea she has been able to follow through on. Melanie has a younger sister but thankfully their relationship is nothing like Helena & Celia’s. Melanie has Type 1 Diabetes and works as an office cleaner which is the most soul destroying job in the world. When not reading, Melanie enjoys reading Kindle books, swimming and going to the cinema.
To learn more about Melanie Dent and the Lynchcliffe Series, she has provided us with some helpful links:
The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo: Book One on Amazon