Welcome to Titanic Week. Joining us again is author, Melanie Dent, who has returned to continue our discussion about her first novel, The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo.
Today, we’ll talk about the Titanic connection a little more in depth and we’ll explore some of the other books in her series as well.
Tricia: Melanie, thanks for speaking with us again. I’ll bet it’s been a busy week for you. What made you decide to use the Titanic tragedy as a background historical event in your first book?
Melanie: Yes. In Eye of the Storm: Lewis Franklin’s Story, Franklin deals with the shock and anger perpetrated by his loss. It is also referred to in The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Vol 3: Making Peace with the Past.
Tricia: Will you be visiting the major Titanic exhibition in Belfast when it opens?
Melanie: Sadly, that is not possible, but one of my maternal aunts is going in September, so I will ask her to pick up some literature for me.
Tricia: What did you think of the movie, Titanic with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio?
Melanie: I thought it was over-rated to be honest, although the special effects when the water was gushing in and washing everything away were fantastic. I have no doubt many romances developed in the early part of the voyage like that between Jack and Rose. Kate Winslet grew up in my town, Reading.
Tricia: The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo, Volume I focuses on the relationship between Franklin and Margaret. Without giving away the plot, what other themes do you explore in the series.
Melanie: Too many to count. I deal with finding new love and first sexual experiences following widowhood which is an issue I know about. Although my late partner, David, and I were not legally married I considered myself a common law widow. The books also deal with rape and its aftermath, bereavement, suicide, homosexuality, domestic violence and street violence but I am not telling you which any of the books these appear, so you will have to read them for yourself.
Tricia: Now that you have completed the main Lynchcliffe Cuckoo trilogy, is that the end of the series?
Melanie: Not quite. I have one more prequel novel to do. Prescription for Romance: Hamish George’s Story. Then I may do a book of series-related short stories. Also at Christmas I intend to self-publish the complete trilogy as an eBook followed hopefully by a complete prequels trilogy ebook in time for next spring. Quite a few of my characters were born in March: Hamish, Helena, Franklin and young Lewis.
I hate it when TV series that started out good carry on series after series with consistently weaker plots and characters leaving to be replaced by those not so good. I want to keep the Lynchcliffe brand fresh so I have decided to complete it with Hamish’s story.
It will be a wrench leaving characters of whom I have become extremely fond, but I doubt they would thank me if I let them become jaded.
Tricia: Is that why you have put an epilogue at the end of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume 3: Making Peace with the Past?
Melanie: Yes. I wanted people to know what happened to the characters in the end without feeling compelled to do more full length novels.
Tricia: Well, I’ll be sorry to see the series come to an end, but I can understand why you wouldn’t want to dilute a vibrant series with half-conceived story lines. Let’s switch gears for just a moment. The Lynchcliffe novels explore different types of relationships, including the bonds between parents and their children. In the bio on your website, you are very open about your decision not to have children. Do you find it hard to write parenthood-related scenes when you have no intention of ever becoming a mother yourself?
Melanie: In some ways because I don’t know much about child development; the average age for first words, first steps etc. But I have two nephews and several friends with kids – both online and in the real world – of whom I can ask these things, and I observe people too. There is always Google and Wikipedia as well.
Tricia: Lewis Franklin is a significant character in all the Lynchcliffe books, particularly in the prequel, Eye of the Storm. Can you tell us about Franklin?
Melanie: Lewis Franklin is essentially a working class hero who has known hardship and tragedy yet retained his dignity and strong personal integrity throughout his life; examples of which are seen in Eye of the Storm but I don’t want to give the plot away. He is handsome, gentle and attractive, but not for ladies who like bad boys. I don’t think there are men like him anymore; if they ever existed at all that is. He is slightly enigmatic in the first couple of books, but Eye of the Storm gives keys to his character and the final volume of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo trilogy finally reveals more of him.
Tricia: It’s obvious how you feel about Franklin, but which female Lynchcliffe series character do you relate to most and why?
Melanie: It has to be Lady Helena; she is strong and brave. I have lost a man I loved so I was able to draw on how I felt about that to get inside Helena’s head as well as the heads of all the other grieving widows and widowers in my series. I have also experienced coming out the other side and finding new love so I had a good basis for making Helena very real. Thankfully I get on quite well with my younger sister, Teresa, so I am not like Helena in that respect.
Check out my blog interview with Lady Lynchcliffe: http://lynchcliffe.wordpress.com/interview-with-lady-lynchcliffe/
I am also quite fond of Margaret as she is strong and knows what she wants. Sometimes I envy her total contentment with her lot in life. But there would be something seriously wrong with a woman married to a man like Franklin if she wasn’t content. http://lynchcliffe.wordpress.com/interview-with-margaret-franklin/
Tricia: A fun question: Besides Franklin, which male lead character is the hottest? Why?
Melanie: I think I have to say Dr Hamish George. He has nurtured a simmering passion for Helena Lynchcliffe for ten years. I shiver when I think of him whispering his desire in her ear in that Scots accent. Plus he is tall, strong and very compassionate. When he and Helena first get together in Vol 2 it gives them both a sense of satisfaction. Even though Hamish does not traditionally wear a kilt what women with any sense of taste wouldn’t like his bedside manner?
Tricia: Melanie, thanks again for speaking with us about your book. I’m looking forward to your next visit so we can discuss Eye of the Storm.
Here’s a list of links, including one to Melanie’s Lynchcliffe site, which is packed full of goodies: character interviews, summaries for each book, and an exclusive steamy scene between Margaret and Franklin (this one is not for kids, folks, so read at your own risk!)
The official Lynchcliffe Site
Melanie’s books on Amazon.com
Melanie’s books on Amazon.UK
The Lynchcliffe Facebook Page– be sure you “like” this page so you can receive updates on the series!
Titanic Centenary Giveway– visit this page for information on FREE promotions!