Mel: Quite simply because I have full control over content and when I put the books out. Also with Lulu.com I get a copy of my book before anyone else which is as it should be.
Tricia: Which books will you put out first?
Mel: The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Vol 1 & Eye of the Storm: Lewis Franklin’s Story. That way I can hopefully still make something of it being Titanic centenary year and these are the two books that feature it most.
Mel: That’s a tough one because I like them all. If I must choose I think it has to be Volume 3 because it enables the characters to resolve their issues with the past which they do with great courage and dignity. I’m proud of all of them.
Tricia: What’s next?
Mel: Gradually putting out all the books through Lulu. I will leave Lynchcliffe Passions & Lynchcliffe: Seasons of the Heart for a while since these require more familiarity with the series and characters. I also have to finish writing Prescription for Romance: Hamish George’s Story.
Tricia: Which character is most like you?
Mel: I like to think they all have some aspect of me. Franklin has my birthday for a start. I feel an affinity with Helena, Lady Lynchcliffe, as I know how hard it can be to come back from the death of the man you love and move on to find someone else. Thankfully though I get on with my sister so I am not like Lady Helena in that respect.
Tricia: What would you like people to take away as a result of reading your novels?
Mel: I would like them to take away the notion that those we love who die never truly leave us. Also that true love is worth fighting for and working at. Also that endurance and persistence do pay off in the end.
Tricia: You cover a lot of serious issues in your novels but which one did you find it hardest to write about?
Mel: Celia being raped because it is outside my personal experience and, to be honest, comfort zone. I hope that I have handled the issue with sensitivity. In the 1870s when Celia was raped there was no DNA swabbing, rape crisis counselling or specially trained female police officers so even if she had reported it she would have got little in the way of practical and emotional support.
Tricia: Which did you find easiest?
Mel: Not actually easy but the aspect of widowhood (my late partner and I were not married but I considered myself a common law widow). I actually found it very helpful to write about because I could draw on my own experience and related emotions. The entire series is dedicated to David’s memory and I like to think he would be proud of me for what I have achieved since his death.
Tricia: Have you revised your initial opinion of any of the main characters as the series has progressed?
Mel: Yes. In the early drafts of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume 1: Mise en Scène Celia Trevelyan was a moralistic woman who appeared to have no emotions & I did not like her very much. She was sort of a “necessary evil” to the plot as it were. Then I got to thinking about why she was that way because she clearly loved her husband, Lord Trevelyan, but was unable to show it physically. I came up with the idea that she had been raped as a young girl and kept it to herself because she was ashamed and thought it was her fault. I gained tremendous respect for her as the story developed and found I wanted her to resolve her issues. I worked through it and I like to think I pulled it off. She is now my favourite female character. I haven’t really changed my opinion of the other main characters that much; Celia is the exception to that rule.
Tricia: Has self publishing been difficult?
Mel: I have had to learn a lot about formatting and PDF file creation but it has been worthwhile learning. Thankfully there are some tremendously helpful people in the Lulu forums. I have full control of my work and get a copy before everyone else which is as it should be. The only thing I can’t control is the amount of time it takes for books published through Lulu to reach Amazon. In our instant want it last week society I find it hard to believe it still takes 6 – 8 weeks.
Tricia: What projects are you working on?
Mel: (laughs). I am waiting for Dr Hamish George to tell me his story in that wonderfully sexy Scots accent of his. When I complete that book it will go on Kindle and then out on Lulu in paperback format. Then there will be a complete Lynchcliffe Prequels edition for both Kindle and Lulu which I hope to have out by the end of the year. After that I will have to write something new and different. I am kicking a few ideas around at the moment but they have not got onto paper yet.