About the Author
Historical romance author Melanie Dickerson earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has taught students with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee. She has also taught English in Germany and Ukraine. Dickerson has won numerous awards, including the 2012 Carol Award in young adult fiction and the 2010 National Readers’ Choice Award for best first book. Her novels The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter were both Christy Award finalists. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and her website
I loved writing when I was in high school, and Harper Lee was a big inspiration, since she grew up about 50 miles from where I grew up in south Alabama. But I gave up on writing novels when I went to college. I picked it back up when my kids were little because I thought it might be a good career for me when my kids went to school, and I immediately fell in love with it all over again.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I have written approximately 12 books to date. All but one are historical romance novels. Eight are Young Adult; one is contemporary (not published). One is set in 1880 Alabama (the only other one not published or under contract), and one is set in 1811 England. The others are set in Medieval Germany and England.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I am currently behind (!) on a Little Mermaid retelling, which is a sequel to The Merchant’s Daughter and is set in 1300’s England. The hero, Wesley, is the son of Ranulf and Annabel (The Merchant’s Daughter) and the father of Colin (The Princess Spy). This solidifies the connection between all the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance series books.
4. What does your writing process look like?
It varies somewhat each time, but for the most part, I get an idea in my head, including the characters, and I use the basic premise and storyline of the fairy tale as a basis for my plot, and then I get some ideas for scenes in my mind, especially the dramatic turning points, and I start writing. Sometimes I brainstorm with other people, and I occasionally look at plotting worksheets and character questionnaires. But I don’t like to write an outline or make a lot of notes. I just write.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I usually write in my study sitting in my striped armchair with my laptop in my lap.
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
Names are pretty important. For my main and secondary characters, I usually look at census lists on the Internet, or lists of the most common names of that time period and place. Often I take into account what the name actually means, but not always. I really just choose a name that seems to fit the character as well as the time period. Oftentimes I will do a find and replace with a character’s name until I get the name that feels right. This may take place over the course of writing the entire first draft, or even beyond.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
There are so many good authors out there. I love Siri Mitchell’s Kissing Adrien, and her book under her pen name Iris Anthony, The Miracle Thief. I also love Judith Merkle Riley’s Margaret of Ashbury series, Mary Connealy, Julie Lessman, and several others, but my favorite books are the classics, like Ivanhoe, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
I read wherever I get a chance—most often in my study chair, in the car waiting on a kid, or at the doctor’s office!
9. What period of history interests you the most?
The 1300s Medieval Europe, and the 1800s—both Regency England and post-Civil War South.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
I was recently contacted by a well-known management company in Hollywood about making The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest into a movie. I don’t know if it will actually happen, but I think Armie Hammer would be *AWESOME* as my hero forester, Jorgen Hartman.
11. What inspired the idea for your Hagenheim/Fairy Tales series? Your Medieval Fairy Tale Romance series?
The Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance series was inspired by two things. First, I got the idea for the first book while I was watching Sleeping Beauty with my daughters, and secondly, I got the inspiration for the setting from the trip I took in 1992 to Hildesheim, Germany. I loved the history and the amazing Medieval architecture. The political structure of Germany in the 1300s was just perfect, I thought, for my books.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction books, and I also love watching movies with my daughters and husband. I like to cook and try new recipes. In the future, when I have more time, I’d like to visit more museums.
THE GOLDEN BRAID