Recently we caught up with author Melanie Schertz to see what she was doing. We wanted to share what we learned, as well as give you an opportunity to win one of her books. Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post. For your enjoyment, here are the questions we asked Mel and her answers:
What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?
My newest book is Fitzwilliam Darcy, Fugitive but I have several other books on the back burner.
My muse…well, I have a very strange muse. Sometimes I will see something that just sets off a strange and unique way to play with the story. Sometimes, when I am writing, something will happen that just makes me go off in a wacky way. One of the most vivid of them was when I had learned the man who I had hired to remodel my kitchen had taken my money and didn’t do any of the work. I had already hired someone else to remove the old kitchen, so you can imagine my frustration. That was when I was writing Mystical, Magical Lizzy. Needless to say, George Wickham ended up paying the price of what I would have liked to have happen to the man who ripped me off. If you haven’t already read that story, the flooring breaks as Wickham is standing there, and he falls, with a beam coming up between his legs. He dies later as a certain piece of his manhood became gangrene from the injury.
I must warn you, on this new story, I was watching politics while I was attempting to decide what to do with Mr. Collins and Wickham. I was not nice to these two men, as they became my object to reflect my frustration. My daughter tells me that you can tell by the sort of jewelry I make what I was watching on TV or listening to in music. I believe it is true in my writing as well. You can see when I am watching something whimsical or something serious. When I am listening to Pink, I feel really empowered. Love her music.
What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?
I have been writing off and on over my life. But I never thought I would ever publish a book. In high school, I was dyslexic, but at that time, there was no knowledge of what that was. I was just lazy. I am 54 years old, and self-taught on how to read easier.
I post on my blog, Mel’s JAFF Stories and with DarcyandLizzy.com.
What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?
I got really into JAFF in 2005, after seeing the Matthew Macfadyen movie. Back then, if we had a new JAFF story a month it was a miracle. I would check Amazon weekly. In 2008, I lost my career, and had to begin a new chapter in life. That is when I started trying to start a photography business. In 2009-2010, my health went downhill and it wasn’t until 2011, when disabled and frustrated, I began really reading stories on A Happy Assembly and fanfiction.com. To be honest, I have still don’t know why I began posting my first story but when I did, people actually liked it. Originally, when I published my first books, it was so I would have copies for my family. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect them to sell. It wasn’t until after my first 2 books published in 2012 that I told my mother what I was doing, and we lived in the same house at the time.
Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?
I have read a few of the modern versions, but for some reason, I have never been able to write a modern version. Regency is my all-time fav for JAFF. There is just something about the time that I am drawn to, even though it was not a kind time for women. Maybe that is why most of my female characters are a bit more outspoken.
What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?
When researching, one of my all-time favorites is Wikipedia. I have donated money to Wikipedia, as I appreciate their hard work. Another source is Jane Austen based websites which have great resources. And I ask other JAFF authors. There are a large group of us who are interconnected and we can go to the group and say “So, what do you think would have been the proper way of dealing with this at the time?” Everyone in the group are great about sharing the info. Some of the most amazing authors I know I can turn to are Regina Jeffers, Sharon Lathan, Elizabeth Ann West, Joy King, April Floyd, Linda Thompson, Beverley Farr, and more. And I have an “adopted” sister in England who is a Beta for me and gives me info on British ways in that time period (Thank you Kay Tanner).
Are there any people in your life who have inspired certain traits in your character or scenes?
As for people who have inspired traits in characters. I come from a long line of strong women. My mom, my grandmothers, they were amazing, and I am so thankful for their impact on my life. My daughter, Caitlin, had a great grandmother, Edith Beazer who became a grandmother to me and her caring, loving nature made a dramatic impact in my life. She always called Cate her dancing brown-eyed doll, which became the title of my book A Pair of Dancing Brown Eyes, and has my daughter on the cover. My father was an amazing man, and I learned a lot from life from him. He would be behind my ideal Mr. Bennet or Uncle Gardiner. Many of the characters have names from my family. Helen, who I use for Mrs. Gardiner, was my dad’s mom. When I use Edwin Gardiner, my great grandfather (my dad’s grandpa) is Edwin.
The dog, Sadie, in A Royal Bennet was based on my sweet service dog Darcy. He is on my lap in this GREAT photo of me (ha ha). However, if you insist on seeing my face, I have attached my most current picture.
We at DarcyandLizzy.com hope you have enjoyed hearing from Melanie and learned something new. To celebrate her newest book now posting on our forum, Fitzwilliam Darcy – Fugitive, we are offering those of you who leave a comment here a chance to win one of two kindle e-books of any of her stories (including the new one). If you have trouble commenting here, please comment on the post for this blog on our facebook page.
The drawing will be held two weeks from today, the winner to be announced on the forum and the DarcyandLizzy.com facebook page. So please check these sites to see if you have won.
To get in on the drawing, click on comments beside Discussion directly under the title. It shows “no comments” until the first one is posted and then it will show the number of current comments. Good luck!
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