Hi everyone, this week I’d like to introduce Melody Winter, a North Yorkshire lass who seems to love tea almost as much as I do. She still lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and sons, dreams of moving to Spain to enjoy Sangria watching the sunset over the rooftops and currently writing her third novel in the Mine series, Sachael Delusions.
Sachael Dreams is a YA, fantasy novel which has a strong grounding myths and folklore surrounding and building on the Angels of Water or Sachael. This is the first book of a series so there is no final ending, that will come later down the line. I felt the story is almost a ‘coming of age’ novel in which the principal character, Estelle Bailey, must come to terms with a heritage she knew nothing about. In many ways it is a classic love story – will she, won’t he, who is true, who is not etc, but with a darker good versus evil overtone. Decisions must be made which will have far reaching consequences. What it lacks in pace and drama, it more than makes up for in prose and dreamscape.
The Melody Winter Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I can play the piano having reached grade 7 when I was younger. I can also play the flute.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
This was one of the best reviews:
“First of all, I want to say that I’ve never actually read an entire prologue until now. Oh, I’ve tried. But they always seem like convoluted openings to a different opening and the dots don’t always line up. Eventually, I just skip straight to chapter one.
But the prologue for SACHAEL DREAMS actually made sense (huzzah!). Not only that, it made me more intrigued by the characters introduced later on. We know these sachael men impregnate human women and then make off with their babies. The savior figure from the prologue listed the symptoms of the sachael’s deception—the meeting according to the moon, the gift they give human women, the dream communication—and now Estelle is experiencing this with a stranger she met from the sea. Immediately, I was rooting for Estelle to either get her act together and push this creeper away or be the first woman to find a sachael who genuinely loved her.
As we get to know the sachael, Azariah, and the human, Estelle, their relationship deepens. He even confesses to her what his kind does to humans—they only breed males and need women to host their offspring to keep the race alive. But always in the back of your mind you’re wondering if this isn’t all just part of Azariah’s ploy… [SIDE NOTE: I laughed out loud when Azariah confessed to ‘observing’ Estelle for four months before he finally approached her because Estelle’s first response was ‘That’s weird.’ Can I get an Amen! for a female character who isn’t swooning over stalker behavior???]
Turmoil brews when the tension from the prologue comes to fruition. There are those who have developed a fully-fledged hatred for these creatures of the sea—these men who entrance and impregnate women, only to return on the night of their delivery to steal their babies. The Sect—a human organization—and the oceanids (the technical name for merpeople in this tale) have waged war with sachaels. And Estelle is the pawn…
I loved how everything in this story wrapped together—the prologue foreshadowing was perfect in hindsight, but veiled with mystery until the end. And all of the characters—even Estelle’s abusive ex-boyfriend—tie back tightly into the twist ending with their own purpose. My only qualm was that a ton of men seem to fall for Estelle in this story (Azariah, Orontes, Michael, Daniel). They talk about her like property, are clearly smitten, or have plans to make a life with her. SPOILER ALERT (kinda): There is a reason why men are hopelessly attracted to Estelle, so on that end it makes sense. But up until we meet Azariah, Estelle’s a bit of a loner and people in her town thought she was strange. You’d think she would have noticed this man-snaring talent a little sooner. But, overall, Winter’s writing is beautiful and crisp with flawless editing (way to go, Reuts team!). At first, I thought I found a typo. I just need everyone to know right now that the word ‘encyclopedia’ is spelled ‘encyclopaedia’ twice. But this is not—I repeat not—incorrect. I Googled it.
Bravo and congratulations to Miss Melody Winter on her fun debut novel, SACHAEL DREAMS! This fresh and original story, woven with ancient legends, is a must-read!”
Are the names of your characters important to you?
My characters names are very important. I can spend hours researching various mythologies, cultures and countries looking for the right name with the right meaning to fit the picture in my head. In my debut novel, Sachael Dreams I headed into Greek mythology and culture to settle on many of my Sachael names, but I also wanted my main character to have a special, but uncommon name. I selected Estelle, which means ‘star’. It fits her perfectly.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
For me, it’s a lack of time. I juggle my time trying to make sure nobody loses out, including me. I work part-time, have two teenage boys and a husband to take care of. I try to write on the two days I don’t work, but I also have to fit in everything else that comes with a family and running a house—shopping, cleaning, laundry and all the other things that don’t get done during the week. I try to leave my weekends free so we can spend them as a family. But I never know when the idea for a new story or the answer to a particularly challenging scene I was writing will spring to mind, so I always have a small notepad on my desk at work and there are many of them scattered around the rooms in our house. I like to be prepared.
Have you ever written naked?
No, not yet, although it may be a little difficult for me seeing as my writing desk is in the window area of my office and the window is curved. There’s a small garden before the street so if I was to indulge in a spot of nakedness I’d never be able to do it during the day. I’m trying to think of why I would ever want to write whist naked. I have though, spent many hours in front of my laptop in my pyjamas with bed-head hair and no make-up on—this can be at 2pm in the afternoon. I do think that this is a writer’s privilege.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Realising that I had far too much material for just one book. I wanted to write a stand-alone book, not get in to writing a series. A series seemed a huge commitment—one I wasn’t sure I could make. But the more I planned the story, the more I realised that there was no option but to write my massive plot bunny as a series. It eventually ended up as a four book series. And my next project is currently standing at a two book series—I’m hoping it doesn’t run to three or more. A series is a challenge in its own right and was particularly scary when the first book was my debut.
How do you remain sane while working?
I break up my writing days. I tend to write better in a morning but am not one of these people who gets up at the crack of dawn to write. I like my lie-ins. I see everyone off to work and school, make a cup of tea and then attack my words. I tend to write for hour long stretches, sometimes longer if I’m really into a scene and the words are flowing. But when I step away from the laptop after my hour I move around the house and put my iPod on to listen to the music I’ve selected for my story. I’m quite obsessive when I immerse myself in my writing. I have playlists for each of my books, a song for each chapter which captures the mood or the events. I have a love of all music and my tastes are quite diverse. Music inspires and also relaxes me.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
I can’t drink coffee, which is a common writers ‘go to’ drink, because it disagrees with me, but I am English and so have a great relationship with tea, but it has to be in a mug, not a cup. My favourite mug is a large red one with white polka-dots on it. I only ever drink from it when I’m writing. I also drink iced lemon tea in summer (with loads of ice) and indulge in one hot-chocolate a day in winter.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT Melody AND HER BOOK?
You can find Sachael Dreams in Kindle and Paperback format here:
- Amazon UK – Sachael Dreams
- Amazon US – Sachael Dreams
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.