We always love talking to authors, because authors are our rockstars. In our latest interview, we speak to writer Melanie Dickerson who wrote THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST – which is an amazing book.
The book is about –
In THE HUNTRESS OF THORNBECK FOREST, Odette Menkels spends her days as a simple maiden teaching orphans and being courted by the most notable gentlemen in the community, but at night, Odette takes on a new and dangerous persona as the region’s most notorious poacher. Killing and stealing deer to feed the poor, Odette has always been careful about her double life, but the stakes are raised when she meets Jorgen Hartman.
Jorgen is the margrave’s forester charged with the job of keeping the land free of poachers at any cost. Raised by a man who was murdered by a poaching fiend, Jorgen has his sights set on capturing the thief decimating the margrave’s herds.
When Odette and Jorgen meet for the first time at the Midsummer festival, there is an instant connection between them . With Jorgen growing closer to her by the day, can Odette keep her secret? And with Jorgen’s hatred of poachers, would he ever be able to accept Odette for what she does under the cover of night?
Read our exclusive interview below!
Tell us about how you came up with the idea for The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.
I knew I wanted this new book to be a mash-up of two different stories, instead of only retelling one fairy tale. I thought it would be fun to retell Swan Lake, since that is such a dramatic story. I was also thinking about a female Robin Hood, then of a forester who tries to catch her, and the Swan Lake idea seemed to fit, as there is a certain scene in Swan Lake that is especially dramatic. It just seemed to be the perfect dramatic scene for my two main characters, the “black moment” when all seems lost.
What is your writing process like?
I come up with a bare-bones plot—really just a few pivotal, dramatic scenes that will happen throughout the story—as well as the goals of the characters. Then I figure out what characteristics and background I want my characters to have. Then I start writing. As I write, it’s kind of like filling in the details on a road map, where my destinations are each of those dramatic scenes I’ve come up with, on the way to the happy ending. I ask myself questions as I’m writing and coming up with the rest of the story, things like, “What would be the most romantic/dramatic thing that could happen between the hero and heroine at this point in the story?” And “What would increase the stakes for my characters?” And I’m constantly asking, “What would this character do, realistically, in reaction to this point in the story?”
I love the fact that there is the fairy tale element to the story. What was your favorite fairy tale /fable as a child?
My favorites were the romantic ones, like Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty (the way Disney tells it, not the Grimm story) and Cinderella.
What type of research did you have to do for your book?
I always research Medieval Germany’s history and landscape and the way people lived. My research always involves looking for names common to the time period and area. I try to find out what was happening at that time in history as well.
What is the hardest part of writing a series? How do you know when to stop?
I think the hardest part is just keeping it exciting and making sure your characters have adventures that are realistic to their personalities and to the time period. Actually, it’s not that hard. LOL! I’ve had a wonderful time writing my first series, and I’m just hoping this, my second series, falls into place as smoothly as my last one!
What do you hope that people take away from your book?
I hope people will see that God wants us to do good and look to Him for guidance, and things tend to turn out well when we do that. When we try to go our own way and strive for things that may not be God’s best for us, life tends to be a lot more difficult. Still, even when we make mistakes, God can work things out for our good, especially if our hearts are in the right place.
What got you through writers block?
When I have writers block, it helps me to talk out my story, to figure out what’s supposed to happen next. I get writers block when I’m not quite sure what’s supposed to happen. Talking it through helps. The more I can solidify what’s supposed to happen next, the faster I can write. But I don’t like to work out the details too far ahead, if that makes sense.
What would the books theme song be?
No idea! Sorry, I’m drawing a blank.
Every character has a redeeming quality – can you tell us what you consider to be Jorgen’s? Odette’s?
Jorgen has a lot of redeeming qualities, and one is that he is very conscientious and wants to do the right thing. Odette’s is that she has great compassion for those who are less fortunate and is willing to take action and sacrifice to help them.
Your books are always engaging and hard to figure out what is going to happen next. Makes me wonder, do you outline or do you just write?
I never outline. I like my stories to be “organic” and to develop along the way, and I figure things out as I write. Although I do have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen before I start writing, I just don’t know a lot of the details.
Melanie Dickerson is a two-time Christy Award finalist and author of The Healer’s Apprentice, winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book in 2010, and The Merchant’s Daughter, winner of the 2012 Carol Award. She spends her time writing medieval stories at her home near Huntsville, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is Melanie’s first historical romance for adults.
- Website: www.MelanieDickerson.com
- Twitter: @melanieauthor/ Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks