Today I welcome author Melanie Moreland to my blog. Her latest book, Over the Fence, came out at the end of July.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Canada—Ontario. I grew up in Manitoba which is in the middle of the prairies—very flat. I find Ontario rather hilly, and my ears pop all the time which makes my husband laugh and call me “flatlander.” I work at the local University handling all the ticketing for their sports teams. I love to cook and bake. I read constantly when not writing—I tend to have 3 or 4 books on the go all the time, and I often sit up all night reading when a book captures my attention. I am definitely a night owl.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work part-time, in a very flexible schedule. Parts of the year it is only two days a week, while other parts can be six of seven days. I tend to write almost every morning after I get up. Often my characters are waiting as soon as I open my eyes, so I get my coffee, sit down and let them talk. I keep a notebook with me and scribble during the day if they start “talking” to me at work. I have been known (often) to go to bed, and get up at 2am and write all night when something hits me—especially if a scene I’ve been struggling with suddenly becomes clear.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Plot bunnies hit me everywhere. Over the Fence happened because of a conversation I had with my neighbor—over the fence. I started thinking what if I hadn’t met that person and they were only a voice…and the whole story unfolded. My next book was inspired by something I saw on the internet. The one after hit me when I saw a woman at the bus stop late one snowy evening. It’s like a small nugget in my brain, and they grow. Some get discarded, but if they won’t go away and keep poking at me, I know I have to write them.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I think we all use our own experiences within our work—draw from our own emotions. My last book, Over the Fence, was extremely personal for me. I used many of my own painful childhood memories in the story to create Kourtney’s past and the way she dealt with the world. It many way it was cathartic, although while writing it, I admit, my emotions ran very high at times. I think using our own experiences can help make the characters more real to our readers, and help bring them to life.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I tend to simply start writing. I have tried to outline, but it never follows what I put down. I usually know the start, some key points, and the end. I don’t write in sequence very often. As something hits me, I write it out and go back or forward as the case may be.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
I have two books on the go right now. One is a light romance—zero angst, just a sweet story. The other is far darker, involving a man cut off emotionally from the world and how a tiny change—a reminder of his past—teaches him to live again.
Please tell us about your current release.
Over the Fence is a story of two neighbors that start an unconventional relationship with each other. They become friends, sharing conversations, meals, and computer help – all with the barrier of the fence between them. They are both hiding from the world in their own way, and this is their story about learning to trust and love.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
When Kourtney shared her childhood was a hard thing to write since so much of it were my own memories. Reliving some of that pain was difficult. Kourtney has been taught to see herself in a certain light—a very negative one. There is a chapter in the book where Nathan tells her—shows her—what he sees that is very emotional and pivotal to their moving forward.
If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?
I always think I would love to jump into the era of hooped skirts, courting, balls and horse and carriages. Where men kissed your hand and something as innocuous as a kiss was scandalous between unmarried couples. Where your passion was hidden and only shown behind closed doors. But then I think of corsets, having no free will, or running water, and decide no. I’ll stay here. LOL.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I have a spot in the family room I like to write in. I have a little table to hold my coffee (a must have) my laptop and a notebook close by. I curl into the corner with the laptop, and in the winter the fireplace is on, a blanket is close and I just write. On occasion I sit at the desk in the den and look out the window and write, but I prefer my corner.
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
Coffee. Always coffee. I am addicted to it. Maybe a peanut butter granola bar, but I tend to sip and not eat while writing.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
Well I hate to tell secrets, but I will. I am really Batman.
Two neighbors—strangers—with one thing in common—they share a fence. But is that the only thing they share? Nathan Fraser lives a solitary life, never letting anyone get too close. It’s safer that way. Kourtney Whyte hides from the world and behind her work, too afraid to really live her life to the fullest. Rejection is what she knows best. But one night, the sound of her soft voice and the tantalizing aroma of her evening meal, prove too enticing for Nathan to ignore. So begins their unconventional relationship—talking, learning, texting, and gradually opening up to one another, all over the fence. That is, until the day Nathan braves the high fence to protect Kourtney from her past, and changes everything forever. Can they move forward together, without the buffer of the fence? Or will their pasts prove to be too much of a barrier?
About the Author
Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-six-plus years. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them. Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works at a local university and for its football team. Her job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory. While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip. Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.