05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Debut Romance Author - Melanie Robertson-King

Melanie Robertson-King
Thank you for inviting me to Romancing the Genres to talk about my publishing journey. Conventional or not, it’s how I got there.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination so writing fiction is a great place to put it to use, especially when I work in a job that is very cut and dried with no grey areas. The summer I graduated from elementary school, I started writing and illustrating a story. There was little plot and it went on and on and on… Thankfully, secondary school began and this never-ending story came to an end.

Throughout school, I hated history – with a passion, I might add. It was boring. Only dry facts that we had to learn and memorize. The only Canadian history we ever studied was the War of 1812... over and over and over.

I always knew my Dad was raised in an orphanage in Scotland before he immigrated to Canada but it wasn’t until the genealogy bug bit me that I delved into my own heritage and realized that history isn’t so bad after all. At least now, I was finding more than just hatch, match and dispatch (birth, marriage, death) dates and places.

In 1993, I made my first trip to Scotland where I visited the former orphanage and my father’s birthplace. I’m not sure if that’s when the wheels started turning or not, but I was inspired by the rugged beauty of the country, and its broodiness in foul weather.

Return trips in 1997 and 1999 (I schmoozed with Royalty on this trip when I met Princess Anne at the former orphanage) and reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series really set the wheels churning. A friend and co-worker who had read my short stories fuelled the fire even more when she told me I should try writing a book because she thought I could do just as good a job.

My debut novel began its life as a (not-so-well written) novella, or as I referred to it back then an overgrown short story because I had no idea what a novella was. Boy was I green.

Many drafts, new characters, and umpteen more revisions later, and just as many rejections, I was about to give up. Then I heard about an online writing conference where there were workshops and the opportunity to pitch to publishers and agents. I signed up and got a pitch appointment with the President of 4RV Publishing, Vivian Zabel. I mean nothing ventured, nothing gained. The pitch session went extremely well and I was asked to submit.

By Thanksgiving Monday (Columbus Day in the US), I had my submission as perfect as it possibly could be and sent it off. According to the 4RV website, it could take some time to get a response, so I was completely gobsmacked when later that evening, I had a return e-mail saying they were offering me a contract. 

And that’s been my publishing journey from the very early days until now – October 2011 contract offer, January 2012 assigned an editor and my cover (which I had input on), and finally September 2012 when my book made its debut at the Kansas Book Festival. Since then, I hosted a launch in my hometown, did a twenty-one stop, fifteen day blog tour, and did signings at various seasonal events in the lead-up to Christmas.

The one line that best describes my book is “When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…”

Check out Melanie's website Here


Melanie said...

Thanks for inviting me to talk about my writing journey here today.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Melanie, Thank You for being our Guest! I see that you've tried various promotional activities. Which ones were the best investment of your time?

Are you working on another book?

I had the great fortune to visit Scotland in 2008 and absolutely loved it. I took my granddaughters with me to a conference and we took several tours. Loved the old and new castles and Edinburgh but my favorite place was Roslyn Chapel. And I must have at least 3 dozen pictures of the mist rising from the mountains - lol.

Opal Carew said...

Hi, Melanie. It was nice to hear about your journey to being a published author. That sounds like quite an ambitious blog tour you did. I never know how to find the time for so much!

Janice Horton said...

Hi Melanie! I so enjoyed hearing about your journey to publication and also your journeys over here to Scotland. I do hope you can make the trip again sometime and we can meet up in real life as well as online. My favourite city is Edinburgh and luckily for me I live just over an hours drive away.

Haste ye back!

Janice xx

Sheryl said...

I have to admire you, Melanie. I hated history, for the very same reason. Sadly, it knocked my confidence re writing historical. Maybe I'll give it a go after all! Good luck, sweetie! :) xx

Linn B Halton said...

Great post and when you 'haste ye back' I'm in Gloucestershire and you have to visit this part of the UK too! We don't have haggis though...

Melanie said...

Hi Judith! Since I've never done any of this before, I would have to say that the best promotional activities have been the events I've attended and sold books.

When I'm not busy promoting my current book, I am working on another one and I'm happy to say over 38K into it (and the ending has been written). Now I just have to get there. LOL!

Melanie said...

Hi Opal, Yes that was an ambitious blog tour... after having done it, I'm thinking now "insane" is a better way to describe it... but I had it all organized well in advance so it wasn't as painful as it could have been.

Melanie said...

Janice, Sheryl & Linn, we definitely have to meet up in real life the next time I "haste ye back"!

I'm rather fond of Edinburgh, too, Janice although I do love Glasgow. And the Necropolis there is a place I must visit.

Sheryl, when we meet up in real life, we'll commiserate over our dislike of history when we were in school. Maybe a walk through an old cemetery will make the perfect setting.

Linn, I'll bring a haggis down from Scotland. At least it won't get confiscated at the border like has happened going into the US.

Note to self... start planning trip.

Paty Jager said...

That's a great line about your book! It's always fun to learn how writers became and author! Congratulations on using what intrigued you to write a great book.

Karen Cioffi said...

Melanie, very interesting post. I loved history and have a strong desire to visit my family's roots. It's so wonderful that you made the opportunity to do it!

Melanie said...

Thanks Paty! It was a long and bumpy road but I got there in the end.

Melanie said...

Thanks for dropping by Karen. I hope you get a chance to visit your family's roots. It's a great thing to do, albeit emotional. About the only thing I would have done differently looking back on it now was to have done it sooner.