The queen of fairy tale retellings. (All of which I adore.)
A two-time CHRISTY AWARD finalist, for crying out loud!
And she is here. Talking to me. And you, my lovely readers, by extension.
And she will totally fuss at me for gushing like this because she is 1) super sweet and down to earth, 2) hilarious, and 3) the kind of lady who loves Jesus and writes for His glory.
She’s also one busy woman! Zondervan recently released a 5-eBook set of her fairy tale romance collection (click the picture above for more details), and her latest book The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is due out May 12th. I am currently reading The Huntress and – wow! Y’all will love it!! Review forthcoming 🙂 I also have it on good authority (ok. Amazon.) that we will be returning to Hagenheim with another new book in November called The Golden Braid.
Me: Melanie, THANK YOU so much for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to chat with me today. I can’t even begin to explain what a tremendous honor this is for me. If I tried, I might scare you … so we’ll just move right along to my traditional “fast four” questions.
Me: Apples or oranges? Why?
Melanie: Apples, because citrus is bad for my acid reflux. LOL! I’m getting old.
Me: (Semi-interesting blog trivia: Apples are 3 for 3 on this question. Varina Denman, Pepper Basham, and now Melanie Dickerson have all chosen apples as their answer. Poor oranges. No love from the authors. Or yours truly.)
Me: Skittles or M&Ms? Why?
Melanie: M&M’s, because if candy is not chocolate, why bother?
Me: (More semi-interesting blog trivia: M&Ms join apples as 3-time champions on the “fast four” questions! Personally, I’d go for Skittles but no one asked me because I’m the one doing the interviews lol.)
Me: Dogs or cats? Why?
Melanie: Neither because I just don’t have the patience or the stamina to clean up after another living creature besides my kids, husband, and my guinea pigs, and I make my kids do most of that. (That sounds terrible, I know, but it’s true.)
Me: Guinea pigs?? Guinea pigs?? Zuzu is not pleased.
Me: After some discussion, Zuzu has agreed to let me continue with the interview because, after all, you didn’t pick cats. 🙂
Me: Coke or Pepsi? Why?
Melanie: I’ve always been a Coke girl, but I like whichever one I’m used to drinking. Honestly, I hardly ever drink Coke anymore, though, because a. I can’t have much caffeine anymore, b. I’m trying to stay away from sugar, and c. I’m scared of diet drinks because they have so many possible side effects—and they taste disgusting.
Me: You are a stronger person than I am. I have a slight (ok. more than slight.) addiction to McDonald’s diet cokes. Not their food (yuck!) just their sodas.
Me: Since you are all about the fairy tales… Cinderella or Snow White? Why?
Melanie: Cinderella, because I’ve always just loved that story of rags to riches, kindness triumphing over meanness, and the nice girl getting the prince! I love Snow White too, but there’s just something about Cinderella, you know? We all can relate to that feeling of having been mistreated or unfairly having to do all the work while someone else gets to go play. Unless it’s just me!
Me: Nope! Not just you! 🙂 Little known (and little cared-about) fact about moi – I collect versions of Cinderella. Books, movies, etc. I have not yet seen the newest movie and it’s killing me! Must correct that soon-ish. But who has time for movies when there are books to read!!! (Side note: movie theaters do not allow or provide book lights during shows. Do not ask me how I know this. But Melanie Dickerson & The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest may have had something to do with my discovery of this fact. I admit nothing.)
Me: Before we do talk about The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about your Fairy Tale series. First, what was your favorite fairy tale growing up and has it been retold in one of your books yet?
Melanie: I think Cinderella was probably my favorite when I was really young, but Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite for a long time. I retold that one in The Merchant’s Daughter, but there are a lot of ways you could retell it.
Me: *dreamy sigh* I loved The Merchant’s Daughter. It was actually the first book of yours that I read! While we’re talking about The Merchant’s Daughter, I should mention that it was a 2012 Christy Award finalist as well as a Carol Award winner. Well-deserved!!
Me: In your Fairy Tale series, which story did you have the most fun writing?
Melanie: Probably The Princess Spy, just because Margaretha was my favorite character to write so far. I thought she would be the most difficult heroine to do well, since she likes to talk so much and has a tendency to ramble on and on. I was afraid that might slow the story down or make it boring, but I don’t think it did. It was just fun to let her talk! It worked. I really fell in love with her.
Me: Margaretha was hilarious! Her talkative nature really added to the story, in my opinion. She was one of my favorite characters to read. (You can read my review of The Princess Spy here.) Which of your Fairy Tale stories touched you the most while you were writing it? I was most touched by The Merchant’s Daughter – cried several times reading that one!
Melanie: Aw, thank you, Carrie! I think it was probably either The Merchant’s Daughter or The Healer’s Apprentice, although I just finished my Rapunzel story, The Golden Braid, and I have to say, I think it affected me more than the others. God really spoke to me through this story and the characters. I hope it will be the same for my readers!
Me: I am intrigued! I know it will be amazing because all of your other books have been, but now I am even more excited to read it and see how God speaks to me through it too! And that cover is GORGEOUS! Also – The Healer’s Apprentice is my other absolute favorite. It’s right up there with The Merchant’s Daughter. And that’s saying a lot because Sleeping Beauty is my least favorite fairy tale in general, but your version of it brought new perspective to the story for me.
Me: Which fairy tale has been the most difficult to retell in your series world(s) so far? (As I said in my review of The Princess Spy, Germany doesn’t exactly exude warm, cozy feelings… Yet you deliver them every single time!)
Melanie: I know what you mean about Germany, Carrie! It doesn’t have the warmest reputation or connotation in America, but I fell in love with it when I went there. It is such a perfect place to set fairy tales. I’m not sure which fairy tale was the most difficult. They all had their challenges. I thought I came up with a brilliant idea for The Frog Prince when I brought in a foreigner, an Englishman, and he was impeded by not being able to speak German but was still able to become friends with the heroine. To me that was the perfect alternative to him being an actual frog! But a lot of readers didn’t get it, apparently, as I’ve seen from some reviewers who said they did not see the connection to The Frog Prince.
Me: Well, I personally thought it was hysterical! And his clothing selection made me literally laugh out loud! Genius!
Me: Let’s shift gears now and talk about your new series, Medieval Fairy Tales, and the first book The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.
Melanie: This new series is still teen friendly, but it is geared more toward adults who want a clean, inspirational romance. The first book, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, was inspired by Robin Hood and Swan Lake and introduces the reader to a new Medieval town and its lord, The Margrave of Thornbeck. Here’s the summary:
The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and Odette Menkels spends her nights poaching his deer to feed the hungry orphans of Thornbeck. By day, Odette is a simple maiden who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.
For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.
When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.
The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?
Me: (It is SO good, y’all!) How is it different from your previous books, and who are you most excited about your fans encountering as they read?
Melanie: This one is slightly different as it is based on a mash-up of two different stories instead of just one. The heroine is also slightly older and in a more independent situation in life. I’m really excited about my readers getting to see how this book ends, as there are a few surprise twists near the end. I also am excited about my readers’ interest in the margrave’s character, as they are already saying how much they liked him and hoped he’d get his own story, since he is the hero in the next book. 🙂
Me: Ack! I haven’t made it to the end yet! If there are surprise twists in store, then I foresee more dramatic flailing on the horizon. Somebody warn Eric & Zuzu. 🙂
Me: One last question – What one thing about you would most surprise your readers?
Melanie: I’m really a vampire. No, no, just kidding. I’m afraid of bridges. (Actually, that’s kind of true, but only really long, really high bridges.) Would you believe, I’m a spy? No? Okay, I really can’t think of anything especially surprising about me. LOL! I’m kind of boring.
Yeah. I don’t believe that for a second 😉
GIVEAWAY!!! Melanie Dickerson has graciously offered to give one lucky reader (US only) a signed copy of The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post about the interview or The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. For extra entries, follow my blog (readingismysuperpower) and/or share this giveaway on social media (facebook/twitter/Pinterest/etc). **Make sure you let me know in another comment what you did to qualify for extra entries!** (You can follow my blog by entering your email address in the box in the top left of this page or by clicking “follow” with your wordpress or twitter accounts.) Winner will be chosen by Random.org on Saturday May 9th after 10pm EST and notified by email. If I don’t hear from you within a week, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck and thanks for reading!!
About Melanie Dickerson:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.