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INTERVIEW: Melanie Rachel Says Her Characters Say the Things She Only Thinks About

Welcome to the Tuesday Author Interview with Christina Boyd for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

CHRISTINA: I met Melanie Rachel online at the beginning of her Jane Austen fan fiction publishing career. Later, at the 2017 Jane Austen Society of America Annual General Meeting in Huntington Beach, California, she introduced herself, and the rest is history. I have loved watching her build her author platform and publish an impressive backlist of some twenty books in such a short amount of time.

When did you first think you had a book to write and how did you start? 

three smiling dark haired women
That time I met Melanie Rachel at the 2017 Jane Austen Society of America General Meeting in Huntington CA. Pictured with Claudine of Just Jane 1813, Melanie, and me.

MELANIE: I’ve begun and abandoned many books. But when I came across Jane Austen fanfiction (JAFF,) I challenged myself to finish just one story—and before I knew it, I was one hundred pages into my first novel.

CHRISTINA: What comes first, plot, or characters?

MELANIE: Characters for me, and an opening scene. Although sometimes what I think is the opening scene winds up in the middle of the story or is cut out entirely in edits.

CHRISTINA: Is there one of your characters you most identify with and why? 

MELANIE: I think there’s a little bit of me in most of my characters—but not one that shares a great deal with me. Sometimes they get to voice the things I only think to myself, though!

CHRISTINA: Too funny!

What is your current project or latest release?

MELANIE: I just finished a series of fun, low-angst Austenesque novellas. The series is the

"Accidental Love" series and the last book was An Accidental Meeting. Now I’m working

on a 'better-connected' Lizzy novel that’s a bit different. If I do my job right, there will be some deeper emotions in this one.

CHRISTINA: Panster or plotter or hybrid?

MELANIE: Plantser. I get a basic idea, write an opening, and then try to figure out what the story will be about. I write a very basic outline, which gets revised along the way.

CHRISTINA: Me too. Plantser all the way.

What do you think is your strength as a writer?

MELANIE: I think characterization is my strength. And I hope dialogue, since I use so much of it.

CHRISTINA: If you were to revise any of your books, which would you choose and why?

MELANIE: Headstrong, probably. It’s a modern, and modern JAFFs don’t do as well. So, I might clean it up, change the names a bit, and market it outside of JAFF.

CHRISTINA: What do you think makes a good story?

MELANIE: For me, a good story has to have good, if flawed, people I can root for who are facing and overcoming obstacles. I’m not an anti-hero kind of girl.

CHRISTINA: Best advice for new writers:

MELANIE: Don’t write just when the inspiration hits you. Write every day, or at least on a schedule, even if it’s only for five minutes. The more I write, the more ideas I come up with.

CHRISTINA: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

MELANIE: I teach literature. That’s what I’d do. I love the first-year lit course because my goal is to make my students readers even after they are no longer in my class. If I can succeed

even with a few of them, I know that I have sent them off to more enriched, satisfying


CHRISTINA: Thanks for all these rapid-fire answers. Looking forward to your next and hopefully meeting you again in real life.


Melanie Rachel is a university professor and longtime Jane Austen fan. She was born in Southern California, but has also lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Arizona, where she now resides with her family and their freakishly athletic Jack Russell terrier. Connect with Melanie via her website.

2 commentaires

19 hours ago

Another great interview. I love seeing the personal views from my favourite authors. Melanie Rachel is definitely one of them. I loved the Accidental Love series, and as a fan of Pride and Prejudice modern adaptations, I loved Headstrong. I think it’s a very underrated three-volume set. I’m looking forward to Melanie’s highly anticipated and soon to be released audiobook version of I Never Knew Myself.

Christina Boyd
Christina Boyd
19 hours ago
En réponse à

Thanks for stopping by. Such a fun author. xx

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