Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Interview With Melanie Schertz

How and when did your interest in Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice take root?

            After seeing the 2005 movie.  I was a late bloomer to becoming an Austen Addict.  After the movie, I read the book.  Then I started reaching out to the JAFF community.  I think my first book from the JAFF world was Linda Berdoll’s Mr Darcy Takes a Wife.  After that, I could not get enough.

What drove you to start writing your own books? Did you write other things before writing PnP variations?

            I have played around with writing all my life, though I kept it hidden, as my skills were not that great.  My mother and brothers did not know until after I published my first books, and Mom was shocked, to say the least.  My daughter, Caitlin, had read the rough of Storm Clouds when she was in high school.  She encouraged me to share the story and the others I had written.  Cate’s view on that book was that it was great until she read the sex scenes and realized “My mom wrote those sex scenes, uck”.  I have written other fan fiction (Harry Potter, Twilight), but they will not be posted anywhere.

Your daughter's reaction is too funny. I can just imagine as I am sure my son would have reacted in a similar manner. Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?

            A muse…well, I would call it more of an imp who is mischievous. I don’t use an outline and I allow my stories to follow whatever road they wish to travel.  I tried making an outline once, but the story went so far off on its own, when I looked at the outline, I began to wonder if it was even for the same story.  It is like the line from the movie “Divergent”, when Tris asks her mother what was wrong with her. Her mother said nothing, but her mind goes in so many different directs.  Mine is definitely divergent.  As to a routine, I write when the story is calling out to me to pull it from my mind and put it on paper.  And it is done while sitting on top of my bed, with TV or music playing in the background, and the animals trying to get my attention.  Chaos, and I love it.  At this moment, my grandpuppy, Chewie, thinks she needs to help me type. Darcy, my service dog, is infamous for thinking I should be loving him while I am working.  And my oldest cat, Smoo comes over to walk across the keys, “writing” what she thinks should be in the story.
Is there any setting that is more inspirational to you when writing?
            As before, I sit on top of my bed.  Has to be sounds going on, cannot work in peace and silence.  I will “watch” the same movie over and over, because the noise of it works well for background noise.  And my feline daughters, Darcy, and my grandpuppies attempt to assist me (and if you read what they wrote…).

I love it! (and I would be very interested in what your feline daughters, Darcy and the grandpuppies wrote too! Sounds like my kind of home) I digress, so...now back to your interview, what about the Regency era is appealing to you?

            I grew up with my grandparents, surrounded by antiques which my grandma would allow us to play with (as long as we were careful).  It was a different time, which was not as simple as we have things today.  You have an express rider rushing off to deliver news that is critical in the Regency period, where today, we would pick up the phone and call long distances to relay messages. I am also a born country girl, so I love the sort life which was enjoyed by Elizabeth Bennet taking her long walks about Longbourn. 

I am a country girl, too, Melanie, and I would not have it any other way. I understand you have a new book almost ready to release. Tell us something about it that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)

            The book I am working on at the moment is The Bennet and Darcy Arrangement.  It starts with some lineage of the Darcy family which splinters off to have the Bennets being one of the branches on the Darcy family tree.  The first name given is Sir John Darcy.  Sir John Darcy was a real life baron, and I am actually a descendant of his.  So the intertwining of the families was what I wanted to play with this time.  And it is the first time I have kept Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father alive in the story. 

That sounds exciting...to be an actual descendant of Sir John Darcy. Wow! I would love to know more about that. This book sounds interesting and I will be looking forward to its release. Is there anything you have learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

            It has given me the courage to push myself further.  I am an introvert (many would find that strange, but I really am).  Writing, being involved with others through the writing, learning from others in the field, all have aided me in growing further than I would have ever believed possible.  I am so grateful for everyone who has entered my life due to this amazing field of JAFF.  You have all taken me on the ride of a lifetime.

Isn't it great! I have also met so many neat people through JAFF, including you! I am also very thankful. Is there anything special about yourself (besides what you just shared) or your writing that you would be willing to share with us?

            I am dyslexic, and self-taught to read (what they taught me in school was for “normal” kids, as dyslexia was not really known back then).  It was funny, the first time I really felt strong being a dyslexic was when I went to an advanced fingerprint identification class.  The instructor said at the beginning of the class that anyone who was dyslexic could not identify fingerprints.  I didn’t say anything, and accepted the packet of latent prints and inked print cards. It was one of the advanced packets, because I said I had done comparisons for years.  After finishing the packet, I took them to the instructor to grade. Had a perfect score on the group.  I looked at him and said, “Now you have met someone who is dyslexic who can do fingerprint comparisons.”  I do not like allowing “handicaps” stand in the way.

I would love to have been a fly on a wall and been witness to that. I bet his expression was priceless. Good for you! Do you have a modern day author that has inspired you? If yes, what was it about their writing that was an inspiration?

            I would have to say JK Rowlings.  I didn’t get into her books until about the time the 5th book of the Harry Potter series was released.  Her writing style is the sort I am able to read with no problems (some styles are very difficult for me to make my way through).  Once I began reading her books, I was an addict.  

Sadly, I have not read her books but have watched every movie that was made in the Harry Potter series. We anxiously waited for each new movie to be released. Ok, now for a very important question, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are your reasons?

            I have had 2 men I was involved with over the years, both of them bad, and have finally learned the difficult lesson of waiting for what is best for me, rather than settling just to have someone in my life.  I want a relationship where I am loved and cherished, as Darcy does Elizabeth.  I also love the character, because in many ways, I am like him.  I am misunderstood, as I keep myself pulled back in many ways.  And I have difficulties in large groups, fumbling about with my tongue trying to remember how to speak. 

I can identify with most of what you said above as I have had similar experiences. I am also very uncomfortable in a crowd.  If I know someone I have no trouble talking but otherwise I get all tongue tied and stumble on my words. I have always hated that about myself. It makes me more nervous and I do worse. On the opposite end of that, when I worked for Southwest Airlines, I could talk to anybody on the plane with no trouble at all. Weird, huh! (most I would never see again and that made some difference) Well, this was supposed to be about you, wasn't it! lol  

I am so glad that you visited today. It has been a pleasure getting to know you better. I hope you have much success with all your works and I hope you find you own Mr. Darcy someday. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

Here is the link to Melanie's author page on Amazon where you can find all of her books. 

Available on Amazon

Author Bio:

A retired crime scene/lab technician, Melanie now spends time reading Pride and Prejudice variations, making jewelry, and most importantly, spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her children include a daughter by birth, two daughters and a son by choice, and one canine & four feline daughters. She also has 3 grandchildren by choice. Has lived in the Salt Lake area of Utah for nearly 30 years, after being born and raised in central Illinois.

Adopted a handsome dog and cute little kitty in September of 2012, 2 days after receiving my first ever royalties check. Of course, the handsome puppy is Mr Darcy, and the kitty is Lizzy. Darcy is being trained as her service dog, as a mobility assistance dog.

Melanie has a Bachelor's degree in Criminalistics with a minor in Photography. 

Melanie was invited to post on DarcyandLizzy.com, and is now an author there. She is also a member of Austen Authors and can be found on Good reads as an author. Her blog is http://melschertz.com

Thank you again for being my guest. I hope you will come back soon for another visit. Melanie Schertz is generously giving away one eBook of her latest release, The Bennet and Darcy Arrangement, due out this week. It is international so please leave a comment with your contact info to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway ends at midnight April 27th. Thank you, Melanie, for the giveaway for my readers and best wishes on this new release. By the way, I love the photo of you with your furry baby! :)


  1. Melanie, I think Smoo needs her own book deal. That made me chuckle.

    So, you are related to the Darcys? How cool that is!!! It is awesome to me that you overcame your reading challenges to be such a prolific writer. My husband suffers from dyslexia and he has been able to learn techniques over time to help him. However, he still struggles. You sure can't tell in your writing that you have four-legged help or that you have any disability at all.

    Jennifer, my Mom, and I are all looking forward to your latest release. Keep them coming!!! Your books are a thrill a minute that keeps us guessing as you write Darcy and Elizabeth through a maze of action. We love the cover.

    Janet, great interview.

    1. Joy, you are awesome. Love having you as an adopted sister! You keep working on your stories. Tell Mom hi!

  2. Always interesting how folks start to love Austen. Neat that you were able to set your love down in fanfic. LOL, on daughter's response to sexy scenes.
    Adorable writer pals you have there
    And good on you to beat your disability and create your own modifications.
    I look forward to picking up one of your books, Melanie.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

  3. Love learning more about authors and your inspirations on how you came into writing P&P fan fiction. I'm half way reading all your books! You have such an imaginative story lines! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  4. Loved leaning about your inspirations, Melanie. It's funny that you don't like talking to groups as neither do I. I can talk to my 18 4 year olds in class and their parents when they bring them in or pick them up, but when the parents are all together, I want to hide in a corner. I enjoy your stories and want to thank you for the generous give away.

    1. Most of the time I keep to myself and my family, which is one of the reasons I love the social media advantages. I can communicate with out sounding like a tongue tied idiot. And I have many people who have added to my life through my writing. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for the great interview and giveaway. I have enjoyed your other books and look forward to your new one. I love the comment from your daughter! evamedmonds(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Great interview! It's always so interesting to learn about the writing process of my fellow authors! :)