Congratulations to Melanie Milburne who is a finalist in the 2017 RUBY Awards – nominated for two of her books! Below we chat about her nominated books, what she thinks of erotica, and what her first romance read was.
Congratulations, you’re a finalist in the 2017 RUBY Awards. How did you react when you found out you were a finalist?
I found out by email early in the morning. It was certainly a great way to start the day! I handed my phone to my husband without saying anything. It was his reaction to the news that made me feel like celebrating.
Please tell us about the story you’ve been nominated for. Did you have a secret alternative title while you were writing it?
I have two nominations so I’ll have to answer this twice. The Most Scandalous Ravensdale is book four of a quartet so my working title was Book Four: Ravensdale Quartet. The other novel Unwrapping His Convenience Fiancee, I called The Christmas Charade.
Do you write romance novels in secret or are you out and proud?
I’m out and proud but I actually write them in secret. These days, I can’t even write a word if there’s anyone else in the house. I will allow my three dogs and our two cats as writing companions, but that is it.
Headless washboard abs a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or a vaguely kinky object against a dark background-what’s your favourite type of romance cover and why?
I like a bit of elegance and subtlety on a cover, but I’m not averse to a good clinch as long as it doesn’t look like sexual assault. Blonde heroes don’t do it for me. Tall, dark and handsome do.
The increase in raciness has coincided with changing social attitudes to sex and to female pleasure. Digital reading devices have changed things too, because no one can see or judge what you’re reading.
What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?
I am like any other working woman who is juggling work and other responsibilities. The only difference is, I can be wandering around the supermarket, or cooking dinner or walking the dogs and writing a sex scene at the same time. It certainly makes life a lot less boring!
Do you remember the first romance you read, the one that inspired you to continue reading and writing in this genre?
Do you hide secrets in your plot line that only a few people will find?
I make sure my characters have secrets that they eventually reveal as part of their emotional growth. And I always try to layer the story with a theme that readers can go away and think about.
How do you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn? Are romance readers getting naughtier?
I see romance fiction as a fantasy, escapist read that is enjoyable for its own sake. A within-your-head experience, if you like. Erotica, on the other hand, is more to sexually excite or arouse the reader. Porn is a step further. I think romance readers have always been considered a bit naughty! Everyone knows we’re reading about love and lots of sex. The increase in raciness has coincided with changing social attitudes to sex and to female pleasure. Digital reading devices have changed things too, because no one can see or judge what you’re reading.
One male reader told me teenage boys should read a few romance novels so they can counter all the misinformation they get from porn.
More woman read romance than men, but some men do. What do you know of your male audience? And why do they read you?
Men enjoy romance in other forms such as in movies but find a romance novel a bit too full on. I’ve spoken to a few male readers who appreciate male characters who aren’t too clichéd and who speak like men do. One male reader told me teenage boys should read a few romance novels so they can counter all the misinformation they get from porn. I thought that was an interesting idea.
What advice would you give aspiring romance writers?
Read and read and read. Write and write and write. You won’t learn how to write a romance novel by just reading them. Words will only appear on the page if you put them there. And no one will put them there quite the same way you do. The process of writing any novel is hard and it takes some people longer than others. But the most important thing I would encourage any writer to do – and not just aspiring writers – is to work on your craft. You can never over-educate yourself when it comes to writing.
Thank you for answering our questions, Melanie!
Read an excerpt from The Most Scandalous Ravensdale | Read an excerpt from Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancee
The Most Scandalous Ravensdale
The Ravensdale Scandals Book 4
The woman everyone's talking about...
Hotshot lawyer Flynn Carlyon is determined to get feisty Kat Winwood to accept her rightful place as a Ravensdale heir. Charming and deeply cynical, Flynn relishes a challenge. He will use any means he can to get Kat to bend to his will, including addictive, spine-tingling seduction!
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