Author Interview With Melanie Pickering

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)

Hey there, my name is Melanie Pickering and I write Australian urban gothic thrillers and other genre-mashing novels that all have relationships and romance at their core. My novella Adrift can be found in the romance anthology Mermaid Kisses, and I’ve just released my debut in late 2021 – a young adult supernatural romantic thriller, SPILL.

Tell us about the characters and relationships in your stories

I like to ground my characters in reality, so they are often flawed and struggling with issues related to self-identity. In my YA novel SPILL, the main characters, Amy and Flynn, are teenagers in their final year of high school. This time of life is ripe with emotional highs and lows, and relationships of all kinds are so important. The book focuses on the importance of friendships, family dynamics and of course, romance. 

What lessons could readers learn about real-world relationships from your novel(s)?

SPILL has a friends-to-lovers storyline. Amy and Flynn are former neighbours who both secretly want their relationship to move beyond the friend zone. They’re both struggling with their own complicated issues of self-worth, and therefore don’t see themselves as being worthy, or being enough for each other.

Through honouring their friendship foremost and being present for each other, they are able to become the lifeline that they each need during some very dark times, allowing for hope and romance to flourish.

The road to true love is not paved in gold. It may be long and not always smooth, but when you travel it hand-in-hand, the journey becomes just as rewarding as the destination.

What real-life relationship experiences, observations or insights have influenced your writing?

I met my husband when I was not much older than the characters in my book, and we have been married for close to three decades. We were young and young love is fierce. Drawing on those early intoxicating feelings of being in a new relationship is vital in writing for a young adult market.

I’m also a keen people-watcher, so observing body language and overhearing real-life conversation is also helpful in keeping my written relationships authentic.

Are there any relationship themes or topics you want to cover in future releases?

Since I’m just at the beginning of my career – yes, of course! I don’t shy away from heavy themes, and am planning to cover issues like revenge and possessiveness. I’m also quite interested in subverting the traditional roles of villains. I’m a firm believer that everyone deserves a happy-ever-after.

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