Melanie Pickering is an Australian indie author penning genre-blending YA novels that blur the line between reality and fiction.
A serial daydreamer, she has always possessed a vivid imagination and loved embellishing stories from an early age. Never satisfied when her favourite books were over, she continued the stories herself (in cramped and messy handwriting) on the inside of the front and back covers. You could say she began her writing career with fan fiction before it became a thing.
Then at eleven years of age, she had to produce a story into a handmade book for a school assessment. Melanie loved this so much that she created five books - all with cardboard covers - painstakingly typewritten, with accompanying illustrations. Her teacher was so impressed, that her books were donated to the school library to be read to younger students.
It would be many years of dabbling in writing before Melanie would relive the euphoric buzz of releasing another book, and by that time she was so impatient to see her words in print that she published them herself. A creative soul at heart, she loves the control that comes with being an independent author and can't wait to share more books with the world.
By day, Melanie is a library assistant in a busy girls secondary college and enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her family when not writing. She lives with her husband, two teenage children and their rescue pets in inner-city Brisbane.
Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is hands down, the most influential book I have ever laid eyes on. From the moment I tumbled down the rabbit hole with Alice, I have been obsessed with twisted reality stories. The whole whimsical (and sometimes frightening!) world that Alice encountered in Wonderland made my young heart beat fast with anticipation. And then to not know whether it was all a dream at the end... was exactly the sort of story I yearned to read.
I've always loved hearing ghost stories and tales of the unexplained. Older family members who'd spent time in the outback always had strange stories to tell and I relished our regular visits to them, nervously sipping cups of tea and waiting for storytime to start. These visits also included a great aunt who was a spiritual medium, so a belief in the supernatural was never something I questioned.
I am inspired by things that go bump in the night. By urban legends and campfire tales, and the things we convince ourselves that aren't real.
That's easy. Like many authors around my age, I write the sort of stories that I would have loved to read as a teen. You see, back in the eighties, YA books didn't exist. It was Sweet Valley High or nothing. And while I devoured their romantic aspect, SVH just wasn't dark enough for my hungry little black soul. Thanks to a much older brother who had a penchant for horror novels, I cut my teeth on books by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Shaun Hutson and Robert McCammon. While I didn't particularly enjoy the squick factor, I relished the psychological aspect and it wasn't long before I discovered Edgar Allen Poe. The macabre aspect of his work has always stayed with me, and I hope to bring this gothic vibe into a more contemporary setting with my own books.
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