Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time Christy Award winner. Melanie spends her time daydreaming, researching the most fascinating historical time periods, and writing and editing her happily-ever-afters.
In this interview, Melanie talks with us about her new thrilling adventure, Fortress of Snow, the fourth book in her A Dericott Tale Series.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
This story was inspired by the Snow Queen fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Sir Berenger is one of the siblings of the Raynsford family. This series is about that family, and he and his six brothers and one sister were in the previous books. He is a pretty laid-back guy who hopes to make a name for himself as a knight and to be awarded some land somewhere, get married, and raise a family. He also dreams of rescuing a fair maiden in distress.
Mazy is a fair maiden, but she’s determined to fend for herself when her father dies and she’s left with no one to help her except her two brothers, who both desert her. But she starts selling bread in the market and becomes known as The Knife Girl when the other sellers discover she carries around a knife and is well able to use it to defend herself.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
I suppose Mazy surprised me the most because she’s a bit complicated. She forces herself to be ready for anything, to take on anyone who tries to harm her, but what she really wants is someone to love her and watch over her, someone who won’t abandon her the way her brothers did. She’s not strong and fearless because that’s how she is by nature, she’s strong and fearless because her circumstances force her to be.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Jesus used storytelling to get his point across to people because stories are easier to remember and easier to relate to than just a list of rules. Stories draw out people’s emotions as they feel for the characters and imagine how they would react in the same situation. It’s been said before, but people may not remember what you tell them, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
The rest of this series follows the remaining siblings and tells their stories. Fortress of Snow is book 4, and since Berenger has 4 younger brothers, there will be four more books. Sir Merek’s story, Cloak of Scarlet, is coming very soon, and his story is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood. Charles’s story is a Jack and the Beanstalk story, and then the last two brothers’ stories are still a mystery, even to me.
FF: How do you get into the right frame of mind to write for your genre/audience?
Since my heroines are older teenagers, or young adults, I often think back on my own feelings and reactions when I was a young adult. And since I have a strong romantic bent, it’s not hard for me to write young adult romance. I also do a lot of research into life in medieval times, which always helps me get into the right frame of mind.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
It’s good to be strong, but it’s also good to let people help you, people who care about you.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
A big challenge is appealing to young people by making sure the heroine is strong and proactive while also still making her believable, likeable, and relatable. And along with not making all my heroines sound like the same person, that’s probably my biggest challenge.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
Some favorite authors who inspired me would be Jane Austen and her romances, Raphael Sabatini with his adventure stories, and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
When I go through a hard time, I tend to pray more and think more about God. So, it just seems natural that my characters will do the same thing. I write what I know, and I don’t know what it’s like to not believe in God or to not ask God for help when I’m in trouble. It would be difficult to write from any other world view since I’ve always believed. And whatever spiritual lessons I’m learning in my life tend to make their way into my characters’ lives, whether I want them to or not. It just sort of happens.
Fortress of Snow
A Dericott Tale Series #4
Genres: YA/Teen, Sci-Fi/Fairy Tale Romance
Release Date: December 6, 2022
Having spent most of her life behind the relative safety of her castle walls, Mazy is itching to go beyond and travel to far off lands with her father, but when he dies unexpectedly and her oldest brother abandons her, Mazy must travel to her other brother’s estate for aid. While there, she kindles and unexpected friendship with Sir Berenger of Dericott, a dashing and noble man with dreams to rescue a damsel in distress. But Mazy doesn’t need saving – in fact, her skills with a bow and knife rival that of the best knight, so when Sir Berenger is called off to war, he makes plans to distinguish himself in battle. When he returns, however, the King wants to recognize his service through marriage to a wealthy and titled widow, but Mazy begins to suspect that more than a marriage might be afoot and treachery lurks in the shadows, so she embarks on a journey to warn her friend and perhaps secure her own fairy-tale ending.
Can Mazy claim the independence she so desperately wants and save her knight, and possibly her love, in the process?
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