Wednesday 22 April 2015

Today my Guest Author is....... Melanie Hudson

© Melanie Hudson

A Yorkshire lass first and foremost, Melanie left her native county in 1994 when she joined the Royal Air Force as an Air Traffic Control Officer.
Melanie enjoyed the nomadic lifestyle awarded by her military career.  In addition to working at several air stations throughout the UK, she experienced an operational tour in the Balkans during the Kosovo Crisis in 1999, and served as air liaison officer with the British Army during their insurgence into Iraq in 2003.
In May 2004 she transferred to the Royal Navy Air Traffic Control Specialisation, the highlight of which was an exhilarating stint in HMS Invincible.  Melanie had a son in 2007, before retiring from military life in 2010, after which she moved to Dubai temporarily where she finally found the time to pursue her passion for writing.  She wrote the majority of her first novel, The Wedding Cake Tree, while sitting in a Japanese tea shop overlooking the Burj Kalifa.
Melanie is happiest when wandering in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands (pretending to be all mysterious and romantic). Melanie lives in Devon.

And especially for Jaffareadstoo, here's a lovely guest post
from Melanie....

As I type, I’m sitting in my favourite coffee shop in Bideford, Devon, and it’s publication day for my debut novel, The Wedding Cake Tree. This is a day I've been looking forward to for a very long time. The path to publication for any debut author is a story in itself, so I’ll briefly tell it to you all about mine…

In November 2010, having just retired from my sixteen year commission as a Royal Navy Officer, I moved to Dubai temporarily. It was the first time in my adult life I hadn’t had a job, so, unable to not my gainfully employed doing something (anything) I sat down and started to write a story that had been kicking around in my mind for quite some time. At first I was just writing to have something to do, but once I started to write, I couldn’t stop. It was lovely. Most people would probably spend their first few months in Dubai basking in the winter Arabian sunshine – but not me. I would daily de-camp to a café (the café in the book shop in the Burj Kalifa) and type away for hour after hour after hour – heaven. Every hour on the hour the Dubai Fountains would spring into life and dance away and I would briefly glance up and watch them from behind the café’s triple glazing. I’d had a stressful job for many years and it was truly lovely to just sit back and create something.

At that time I was writing for pleasure and genuinely had no intention of trying to achieve publication – to be fair, I wouldn’t even have begun to know how. And then, a friend sent me a link to the ITV/HarperCollins Peoples’ Novelist Competition, and on a whim I printed off the first three chapters of my embryonic novel, slid them into a buff envelope, sent them off to HarperCollins and thought nothing more about it. The following May I was notified that the novel had been shortlisted and all of a sudden there was a very real possibility that, if I won, my little project would suddenly become a published novel. I didn’t win. But the comments were so positive from the judging panel I began to believe that I might actually have written something that people (people who didn’t know me, that is) might want to read. So I paid to have a professional manuscript appraisal done (best money I ever spent), re-wrote the book, and then a friend of mine, self-published author Frankie Valente, helped me to self-publish on Amazon Kindle. To my surprise and delight the book became (almost) an overnight success. I was delighted. But even then I didn’t consider sending the manuscript off to agents because (and I’m going to be perfectly honest now) the thought of writing letters to hundreds of agents in the hope of one of them taking me on filled me with nothing but dread.

Then, one fortuitous, beautiful day, a lady I barely knew who had briefly moved to my village, popped in for coffee and we got to chatting about the book. She was a big fan of independent publishing company, Choc Lit, and encouraged me to contact them via their website in the hope of igniting some interest about the book. Something about Choc Lit (deep in my bones) felt right … and now, sometime later, my little book is published by Choc Lit, and my mum and dad can walk into their local bookshop and see it, and that is the best, best feeling in the world. And there you have it, my own little path to publication – why don’t you give it a go?

Choc Lit

Can a mother’s secret past provide the answers for a daughter’s future?

Celebrity photographer Grace Buchanan has always known that one day, she’d swap her manic day job for the peace and quiet of her beloved childhood cottage, St Christopher’s – she just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
At the reading of her mother’s will, she’s shocked to learn that she hardly knew Rosamund at all, and that inheriting St Christopher’s hangs on one big – and very inconvenient – condition: Grace must drop everything for two weeks and travel the country with a mysterious stranger – war-weary Royal Marine, Alasdair Finn.
Caught in a brief but perfect moment in time, Grace and Alasdair walk in Rosamund’s footsteps and read her letters at each breathtaking new place. As Grace slowly uncovers the truth about her mother’s incredible life story, Alasdair and Grace can’t help but question their own futures. Will Rosamund’s madcap scheme go to plan or will events take an unexpected turn?
An emotional, fun-filled and adventurous journey of a lifetime.

Buying Links:

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

 Huge thanks to Melanie for sharing her thoughts so eloquently and to Lusana at Choc Lit for her help with this guest post.



  1. Awww, it's a lovely story, Melanie. Personally, there was something about the Choc Lit site that I just adored from outset, So pleased for you and glad that your wonderful book is doing so well. Well done you! Thanks for sharing Jo and Jaffa! :) xx

    1. Hi Sheryl - thanks for visiting and for your lovely supportive comments. Jaffa and I are always pleased to see you :)


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