Interview with Melanie Robertson-King

My new guest is the Scottish-Canadian novelist Melanie Robertson-King, who has the clever tag-line ‘Where Fact and Fiction Meet.’ Melanie writes historical novels with a Scottish connection for young adults – trying to create a link between the past and the present. She grew up in Canada but crossed the Atlantic to learn more about her Celtic roots.

Melanie author photo 500x590

So welcome, Melanie, and let’s get started with the ‘curious questions’:  What is the bravest (or most frightening) thing you have ever done? 

I would have to say that would be my very first trip to Scotland back in 1993. Until that time, I’d never been there, never flown, and I was making the trip by myself. The enormity of what I was doing didn’t hit me until my cousin put me down at the airport in Toronto and gave me a goodbye hug.

Let’s see I was thirty-six when I made that trip (it was also the first year I had 3 weeks’ holidays from my job), my kids were small and we couldn’t afford for all of us to go so my hubby stayed home with them.

I’d been raised with the Scottish culture (my father being born there) up until my Dad passed away when I was twelve, so I had done the highland dancing (the last year I danced competitively, I won the silver medal in the Sword Dance), listened to his Scottish records and that sort of thing, so I sort of knew what to expect.

I discovered on that first flight that I loved flying. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep on the plane and they had to wake me up when they brought breakfast around! How’s that for being relaxed?

I even rented a car on this trip! Another first. I’d never driven on the opposite side of the road, on the opposite side of the car. Probably the smartest thing I did was not pick up my rental car until I got to Aberdeen Airport. I took the bus up from Glasgow to there. I managed better than I expected and stayed on the proper side of the road, too. I thought that was pretty brave, although the locals likely found it scary… LOL!

This photo is of the Kennethmont area in Aberdeenshire where my father was born. This area is so special to me, that I set my first novel there, and the sequel (a current work-in-progress) also takes place in the same area.


 Ok. Well, I’m glad I didn’t meet you  late one evening after a visit to a country pub, barreling down a lonely Scottish lane on the wrong side of the road! Let’s try another question. What is your favorite poem? Share part of it with us, please, and explain why you like it so much.

I love The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. I might have a few more than ten lines here but it seemed wrong to stop in the middle of it. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved this poem. I remember my older cousin reading/reciting it and making it sound so spooky.

THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, 
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
And the highwayman came riding— 
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin, 
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin; 
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh! 
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle, 
His pistol butts a-twinkle, 
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Good choice! That’s obviously a very popular poem, because one of my previous guests, Kerry Dwyer, chose exactly the same stanzas from exactly the same poem! And she writes about Ireland so I guess she has Celtic roots too! (Are all these highwaymen Celts??) Ok, next question: in everyday life, what is the thing that annoys you most?

People that insist on parking across my driveway and then think it’s okay because “I’m only going to be a minute.”

Short and sweet. You could always drive straight into them and say ‘I only hit you once.’ (New blog post: Tim’s bad advice) Next question: what is your favorite smell?

I have a few. Even though I suffer from hay fever, and it sets my eyes to itching and watering, I love the smell of freshly-cut grass. There’s just something about it that makes me feel good.

I also love the smell of baking bread. The only thing that tops it, is slicing off a good piece and loading it up with lots of butter and eating it whilst it’s still warm.

Perfect. What sort of family do you come from? Tell us something about an interesting ancestor.

Compared to my immediate family (I’m an only child), my father came from a huge family. He had eleven half-siblings and nine full siblings. Needless to say, my grandfather was a randy old beggar.

Men like him are responsible for most of us. I’ve read that a quarter of the human population is descended from Genghis Khan (when did he find time to fight all those battles?) Well, thank you, Melanie. Please tell us something about one of
your books. 

A Shadow in the Past

When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages; powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.a shadow in the past cover 500x773

Where to buy links:

From my publisher – 4RV Publishing:

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About Tim Vicary

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13 Responses to Interview with Melanie Robertson-King

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me here today, Tim! It’s been a lot of fun.

  2. dottiebush says:

    Great interview with Melanie Robertson-King and love the included pictures and the tidbit of the Highwayman. That was always one of my favourites too.

  3. Vivian Zabel says:

    I’m not surprised at all that “The Highway Man” is your favorite poem, Melanie. I always liked that one, too.

  4. Melanie,
    I loved your interview and imagined myself in Scotland with you. I don’t think I could ever do anything like that by myself. I’m headed to Amazon to look up A Shadow In The Past. Your book sounds right up my alley!

  5. I think it’s important to go back and explore our roots. Great interview.

  6. Fab interview, interesting questions and answers.

    • Lucky says:

      My fingers are firmly crossed for you that Baby Girl pops out like a piece of toast, and soon. I’d cross my legs too but then I’d have to confess th;1a#82t7&s mostly for me so I don’t have to go to the toilet for the millionth time today. Good luck!

  7. Suzy Turner says:

    Wonderful interview Melanie and Tim! I think that part of Scotland looks absolutely stunning. Its been a dream of mine to visit Scotland…hopefully it will happen soon 😀
    Suzy Turner, YA Author

  8. Nice interview Melanie. I loved the story about you traveling alone to Scotland and having to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. I never knew you’re an only child (like myself). I wonder if it makes us more introspective.

  9. Karen Cioffi says:

    Melanie, wonderful interview. The Highwayman is a very popular poem; I like it also. I also love the smell of baking bread!

  10. Good interview. I love time slip too.

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