An interview with Melanie Page & MC D’Alton
As you may know, Melanie Page and MC D’Alton are the Bookbaybz, and have been writing together for a little over 2 years.
By day, Melanie is a High School English Teacher and by night she is a published author of Regency Romances. Her first novel, “An Affair of Honour” was released in 2014 while “Sweet Revenge” and “A Twist of Fate” both came out in 2016.
In conjunction with her own publications, Melanie has also been selected to be published in A Serenity Press Anthology, “Destination Romance”.
Michelle is a Registered Nurse and Mum to triplet boys, writing under the pen name MC D’Alton & Michelle Dalton. While her first novel, “Epona” was published in 2019, Michelle has been writing seriously for the last 6 years. Michelle’s other works include “Simple Truths,” and “Forget me Not,” due for publishing later this year through Serenade Publishing, she has also had the honor of having her short story “The Curry Tree,” published in an anthology – A Discovery of Writers. Ladies, we are so excited to be here to celebrate the launch of your first collaborative novel, Iron Heart!
New photo of us here!
Q. Where did the idea for Iron Heart come from?
Mel: Michelle was whinging about how she wanted to write a story about a monster. She had been watching Penny Dreadful (note to self… just no!) and had fallen in love with the dark monsters. So she had a brainwave… ‘We should write a story about a monster falling in love!’
MC: Mel, pedantic, difficult Mel said… ‘But you can’t fall in love with a monster.’ So then of course we started batting ideas back and forth, by email… lots of emails. She set up a planning document based on Michael Hauge’s stages of story that she learned about at the Adelaide Conference and proceeded to outline a possible story.
Q. This was your first collaboration, how has this writing process been different to your normal process?
Mel: I created an outline and MC, of course, went off on a tangent. But, long story short…, it was a great exercise and we did end up using a lot of the plan. It also raise a lot of questions that formed the backstory. Then we worked out where the story would start and MC wrote the first draft chapter.
MC: Mmmm, that was fun! I dashed down a sketch of the opening events at light speed and pressed send. A couple of hours later, I got the detailed, polished version back. And I was blown away. Let me show you what I mean. Here is what I wrote: ‘Galena raised her arms in defence as she lost her balance and fell over onto the cobble stoned road, knocking the wind from her lungs.’ And here is what Mel edited it to look like. ‘Galena picked up her striped skirts and fled, pushing through the heavy oak doors that separated the enclave she had left forever from the rest of Edinburgh society. The cobbles were slick and putrid, but the tears swimming in her eyes made it hard for Galena to discern where she was going.’
Mel: It wasn’t just about rewriting. It was about giving depth and dimension to the characters.
Q. Where their challenges in working together to create Iron Heart?
MC: Of course it wasn’t all tea and cakes. There were differenced of creative opinion. I would see the story and put it down on paper; and then Mel would send it back looking very different. Which threw me. But this is where we; as rational, enlightened, peace-loving friends, were able to sit back and reflect, and work out the best path forward. At one point, I plateaued. I sent the next chapter and Mel sent it back, with a dozen questions. That was not a good moment (understatement). But, as we found answers to the questions, the story moved forward again.
Mel: One of the challenges of not having sole creative control over a story is the different perspectives that come into play. There were a couple of characters who we saw quite differently. Example; MC wrote a detective to come in and investigate the assault. So I wrote him as I saw him, a sort of steampunky Murdoch, from the Murdoch Mysteries. And then when I sent it back, MC was all… ‘But I saw him as Benedict Cumberbatch.’ Oops.
Q. Why a Medical Steam Punk Romance?
MC – Because I wanted a monster and steampunk just kinda sorta happened.
Q. Your Hero, Beauden, is not your stereotypical romance Hero. How did you come up with the idea for this character?
Mmmm…. I wanted a monster, a believable and loveable monster and with Melanie who asked all the right Q’s Beauden came to life
Q. Tell us about your heroine, Galena. What was your inspiration for this character?
Mel: Suffragettes and Bluestockigs for me. A woman who was both stubborn and gentle at the same time.
MC: To be honest with you, I think subconsciously, I saw a lot of my mom in Galena! A lot! So perhaps in a weird kind of way my mom was my inspiration?
Q. What kind of research did you do when writing Iron Heart? Michelle, did your medical background play a big role in developing the story?
MC: Loads of heart transplant research. Yes my background was an absolute bonus. But I will also say that building both the iron heart, the gold heart and the steampunk life support machine was where I had the most fun with this collaboration.
Q. And finally, what was your favourite part in writing this book ?
Mc & Mel: All of it!