#Interview with Melissa Oliver, author of The Rebel Heiress and the Knight
To- Splashes into books
I hope you’re well!Thank you so much for being part of this blog tour, featuring me on your blog and for your support. I really enjoyed answering your questions.
Where did you get the inspiration for your debut- The Rebel Heiress and the Knight?
It was quite an organic process really but the idea of the heroine in the book came to me early on. From there I had to explore who she was and why Eleanor Tallany behaved in the way she did. I also knew I wanted to write a medieval romance, set against a back-drop of real historical events and the spring of 1215 certainly had that with the divide between King John and his Barons.
Against all this, I had a hero and heroine who had sparks of attraction but had to overcome standing on opposing lines. In terms of themes, there’s a nod to the legend of Robin Hood, which some historians believe, took its inspiration from the real-life story of Fulk FitzWarinIII.
What is your writing process?
I usually come up with ideas, themes and tropes. At the same time, I think about my two central characters and complete a detailed biography of their lives, who they are and what their motivations are. I also write a synopsis to work through the key plots, internal/ external conflicts of my characters and also the resolution at the end. It need be flexible so that when I’m actually writing, changes can be made. I also have loads of tea to get me through every stage.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
Both. I write my notes using pen and paper for the next scene I’m about to write including key themes, dialogue and setting. I do this anywhere and everywhere- on the bus, whilst I’m waiting to collect my daughter from school. Even before I go to bed when ideas suddenly come to me. This all helps when I sit and type straight onto my laptop, which I really like because it’s instantly there and I can edit my writing as I go along.
Who is your favourite character out of your story and why?
Oh no, I can’t choose! I love both the hero and the heroine. Hugh is so gorgeous, patient and kind- a powerful warrior with a big heart. Whilst Eleanor is intelligent, quick-witted and quite empowering especially after her abusive first marriage. I really love them both.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I’d love to be able to be as strong as Eleanor in the way she deals with adversity. She uses her awful past and terrible hurts in a way that’s quite inspirational. I love that about her.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
Names have somehow got to be right for the times they’re written for.
Both Hugh and Eleanor were quite popular Anglo/Norman names in the medieval era. It took a little more time to come up with the fictional castle and area of Tallany but I came up with it after researching names of castles, and the different areas of that time.
What is your favourite scene from the book?
There are so many scenes that I enjoyed writing but one that made me giggle even as I was writing it, was when Hugh’s friend Will advises him on the best ways to woo Eleanor, whilst they were sparring with quarterstaffs (medieval weapons.)
You are very welcome – I really enjoyed reading your answers and hope to read your book once my tbr pile is a little lower and not as pressured as at the moment!
Read on to learn more about Melissa and her debut book, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.
She must marry the knight
By order of the king!
Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!
Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has…& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.