Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. Her stories are inspired by a sense of place, an appreciation for the past, and unexpected pleasures in life—especially the romantic kind. She lifts her glass to readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
The Ridiculously Long Slow Burn
I’ve always been a reader, and my favorite books always have a love story in them, even if they’re historical or suspense or women’s fiction. After I outgrew Sweet Valley High (took a while), I devoured romances by Lavyrle Spencer (my idol, seriously) and romantic suspense by Nora Roberts. Today my favorite authors are Liane Moriarty, Anita Shreve, and Kate Morton. I also love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and the Kinsey Millhone mysteries by Sue Grafton! My all-time favorite books ever? YEARS by Lavyrle Spencer, FORTUNE’S ROCKS by Anita Shreve, CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger, BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty, THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON by Kate Morton, and THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes.
I taught high school English and social studies for five years, and I’ve always been a dance teacher. After having two daughters, I chose not to return to teaching and focused on being mom, dance teacher, and writer. I freelanced for a few years before I got serious about writing fiction. In 2010-11 I wrote three YA novels, once of which later morphed into SPEAK EASY (the other two shall never see the light of day). I queried agents without success for two years before deciding to try publishing my historical as NA. In order to market it to the NA audience, I rewrote it, seriously upping the sexual tension. I enjoyed writing it so much that I knew I’d never go back to YA! (I’d been too scared to try romance before. I didn’t want to write sex…can you imagine?)
I published THE SPEAK EASY DUET in 2013, and it remains my favorite. In 2014 and early 2015, I wrote and published the FRENCHED series as well as THE TANGO LESSON, a standalone novella. In 2015 and early 2016, I published the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series. The rest of 2016 and early 2017 will see three companion novels, and the rest of 2017 holds a few surprises!
When I’m not writing or hanging out on Facebook, I like to read, run, play tennis, travel, drink good cocktails and eat delicious food, and I LOVE getting hooked on good cable series. My favorites are Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, The Affair, Quarry, Ray Donovan, Bloodline, and Dexter.
My favorite part about writing is the actual wording–sentence level stuff. I love putting feelings and thoughts into words that make a reader look over her shoulder because I got in her head. I also love writing dialogue. My least favorite part is plotting…I’m horrible at it. When I try to outline, I just sit and stare at the screen.
My goal as an author is to entertain my readers, make them think, laugh, feel. Specifically, to feel good. I think of my books as an escape, so I try to stay away from subjects that are painful or scary. I don’t mind sadness and struggle, but my stories will never be “dark” in a twisted way. (Watch me have to eat those words someday…)
My dream is to keep publishing smart, sexy romance for classy women with dirty minds. I’d also like to publish women’s fiction with a traditional publisher at some point in the future.
My favorite food is bacon. My favorite color is blue. My favorite smell is lavender, but I also love Bounce dryer sheets in Outdoor Fresh.
Thus concludes the Way More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Melanie Harlow portion of the program!