FINDING MY VOICE: Melanie Milburne

AusRomToday Melanie Milburne


Finding My Voice: Melanie Milburne

When I started writing I had no idea what an author’s voice was or whether I had one. Apparently I had as for each of my five excruciatingly painful rejections the message I kept getting was “you have a strong and distinctive author’s voice”.  Great, I thought. There was actually something positive about my novice attempts at writing. Phew! But what did it mean?

I thought about my favourite authors and why I had fallen in love with their books. I began to understand it was their voice I had fallen for. The way they crafted their sentences, the mood of their writing, the tone, the humour or wry observations about life. Their values and the issues/themes they addressed in their books had a powerful effect on me, which is after all the main purpose of storytelling—to make readers feel emotion.

It took me seventeen complete manuscripts and those aforementioned five rejections (clearly I am a slow learner!) to truly find my voice. I now have those words as part of my author brand (another term I had no idea of), which are: fast-paced passion, deep emotion.

When I decided I wanted to write a novel all those years ago I just did it. I didn’t read any how-to books other than Stephen King’s On Writing.  I wrote on instinct and I found my first fifteen or so books just flowed out of my fingertips. I didn’t have writer’s block. I didn’t have blank pages. I didn’t have days when I didn’t know what to write. I just wrote. Freely. Intuitively. By the seat of the pants as it’s called in the industry.

Then I started studying the craft because I was keen to understand the mechanics of writing, as I wanted to be the best writer I could be. I attended some fabulous hands-on workshops. Read some amazing books on writing.

But the downside was I suddenly had to think and to write at the same time. The brakes went on with a slam. What the hell was my inciting incident? What was the crisis scene? What was my minor/ major or absolute turning point? What was the theme? What was the controlling idea of my story? What was the character arc of my hero and heroine? Argh! My head was spinning like one of those plates on the top of a circus juggler’s wand.

I have now written sixty-four books and I still learn something about my process each and every time I sit down to write. Writing is a deeply subconscious exercise. There is no hard and fast rule about how to do it.  If you love reading and are passionate about writing then you will by the process of osmosis learn the structure of story. But to save yourself some time, and a heck of a lot of wasted space on your computer hard drive, it might be an idea to read a few books on the craft along the way.

But most importantly—write, even if it’s just a few words a day about anything. There is something magical about putting fingers to the keyboard or pen to paper. Characters come to life and insist on being heard. It’s why I keep going back to my office day after day. I want to know what’s going to happen next!

I hope you enjoy my latest release The Valquez Bride where you will find fast paced passion and deep emotion, and yes, a controlling idea and the necessary turning points and character arcs!

I have a signed copy for a reader who tells me what bit of writing advice they have found most helpful. Leave your tip and email address (so we can contact you) in the comments – competition closes 31st October, 2014.

Happy reading (and writing),
Melanie Milburne



The Valquez Bride

A wedding night she’ll never forget!

Untouched Theodora Marlstone always wanted the fairy-tale wedding – a white dress and an adoring groom. Instead she’s walking up the aisle toward a marriage of convenience to outrageously attractive Argentinean Alejandro Valquez! He promises raw sensuality, not devotion, but thanks to her father’s will, Teddy must say “I do”….

Alejandro never wanted a wife, but his buttoned-up bride is a delicious present just waiting to be unwrapped. Beneath the white silk lies a woman who exceeds his wildest imagination, and it’s clear that this union will burn the very paper it’s written on!

Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon Aus  |  B&N  |  Harlequin M&B UK



About the Author:
I grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Sydney and as a keen horse rider, often competed in local gymkhanas and even broke in a few horses from time to time. As I was surrounded by animals, I decided at an early age to become a nurse, however I couldn’t stand the sight of blood and so opted for a career in teaching. It’s a bit ironic that I married a surgeon. I read my first Mills & Boon novel when I was 17 and that encouraged me to continue reading romance novels; the lure of the tall dark handsome hero, who in reality I fell in love with and agreed to marry on our second date! We moved to Scotland so my husband could work and study for his MD in surgery. Two lively sons later I decided teaching was the last thing I wanted to do – I knew when I was beaten!



Find Melanie online:
Author Page



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8 Comments on FINDING MY VOICE: Melanie Milburne

  1. Hi Melanie. The best piece of advice I received in January this year was “just start”. I started. Finished. Revised. Deleted. Rewrote. Edited. Wrote some more and submitted to some publishers. Joined RWA and linked with other authors. Heading to my first writing conference tomorrow to learn more about my craft. My debut novel – medical rural romance – comes out in January 2015. It might be awful but I’ll keep writing and keep learning until I discover my own voice.
    My email address is

  2. Hi Nicki,
    That’s great advice, isn’t it? Starting is the best thing you can do and then the writing muscles are being activated. Good on you joining RWA. Good luck with your writing.

  3. The best piece of advice I received this year was to plot an emotional timeline for my characters in my book. By having something to work towards, knowing beforehand where the major changes were going to appear, I had structure in which to build my story.

  4. Jennifer Hayward // October 28, 2014 at 4:16 am // Reply

    This is a fabulous, fabulous blog Melanie. You verbalized what is so very difficult to explain about an author’s voice so well!

  5. I always enjoy your books, Melanie. They’re an absolute treat….

  6. Sixty four books. Unreal. I can honestly say that I will be dead before I can write that many.
    The best advice I ever received was to become the charater you are writing at the time. Stand within their body, feel their pain and joy. Understand what they are thinking and why. If you can become your character, you will never jump out of POV, and will be able to desribe whatever your character does.

  7. Love your books, Melanie, which I guess means I love your voice!

  8. Oh wow, all those lovely comments! Thanks so much for your beautiful compliments.

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