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Melanie Jayne: Spending Time with Old Friends (Contest)
Friday, May 10th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!

The first book I completed was A Change for the Good. It was one of those times when the idea came to me complete. I knew the characters’ names, and scenes were fully plotted. I fully intended it to be a one-and-done. I was new to publishing, and I had so many ideas.

However, Forde and Layla popped into my head, and I couldn’t shut them up. Better was the first book that I couldn’t stop writing. I would open my laptop to write a quick one hundred words here and there whenever I got the chance.

With that book, The Change Series was born. I had no plan, only ideas. I used it as a way to try different things. I wrote about interracial couples, male/male, dealt with mental illness, women who did not want to settle down, and characters who didn’t want children. They were imperfect heroes and heroines who were making changes to get what they wanted.

I finished the last book in 2020 and moved on to other series. Three years ago, a member of my team suggested that I update the covers for the series. Every six months, she would remind me of all the reasons why it was necessary and enlisted others to encourage me to do so.

Last fall, I paid for new covers, and since the ladies who were working on the project had read the books, they had great ideas and insights. We tried to position the series for Contemporary Romance and Women’s Literature (Chick Lit.)

Because I could not leave well enough alone, I decided to go back and reread each book and make a few fixes. I thought it would take forever, but the books are easy reads, and I was done in a few weeks.

As I read each book, memories of the struggle to tell the couples’ stories came back to me. The excitement of knowing that I was on the right path when the words came easily and the pain deep in my chest when they thought they might not make it.

I rediscovered my old friends. In Best, I created the best friend that I wish I had. Billie has been through so much and is damaged. She has PTSD and a horrible mother. She moves to Indianapolis to start over. Soon after, she meets Zoe Alessi from Good and becomes a part of the Forde Limited family and finds the love of her life.

Next came A Change in Perception, where I explored the issue of child abuse and made the mother the aggressor. A book club in Michigan read the book and I was shocked to learn that one of the members was furious that I wrote “that garbage.” The reader believed that a mother would never hurt her child.

I’m still amazed at people who refuse to see.

Cress was a tough character to write. She works so hard but really only lives half of a life. When the book opens, she is trying to take some control over her disaster of a life. She doesn’t have a plan except to make changes. I needed to create a character that didn’t know herself, but she wanted to. She was smart and dumb at the same time. Her new friends and lover gave her a safe space to learn and the patience to make missteps.

My plan when writing A Change of Plan was to make Ramsay Kent, who was a ball-breaker and mistake-maker, likable. When the reader meets her in prior books, she is prickly and selfish. When things get tough, she takes off. Rereading her story years later, I saw a deeply wounded woman who was doing the best she could. It was ingrained in her that she was not worth people sticking with. I paired her with Osi Browne, who is a loner. He’s big and scary and intimidates all. He also has infinite patience and the drive to figure the elusive Ramsay out.

Immediately, I saw similar traits between Osi and The Novus Pack’s most popular male, Lore. They have a personal code. They care for only a few, but if you are one of “theirs,” then they will be loyal.

I clearly remember creating Campbell Talbot from A Change of Direction as a woman who made her own rules. She was single and enjoyed being so. Men were a want and not a need in her life. She was unapologetically independent.

In a different life, I could be her. In some ways, I am.

When she meets Sly, neither are looking for a relationship; however, their chemistry cannot be denied. He puts up with her dating rules because they amuse him. When he finally meets her two besties, he gains valuable insight into Campbell.

She needs to feel that she has control because, in her failed marriage, her husband controlled her with money. When she wanted her freedom, he fought and delayed the divorce to watch her suffer.

The final book in the series takes place during the holidays. I devote a chapter to each couple and give an update on their lives and a hint of their future. The story arc is about Billie and Tye moving into their dream house and their fertility journey. The final scene is during the group’s Christmas lunch. I wrote the damn scene, and I read it with tears falling down my cheeks. I was happy for all of my old friends, but especially for Billie.

After reading the series, I realized that I was writing about what I wanted from my friendships and what I wanted to give. I had gone through a period where I lost my closest writing world friends. There was no big blow-up, and to this day, I still don’t know what happened. One day, we were in a four-person Messenger group, and the next…it was disbanded.

In the Change Series, I created female characters that I wanted in my life. Women that were loyal and could have a problem with one another and not ditch a friendship.

As time passed, I made new friends. I probably moved more slowly with them because I was wary. I wanted to be sure they would be honest with me and understand that I’m far from perfect. I was looking for friendships where we celebrated the good times and pulled one another through the bad times.

Taking the time to reread the books gave me the opportunity to see how much I have grown as a writer and as a person and friend. Hopefully, I’ll be much better.


You can learn more about Melanie Jayne:

And the Change Series:

To enter the drawing for a $10 Amazon Gift Card— Who is your Book Best Friend?
(A fictional character that you wish was real and in your crew)

13 comments to “Melanie Jayne: Spending Time with Old Friends (Contest)”

  1. Pansy Petal
    · May 10th, 2024 at 9:18 am · Link

    Thank you for sharing your writing journey. What a beautiful journey it appears to be. I haven’t read you yet, but after reading this, I must add you to my read list. As to your question, “Who is your Book Best Friend?” Wow! I guess I have found a few during the years. Anita Blake, Vampire hunger by Laurell K Hamilton, comes to mind first. She has gotten me through some tough times. Then there is just about every character that Lexi Blake has written. I want to live in Bliss Colorado, even though I hate snow and cold. But the people there, are awesome. So open, caring, tolerant, and kick a$$. And truly, Ian Taggart, from the Master’s and Mercenaries series by Lexi Blake, is my spirit animal. I adore him and so want him in my corner! I could go on. If I think about it, I would probably end up with an army rather than just a crew. Books in general are my friends.

  2. Colleen C.
    · May 10th, 2024 at 1:17 pm · Link

    Who is your Book Best Friend? Peabody from JD Robb’s series.

  3. cindy
    · May 10th, 2024 at 1:57 pm · Link

    My book best friend? Probably Cynthia Stirling from my Synlab series.

  4. ButtonsMom
    · May 10th, 2024 at 4:17 pm · Link

    There are way too many to choose from! 🙂

  5. Jennifer Beyer
    · May 10th, 2024 at 8:34 pm · Link

    It’s funny because the people I think could be my friends aren’t the ones I find most memorable. In fact, most of the memorable characters are people I would run from! I love the characters created by Carolyn Brown because they are so relatable. However, the characters created by Karen Marie Moning can be horrible and terrifying and totally haunt me. I wouldn’t even want to have coffee with most of them.

  6. Deb Robinson
    · May 10th, 2024 at 9:09 pm · Link

    Thank you for the share and good luck with future projects. ❤️

  7. BN
    · May 10th, 2024 at 9:24 pm · Link

    no fav

  8. Debra Guyette
    · May 11th, 2024 at 6:33 am · Link

    Roarke from JD Robb’s books

  9. Deb Brown
    · May 11th, 2024 at 9:36 am · Link

    Any of the King family from Kris Michael’s books and if course Frank and Gabriel that started it all

  10. flchen
    · May 13th, 2024 at 1:08 am · Link

    I’d love to be besties with Ellie Landry from Erin Nicholas’s several series set in Louisiana–she’s the take-no-nonsense matriarch of the big bayou family who is smart and clever and so big-hearted!

    Love and hugs, Melanie–so glad you’re having the chance to revisit these friends!

  11. Beth
    · May 19th, 2024 at 9:06 pm · Link

    I’d love to have the MacKilligan sisters from Shelly Laurenston’s Badger books as my friends.

  12. Delilah
    · May 21st, 2024 at 7:49 am · Link

    Thanks go to Melanie for a great post! We do love to hear how our stories were “born.”

    The winner, chosen by a random number generator is…Colleen C!

  13. kerry pruett
    · May 21st, 2024 at 3:53 pm · Link

    Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie from the Fortune series by Jana Deleon. They would make life more interesting.

Comments are closed.