After years of earning my living as a ghost writer, churning out white papers, speeches, newsletters, even books for other folks, it was high time to write in my own voice, for publication under my own name. The result was numerous commentaries and features about the natural world. You'll find some of them in my Woolgathering blogs, on this site.

Next came the idea of a how-to book on the subject of transplanting from city/suburbs to the deep country. Two audiences came to mind. First were the readers who, like my husband and me, dreamed of relocating beyond the sidewalks. A how-to book might spare them our pitfalls (or at least portray those pitfalls as survivable -- and hilarious), while also inspiring fellow dreamers with positive transplant anecdotes. Second were the readers who inferred lunacy in the yen to morph from city slicker to farmer. For them, our stupid mistakes would offer schadenfreudig validation of the urban/suburban lifestyle, where the flick of a switch means instant illumination and clean water always pours from the tap.

That's what my left brain thought. My right brain had another idea: a fictional take on the transplant saga. And so, Hillwilla debuted in 2014. Although inspired by (some of) my experiences, this novel is driven by characters with wills of their own.

Having immersed myself in fiction, I have no plans to stop, even if writing often feels like battling the Forces of Chaos. On the Hillwilla Road, also from Mountain Lake Press, was published in 2015. The residents of fictional Seneca County, WV, simply had more to say and do. Meanwhile, the final installment in the trilogy, Reinventing Hillwilla, is in the publishing pipeline. Stay tuned....

There's also that novel I started ages ago, about Irish immigrants in early 20th century Boston. Now, those characters give new meaning to "willful." For years, they kept dashing off to new plot-lines, locales and relationships, with me stumbling fretfully after them. They finally settled themselves into Decanted Truths. Here's hoping it sees the light of day in the not-too-distant future.

Ever intrigued by the transplant mentality, I am currently surrounded by dog-eared books about French settlers in 17th century Quebec and Quebecois immigrants to New England 200 years later. As I read, potential characters cling to the shadows just beyond my peripheral vision. But I can hear them whispering....  

If you've taken the time to scroll through these paragraphs (thank you!), I hope you'll keep my novels in mind when you're looking for an absorbing read.


Melanie Forde