Seven Things: Work, Writing & Research

I received this award from Janice Horton author of Bagpipes & Bullshot and coming later in 2011, Reaching for the Stars. As it goes, I now have to share seven things about me that you might or might not already know.

1. My first job after graduating from secondary school was as a keypunch operator at a local pharmaceutical company. After that job, I worked at various other local companies mostly in the data entry field. I returned to school when my children were small and got a degree in computer programming. For the past almost 24 years, I’ve worked for the same company in a variety of positions and sometimes more than one at the same time. Now it’s just one – payroll.

2. Before I began primary school, we lived in a winterized cottage along the St Lawrence River. I remember sitting in our yard facing the river, waiting for the Royal yacht Britannia to sail past, Union Jack flag in hand ready to wave when it did. I can’t remember if it was on the same Royal visit, but I remember coming in to town and seeing the Queen’s limo.





The streets were lined with crowds and I was on my father’s shoulders and I asked “When’s Santa Claus coming?” That was my first experience with the Royal Family.

3. My father was British Home Child who was raised at The Orphan Homes of Scotland west of Glasgow. He came to Canada in 1930. I was always fascinated with his history and vowed that the first year I had three week’s vacation, I would go to Scotland to see where he was born and where he was raised. I made that first trip (by myself) in 1993 and have never looked back. I fell in love with the country immediately and knew that was where I would set my novels – especially after discovering a spooky old ruined mansion near my father’s birthplace.

4. Living an ocean apart from where I’ve set my novels has proved to be a challenge. Thankfully, I’ve got good friends and family in Scotland who have answered what they might think are some pretty daft questions by times. I’ve taken loads of photographs on my trips abroad so I can refer back to them when need be. Being a member of the Aberdeen & North East Scotland Family History Society has helped immensely, too. It’s truly amazing how helpful people are when you tell them you’re writing a novel and need help with…

5. My second encounter with the Royal Family came in 1999, when I had the honour of meeting Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne at Quarriers Village (formerly The Orphan Homes of Scotland). The invitation was originally extended on April 1st so I immediately thought it was a prank and someone was yanking my chain but it was legitimate.

6. I use real places and events in my writing. My third (as yet uncompleted) manuscript is based around a helicopter ditching in the North Sea and another I’ve got the concept (TV guide blurb, if you prefer) only done is set in Lincolnshire after the Market Rasen earthquake.

7. I bought my husband and I two small (miniscule) plots of land from Lochaber Highland Estates so we can call ourselves Laird and Lady as we are Scottish land owners.

And now to pass the torch on to seven more versatile bloggers…

Dorothy Bush
Brenda Visser’s The Write Way
Maggie Jagger’s Books and life, historical, paranormal, real
Coreene Smith’s E.C. Ramblings
Brenda Hammond’s What Flutters By
Linda Poitevin’s Angels Gather Here

and lastly

Catherine Durnford-Wang’s Observations of a Baby Boomer


9 thoughts on “Seven Things: Work, Writing & Research”

  1. Excellent blog m’lady. If I’d know you were such an august person when you visited I would have given you and Don the master bedroom instead of the visitor’s roll out bed.

  2. I loved your seven very interesting things Melanie – did you know the Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently anchored up at Leith Docks, Edinburgh, and is now a tour? I went on it with my mum a couple of years ago and it seemed strange to tread in the same spaces as Her Majesty the Queen and other Royals, like Princess Di. A lovely yacht, of course, but no where near as plush inside as you might think.

    Also I bought my brother and his wife a Laird and Ladyship of Lochaber last year for their Christmas gift (they are a difficult couple to buy for)!

  3. I didn’t know I could be a real lady, like you Melanie. What a great gift!
    I am trying to think of a royal story, but my only near miss was long ago. I’d seen the Queen from a great distance, and I said in a loud voice to my friends, but where is Prince Philip, only to see he was three feet in front of me, pretending not to be himself. Or maybe he was hoping I wasn’t a rabid fan. I’d almost walked into him, while I was looking around for him. I must say, he is really good at ignoring idiots.

  4. Thaks Janice! I knew the Britannia was a permanent fixture at the Leith Docks just anytime I’ve visited the city, I’ve always gone further into Edinburgh than towards the Firth of Forth and Leith.
    Over here on the outskirts of Montreal is our National Train Museum. One of their exhibits is a Royal Train car. We’ve been to see it and the fancier one at the National Rail Museum in York.

  5. Thanks Maggie! Loved your Royal encounter. From what I’ve read about Philip, he can be a real hoot and not shy about sticking his foot in his mouth.
    I know when my husband and I met Princess Anne along, we made her laugh and afterwards we were the centre of attention because everyone was asking how we did it.

  6. Thats amazing Mel ! I loved your seven things that u told about urself. I never new until now that u have such an experience in life…. and u r so much attached to ur Dad and his birthplace. My best wishes are always with u….. Grace.

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