Meet author Melanie Dobson

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson’s excuse to immerse herself in the past by reading old books, interviewing new friends, and exploring fascinating places around the world. She is the award-winning author of almost thirty historical, time-slip, and romantic suspense novels including The Winter Rose, Catching the Wind, and Memories of Glass. When she’s not writing, Melanie enjoys teaching at conferences and as an adjunct professor. More information about her journey is available at

Tell us about your newest book. Here’s the official blurb for The Wings of Poppy Pendleton:

In this compelling new time-slip mystery, a little girl goes missing from her family’s castle in the Thousand Islands of New York. Eighty-five years later, a journalist teams up with a woman living on Koster Isle to find out what happened to Poppy, once and for all.

  1. 1907. On the eve of her fifth birthday, Poppy Pendleton is tucked safely in her bed, listening to her parents entertain New York’s gilded society in their Thousand Islands castle; the next morning, she is gone, and her father is found dead in his smoking room.
  2. 1992. Though Chloe Ridell lives in the shadows of Poppy’s castle, now in ruins, she has little interest in the mystery that still captivates tourists and locals alike. She is focused on preserving the island she inherited from her grandparents and reviving their vintage candy shop. Until the day a girl named Emma shows up on Chloe’s doorstep, with few possessions, save a tattered scrapbook that connects her to the Pendleton family. When a reporter arrives at Chloe’s store, asking questions about her grandfather, Chloe decides to help him dig into a past she’d thought best left buried. The haunting truth about Poppy, they soon discover, could save Emma’s life, so Chloe and Logan must work together to investigate exactly what happened long ago on Koster Isle.

What inspired you to write The Wings of Poppy Pendleton?

The setting was inspired, in part, by your wonderful Thousand Island series! Even though I’ve spent a lot of time in New York, I had never before heard of the castles built along the St. Lawrence River. As I read your books and others set in that area, I fell in love with the mystery, beauty, and Gilded Age history.

The main plotline in Poppy’s story was inspired by a recently discovered photograph of my grandpa and great-uncle as children. In this picture, my great-grandmother is holding a baby girl, and while my family is close, no one had ever told me about a great-aunt. I discovered that my great-grandparents adopted a girl in 1923, but sadly, they both died when she was young and none of my relatives knew what happened to her. As I began to unravel Marjory’s complicated journey, I decided to write a novel about another girl who went missing in the same era. A mystery that I could ultimately resolve through fiction.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

It’s the time-slip story of a girl who goes missing from a Thousand Islands castle in New York during the Gilded Age and then the reporter, almost ninety years later, who is determined to find out what happened to her.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

The plot centers around a little girl named Penelope with the nickname of Poppy. I don’t want to reveal much of her backstory (which ends up being the main story!), but the name originates from her mother’s British background. Her dad, who sells a soothing tonic for children made from opium/poppies, calls her Poppy. The poppy flower itself also plays a role in the story.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I have an innate desire to bring order to chaos and confusion, especially when it comes to finding out the truth about a past secret that impacts the well-being of future generations. Because of this, I enjoy writing time-slip fiction with a significant past conflict and contemporary characters who are searching for answers about what happened long ago. My stories usually start with several different threads, and my desire is to weave them together in a way that brings hope and resolution for readers.

Why do you write?

I love stories! The power and wonder and surprise of them. I’ve been writing since I was a child (I typed out my very short autobiography when I was nine!), and each time that I try to take a break, another story idea emerges. Some days, words leak slowly out of me while other days they pour. But I write because I have to.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

My schedule fluctuates, but I usually spend about a month researching my story through books, old journals, interviews, and by visiting the location. Then I develop my character profiles and the beginnings of a plot. Once I release my characters on the page, I write about 2,000 words a day, stopping at established breaks to rewrite and edit. After I clean up my draft, I continue launching the story forward.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love to travel and explore preferably old and sometimes abandoned places. All of the wondering and wandering ignites my mind.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I have grown a lot in my awareness in the last decade. While I’m often inspired to write a new story as I wander, concepts for a new book or a portion of a book are sometimes sparked through a casual conversation or an unexpected detour while I’m researching something else. I’m much more intentional now about stopping to jot down those possibilities so I can explore them later.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I’ve written almost thirty books including World War II-era novels like Catching the Wind and Memories of Glass. Don’t tell my other books, but I have a special place in my heart for Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, the story about a young artist who is on the autism spectrum in the 1950s (before people understood autism). Libby’s mom fights for her, and all the characters eventually thrive in the midst of really difficult circumstances.

What are you working on now?

I’m constantly curating new ideas, but right now, I am actively writing two novels. The first book is another time-slip novel with Tyndale House. While my mind is deep in that story, I’m still working out the details. The second novel is about an underground network of men and women in the Exodus story who are rescuing Hebrew babies after Pharaoh’s order to kill them. I’m super excited to share both of these stories soon with readers!


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