Jackson, Melanie 1956-

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JACKSON, Melanie 1956-

PERSONAL: Born October 24, 1956, in Aberdeen, Scotland; daughter of Stanley Bernard (a professor of literature) and Nellie Pearl (a schoolteacher) Chandler; married Barry Mason Jackson (a journalist), June 20, 1981; children: Sarah Nelle. Education: University of Toronto, B.A. (with honors), 1978; University of Western Ontario, M.A., 1980. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Jogging; blues, jazz, and swing music; Tudor history; tennis; old movies.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—British Columbia School Trustees Association, 4-1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6J 5K9. E-mail— [email protected].

CAREER: British Columbia School Trustees Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, staff member, 1980—. Also works as freelance editor, layout compositor, and writer. British Columbia Education Week, past coordinator. Trout Lake Softball League, coordinator.

MEMBER: Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia, Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable, Kerry's Place Autism Society.


The Spy in the Alley: A Dinah Galloway Mystery, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2002.

The Man in the Moonstone, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2003.

Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including Vancouver, Western Living, and Chatelaine.

SIDELIGHTS: Melanie Jackson told CA: "I have wanted to be a writer since as long as I can remember—a mystery writer, for the most part. I wrote my first mystery story at age seven. I'm not sure why I liked stories so much, except that my parents read to me a lot. When I could print, I wrote down my favorite words (for example, 'princess,'), cut each of them out, and kept them in a red, zip-up coin purse.

"I suppose I want to tell a good yarn, get across that art and creativity are very important parts of life (my heroine is a Judy Garland-like singer, and her singing is always involved in solving mysterious problems), and create on paper the ideas and people who live so vividly in my imagination. Because certain stories and films have made such a strong impression on me, I want to create strong stories of my own. In sum, I guess I believe that imagination, whatever its source, mustn't stay bottled up. You have to use it. To think is to exist, yes, but for some of to create is to exist as well.

"As a working mother, I have reserved early morning for my original-draft writing. I write in longhand in an exercise book. Editing and revising I can do at other times of day, but the early-morning time is the special one.

"Dinah (my heroine) evolved from paler versions of herself in countless unpublished stories. The character came first; her family, friends, and foes, and the plot are almost secondary to her glorious self. Other characters have inspired me. These are Dinah's literary ancestors: curious Alice in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, creative Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Eloise by Kaye Thompson (herself a singer!), Ramona by Beverly Cleary, and also Otis Spofford (an old favorite)."

Jackson commented that her writing reflects "a very positive view! The only thing I wonder about is the sudden shift, when kids reach their mid-teens, to supplying them with too many brooding, solemn, life-is-woeful books. I hope we can retain some humor for them.

"My advice to aspiring writers is read a lot. Write about what you know. Someday you may be writing science fiction best-sellers about Urk from the planet Blorg, but for now, look around you for material."

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