BIRTH OF MELAYNIE’S MASQUERADE

On a summer visit at age 10, I sat down in front of a portable typewriter at my grandparents’ home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and wrote (hunt and peck version of typing) a short story about a dog. I’d already been an avid reader, so the action was probably inevitable. In high school I began writing for the newspaper and continued in journalism for years afterward—news, interviews, play reviews, etc.

Our paths in life have many detours and branches. I think I always knew I’d end up writing a book of some sort. The inspiration for Melaynie and her adventure came rather indirectly, as things do. History was always fascinating to me, and I got to combine my interests when I wrote stories for the local newspaper about the yearly Renaissance Faire in Southern California. Faire visitors and vendors alike wore wonderful colorful costumes, and there were actors who played the important roles of Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake.

After reading James Michener’s huge tome Caribbean, which was a collection of stories about history-makers in that area, I became even more intrigued by Sir Francis Drake, England’s famous 16th century adventurer, pirate, and second man to sail around the world. Drake had bedeviled the Spanish time after time in the Carib Sea, as they called it then, and carried home to England various Spanish ships, jewelry and gold to share with Queen Elizabeth. He was also a major player in defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Sir Francis Drake -- my hero!

In the 1990s, I wrote a screenplay about Drake’s forays against the Spanish and went through some of the machinations necessary to get it made into a movie. Considering how difficult it is to get a film produced, not to mention how many years it might take, I began thinking about using Drake as the basis of an historical fiction novel. I’m no longer sure where Melaynie came from or even the reason I spelled her name so differently.

I’d been intrigued by gender roles and exchanges, a theme explored many times throughout history in the arts of ancient Greece and Rome, and, of course, by Shakespeare. I always liked the final musical number from “A Chorus Line:” all the male and female dancers had on a variety of top hat and tails, and I had made that a Halloween costume for myself over the years.

Coincidentally, a knick-knack I’ve kept and displayed in my home since the late 1960s is a 16th century ship made of tin, similar to one Drake would have commanded. Little did I know I would be writing about life onboard such a ship. In the 1980s I asked a psychic if I would ever write a book. She told me I would write a novel and the subject would be something about voyages.

In the opening pages of Melaynie’s Masquerade, my 16th century heroine is having a dream that she’s a Viking warrior. Melaynie is sixteen and not looking forward to a female role in life, especially when she hears her brother David is going to sign on to Francis Drake’s upcoming voyage to the Caribbean.

My book about her adventures (including a romance), Melaynie’s Masquerade is available on Amazon. I’ve recently made some minor revisions and plan to create an E-book to sell on the Internet.

 

More about Melaynie in upcoming blogs.

 

 

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