Friday, April 21, 2023

Melodie Edwards Interview - Jane & Edward

Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz

Melodie Edwards has a BA in English literature from the University of Toronto, a Master’s degree in communications from McMaster University and Syracuse University (2023), and studied comedy writing at the Second City Training Centre. Her writing has been featured in Writer’s Digest, GI60 UK Theatre Festival, the Austin Film Festival Playwright Competition, and the Hart House Drama Festival.

She believes the importance of tea and biscuits while writing cannot be overstated.


Greatest thing you learned at school. 
Always read the assignment question twice.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
That’s a tough one – for my all-time favorite book (also outside my genre) I always flip back and forth between Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Both are funny, dark, and profound.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing? 
Treat it like a business: your writing is your product, that product has to go on the market, and people are going to have ideas about whether or not it’s saleable, or what changes have to be made in order to make it saleable. Try to view your writing product as objectively as possible, it will keep your emotions safe, and let you make decisions that will give your writing it’s best shot at getting to readers.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be? 
I think I’d have to say Pride & Prejudice, it’s so beloved by readers across the centuries – and I can only imagine what the royalties would look like today.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
I’m really not sure – it feels like just life in general was the distraction? I had the idea for my book for a while, but it was only during lockdown, looking for something to focus on, that I finally sat down and wrote it. It was once I had made that commitment – setting a word count for each day – that I was able to accomplish it.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why? 
The fire drill scene – I kept losing track of what floor level the characters were on. Trying to time the segments of their conversation for each flight of stairs was a logistical headache.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
When my agent called to tell me my novel was accepted by a publisher, my first thought was “are you kidding?” After that, there was so much to learn about publishing and other details to think about, that by the time I got the cover I’d nearly forgotten the end goal and the fact that it would be sitting on bookshelves, with a cover.

  • 1. Nearly every setting in the book is based on a real location in Canada. However, throughout the pandemic many of those locations changed significantly or went out of business.
  • 2. There really is a massive underground pathway in Toronto – some of my American friends thought I had made that part up for the book!
  • 3. Just like in the book, I have completed office fire drills that involved walking down more than sixty flights of stairs. I have also walked up the 144 flights of stairs in the CN Tower, for charity – twice. Believe it or not, going down flights of stairs is actually much harder.
  • 4. In my first draft the main character was called Joanna Raine, the male lead was called Jonathan Rosen, and the manuscript title was Jo Raine.
  • 5. The character of Adele is a combination of the child Adele, and the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax, from the original Jane Eyre.
  • 6. In the novel Edward Rosen likes to personify inanimate objects in the office – most notably his friend Lamp. In real life, my colleagues and I once named a particularly large office plant, Toby. We were heartbroken when he died.
  • 7. I once pitched this book to agents at a Writer’s Digest conference (I’d won a prize for a play I’d written which got me free admission) years before I’d actually written a single word of the book, but their responses to the pitch helped me think differently about my future manuscript.
  • 8. When I signed with my agent Melissa Edwards for this book, it felt like kismet, since it takes place in a law firm, and Melissa began her career as a lawyer.
  • 9. One of my favorite parts of the cover design is the red spine – somehow, it makes me think of the book slipping into a red party dress.
  • 10. I was inspired by the great banter scenes between Jane and Mr. Rochester in the 2006 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, when I was writing the office banter between my own Jane and Edward.
What is the first job you have had? 
I worked behind the counter at an Italian café and deli.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
Where the bleep is that snooze button?

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
That would have to be travelling in Scotland – the castles, the highlands, the architecture, and the incredible history that reaches so far back it’s mind-blowing.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
How many times can I afford to hit snooze tomorrow before I am truly late?

What was your favorite subject when you were in school? 

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why? 
Queen Elizabeth I – I’d like to know how she stayed in power for so long, fighting wars and fostering the Renaissance arts, and creating a near mythological legacy for herself – she’s a fascinating character.

Any Camp stories you would like to share? 
I’ve never been to camp. My mother liked to take advantage of summer vacation to take us travelling on educational themed holidays instead; we spent one summer doing endless tours of historical forts.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours? 

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
Sharks. I don’t know if that’s a unique fear, but considering that I don’t live near an ocean, and the closest I’ve ever come to a shark was a miniature one at the Ripley’s aquarium, it feels like a sort of random fear to explain.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
A giant concrete fish statue.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them? 
This morning.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh? 
Watching a tv show called Agatha Raisin. It’s about a glitzy former PR executive solving murder mysteries in a small English village. She makes ‘mood boards’ with the evidence and clues she finds, and somehow always solves the case.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
When will I stop going to bed with wet hair? This is unfixable. And then I spent about five minutes debating whether or not to go back to the short pixie cut I had a few years ago.

This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.

A former foster kid, Jane has led a solitary life as a waitress in the suburbs, working hard to get by. Tired of years of barely scraping together a living, Jane takes classes to become a legal assistant and shortly after graduating accepts a job offer at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Everyone at the firm thinks she is destined for failure because her boss is the notoriously difficult Edward Rosen, the majority stakeholder of Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP. But Jane has known far worse trials and refuses to back down when economic freedom is so close at hand.

Edward has never been able to keep an assistant--he's too loud, too messy, too ill-tempered. There's something about the quietly competent, delightfully sharp-witted Jane that intrigues him though. As their orbits overlap, their feelings begin to develop--first comes fondness and then something more. But when Edward's secrets put Jane's independence in jeopardy, she must face long-ignored ghosts from her past and decide if opening her heart is a risk worth taking.

You can purchase Jane & Edward at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MELODIE EDWARDS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards.


  1. I believe there's something out there. Not sure if it's on another planet, on our own planet, or even in a different dimension.