Finalist Spotlight

Melissa McShane

I am the author of more than forty fantasy novels, including the Crown of Tremontane books that my Whitney finalist novel is part of. I live in Utah with my family, four very needy cats, and a library that has finally overflowed its bounds. I love reading, painting miniatures, and playing fantasy roleplaying games.

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Melissa McShane on her Whitney Awards Finalist novel,

Ally of the Crown

What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?

I have written a long series about the ruling family of a fantasy kingdom that covers a period of 250 years, and I wanted to tell the story of a woman who gets caught up in the intrigue surrounding that family at a time in their history when the magic she has is illegal.

What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?

Once I know the main character well enough, every one of my books is something I really want to complete.

 How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?

The book was originally about someone else, and I got about halfway through before I realized it wasn’t the right character. So I backed up, changed the setting and the time period to about 150 years earlier, found a different main character, and wrote a different book.

Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?

My favorite secondary character is Hien, who is the high priestess of the temple my main character Fiona infiltrates. Though she believes Fiona betrays her, she is always convinced that Fiona has a destiny she doesn’t know anything about, and she encourages Fiona to act in faith when the future seems hopeless.

If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?

The climactic scene, when Fiona risks having her secret magic revealed so she can do the right thing.