I have been enjoying Edale Lane’s latest novel, Merchants of Milan, as part of an Other Worlds Ink blog tour and will post my thoughts on it later today. In the meantime, please welcome Melodie Romeo writing as Edale Lane for her LGBTQ fiction novels. Her answers to the interview questions are both inspiring and entertaining, but don’t get too caught up in them. If you keep reading below the interview, there’s a giveaway and a glimpse of the novel itself.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first book while in grade 2; it was about dinosaurs and featured my favorite ones. It was also completely plagiarized except for the pictures which I colored myself. I continued to write stories through elementary and high school, when I wrote my first novella of over 100 pages. College left me no time for recreational writing, but I picked the pencil back up afterward. I have more unfinished novels than Nora Roberts has books! At long last my alter-ego Melodie Romeo achieved our first publication in 2002 — Vlad, a Novel, a historical thriller featuring a m/f romance. Heart of Sherwood was the first Edale Lane title to be published in 2018, re-released in 2019 under my Past and Prologue Press label.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
My mother spent most of her life as an English and Literature teacher, but she earned her degree in history. Art, music, and history filled our home when I was growing up and my favorite movies were Ben Hur, Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn version), The Three Musketeers, and pretty much anything that included riding horses or sword fighting. History remained my favorite subject in school and later I earned a master’s degree in the field. When I first started writing, I was not daring enough to make my heroes women and give them female lovers; I simply chose to live vicariously through my leading men. I keep my similar yet divergent genres in balance by writing under two different names: Melodie Romeo for historical thrillers, horror, and heterosexual romances, and Edale Lane for exciting tales of historical or fantasy lesbian romance.
What was the most valuable piece of advice you’ve had from an editor?
“Less is more.” The fewer words you can use to say something, the better. It is a lesson I constantly struggle to master.
What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
When I conceived this story, it was simply “The Night Flyer,” but as I started outlining and story-mapping, it became clear that there was too much to fit into one book. Merchants of Milan introduces the main players in the plot, sets up conflict and intrigue, and gets our romance started. It explains why there is a “Night Flyer” and how she achieved that persona. It also completes the first act. But I think this question speaks to the goal of the series, which in part is to bring imaginings from the mind of Leonardo da Vinci to life in a world of discovery and awakening where a woman had a few more opportunities than she would have a hundred years before or after this window of Italian Renaissance. I wanted to create a kind of 16th century version of Batgirl, only without most of the comic book elements. Bringing my characters to life and giving them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams was also paramount. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m pleased with that progress thus far.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
I have held jobs as: a private music teacher, a choir director, an instrumentalist, a private school teacher, a public school teacher, an after-school tutor, a Graduate Assistant, a Home Depot associate, a Kaplan Test Prep teacher/director, and an over-the-road truck driver. From this plethora of employment, the one that has impacted my writing most is the over-the-road truck driver. It is the only job on this list that has allowed me to make money. (All of the others were jobs I held in conjunction with teaching school because it didn’t pay enough to support my family by itself.) And since I was always working two or three jobs and raising children, there was little time for anything else. My current job not only allows me more time to write, it supplies me with money to promote my books and stories and to start my own small press. Additionally, driving across such a large country with so many different climates and landscapes gives me great images for painting scenes in my works. However, my goal now is to write and sell enough books that I can turn in my keys and become a full-time author.
Which of your own characters would you Kill? Have sex with? Marry? And why?
Oh my! Let me preface this answer by saying I am a peace-loving, non-violent soul who hopes to never be in the position to have to kill anyone, and I am happily engaged in a long-term relationship with my partner having no intentions of so much as looking at another woman. That being clear, I would kill Iseppo in a heartbeat! To tell you why would reveal too many secrets, but let’s just say he’s a sleaze and deserves to die. I’d be right there making love to Madelena if the opportunity arose and I would marry her too, if marriage between two women was allowed. Why? Because as I write this story, I see everything through the eyes of Florentina; I’m Florentina, flying through the sky on my majestic wings, fighting bad guys, unraveling mysteries, and making love to a beautiful, kind-hearted woman. Of course then I’d have to marry her because I’m just old fashioned that way; I don’t believe in casual sex. If there’s no love involved, what’s the point?
What action would your name be if it were a verb?
Fly. Some of my earliest dream memories are of flying (and I still occasionally have the flying dream). As a child I belted out Climb Every Mountain, and I still get tingly every time I hear Barbara Streisand sing Piece of Sky and Papa Can You Hear Me? from Yentl. I just long to do and be… more. There are many ways to fly and being good at what you do is one of them. It is my intent to never stop learning, never stop growing, and never stop reaching for the stars.
What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
That would be Secrets of Milan, book two of the Night Flyer Trilogy! And while I don’t wish to keep my fans waiting too long, I do have a “day job.” Additionally, I am meticulous with research, rewrites, and editing, so I hope to have it finished by this fall, maybe August but more likely September or October.
I hope you enjoyed Edale Lane’s answers. I’ll give you a hint about what I’ll say in the review. Her comment about da Vinci? It’s on the mark, and you’ve seen how much I love mechanisms. At this point, I’m sure you want to know more about her book, so I‘ll leave you to it.
Edale Lane has a new FF historical romance out, book one of the Night Flyer Trilogy: Merchants of Milan.
Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.
Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.
Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series. Buy this one-of-a-kind novel today and let the adventure begin!
Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
In the next instant Maddie placed a caressing hand to her face, leaned in, and kissed her. Although she had been anticipating this very possibility for hours, it came on her as swift and unforeseen as a summer storm. The sensual heat of those urgent lips melded to hers ignited something deep within Florentina’s core that sprung to life for the very first time and exploded throughout her being, a sensation so phenomenal, so novel that she had no context in which to place it. Breathless, her mind went totally blank, and she simply savored the moment.
When Madelena withdrew she whispered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to overstep.”
“Sorry?” Florentina’s heart sank and her head spun. How could she be sorry? “Why? I’m not.”
“You’re not?” Maybe Maddie was as uncertain as she, as overcome with raw emotion and not knowing how to express it. “It’s just that–and I have contemplated this–with me being your employer and all, I don’t want you to expect you must do something you aren’t comfortable with. I would never pressure you-”
It was Florentina’s turn to be impulsive. She silenced Maddie by repeating the gesture, tasting again those full, cherry lips that flooded her mind, body, and soul with sensations. When it broke, they gazed into each other’s eyes looking for confirmation. “I understand I am only a servant in your household.”
“Don’t say that!” Maddie replied firmly. “That is not how I view you. Please, Fiore. How can I explain?”
The earlier butterflies began to settle in Florentina’s stomach and the fog of trepidation evaporate. She could perceive that the beautiful wealthy widow did regard her with esteem, did have feelings for her. This was not a mere dalliance she realized. “I care for you also,” she spoke softly and stroked Maddie’s luxurious strands. “Do not think you press me to do something I have not wanted to do since the moment I first saw you.”
Relief engulfed Madelena’s expression, and she brushed her cheek to Florentina’s then nuzzled her neck with moist, eager lips. A euphoric sigh escaped Fiore’s mouth at the intimate touch and she pulled Maddie closer. When their lips found each other’s again she opened to the honey-sweet tongue that was impatient to delve into it. Without willing them to do so, she realized her fingers were wound in those silky red strands while her other hand slid down Madelena’s back as far as the bench would allow. She could perceive her heartbeat against her own heated breast. This is what she had dreamt of and it surpassed her expectations. All she wanted to do was touch, caress, explore, and please this singular woman. Even as she was rendered breathless from the physical passion, her heart was telling her head that what she felt was far more, endlessly deeper. It was a very dangerous cavern, a bottomless pit that could spell her doom; she was falling in love.
Madelena realized she was making a mistake. She had acquired a good tutor for her children and a new friend to share meaningful experiences with, but a romantic affair? Where could that possibly lead? What would her brother think or do when he found out, and she knew he would, eventually. Hadn’t she lived a well-disciplined life? Could she not control her desires for more than a few weeks?
As her mind was blaring at her all the reasons to say no, her heart had been pleading an opposing case. Yes, she had found a teacher and a friend, but in Florentina she had discovered abundantly more. She was interesting, witty, talented, intuitive, and compassionate. She opened whole new worlds to the widow whose entire education was meant only to prepare her to be a merchant’s wife. For the past six months she had felt lost, as if she had no place and no purpose. She had helped Alessandro with the bookkeeping and personal relations with customers, but she had also spent her nights alone speculating on what the future may hold for her. She still could not answer that question, but she had spoken honestly when she said that Fiore made her feel real and alive. Since growing closer to the dark-haired inventor’s daughter she had begun to experience so many things. And today–today had likely been the best day of her twenty-eight years on this earth! Then the emotion of sharing her story, it was just all too much to expect her to maintain self-control. But now that she had initiated this passionate encounter, what would she do next?
Presently, she drew back from those sultry lips trying to regain some restraint. “Have you ever been with a woman before?” she asked to fill the silence.
Florentina shook her head. “If you mean sexually, I am quite inexperienced with anyone, male or female. Years ago when Cesare told me he was attracted to men, I mentioned that I was more drawn to women. I didn’t think he’d ever say anything; it’s not like we talked about it much, but now,” she paused casting starry eyes at Maddie, “I’m glad he did.”
She smiled and stroked Florentina’s cheek. “So am I.”
“I know you have experience,” she noted. “So, what do we do next?”
What indeed! Madelena considered. “Take one step at a time. May I suggest we try to get some sleep and take a night to process it all? I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.”
“You’re overwhelmed?” Fiore laughed. “I’m not certain my legs will carry me upstairs!”
Maddie hesitated to move, as the tug of an invisible cord was drawing her back to her newfound treasure. Neither was Florentina was moving away. One more kiss and you must move. Give both of us time to think. She touched her lips to Fiore’s and closed her eyes. What makes one kiss a sloppy flop and another a driving, sensuous pleasure? Is it one’s mental perception or a physical current that connects two individuals who are similarly charged? I can feel the energy pass between her and I unlike any other before.
“I shall see you in the morning.” She released Florentina and pushed herself to her feet with a sheer force of will. Florentina followed saying her good-nights and Madelena closed the bedroom door behind her as she left. Alone once more, she glanced around her empty chamber and wished her lover could have stayed all night.
Edale Lane is the penname used by Melodie Romeo for LGBTQ fiction novels. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida.
Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over-the-road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, Less Than Three Press, and Past and Prologue Press.
Her first novel as Edale Lane, Heart of Sherwood, is an historical retelling of the Robin Hood story supposing that the hooded outlaw had been a woman: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co/heart-of-sherwood1/
In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be successful enough to quit driving and devote herself to writing full time. Melodie resides in Utica, MS, with her longtime partner, Johanna.
Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.
Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.lpages.co
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/EdaleLane/
Author Twitter: @EdaleLane
Author Instagram: melodieromeo
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15264354.Edale_Lane
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ