I’m so happy to welcome debut author and friend Melinda Salisbury to Bookish Firsts to cap off an exciting book tour for the fantasy The Sin Eater’s Daughter. The book is about heroine Twylla, the embodiment of a goddess, whose touch is filled with poison. This world is unique and filled with stories and legends and I absolutely enjoyed it! Mel was a rockstar and answered ALL my bookish firsts questions, so without further ado:
With author Melinda Salisbury
What is the first book you ever read/remember reading?
The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo! I got it out of the school library and read it overnight. Then I went back to get the sequels; Emlyn’s Moon, and The Chestnut Soldier. I read them and read them over and over until I knew the stories backwards. I loved them so much. I love them still. They’re the books, along with Harry Potter, that comfort me. Even now as an adult, if I’m ill, or a bit discombobulated, reading a little from these grounds me.
What is the first book character you loved?
Nain from The Snow Spider trilogy. She reminded me so much of my own Nana. She’s a bit batty, and very loving, and has a lot of hidden depths and knowledge. I thought she was amazing. But then I loved everyone in that series. I wanted so much to climb into the book and be a real part of it.
What is the first book you recommend to anyone you meet?
The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. I love it so, so much. I bought it on the way home from a trip to visit friends, because I had nothing else to read and it seemed the best of a bad bunch. I started it, almost missed my train stop because I couldn’t stop reading it. I read it all in one night, and the next morning I made some tea and read it all again. It is a beautiful, magical, devastating book about love and loss and I’ve re-read it almost as much as the Harry Potter series.
What is the first book you will pack on your upcoming holiday?
I’m taking The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, but I don’t want to start it until I know I can really get inside it. So I’m taking it to Prague with me, because I’ll have huge chunks of travelling time in which to devote myself to it.
What is the first book you would save if your house was burning?
My collector’s edition Beedle the Bard. I don’t let people look at it for too long in case their gaze somehow damages it. I love everything about it, it’s so beautiful. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s mine.
What was your first signed book?
I think it was Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I could be wrong, and it may be that I had bought one pre-signed by the author, but the first time I can recall actually handing over a book I already owned for signing was when John Green came over to the UK to do an event. A friend had tickets for the reading and signing and took my copy. Later a bunch of us managed to get to see him doing a reading, but didn’t get close enough to speak to him. A year later though me and my friends cornered him at Leaky Con and made him get a photo with us outside The Forbidden Journey ride.
Who is the first author you ever met?
J.K. Rowling! It was at her The Casual Vacancy launch at the Southbank. I’ve loved books my whole life, but until then, I hadn’t gone to meet authors at signings or anything like that. In part it was because of where I lived at the time, but also it just didn’t dawn on me to do it! Occasionally I’d see my local Waterstones advertising author visits, but I was never able to go because of work reasons or other committments. As soon as I heard that J.K Rowling was doing an event, I knew I had to go. And it actually broke the dam, because then suddenly I was going to lots of signings! I’m still really awkward at them, though. I can barely look the authors in the eye.
What is the first book your wrote (can be published or unpublished)?
It was an absolutely dire thing about a girl who saw a car crash in which a young man died and then she started dreaming about him. Slowly, they fell in love and she started spending more and more time asleep, until in the end she decided to take sleeping tablets to stay with him forever. It was about 130k words long, and included an entire chapter of her remodelling her bedroom. It was so bleak, and so slow, and so dense, but if nothing else it proved that I could do it, and also served as a stark warning to know when to kill your darlings. Or an entire idea. Not all ideas are created equally.
About The Sin Eater’s Daughter
Twylla has a gift – or a curse. She can kill with a single touch. Now she’s the court executioner, compelled to do the queen’s bidding – and marry the prince. But when she meets a rebellious guard, Twylla starts to question everything she’s been told…
About Melinda Salisbury
Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel. She can be found on Twitter at @AHintofMystery, though be warned, she tweets often.