What I Read When I Was Young: Melanie McFarlane

Melanie McFarlane is a part-time author and full-time claims adjuster, living in Moose Jaw with her husband and two daughters. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. She likes to write dark stories from the past, present and future for teens and tweens. She has four novels traditionally published and believes that a writer’s strength comes from their writing community.


What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?

Little Blue Ben, by Phoebe Gilman. I obsessed over this book as a child and still have my copy! It’s written in rhyme, and I know the opening lines by heart… Little Blue Ben lives in the glen, with his brother blue cat and his mother blue hen… It’s the first fantasy story I can remember (what human had a cat for a brother and a hen for a mother!).


What was the first chapter book you read?

I definitely do not remember that far back 😉


What was your favourite chapter book? What was special about it?

Charlotte’s Web. I also still have that copy! I loved the magic and mystery that Charlotte was a spider who could communicate through her web.


Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?

I did read it to my children, but they weren’t quite as taken with it as I was.


Did you read comic books? Which was your favourite?

Outside of Archie comics, I didn’t read any until I was a teen. Archie comics were the easiest to find back in the 80’s because they were at grocery stores (usually near the checkout). But when I became a teen I remember my younger brothers obsessing over the death of Superman – and that was when they sucked me into their world of superheroes.


Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

I’ve always preferred fiction over non-fiction. We grew up very poor, so escaping into stories was the only holiday/adventure I had for a long time.


Did you like series? Which ones?


In middle grade I read the Hobbit and LOTR and loved it. I also obsessed over Choose Your Own Adventure Books and the Fear Street books, but as high school progressed I learned about Ray Bradbury and nothing was ever the same again.




Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?

From kindergarten to grade 3 we lived in Midale, and I only remember the school’s library – massive and beautiful with all of its shelves of pretty books. Once we moved to Moose Jaw, we lived quite a ways from the public library and all I remember is that my parents were always working. So I relied again on my school library until I was old enough to go across town on my own.


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