Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin Wows Readers in Orlando!

Courtesy of Southwest Orlando Bulletin
Posted June 21, 2019


Melanie Benjamin took to the podium for the 14th annual Southwest Author Series and infused laughter with wisdom. She shared how she first wanted to be an actress and dreamed of playing other people on stage. But then she married, joking that marriage is where dreams go to die.

“Melanie Benjamin was incredibly engaging with a great sense of humor,” Colin Galloway (president of the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips) said. “It was fun. We all enjoyed it.”

Benjamin has two children. At a school event, she saw a poster her son had made indicating the stay-at-home mom was a “cleaning lady.” That set her off on a journey to become more. She decided to try her hand at writing and soon was hired to write a parenting column and short stories for a local magazine. But she said that her writing meant authoring a book.

Then she came across a photograph of a little girl dressed in rags and learned she was Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the inspiration for Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Benjamin wanted to know more about the girl’s life and wrote her first historical fiction book — Alice I Have Been — under a pen name.

Benjamin captivated the audience with tales of how she came up with the ideas for her subsequent books and teased some of the storylines. She encouraged would-be writers to get out, see things and read, read, read.

Writer’s Block Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Winter Park, sold copies of Benjamin’s books, which she autographed while chatting with participants after the presentation. The bookstore sold out of most of her titles.

Ten Things Melanie Benjamin Wants Her Readers to Know!

Courtesy of Female First, UK
Posted January 26, 2019

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To celebrate the paperback release of her book The Girls In The Picture, Female First UK asked author Melanie Benjamin to tell them 10 things she'd like all of her readers to know about her. Here's what she had to reveal...

1. I am an excellent parallel-parker. I don’t know why this fills me with such pride. Perhaps it’s because this kind of skill is generally attributed to men, not women.

2. I didn’t want to be a writer when I grew up; I wanted to be an actress. Which is why I had so much fun writing The Girls In The Picture.

3. I did indeed perform well into my thirties in local theater in the Midwest; my favorite role was Millie in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

4. I had a lot of rejection before my first book was published. And my youngest son, aged 10 at the time, wrote a poem about that: “My mom’s name is Melanie. She writes lots of books but she can’t sell any.”

5. I don’t believe in “waiting for the muse to strike.” I do believe in “gluing your butt in your chair” every day.

6. I make sure that every weekend I read at least two books for pleasure. I became a writer because I loved books, I loved reading; I wanted to be part of that world. I hate it when I hear fellow writers complain that they don’t have time to read anymore. Rubbish. MAKE time to read for pleasure; retain that love of books. Every time I read a wonderful novel, it inspires me to work harder.

7. I never believe that every word I write deserves to be published. Between some of my biggest sellers, I have written entire novels that I’ve decided not to publish, because I don’t always get it right and I have faith in my ability to learn from my mistakes. And because I don’t believe that just since I wrote something, it needs to be read. I am very particular about what I allow to be published.

8. I identified so much with my protagonist in The Girls In The Picture, Frances Marion. I’ve written about writers before – in Alice I Have BeenThe Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue. But Frances had a work ethic I think I share, and a healthy attitude toward her work; she understood that once she was done with it, other people had to take it and sell it, make it a commodity. And I do understand that about publishing, myself. I think – I hope! – I share a lot of Frances’s admirable professional attitudes and talents.

9. I love fashion and gossip sites; they’re my guilty pleasure.

10. When I was a young woman, I was left at the altar. But it turned out for the best, because had I married then, I would never have been an author. I would never have had the freedom to imagine or create. And that freedom is essential to writing.

A|U Monthly Muse - December 2018 (Historical Inspirations)

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December 2018: Historical Inspirations

Looking for the perfect book to gift your friends and family this holiday season? Historical fiction is a genre that draws in nearly everyone, and novels based on real events and historical figures are even more likely to compel those on your list this year. These armchair historians and literary archeologists take inspiration from the past, sparking beautiful narratives that not only entertain, but enlighten. Happy Holidays!

Announcing Melanie Benjamin's Next Novel... THE MISTRESS OF THE RITZ!

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin, of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamor and glitz to take their mind off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

On sale, May 2019!