Behind the words: a Q&A with author Melanie Price.

By   Hannah Bickerton 4 min read

Melanie Price is the author of The Mother-in-Law’s Secret and My Perfect Family. She grew up in Sydney but now lives in London. All of her books explore the intricacies of living between Australia and the United Kingdom – with twists and turns galore.

Q1. Tell us a bit about the journey you’ve taken through UK publishing to end up with your first novel being published last December

It’s been a bit of a journey – starting with an MA in Publishing at King’s College London in 2016/17 to now being the Digital Marketing Director at Bookouture, a global publishing division of Hachette UK.

I think I’ve always been extremely interested in what is probably termed ‘non-traditional’ forms of publishing. When I started my publishing course, I was lucky enough to land my very first internship at Whitefox! It was a fantastic place to start as I saw the publishing industry through a different lens to a traditional publishing house, which I now think was important for me to learn early on and has definitely informed where I am now. I then went on to work in digital marketing and editorial at Head of Zeus, HarperCollins and now Bookouture.

I’ve learned so much in my time at all these companies, but also from closely watching the wider industry. I had many ideas for my own books, and eventually I thought that if I could just write one, then hopefully I’d have the skills to be able to successfully self-publish as well. I thought it would be a fun new challenge and that I’d learn a lot either way! And I definitely have.

Q2. You’ve had a lot of press about going DIY via Kindle despite being plugged into traditional publishing networks. What made you decide to go that route?

As I mentioned in my answer above, I thought it would be an exciting challenge for me to self-publish, having worked in digital publishing for many years. I knew also that the type of books I wanted to write (psychological thrillers), would lend particularly well to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited model, which I’d be able to directly access through self-publishing.

Melanie Price books
Q3. You’ve already garnered an enormous number of positive reviews on Amazon. How did you go about accumulating that kind of response?

Thank you! Well, I made sure to partner with a brilliant reviewer agency, Love Books Tour, who organised a reader tour for me around publication. This ensured that I had a lot of reader reviews placed on Amazon straight from publication day. Within the first week of The Mother-in-Law’s Secret’s release I also launched a 7-day price drop promotion with an advertising campaign. By reaching a lot of readers quickly who also happen to read voraciously, I’ve been lucky enough to garner a lot of reviewers swiftly.

Q4. Tell us a bit about the next book coming in 2024. And what have you learned from publishing The Mother-in-Law’s Secret that will inform how you take the new book to your readers?

My Perfect Family was actually my very first idea, and perhaps a little bizarrely it came from a kernel of my own personal experience. My father died in a tragic fall at our home in Sydney eight years ago. It was a terrible accident and I was really lucky to have extremely supportive family and friends. Over the years though, I started to wonder: what if I hadn’t been so lucky, and what if someone in that situation didn’t have a supportive family, but in fact a very tricky one? And what if a fall had more mysterious circumstances around it? How would I, or anyone, have coped with that?

The full plot came to me when I was walking in this very hilly area of Sydney called Dover Heights back in December 2021. There are all these houses perched right at the edge of these ginormous cliffs that look right over the Pacific Ocean, and some of the older houses don’t even have proper fences from their back gardens – there’s just a sheer drop off from the edge. And so that setting, combined with my wonderings, turned into what has now become My Perfect Family. It begins with my protagonist Emily waking up with a terrible hangover in a hotel room in Sydney. Her memories of the night before are already hazy when she gets a call from her step-aunt. She’s told that her mum has been found dead on the edge of the cliffs under their home. She’s also told that it was an awful accident. She is in total shock… not just because of the terrible news. But also because she swears she remembers seeing her mother the night before, plus she’s covered in cuts… so what ensues is really a bit of a psychological thriller crossed with a whodunnit, as everyone in her family becomes a suspect to Emily – even herself!

I’ve learned so much from publishing The Mother-in-Law’s Secret – and what I’ve particularly been trying to do with My Perfect Family is to create my final files a little earlier so it’s not quite as much of a rush!

Q5. What advice would you offer someone who hopes to follow in your footsteps and take on their own publication?

It might sound cliché but I’d say just really stay focused on what you want to achieve and believe in yourself. There were so many times when I was writing or editing that I almost gave up, especially when I was tired at the end of a work day or busy week – but I knew that if I just kept going I’d eventually get there. So just stay determined, and you’ll find a way!


Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.