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TickTockGetting kids to read shouldn’t be a challenge. The age-old attraction of reading is all in the story. A good conflict, a puzzling problem and accessible language: Now that’s something young readers will set their clocks for. In this blog, I share my adventures and enthusiasm as a children’s/YA author in writing mysteries. Thanks for visiting–and don’t forget to glance over your shoulder now and then. A plot twist may be coming at you!

Pictured (left): my 2019 Orca Y/A, Edgar Allan Poe-themed novel Tick Tock Terror, of which Booklist said, “Jackson’s gripping, first-person, plot-driven novel asks readers to consider self-confidence vs. over-active ego; right vs. wrong…A suspenseful addition to high-low collections.”

Find out about more of my novels, including my roller-coaster-themed The Big Dip, which, along with Tick Tock Terror, I use in creative writing classes at a Vancouver secondary school.

Beethoven-squarePositive notes indeed: From Ginny Ratsoy’s review in The Ormsby Review of my Y/A Crwth Press mystery The Fifth Beethoven:

“Scottish-born Vancouverite Melanie Jackson is a veteran writer of mysteries for young people, and it shows: she hits the right notes with this mystery for tweens and early teens. Not only does the mystery thread keep you coming back; the plot also explores all-too-relevant inequities and injustices, while educating young readers about the coolness of classical music and musicians — all at a quick tempo and in a light hearted tone.

“…all the hallmarks of a good mystery…with contemporary relevance, a complex web of clues, an array of suspects, and a satisfying solution.”

Talk about an Ode to Joy! And here’s an excerpt of a review by Johanna Hickey of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation:

“It’s delightful and the whole plot is so clever, as is the title. I loved the music theme. …And I really liked the book’s example of the almighty big developer crushing the little people. That is so true in this city and is allowed to happen time and time again. Hopefully a book such as this will help make young people aware of this serious problem.”

From the BC Teacher Librarians’ Association, Judy Cottrell: “Exciting. I enjoyed reading it.”

TD Canadian Book Week 2018 Author

ByChasTreeI was tickled pink, quite pinkly pink, in fact, to be selected a 2018 TD Canadian Book Week author. Thanks to the volunteers and schools who welcomed me so warmly to Quebec. My book showcased on the tour was Medusa’s Scream (Orca), a favourite of this native Aberdonian because of the Scottish history connection.

Oh, and as an eating enthusiast, a favourite also because of the food theme: the protagonist is a piemaker. A male protag, yet, so against stereotype.

Read all my blog posts, including Breaking up isn’t that hard to do–at least, not if we’re talking paragraphs. It’s advice I share with in the creative writing unit I teach.

And hey, don’t wait another Tick Tock minute! Follow me @melaniejackson

4 responses »

  1. Andrea Grimaud

    Hi Melanie, I hope your visit to Quebec and then dealing with the time change didn’t leave you ragged. I enjoyed your presentation last Wednesday evening at Selwyn House and following that I came home and searched for the link to that Youtube video I mentioned to you. And I’m pleased to say that I found it ..

    If for some reason the link doesn’t work, just go to Youtube and enter the words Agatha Christie’s Garden. It’s very interesting and covers not just her garden, but much of her personal life story and her writing as well. It lasts one hour and I’ve watched it a few times over the past few years.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Andrea,

      Thank you so much for writing to me! I had tremendous fun at Selwyn, and enjoyed speaking with you afterward. Like you, I am a total Agatha fan. In fact in the mystery unit I teach every year here at a Vancouver high school I assign the kids to read The Case of the Perfect Maid, starring Miss Marple.

      I look forward to checking out the link you sent. In fact, I’m thinking I could show that in class to the Grade 8s!

      Sorry to be late in replying. Speaking of the course I teach, I came home after the fabulous, dream-of-a-lifetime Book Week and after a few extra days we spent in Montreal––and then had about 90 student stories to mark and comment on. But now I’m done and can resurface :).

      I hope you enjoy lots of mystery reading over the summer. The perfect time! If you haven’t read The Woman In The Window, that will provide you with some Agatha-worthy surprises.

      I hope our paths cross again! It was such a pleasure to wind up my day by chatting with you.

      With warm wishes,



  2. Super to see your Blog .. keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person


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