Author Interview: Melanie Cusick-Jones, Author of Hope’s Daughter

Hi all!

I’m delighted to introduce Melanie Cusick-Jones, the author of Hope’s Daughter, a dystopian/sci-fi book for young adults. I’ve read it and also wrote a review, you may find it here. It was indeed a wonderful book and I loved it!


After graduating from The University of Sheffield with an English Literature Masters in 2003, Melanie has been writing fiction – time permitting – ever since.

The Ambrosia Sequence (started in 2008) and The Elementals (begun in 2004) are both ongoing, extended projects each containing several novels, aimed primarily at young adults and hover somewhere in the middle of sci-fi, futuristic and fantasy genres. Hope’s Daughter, released in December 2011, is her debut novel and the first of The Ambrosia Sequence, with the sequel – Outlanders – due in 2012.

When she’s not writing Melanie enjoys the wet weather of the north of England with her dogs or disappearing into a book for a few hours (no surprise there then). Unfortunately, all too often the ‘day job’ gets in the way of the nicer things in life!


My interview goes..

How did you choose the genre you write in and where do you get your ideas?

Mel: The ideas for Hope’s Daughter came from a mixture of real life events and articles that I’ve read in newspapers and magazines about technologies and issues that are expected to affect our future; and from reading science fiction and dystopian books – such as George Orwell, H G Wells, Philip K Dick. I wanted to write about a world that I could see happening in the future from where we are right now.


How did you come up with the title and the names of the characters? Balik is a very unique name. 

Hope’s Daughter has a couple of reference points within the book – primarily the name comes from Cassie being a child raised on the Space Station Hope: she is one of the many sons and daughters of Hope.

For characters, I really like names with meaning, which can connect to their personalities or roles in a book. Balik is a native American name meaning ‘mighty warrior’, a little clue as to the person he might turn out to be J The origins of his name also suited his physical appearance. Similarly, Ami – Cassie’s best friend – means ‘friend’ in Japanese (similar to the French word as well) and ties in to her family’s geographic origins on earth.


If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

I think like many people out there it would be Harry Potter’s world: it has such variety, detail and amazing things to be and do – people love the books so much because who wouldn’t want to be a part of that world?


If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?

I was never able to picture an actress for Cassie until recently, when I saw the advert for The Descendants with George Clooney.Shailene Woodley who plays his oldest daughter in that reminded me of the Cassie I saw inside my head: she’s pretty but not too perfect. Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl or Drew Roy from Hannah Montana both have the right kind of look for Balik, not sure if they’d be tall enough though 🙂


Since your first book, Hope’s Daughter is a dystopian/sci-fi for young adults, what are the other genres that you’d like to try?

I’m already partway through a series of middle grade fantasy stories that lead into a YA series of fantasy/paranormal books set in the same ‘fantasy world’. A little like Hope’s Daughter they are set in the ‘real world’ but then have the fantasy elements imposed onto that. I’m releasing the first two middle-grade books in the series free later this year for Kindle and via my website, just to see what people think of the series. It will be a while before I get around to releasing more of those as I’m focusing on the follow-up toHope’s Daughter. I’ve also got some ideas for contemporary YA stories, but they’re nothing more than notes in a book right now!


What is your favorite food?

Ooh, I love nice food, but my go-to food will always be Mexican – I love the spice and veggies.


What is your favorite movie?

I like so many it’s really hard to pin-point, however, I’ve just seen The Hunger Games and think it’s one of the best book to film adaptations I’ve seen – after doubting a couple of the casting choices originally I thought it came together really well and some character like Haymitch, Gale and Effie really came to life for me more than they had from the books alone.


Dogs or cats?

Definitely dogs – my Labradors would have something to woof about it if I said anything else 🙂


Tea or coffee?

Tea – don’t drink coffee at all – love the smell, but hate the taste


Ryan Reynolds or Alex Pettyfer?

Both gorgeous – but it would have to be Ryan for me.


Lastly, what is the message that you’d like to give to your fans and readers?

I’d just like to say thank you to the people who’ve taken the time to read my first book and supported me with messages, reviews and blog posts over the last few months – it really means a lot to any author. And also, keep an eye out for the next books as they’ll be coming through soon!

Thanks for having me on the blog today – really enjoyed the interview – Mel x


You’re welcome Mel! And thanks also for this wonderful interview, I really had fun! This is my first ever, and thanks for giving this opportunity to work with you. 😉

That’s it! You may also check her out in her website, she’ll be happy to hear from you!