Helping her young son with his homework has led to a mum of two getting a contract from an American publisher to write four fantasy novels.
Melody Winter is from York but has used Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay as the inspiration for the venture, drawing on her childhood memories and a creative writing assignment that her son was set at school.
Sachael Dreams, set against the backdrop of Ravenscar and surrounding rugged coastline, is the first in the series of four - and was launched on Tuesday by Reuts Publications.
It will be followed by Sachael Desires later this year, Sachael Delusions next year and Sachael Destiny will complete the series in 2017.
Sachael – a secret male breed of creature which looks human in and out of water and lives in air locks in the deepest parts of the world’s oceans. They only venture above the surface to use their seductive powers to persuade human females to mate after which they head back beneath the surface with their new born.
Melody said: “My eldest child came home from school with a creative writing assignment. I got so interested in what he was doing that I started thinking about writing something myself.
“The original idea I started with grew and grew, but time constraints, brought about by two young boys, meant I had to forget about things for a while.”
But as the boys got older she decided to re-visit her writing.
The books had originally been set in Scotland but changed the location after day trips to Robin Hood’s Bay
She added: “While they played quite happily and got extremely wet, I stared off into the distance at the defined outline of the coast to the south. Something about it caught my attention.
“I still can’t place what it was, but it stirred enough curiosity in me to ask at the local National Trust shop what the distant place was called.
“When I was told Ravenscar, something else clicked into place. I’d heard of it. It was the ‘town that never was’. Spurred on by this information we left Robin Hood’s Bay and visited. As soon as I pulled up on the top road and saw the view across the bay I knew I’d found the location for Sachael Dreams.”
Since that first visit, Melody and her family have been back many times and walked the Cleveland way from Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay.
She added: “It’s so easy to immerse myself in my main character when I’m there. It has a calming effect on me - perhaps it’s a little bit of Sachael magic.”