Introducing ... Melody Pendlebury
Welcome! We would like to learn more about the author of A Girl Called Ruthless. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Melody Pendlebury and I live in Jacksonville, Florida with my husband and my corgi Gatsby. By day I am a reading and writing teacher, and any other time I am a writer. I started out with writing children's books about my dog and have now pivoted to middle-grade/teen books.
My debut novel is A Girl Called Ruthless about eleven-year-old Ruthless who will do whatever it takes to live up to her name. In true Ruthless fashion, she claims the title of student body president, but her aspirations are cut short after getting in trouble. Not letting that stand in her way, she runs for Mayor with the help of her incredibly strong best friend, Owen. Her town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has no age requirement to run for Mayor. The chances of a child winning are slim, to say the least, so Ruthless and Owen disguise themselves as an adult with the good old “two kids in a trench coat” ruse. This seemingly harmless scheme has grave consequences that invite the turmoil of her mother’s past back to haunt her. When the traumas of the adult world come down on Ruthless, she must learn how to live with her new reality and ultimately use it to turn her life into a success story and live up to her name.
Congratulations on your new book release, A Girl Called Ruthless, which has already achieved Bestseller status! I do have a few more questions for you ...
What is the first story you remember telling (not necessarily writing)? The first story I remember writing was when I was in elementary school, I am not sure of my exact age. I got a notebook with the cover saying, "What part of princess don't you understand?" so I decided to just have that be the title of my book (I guess I have always come up with the title before I wrote the book). It was about an elementary school girl who was so popular that she had her own private treehouse/clubhouse on school property and one day a new boy (with spikey red tips like NYSYNC) came to the school and he ended up being a prince. He fell in love with her and they got married making her a princess. Disney really did a number on me when I was a kid and I think my subconscious wrote A Girl Called Ruthless to make up for the sad childbride story of my youth haha.
You have a book published. (do you have more?) Do you have a favorite character (and, if so, which one)? I self-published my own children's book for the past 3 years. They are all about my corgi Gatsby in different modern fairytales. I guess he would have to be my favorite character since he is the actual love of my life, but I am obsessed with Ruthless. I was always a very mild-tempered and obedient little girl and even today I will do just about anything to avoid conflict. Ruthless is the kind of girl that I wish I was when I was growing up. She is also the girl I see in the children that I teach. To give you an example, one of my 4th-grade girls last year stood on top of the picnic tables at lunch and yelled, "I am woman, hear me roar!" Even as I am writing more stories now, I have a hard time loving anyone as much as I love Ruthless.
What is your favorite activity to do in the summer? Winter? I live in Florida so my favorite activity to do in the summer (and actually most of the winter) is to go to the beach. It really is too hot to do anything else so you must be a by a body of water at all times. I live only a short distance from St. Augustine and every winter season they have The Night of Lights which is where they decorate the whole historic town in holiday lights. I never get bored of it.
What led you to start writing novels? As I said, I started out writing children's books. I have been teaching the same class for the past 4 years, so I started teaching them in first grade and now we are in 5th. I started with children's books because that was the type of books they wanted to read. As they got older, I wanted to write books that they would enjoy. A Girl Called Ruthless is a little bit above their age range but most of my kids are very mature and already reading YA books. They needed a middlish grade book that was where they were developmental. I also have always wanted to be a writer. I have never been the best with talking in general, my words always get mixed up and my mouth doesn't work as fast as my brain. Writing is a way for me to get out exactly what and how I want to say.
Cats or dogs? Dogs! I am also allergic to cats so my love for dogs has always been a little biased.
If you were to be gifted a superpower that you had to use continuously for 8 hours every day, what would it be? It's definitely hard to think of one I would want to use continuously. I guess super smart. I think that would make me depressed because the more I know the sadder I am about the world, but I could probably make the world a better place if I knew everything.
What is your favorite author/book? My all-time favorite is Slaughterhouse Number Five by Kurt Vonnegut. He writes very differently than how I do but he is who got me into my love for reading.
The zombie apocalypse will happen in two days. You are fully stocked with food, water, and toilet paper. What is the one thing you will have stocked up on as your guilty pleasure? I would stock up on sour candy, specifically Rips.
Tells us about a favorite time and place to write. My favorite time to write is in the morning when no other obligations are clouding my thoughts. My favorite place to write is on my couch with some iced coffee.
Where do you draw inspiration? Real-life? Daydreams? All of my stories have a bit of my own life in them, I think that is typical for writers. But most of my inspiration comes from my favorite movies. A Girl Called Ruthless was inspired by movies like Moonrise Kingdom, Jojo Rabbit, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Tell us your favorite "dad joke."
"I'm(insert I'm hungry or I'm cold)"
"I'm dad." (My students absolutely love that one!)
Werewolves or Vampires Vampires, if I could sell my soul to live forever, I would do it in a heartbeat.
So, you obviously love your corgi. How would Gatsby write your bio?
My mom loves to look at her phone and her laptop. She is always trying to take pictures of me which I hate. We are one and the same in the fact that we don't like to be cuddled for too long. We both like our space. We also like to randomly get bursts of energy and run around.
Thank you, Melody, for answering all of my questions. It is awesome getting to know more about an author. Now, get back to promoting your most excellent book!
Shine on! 🌞
Melody firmly believes one should never completely grow up. That is why she has chosen to spend her days writing for a younger audience. Melody resides in Jacksonville Florida with her beloved corgi Gatsby, and her husband Dylan. She started her writing career with children’s picture books and has now pivoted to middle-grade novels. She believes that children are eager for more books with strong-willed characters that deal with darker and interesting topics. Her debut novel, A Girl Called Ruthless, is inspired by the fiery girls in her fourth-grade class. When Melody is not writing or teaching kids how to write, she can be found planning her next big trip to some magical place she has never been to.
Social Media links:
Instrgram and Tiktok - @melodypendywriters