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Melanie Jackson

Photo: Bart Jackson 2019

Melanie is the author of such young-adult suspensers with Orca Book Publishers as The Big Dip and Death Drop, as well as the Dinah Galloway Mystery Series. Melanie's suspenser Medusa's Scream was named a Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book, Middle Readers, of 2018.

Of the Edgar Allan Poe-themed Tick Tock Terror (2019) Booklist said, "Jackson’s gripping, first-person, plot-driven novel ask readers to consider self-confidence vs. over-active ego; right vs. wrong…A suspenseful addition to high-low collections."

And, of The Fifth Beethoven (Crwth Press, 2020), Ginny Ratsoy wrote in The Ormsby Review:

“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.”

From the Vancouver Heritage Foundation: “The Fifth Beethoven is delightful and the plot is 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.”

The BC Teacher Librarians’ Association's Judy Cottrell: “Exciting. I enjoyed reading it.”

A 2018 TD Canadian Children's Book Week author, Melanie teaches a mystery unit every year at a Vancouver secondary school. She also does stand-alone presentations/readings for schools.

A former journalist, now business/advertising writer/editor, Melanie lives in Vancouver with her family. In 2016 she received a University of Toronto Alumni Arbor Award.

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


The Spy in the Alley. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2002.
The Man in the Moonstone. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2003.
The Mask on the Cruise Ship. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2004.
The Summer of the Spotted Owl. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2005.
Shadows on the Train. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2007
The Queen of Disguises. Orca, 2009
The Big Dip. Orca, 2009
Fast Slide. Orca, 2010
High Wire. Orca, 2012
The Midnight-Blue Marble. Gumboot, 2009
Comet Boy. Caramel Tree, 2011
The Legend of Rip Van Winkle. Caramel Tree, 2014
Eye Sore. Orca, 2015
Death Drop. Orca, 2016
Medusa's Scream. Orca, 2017
Tick Tock Terror. Orca, 2019
The Fifth Beethoven. Crwth Press, 2020


Nominated, Silver Birch Award for The Mask on the Cruise Ship, 2006.
Nominated, Chocolate Lily Book Award for The Mask on the Cruise Ship, 2005.
Second place, BC Chocolate Lily Award for The Man in the Moonstone, 2005.
Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award for The Spy in the Alley, 2003.
Nominated, Silver Birch Award for Shadows on the Train, 2008
Named by CTV News as a Summer Best Read for The Summer of the Spotted Owl, 2006
Nominated for Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award for Queen of Disguises, 2010
Resource Links' Best of 2009 for The Big Dip, 2009
Resource Links' Best of 2010 for Fast Slide, 2010
CCBC Starred Selection for High Wire, 2012
TD Canadian Children's Book Week author, 2018
A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book, Middle Readers, 2018 for Medusa's Scream, 2018
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

Like the ancient Roman god Janus, my presentations for middle-grade students really have two perspectives. One: explore the elements of a story to enrich kids’ reading and creative writing experiences. Two: draw on mythology as a way to illuminate not only their literary but their everyday experiences.

Journey through the elements of a story…

I take students on a journey through the elements of writing a story, from catchy beginning to problem and conflict; from character, metaphor and atmosphere to climax and resolution. To illustrate these elements, I read excerpts from my new young-adult mystery novel, Medusa’s Scream, and play four brief Hitchcock video clips. All the while I show slides representing a harrowing, if tongue-in-cheek, journey along a roller-coaster ride, a roller coaster being a convenient way to illustrate the ups and downs of a story.

Presentation Length:
60 min.
The elements that go into writing a story, with both mythology and my young-adult mysteries as the example.
Audience size:
Workshop Description:

Any of the above for one class maximum, with exercises.


Northern OAC WITS:
GST not applicable