Studio Feature: Robin Mellom
Growing up, Robin Mellom’s mom was the vice principal at her elementary school, which meant spending lots of after-school hours at school. “I’d erase the chalkboards of all my favorite teachers (there were many) and listen in as they told one another stories about the day,” she remembers. “Teachers are typically pretty entertaining people. But after school? They’re very entertaining.”
Those overheard stories are what led Robin to write ones of her own. “My dream was to be a writer,” she says. “And after spending so much of my life around teachers (no offense, they’re fabulous people), I knew the last thing I ever wanted to be was a teacher.” So what did Robin do? She became a teacher. “It was inevitable. Fortunately, my fate led me to a job I adored.” Robin taught creative writing and began sharing her own stories with her class. She discovered that she not only liked sharing her work, but she was encouraged by what she was writing.
This bolstered her confidence to begin her first novel and join a writer’s group. “It was a local chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which is a national organization of incredibly supportive people. I went to several conferences each year and read every book on fiction writing I could find,” Robin shares.
She didn’t sell that first book. “Or my second. Or my third,” she admits. “The book that finally sold and made me an ‘author’ was my sixth book. It took tons of perseverance. Tons.”
Robin believes that her experiences—being the daughter of a vice principal, becoming a teacher, teaching creative writing to middle schoolers—are all essential to her career as a writer. “Becoming a teacher was my fate, but becoming a writer was my dream. I’m grateful to have experienced both.”