Melanie lives in a topsy-turvy house in Sheffield with her husband, son and ancient cat Bob. As a child she loved drawing, writing stories and making little comics; in her spare time these days she makes illustrated books and zines, so things haven't changed that much.
Despite having grown up around family illness and working in social care, it still came as a shock when she found herself looking after her brother when he became ill with an incurable disease - but at the same time she recognises it as a great privilege.
She is proud to live in Sheffield with its radical history, music and cultural life, and loves walking in the hills and woodlands; though she sometimes hankers after the seaside or a secret hideaway on a remote Greek island...
Nobody really wants to know how they’re going to die. But when you find out that an incurable disease is imprinted in your DNA, passed down through the generations, it leaves its mark. This is a personal account of growing up in the shadow of Huntington’s Disease, a hereditary illness with no remission.
Melanie says: "I wouldn’t wish Huntington’s on anyone, but its impact on my mother and my brother Nick has shaped my family over the years and taught me so much about courage and finding happiness against all the odds."
Writing this first book was a way of sharing the experience of her brother's illness with love and humour, but also as a way of raising awareness of a little known condition. Since his death Melanie has continued to campaign for disability and carers' rights.