Melanie Neale

Congrats to ECWC alumna Melanie Neale McLendon whose memoir, Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love & Fiberglass was recently published by Beating Windward Press. Below is the press release from Beating Windward Press.


Melanie Neale McLendon

Beating Windward announces the publication of Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, & Fiberglass by Melanie Neale. Boat Girl is a 246-page memoir and was published in September of 2012. Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, & Fiberglass is the engaging and heart-breaking memoir of what it’s like to grow up aboard a sailboat. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, Melanie’s family lived aboard a 47-foot sailboat, spending their summers along the US East Coast and their winters in the Bahamas. But the cruising life was not all fun in the sun. The family had to work hard to pay for their way of life. They dodged hurricanes, overzealous federal agents and bullying land-kids, and they endured a boatload of family drama. As her father published articles about how living on a boat brings families together, Melanie secretly struggled with an eating disorder, the alienation of being a boat kid, and confusion over her developing sexuality.

As an adult, she lived aboard her own 28-foot sailboat and went through several relationships looking for someone who wasn’t intimidated by her stubborn independence and free-spirited lifestyle. Boat Girl weaves all this together into a story about a girl who, once all is said and done, simply wants her own boat and the freedom to live her own life.

Melanie paints a vivid picture of the trials and tribulations of family life aboard a sailboat without drowning the reader in the technical details of sailing. Boat Girl strikes a perfect balance between coming-of-age story and sea tale, enjoyable for boaters and land-lovers alike.

There are dozens of books about “boat families” written from the parents’ points of view and one or two books actually written by boat kids, but none that capture the entire childhood experience and its lasting effects. Melanie lived aboard her parents’ boat for nineteen years, from birth to leaving for college, making Boat Girl a unique addition to both sea tales and coming-of-age stories.

Melanie Neale holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She currently works as the Director of Career Services for a private art college in northern Florida, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Melanie’s fiction, poetry and nonfiction have been published in many literary journals and magazines, including Latitudes & Attitudes, The Georgetown Review, Soundings, Seaworthy, Southwinds, GulfStream, The Miami Herald’s Tropical Life Magazine, Balancing the Tides, and Florida Humanities. Her “Short Story” column appeared bimonthly in Cruising World Magazine from 2006 to 2009. Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, & Fiberglass is her first book.

Beating Windward Press is an independent publisher of novels, short story collections, and non-fiction by emerging authors. They produce 4 to 6 titles a year and the books reflect the individual tastes of the small staff – mostly mainstream fiction with a literary edge.

Congrats, Melanie!!!


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