Melody Appleton was born in England of a Jamaican/Cuban Father and Ghanaian/ Cornish Mother. She first trained as a teacher and taught in London before going to Zambia, where she taught, wrote and published an English language supplementary reader for Zambian school children.
Returning to London and with three young children, she returned to her studies, going to university in London and receiving a degree in psychology, followed by a Masters degree from London University and a second Masters degree from Exeter University.
She qualified as a psychologist and worked in Oxford and the West Country before working and living in Singapore and Thailand where she lived for many years. Her work took her to many South East Asian countries, before relocating to Australia where she lived for a brief time as ‘Granny-nanny’ with her son and family in Perth and then Paris with her daughter and family, before returning to Devon.
She had always wanted to write and now having retired back home to Devon spends time with her children and grandchildren in France and New Zealand devoting her spare time to writing.
She wrote and published her first book ‘GO HOME BLACKIE’ to record her experiences as a child and young women growing up black in the fifties and sixties England essentially for her grandchildren but soon realised that her experience could have a wider appeal historically
Harmony believed she was an ordinary girl, like every other little girl in her class, until the day Sister Agatha turned up during her favourite lesson and her life changed forever. It was then she knew she was different and being different in an atmosphere of intolerance, had a powerful impact on her life in post-war Great Britain.
We see the world though Harmony’s eyes as she matures from childhood to a woman on the cusp of marriage. We travel with her as she comes to terms with her differences in Great Britain in 1950s and 60s searching for her identity as black and British. It was a time when it wasn't nice to be black and black people were apologetically referred to as coloured.
Harmony negotiates the pitfalls of not fitting in based purely on the colour of her skin, at a time when the civil rights movement was gathering pace in America, and suddenly, black was beautiful. She straddles the time-line between being called coloured and being recognised as black, between sexual repression and free-love and rigid Catholic intolerance and acceptance of different religions.
Brought up by a rigid Catholic mother, and sent to a catholic school where she was abused physically, verbally and sexually, Harmony also had to come to terms with the fall-out of her sexual abuse and constant anxieties of being sinful, always with the impending threat of hell. As a child, she learned that the greatest sin of all was not being white, not being like those around her.
When heart-broken because the man she loved had a mother that could not accepted her, Harmony initially, briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a nun as an escape from an unfair world and it prejudices. But having kept the vow of obedience, as best she could, she didn’t manage to keep the vow of chastity, after all it was the Sixties! When she met the man she married, she asked herself constantly if she was marrying for the right reasons?
Harmony had what is now termed as, resilience, and throughout her story, she bounces back, looking at the world in her own unique way that is both humorous and questioning. She tried hard to fit into a culture that was hers, but had to contend with attitudes of the time, that denied her that right.
She wrote GO HOME BLACKIE initially for her grandchildren but realised that her experiences could have a wider appeal socially and historically between the now and then.