JDF: Welcome Melissa and thanks for being here!
MF: Jessie, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I love
your blog and I love reading about Lyla!
About the book:
JDF: Tell us about how the story Chasing Amanda was born.
MF: Chasing Amanda was born when I was running down White Ground Road. It’s a rural road that is very creepy, and I used it in the book. My mind wandered down the path of what ifs…
JDF: Who was your favorite character in the book and why?
MF: There are a number of characters that I have a soft spot for in Chasing Amanda. Although I feel for Molly, and love that she put Tracey before her own fears, I really have a soft spot for Hannah Slate. She’s burdened with her own secret and loss, and yet she handles Pastor Lett’s secret with such a practical approach, always putting others before herself. I’m not certain why, but she’s the one I’m drawn to.
JDF: Which character did you have the biggest connection with in the book?
Hmm…That’s a difficult question. I would have to say that I felt a strong connection to Molly. I can relate to her clairvoyance and her determination.
MF: When you read through the entire book for the first time, what was your first reaction?
I’d have to ask which iteration? This book started out as a much longer and different story. Molly’s past was written into the story after I read the mystery without it—as a stand alone plot. After the entire manuscript was written, and the book was complete, my first reaction was that I was pleased with the outcome. I was drawn in and compelled to read about each character.
JDF: If you had to summarize the book in five words, what would you say?
MF: Five words? Really? Oy! Okay, here goes…Small town secrets revealed, or maybe, Kidnapping, clairvoyance, small town secrets.
JDF: I really enjoyed this book; couldn't put it down! What was the hardest part about writing this story?
MF: I’m so glad to hear you say that! The most difficult thing about writing this book was that it didn’t feel as though it fit into any one genre. It felt like women’s fiction with a suspenseful, paranormal slant, although it should be classified as mystery/suspense. I had to make a conscious effort to keep the suspense high with each character and chapter.
JDF: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
MF: I’m overly optimistic, love mint chocolate chip ice cream, my children, writing, reading, and spreading happiness. I hate fake chocolate and don’t fare well taking tests.
JDF: When did you decide to start writing and what did it take for you to get to that point?
MF: I knew I wanted to write for many years, probably since about 1990, but my life wasn’t conducive to a writer’s life. With a gaggle of children, I had to wait until they were in school full time, which was about 10 years. I remember the first day my youngest went to Kindergarten. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I drove home from his school smiling and made a beeline for my computer. I can honestly say that that particular elation hasn’t diminished one iota in the past five years. I love my life.
JDF: What are your best resources for new writers or book lovers?
MF: The best resource for writers is the internet. Everything you could want to know is available and free. The issue is that the internet isn’t really monitored, so it’s easy to be misguided. I recommend taking writing courses, finding a mentor to work with, a strong editor (when you’re ready), Publisher’s Weekly, for writers. There are many sites for writers—Agent Query, Absolute Write, Backspace Forums, Query Tracker, Writer’s Digest, etc. I highly suggest getting writer’s magazines and reading as much as you are able.
For readers, I think authors are now more accessible than ever. I love to chat with readers, so I spend a lot of time reaching out through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and other venues. Book clubs are excellent resources for readers, too.
JDF: What is your all-time favorite book, well besides Megan's Way and Chasing Amanda! :)
MF: All-time favorite? There’s a book called MELISSA. It’s a children’s book and I read it when I was in about third grade. It’s about a girl named Melissa and her best friend, Jeannie. Coincidentally, my best friend was named Jeannie when I was growing up. I love that book!
As an adult, I have a number of favorite books. The Lovely Bones touched me, probably because I love the paranormal aspect and I buy into those themes. A Thousand Splendid Suns is another of my favorite books. I loved everything about the strength of the character and the depth of the writing. Snow Flower and The Secret Fan was beautifully written and exposed me to things I hadn’t before been privy to.
JDF: What will you be bringing to read at the beach this summer?
MF: Since I only get to read about one book each month, I’m bringing EVERYTHING! I’m bringing my Kindle and iPad and plan on downloading everything I can get my hands on. I want to read more of Lisa Scottoline’s books, the newest Diane Chamberlain (I like light books for the beach), and I’ll probably scour the Kindle store and download many other light reads.
JDF: Thanks Melissa, for taking time to answer some questions. Thanks for another great story and I'm so looking forward to #3!!
MF: Thanks so much, Jessie! I hope you’ll leave a review on Amazon for Chasing Amanda! Thank you!
Also, I'd love to tell your readers about my next novel, COME BACK TO ME, an international love story/tragedy. Below is a summary:
Coming Soon: Come Back to Me (working title)
Tess Johnson has it all, Beau, her handsome photographer husband, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret—only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert.
As Tess struggles to put her life back together and deal with the pregnancy she can no longer hide, a new client appears, offering more than just a new project.
Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing Honor Killings find Beau alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.
What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.