Well, I am excited to welcome back a great author I had the pleasure of hosting here last month as part of her Wow! Women on Writing sponsored blog tour. Melissa is such a fun friend and amazing author. When she agreed to stop back and talk about her book, Chasing Amanda, I marked the date immediately! Last month Melissa provided a great guest post on Weaving a Theme Throughout Your Novel, but this time around we set aside some time for some girl talk. Eh-hem, I mean serious writer to writer discussion. (I’ll keep the girl talk under my hat *winks*).
First, a refresher on Melissa. Who is this gal?
About the Author:
Melissa Foster is the author of two novels, Megan’s Way and Chasing Amanda. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan’s Way. Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she’s written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa’s interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Just Thought You Should Know:
Melissa is working with a Texas director to on a script and casting for a movie based on her novel Megan’s Way. They hope to have the film completed by the end of the summer and then it’s on to the film festivals!
Now, the interview!
M: Julie, thank you for hosting my blog tour today. I really enjoy your blog and can’t wait until your book is out.
Oh! Of course! I love having you over and I’m honored you’d come back! LOL
When did you realize you wanted to be a published author? Did it come before or after the idea for your novel?
M:I think the day I actually thought I’d like to do it full time was in 1990. I had two young children and began writing. I couldn’t stop writing, actually. Once that ink started, I knew I had found a path that one day would fill my days. It stemmed from a different, not yet written novel.
How do you work around your life to find time to create these amazing stories?
M:I am a scheduler. I schedule time to do everything from making the kids’ lunches to talking to friends on the phone. If it can go on my calendar, it does. Most importantly, other than my children’s needs, I schedule my life (during the week) around my writing, and I’m pretty selfish with my writing time. I don’t take time to meet friends for lunch or even chat on the phone when I’m writing. I tried to write around my life, but it didn’t work–too many distractions. I only write while kids are in school, though. Once I have picked them up, my writing day is done.
Tell us something about the process from concept to today that we don’t know, but should.
M:You probably hear that writing the book is the easy part, and that, in many ways, is true. What you may not know is that the road from concept to final product can be a long and twisted one. My stories don’t always end up as I had envisioned. Even characters can change. In Chasing Amanda, Pastor Lett was a male character until my very last editing session.
I hear your books are “filming” now! Tell us everything! And Wow are you freaking out or what?
M:We’re actually in the process of casting right now, and hope to be filming within the next few weeks. I’m past the freaking-out stage, and now I’m into what I would call the numb stage. The director will be coming to Cape Cod while I’m there to do some filming, which should be very exciting! I am sure that after this stage will be the nerves-afire stage about the final outcome of the film, but I have every confidence in Wendy Crouse, the director, and I can’t wait to see the film! We’ll be taking it to the film festivals first, then…who knows!
Are you working on another project now?
M:Yes, my third manuscript, COME BACK TO ME, an international love story/tragedy, is undergoing a few final edits, and after my vacation, I’ll jump back into my fourth novel, SHADES OF GRAY, which is a YA/women’s fiction crossover.
Here’s a sneak peak at COME BACK TO ME:
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.
Any advice for those of us still waiting to one day see our words in print?
M:Yes, keep writing. The world of publishing is changing so quickly that I fear many will take shortcuts. My advice would be to edit, edit, edit. Don’t take shortcuts with your work. Some authors are producing books in ten weeks and publishing them as ebooks, which is wonderful if the work is solid, but I receive letters all the time from ebook readers who complain about the unedited ebooks they are sent. If you are publishing, take pride in what you do. Every book has errors–it’s very rare to pick up a book and not have them. In fact, the last three books I read from Borders each had 2-3 errors, but when you hit the 8-10 mark, it really hinders the reader’s delight.
Write, edit, publish. Those are the steps that I think every writer should follow. There are many other steps along the way, but skipping the middle will lead to a bad rep.
Lastly, never give up. Writing is a solitary endeavor for most people, and it can be a very trying one at that. Believe in yourself, push yourself to write the best book you can, and don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you.
I’m happy to chat with readers and writers anytime. Simply drop me an email: thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo
Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster
Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl’s abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl’s body was found, and Molly’s life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland.
Molly’s life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly’s home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she’d fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents–and the land itself–hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.
Melissa’s novel, Megan’s Way has just won the 2011 Beach Book Award for Spirituality.
Chasing Amanda and Megan’s Way have both been nominated for Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards
These are wonderful books. I hope you’ll all stop by and check out her site, of get to know Melissa better on twitter or by email. She’s absolutely delightful!