Marie, of Tea Time With Marce, interviewed Melissa June 2011
Marce – I am enjoying a cup of Earl Grey tea, would you like to join me?
Melissa – I would love to. I’d like to start with a freshly brewed glass of iced tea with lemon and lime, and a few scoops of real sugar. My editor, Dominique, makes this and it is quite delicious!
Marce – When did you decide to become an author, was it a childhood dream/goal?
Melissa – I think I realized that I wanted to write full-time after my second son was born. It was 1990 and I was…some glorious age. 😉
Marce – How did you come up with the title, Megan's Way?
Melissa – My kids and I were driving toward their school one morning and I was trying to come up with an appropriate title. I was describing to them the storyline, and I knew that the title needed to describe Megan’s desire to make her own life/death decision. They came up with several titles, and eventually we fell in love with Megan’s Way.
Marce – What is your usual response when you see the cover and how involved are you with the process?
Melissa – I have been in total control of the design process for my covers (so far). When I found the image I wanted to use for Megan’s Way, I knew it instantly. I saw the picture and felt a zing! I still feel that very same zing every time I see the cover. I just love it!
Marce – Do you have a favourite food or snack that you eat while writing?
Melissa – Well, what I’d like to eat and what I eat are two completely different things. I’m a nosher. These days I’m nibbling on Melba rounds and strawberries (because it’s summer), but if I had my druthers, I’d be eating M&Ms, nuts, chips, and probably ice cream 🙂
Marce – Tell us about the scenery while you write. Music, view, special room etc.
Melissa – Music is a must for me. I typically have something loud with a fast beat, like HOT 99.5 radio station. Although, there are times that I need to blast particular songs, like the Mama Mia CD or Bruce Springsteen.
As far as location, we are in a state of transition, building a house and living in a temporary apartment, so right now, I type in front of several glass doors overlooking a horse farm. It’s lovely. We recently sold the house where I wrote Megan’s Way and Chasing Amanda. Megan’s Way was written in the kitchen because we had a new puppy, and Chasing Amanda was written in a little upstairs office where I could look out on the yard.
I write for 5 hours each day, Monday through Friday, September through June. I need to be alone with my music and windows, and I’m happy.
Marce – Who are your favourites authors? Recommend a book to my followers that you think is a must read.
Melissa – There are too many authors to have a favorite. I would recommend Cutting For Stone, which I recently read and very much enjoyed. It was a nice surprise!
Marce – What is your favourite book you have written?
Melissa – I’m done with the first draft of my third novel, which is a wonderful story. I love it! That being said, my favorite book is Megan’s Way. I wrote it because of something that happened in my life and I feel very close to the story and the characters. Megan’s Way has a special place in my heart, and probably always will.
Marce – What is on your bookshelf/ereader to read next?
Melissa – I have a stack taller than my bedside of books to read. Next on my list is The Good Thief. My husband read it and my eleven year old son read it – both in just a few nights, both loved it. If an author can appeal to that wide a range of readers, they must be an excellent story teller!
Marce – Do you read other books while you are writing?
Melissa – I read one book per month, usually, sometimes two. I run a book club on The Women’s Nest, and I always read the book we select.
Marce – Do you have a Muse or get inspired by art for your stories?
Melissa – I get inspired by life. That sounds so corny, but it is an honest statement. When I am not writing, I’m looking at people and scenarios and picking them apart to see how I can bring them to life in my books. Art inspires me, yes, but I really find Cape Cod inspiring. There’s something about the people and the sea air of the Cape that get my creative juices flowing!
Marce – Bloggers sometimes find themselves in reading slumps, do you ever have writing slumps or writing block?
Melissa – I am lucky, I suppose, because I’ve yet to hit a writing slump. I have far too many stories in my head to be stumped. (Now watch, I’ve jinxed myself and won’t be able to write tomorrow.)
Marce – Any upcoming events that you would like to share with us?
Melissa – Yes! Community Bookstop is having a Twitter party for Megan’s Way. I would love for everyone to join us! Details can be found here: http://melissafoster.com/blog/join-my-twitter-party.
I’m also heading to NYC this week to accept the Spiritual Beach Book Award for Megan’s Way, and of course, have a summer long blog tour and Kindle giveaway going on. Details for the blog tour can be found on my Events page, and my Kindle giveaway can be found here: http://melissafoster.com/content/win-kindle.
Marce – How do you deal with social networking, bloggers, interaction with fans etc?
Melissa – Social networking is very time consuming, but my feeling is that if someone reaches out to me, I want to reach back. I love chatting with readers and other writers. I adore the bloggers I’ve been involved with and respect their positions and their time. I fear I spend far too much time with the social aspect of having published books, but I enjoy it. For now, I’m going to continue to try to keep up 🙂
Marce – In 10 years time what would you want readers to know about you or your books?
Melissa – In ten years time I hope that my readers will know that I write about far more than what my books look like on the surface. For example, while Megan’s Way deals with relationships and life/death decisions, it also carries a theme of forgiveness and being less judgmental. Chasing Amanda, on the surface, deals with child abduction and paranormal abilities, but beneath the surface the themes of reaching beyond your comfort zone, reaching beyond the safety of the “normal” parameters of life to help others, come into play.
I’m working on my third and fourth manuscripts now. Come Back to Me is a tragic International love story, while Shades of Gray is a crossover YA/women’s fiction novel. I hope my readers will recognize and enjoy the variety of genres that I write. I write what my heart and mind tell me to, I don’t write to sell.
Marce – What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Melissa – I love to read, exercise, do anything outside, and be with my family. Some people might say I’m boring. I prefer to think of myself as being lucky enough to have great friends within the confines of my own home. I’m always chatting with girlfriends, but rarely have time to go out and spend time with them (this, I should change).
Marce – Where was your favourite vacation?
Melissa – I have been going to Cape Cod for 43 years, and I have yet to grow bored with it. It is my favorite place.
Marce – How did you feel when you got the news that Megan's Way will become a film?
Melissa – Ecstatic, amazed, delighted, numb, probably in that order.
Marce – What was your inspiration behind the story of Megan's Way?
Melissa – My mother is the strongest woman I know. She shoulders burdens without a second thought. Many years ago, she had surgery and told me it was not serious. Without going into too many details, I found out a year later that they had thought she had cancer. As if that wasn’t a strong enough blow, she then told me that if she had indeed had cancer, she had made her decision not to have treatment. This was many years ago, and treatments were not strong options at the time.
Even though I was an adult with children of my own at that time, I immediately reverted to a little girl in my mind. I was so hurt and angry. How could she decide to leave me? How could that seem the right thing to do? Well, it took many years, but eventually I understood where she had been coming from. That’s when I decided to write Megan’s Way. We are quick to judge, and I learned the value in taking the time to understand and stepping back rather than judging.
When I wrote Megan’s Way, it was easy for me to slip into the role of Olivia, as the daughter, Megan, as a mother, and even Holly—my mother is my best friend.
Marce – The secrets were amazingly crafted, what made you push the envelope with all the friends having a part of the secret?