Books-and-Authors.net: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life? Who were your earliest influences and why?
Melissa Foster: I grew up in Maryland, and reading was a big part of my everyday life. My mother and my grandmother were very big influences in my life. They always seemed happy, and they always had a book in their hands. I remember being a little girl and feeling very grown up when I'd sit in the living room with them and read, and when I needed an escape (I have three older brothers and when I became a teenager, our family grew to include three younger step-brothers), I would climb a tree and read.
Books-and-Authors.net: Why do you write?
Melissa Foster: I'm asked this a lot, and typically, my answer is that I write because I have stories to share, and it make me happy to write, which is the truth. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this questions over the past few months, and I think I have to add that I found peace in writing. I am the type of person who always likes to have something new on the horizon, and writing offers something new every day. I feel like I'm the luckiest woman around to have a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable.
Books-and-Authors.net: Discuss your book new book Chasing Amanda . How did the book come about?
Melissa Foster: Chasing Amanda began as The Knowing and morphed into so much more. When I began writing The Knowing, the story was all about Tracey, the missing child.
I tend to write about my worst fears, and a missing child is probably number one on my list, so it didn't take much for me to dig into this fear. I was jogging White Ground Road, a secluded road that is mentioned in the story and exists in real life, and I realized how easy it would be for someone to simply disappear. That's how The Knowing came to be. During one of the last revisions, I realized that Molly Tanner, the woman who is desperately trying to find Tracey, had a past that needed to be brought into the story, which is why Amanda's death was revealed, and Chasing Amanda was born.
Books-and-Authors.net: Who is Molly Tanner?
Melissa Foster: Molly Tanner is a headstrong, sensitive, sometimes-clairvoyant who had witnessed an abduction without realizing what she was seeing. She's a woman who is chasing old ghosts, and risks her marriage, and her friendships, to find closure.
Books-and-Authors.net:With Chasing Amanda, you are becoming an established author. What advice do you have for first time authors?
Melissa Foster: The world of publishing is changing so quickly. It seems that there's a lot of pressure for authors to write as many books as they can as fast as they can, and publish them immediately as eBooks. My advice would be not to take shortcuts with your writing. Fight the urge to mass produce, and instead, take your time, agonize over every word, and edit until you are blue in the face. Never sacrifice quality for quantity, write the best books you are capable of writing, and always believe in your work.
Books-and-Authors.net: If Hollywood called and asked you to cast Chasing Amanda , who would you cast and why?
Melissa Foster: Great question, because with Megan's Way currently being cast, I haven't even thought of casting Chasing Amanda. I would envision someone very real as Molly, someone strong and sensitive, like Drew Barrymore, maybe (shooting high is good, right?!), and maybe someone new and fresh for Tracey, like Elsie Fisher.
Books-and-Authors.net: What are readers saying about Chasing Amanda ?
I have been overwhelmed with the positive nature of the reviews of Chasing Amanda. I almost tossed this manuscript in file drawer and didn't publish it, because I wasn't sure how well it would be received by readers. I thought it would be difficult to live up to the response to Megan's Way, but my writing has now been compared to Ted Dekker, which I could never have imagined. Here are a few quotes from readers:
"Melissa Foster’s writing reminds me of Ted Dekker. The suspense is so strong I’m waiting for theme music to jump out and scare me as I turn the pages."
"The mystery has so many twists and turns that it was impossible to figure out who was guilty of what…It all comes together beautifully in the end, but it had me guessing the entire time. As soon as I was sure that I knew what was happening another bombshell exploded. I was hooked from page 1."
"Chasing Amanda is an emotionally charged read."
"She [Foster] has a way of drawing you into the world of her story instantly. Chasing Amanda, her newest release, captivated me just as quickly as Megan’s Way…The story had me hooked and shocked by page 40…"
"this is a book definitely worth reading in a book club!"
"Once again author Melissa Foster brings to light so many important issues…This is one book that every parent should read."
"Chasing Amanda is a very intriguing book from the very beginning, and I didn't want to put it down…Melissa Foster has a gift, and I am so glad she has chosen to share it with us all!"
"Well-balanced mystery and clairvoyance. An intriguing novel with a middle-aged female protagonist, Melissa Foster’s Chasing Amanda, blends a contemporary abduction mystery with touches of the paranormal to create a tale that’s both scary and absorbing"
Books-and-Authors.net: What do you hope to achieve with Chasing Amanda ?
Melissa Foster: As always, I hope not to disappoint readers. I hope to provide an enjoyable escape that leaves readers thinking about how they can protect their children, and wondering what really goes on behind closed doors.
Books-and-Authors.net:What was the last book you read?
Melissa Foster: I just finished The Midwife's Confession, by Diane Chamberlain, and I'm getting ready to read This Business of Children, by Chloe Jon Paul and The GoodThief, by Hannah Tinti
Books-and-Authors.net: What's next?
Melissa Foster: My next manuscript is now complete, COME BACK TO ME, it's an international love story/tragedy. Below is a sneak peek 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.
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.
2011 Beach Book Award Winner (Spirituality)
2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist (Spirituality)
Nominated Dan Poynter's Global eBook Award 2011 (Winners TBD summer 2011)
Nominated Dan Poynter's Global eBook Award 2011 (Winners TBD summer 2011)
PUBLISHER'S MARKETPLACE: Melissa Foster
Member: Maryland Writers' Association