Author Geraldine Solon interviews Melissa Foster on Geraldine's Corner
Today, I have Melissa Foster who will be sharing her experience about writing, publishing and her love of helping others. I met Melissa only four months ago, but I feel like I've known her for a long time. We are alike in many ways and share the same passion of writing and helping others. I believe Melissa was my sister in another life and I'm so honored to have her as my friend.
Most writers think that there work is done after they've completed writing the book. However, you, on the other hand are a classic example of an Authorpreneur. Tell us how a mother of six has achieved such success of being a multiple-award winning, best-selling author.
Wow, thanks, Geraldine. That makes me sound so important (blushing). I don't think of myself as being that successful, but I think of myself as having learned a lot that I can share with others. My mind is always whirling with new ideas and creative ways to reach the public. Time management is critical. I'm a major scheduler. I schedule my days down to the last second–inclusive of making kids' lunches for school. Thankfully, I also have a very supportive husband who is happy to help with dinners and household chores, which helps alleviate the stress of trying to do it all 100% of the time. My goal has never been about selling books or becoming a bestselling author, although I am thankful to be here. I strive to produce books that satisfy readers, and to gain their interest in my stories. I also believe that if readers put trust in my books, I should also give back to them. I try to offer fun events, free books, and above all else, I make myself available. I communicate openly and honestly with any reader who reaches out to me. Overall, I think I'm very lucky, or maybe karma is on my side, lol.
You have a very powerful, positive energy and do you believe that this has helped you fulfill your dreams? What are the core values you live by?
I think my positivity does help, but I've never known any other way of life. I grew up with the most wonderful mother, and she taught me very valuable skills–the most important being that we have a choice in life–we can choose to be happy or we can choose not to be miserable. It's easy to see the negative side of life, but it's much more fun to see the positive, even if it takes a little more looking. I never wallow in the "what if I can'ts" or "Oh, no, something terrible happened." I spin everything in my life in a positive light. We all have energy that we exude, positive and negative. I don't entertain negative feelings for very long. If I'm upset about something, I find the positive in it, fix it if it needs fixing, deal with it if it needs dealing with, then get over it. There's no benefit to harboring ill will toward others, so I don't do that, either. I believe the universe gives back what we provide to others, and my core values are to give more than I receive, and to share my knowledge of the tiny little piece of the world as I know it. I think my positivity and spirit shines through because it's genuine. I live my life in a give-back way, and I think that keeps everything in my life in balance. I pull the thread of positivity until it is a rope that I can hang on to and toss out to others in need.
When somebody reads a Melissa Foster book, what should they expect? Tell us about the uniqueness of each book.
This question really made me think, Geraldine. My books are not simple happily-ever-after books. They are written in such a way that I hope the reader will become a bit introspective and think about how they might handle things if they were in the same situation as my main characters. For example, MEGAN'S WAY was a very personal story that stemmed from a situation with my own mother twenty years ago. Megan, a single mother, finds out that her cancer has returned and she must decide if she will get treatments to prolong her life or let herself die quickly–sparing her 14 year old daughter prolong emotional torture. That's a very difficult decision for anyone, and to read it in such intimate dialogue can really bring it home. I tried to show all sides of her considerations and how they would impact Megan, her daughter, and her friends. I try to that in all of my books. In CHASING AMANDA, Molly Tanner is faced with the dilemma of continuing her search to find a missing child and jeopardizing her family and friendships, or leaving the search to others, though she is the only one with the visions of where the little girl is.
The cruxt of my books are not easy topics, but they all provide hope. Readers can expect to be entertained, to bond with characters, to laugh and to cry. What they can't expect is a light, easy read, because I do pull at the heartstrings and turn in unexpected directions. I have to admit, COME BACK TO ME held its own challenge. I knew what ending readers would want, and I also knew what had to be written. I wrestled over the ending, which I will not reveal, but putting Beau into the hot seat was the right thing to do. Life is not easy. It's full of choices and ramifications. It's those uncomfortable circumstances and decisions, wrapped in hope that readers will find in my books.
You have managed to connect with your readers, do you have any advice to aspiring authors about the most productive way to reach out to your audience?
Connecting with readers and building relationships is the most fun part of being an author! First and foremost, build relationships with the people in your life, from readers to authors, to the people next door. Friendships are food for your soul. Cross promoting, collaborating with others in your field, social media, and above all else, giving more than you receive, that's what I would advise. I'm going to share all of my thoughts on the WoMen's Literary Cafe, so aspiring authors, and seasoned authors, can find me there and learn all that I have learned. There's too much to put in one interview, and I receive hundreds of emails each week from people reaching out to ask for help, which I'm happy to provide, but I think I have to do it in groups, or I'll have no time for family, writing, or friends.
What I like about is that you always think outside the box and rise above the limits. You have truly inspired a lot of people with your ingenuity and kindness. Just recently, you opened a site called, Women's Literary Cafe which I understand is your way of giving back. Can you share more about it's concept and how it can benefit everyone involved in the writing community.
It took me three years to figure out how to make a mark in the literary world. I know how hard it is to try and figure out the ropes of getting a book out there into the hands of readers, and I wish someone had shared their paths with me three years ago–but it's hard to find people who are willing to take the time to help you find your way, and I've decided that I would never be too busy to help others. I've founded The WoMen's Literary Cafe, which is an all-inclusive literary community for readers, authors, reviewers, bloggers, and other author services providers. We will have many fun and creative events for readers where they'll have many opportunities to receive free books, have personal conversations with authors, and become part of a close network of friends and associates working together to become the go-to-place for new books. My goal is to give back to the readers in the world–it's easy to take, it takes energy to give, and I have loads of energy.
The idea for WLC first came about with several friends, and the idea was to simply answer one question per day from aspiring authors and readers. As I was forming the ideas to bring the WLC to the public, I quickly realized how many authors were floundering after writing their book. I realized that I could help others learn to collaborate and market their books, connect for blog tours and reviews. I have years of marketing experience, and I owned an HR consulting firm for years, so for me, marketing is second nature. For most authors, it's as foreign as drinking whiskey instead of hot tea. Knowing that others are struggling doesn't sit well with me when I have the ability to help them. That's why the WLC is being developed. The WoMen's Literary Cafe is a community where all literary types can convene under one easily navigable umbrella and learn to cross promote, work together to gain followers, and grow their platforms, while developing meaningful relationships with readers and other literary types.
You are an ideal advocate for women's rights and issues. What issues do you feel should be foremost addressed in this era and given the choice, how would you handle this?
Thank you. I am an advocate for all, but I do put a lot of effort into the emotional and physical wellbeing of women, acceptance of mankind, and the ability to stand up for one's self; recognizing your value–separate from what you do for a living or who you're associated with. Women are expected to do it all, parenting, working, keeping households running smoothly (a full-time job in and of itself). We don't take enough time for ourselves, and that can lead to all sorts of health and emotional issues. The Women's Nest is built on the premise of women helping women, and I would love to see more communities focusing on that instead of on monetizing their abilities.
I also have a really difficult time with the reality of prejudice that goes on in today's world–not specifically about women, but about acceptance of others for who they are, not judging others by what they believe in or their lifestyles. Given how technologically advanced we are as a society, I would hope that we could be just as smart in the social aspects of the world, and work harder at accepting others without judgment.
Another issue I would love for people to consider, is ego. If people tossed their egos aside for a bit, and worked in a fashion of focusing on others first–can you imagine how much peace there would be in the world if we all reached out to help others rather than ourselves?
I'm rambling (sorry). You asked about issues – Women's health, acceptance, and kindness. How would I handle them? I'd provide less costly health screening for women, make classes on acceptance mandatory at all levels of education, and as for ego–well, there's not much I can offer there. Teach others the value of giving back, perhaps?
You have been blessed with outstanding achievements and I know there's more to come. Any projects that are not related to writing that's close to your heart that you wish to pursue.
Wow, that's very open ended. You used a key word, "wish". Building the WoMen's Lit Cafe, and making The Women's Nest the best that it can be, writing, and helping authors, along with my family, take up more hours in the day then I currently have.
You can learn more about Melissa and her work at the following sites: