Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to visit Manic Readers!
Ivy, thank you for hosting this interview. I appreciate your time and truly enjoy reaching out to and chatting with readers.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure could you please tell us a bit about MEGAN’S WAY and CHASING AMANDA?
Thank you for asking. Megan’s Way was named Finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and is currently being adapted for film. Filming is set to begin this summer. Megan’s Way is a very personal story to me, because the idea of the story stemmed from a real event in my life. Megan’s Way begs the question; What would you give up for the people you love?
One woman’s journey, her daughter’s will to survive, and a circle of friends shrouded in secrets.
Chasing Amanda is my newest release, mystery/women’s fiction crossover. It’s every mother’s worst nightmare, dealing with child abduction. The story is driven by the main character’s past. Molly Tanner observed a little girl’s abduction, without realizing what she’d seen. The child is later found murdered. Molly escapes the memories of the busy city and moves to the small town of Boyds, Maryland. Nine years later, a seven-year-old girl is abducted from her community, and Molly must face her past, and is driven to search for the child, risking her life, and her marriage.
One child murdered, another missing. One woman’s search uncovers another side to this small town, where the residents, and the land itself, hold potentially lethal secrets.
While most authors stick to writing along the same line your books are diverse. Is there a particular reason for this?
I write the stories that come to me. As lame as that sounds, it’s really the truth. When I think of what my next book will be, I don’t think in terms of genres or what’s expected of me. I simply have ideas for interesting, emotional stories, and I follow their path.
Congratulations on MEGAN’S WAY being made into a movie. Brief snippet of your reaction when you found out, please.
I think I screamed as soon as I hung up the phone, possibly before hanging up. I jumped for joy. I cried. I laughed. I think I ran around the house in circles, to be honest, yelling, “Oh my god! Oh my god!” shaking my hands, and unable to tell my family because I was in shock. My body shook and became very cold, covered in goosebumps. I’m being serious.
Are you keeping control, a la Rowling, or do you have very little, if any, say in the film?
I’m keeping the rights and control, but I will probably defer to my director, Wendy Crouse, who is fantastic. I feel very strongly that the integrity of the book remain in tact. Luckily, Wendy’s vision, and my vision, are in complete alignment.
That has to make it easier..
What exactly is the ‘Women’s Nest”?
The Women’s Nest is a social and support community for women that I founded in 2007. I wanted a place where all women, regardless of where they lived, what they believed in, or any other factor that makes each of us unique, would fit in and feel welcome. It’s a community where women can escape the chaos of everyday life, establish friendships, and share advice. We are lucky enough to have a physician and financial expert who donate their time, as well as a health/nutrition expert.
Sounds like a fun place….
You’re also a painter? Do you have a preferred style?
I haven’t painted for a few years, but I like to paint for children. I’ve donated six murals to the Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. I enjoy making people smile, and art was one way I was able to do that.
What do you find similar/different about writing and painting. They’re both creative outlets, but do you find that each one satisfies a unique artistic urge?
That’s a really interesting question. Yes, actually, writing satisfies all of the “friends” I have meandering around in my brain vying for attention, while art is more like…bringing my thoughts to life in a different realm. When I paint, I create images that are typically more fanciful, without backgrounds or goals, simply happy thoughts in color.
Can you give any hints on your current book in progress?
I love my current work-in-progress! Thank you for asking. Come Back To Me is an international love story/tragedy. Below is a rough summary:
Tess Johnson has it all, handsome photographer husband, Beau, 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, a new client appears, offering more than just a new project, and to make matters even more complicated, she can no longer hide her pregnancy.
Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing Honor Killings find Beau alive, his body ravaged, in the middle of the desert. 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.
That sounds really good…I’ll have to keep a watch for it.
Is there anything that’s a “must have” to get those creative juices flowing?
A bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with a brownie, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles would be ideal. In lieu of that I need music, sunlight, and time. Lots and lots of time. I write from 9am – 2pm Monday-Friday (most weeks). I leave my computer only under duress. I don’t write from June 15-September 1. That time is dedicated to my children and rejuvenating my mind.
Do you have a favorite book and movie?
Yes, my favorite movies are Mama Mia and Dirty Dancing. I’m sure I should come up with a more influential movies, but I like happy things, and both of those movies make me smile.
As for books, I have many favorites. Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, by Lisa See was beautifully written. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Seibold touched on paranormal aspects that are right up my alley. Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Varghese was beautifully scripted. A Thousands Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini drew me in from page one and had me hooked until the end.
Unfortunately, between writing my next manuscript and marketing my new release (Chasing Amanda), the film for Megan’s Way, and maintaining The Women’s Nest—and family—I have very little time to read. I usually make it through my Women’s Nest book club selection each month and not much else.
I just finished reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and I’m starting Think Twice.
Thanks so much for chatting with Manic Readers today. I’ve enjoyed it.
Melissa’s MEGAN’S WAY has won the following awards since our interview. Congrats Melissa! CHASING AMANDA has been nominated for an award also.
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)
FYI y’all, Melissa is giving away a KINDLE….follow the link below for all the details!
Ivy, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with your readers. I am always happy to discuss books and writing, or to answer questions from your readers.