Welcome Melissa and LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!
1. I know your inspiration for Megan's Way came from an incident with your mother, but what I want to know more about is the friendships in this book. They are very well developed and what many of us long to find in our friends. Do you have a close-knit group of friends that you modeled this group after?
What a great question! I'm glad you felt that way about the friendships. I think this is what we all long for with our friends. I have friends that I grew up with, and as kids and young adults we were that close, but over the last 15 years (wow, that's a long time!), as our lives have gotten busier, we only see each other about once/year. I have close friends now, as an adult, but they don't share the history that I shared with the other group of friends, and although I wish I had the type of relationship the friends in Megan's Way had, I have to say that I don't. I have friends that live nearby, and I have wonderful friends that I have met on The Women's Nest, but we're spread across the country. Everyone's lives are so very busy with work, kids, sporting events, etc., that I think it's rare to find those drop-everything-to-be-together friendships. I, too, wish I had what I created with Megan, Holly, Peter, and Jack. But that's the great thing about fiction - we can live vicariously for a while through our stories.
2. There are several paranormal aspects to this novel. What made it important to you to include that?
I really am a believer in the spiritual side of people, and I believe that side does not just disappear when someone dies. I'm not a religious person, just a spiritual one, so this has nothing at all to do with religion of any sect. I wanted readers to see a side of death that perhaps they had not entertained before, or maybe had written off. Megan's death allowed me to dangle and idea in front of readers and let them be the judge, and hopefully give some readers hope and a sense of peace. The other aspects, the visions and paranormal connection that Megan and Olivia shared, as you probably noted, was given as a "spell" by the psychic as the girls left her tent. She cast it in their direction, and we don't learn until later that it was meant for Megan. I don't really believe in spells, but I do believe in the connection she shared with Olivia. I wanted the readers to again be shown something that perhaps they had written off. I love an open mind, and hoped that readers might open their minds a bit to things they may not understand.
3. What message do you most hope to convey to the readers with Megan's Way?
There are a lot of messages I hope to convey, the first few being noted above. I'd also love for the readers to come away with a sense that perhaps they should be more forgiving. When people make decisions that seem "wrong" to some, there are probably deep-rooted reasons why they are making them, and often times that is overlooked and people are judged too harshly. I am not condoning the behavior of the characters, obviously Holly, in the real world, would have strong ramifications for her actions, but in the fiction world, her actions can show readers how sometimes malice is not the intent, though it may seem that way.
4. I cried ALOT when reading this. Did you cry while writing it?
In many scenes, I had to sort of act out the characters to make sure I was portraying the full emotions. I didn't cry while I wrote it, but I surprised myself and did cry when I read the final, edited, copy. I think that was the first time I let myself view Megan's story from purely a reader's perspective and remove the writer side of me.
5. Are you planning a sequel with these characters or do you consider Megan's Way ended just where it should be?
I am so surprised at how many emails I get asking about the future of the characters! For me, the book ended just where it should. At this point I don't plan a sequel to the story - but then again, I don't plan my stories, they find me, so who knows what will come down the road! LOL!
6. What authors do you look to for guidance? most enjoy reading?
Funny you should ask. The author I have turned to the most is Jennie Shortridge. I really love her easy writing style and she's very kind.
7. Tell us about what you are currently writing.
I am working on rewriting my very first novel, The Knowing. The Knowing is a mystery with a paranormal twist (of course), which takes place in my hometown, Boyds, MD, over a seven-day period. Here's a little glance into The Knowing:
When seven-year-old Tracey Porter slips away unnoticed from a local park, it ignites fears and mistrust throughout the small town. Molly Tanner is blissfully unaware that the visions she has had her entire life are about to become horrific and compel her to step out of her safe little existence and begin a dangerous and emotional investigation. Laughed at by the police, and unable to ignore her visions, Molly takes matters into her own hands and begins a dangerous, clandestine investigation to save Tracey.Weaving her way through the darkest cavities of people’s lives, Molly uncovers potentially lethal secrets held by highly respected residents of the small town, and finds herself forced to make decisions with life altering consequences. When all clues point to the local pastor, whose brother was beaten to death twenty years earlier for his association with a prior abduction, it only intensifies her mission to save Tracey and right the wrongs of the town.
8. I see you have a large family - husband, 6 kids, several pets - how do you even find the time to write?
I had to wait years to be able to write-literally! I had been wanting to write since 1991, but could not find the time until all of my children were in school full-time. It seemed like forever during those years. I now write while they are in school. From the second I return home from dropping them off in the morning, until the moment I have to leave to pick them up, I write.
9. In addition to writing you also founded a site called The Women's Nest. How did that come about? Tell me a little about it.
The Women's Nest is my favorite pasttime! It's a free social and support community for women. For years I had wanted to open a venue for women to gather, read books, share stories, gain free medical and financial advice, etc., but I did not, in the end, want to leave my family to run it. A few years ago I had set aside three hours for myself one morning, but all of my friends were at work, and I really wanted to share my time with them. That's when I decided to open The Women's Nest. It all began that day! On the Nest, women from all over the world can tune in from anywhere; work, blackberry, home. Relationships with other women, in my opinion, are vital to our sanity - we all need a little escape from the chaos of our lives and sometime the chaos of our own minds. The Nest offers that. We have forums (no groups, the forums are open to all women), blogs for every member if they'd like one, a book club (we can chat with each other without having to leave our children, husbands, etc.), we even have guest authors to chat with! We are very lucky to have a physician and a financial expert donate their time to answer member questions, too. There's a no-spam policy, so there are no ads to weed through or hyping of other websites. Our forums are fun and supportive, and very addicting! LOL!.
10. On top of all of this do you also work full time? I know you paint...
I have always worked full-time. The last ten years, however, I've worked primarily from home to be with our children. I own a human resource consulting firm, which I have minimized over the past few years, I am a Realtor, and this year I stepped down from my position of four years as the President of the Boyds Civic Association. This year, however, I will be putting my real estate license into referral status, and concentrating primarily on writing. I'm very excited!
11. Give me 4 words that best describe you.
I'll give you four words for what I think describe me, but it may be way off from what others think: energetic, creative, sensitive, determined
12. Just for fun...what is the craziest place you have read or written?
Probably the craziest place I've read was up in a tree! I used to climb a tree in the backyard when I was angry or upset (I was about 8 years old, I think) and I'd just read and be away from everyone. The craziest place I've written? That's hard to answer because I'm not sure if they're really crazy:-) I write in the kitchen, in the car on long trips, by headlamp at night while my husband sleeps next to me, in crayon on scraps of paper while coloring with the kids.
Thanks so much Melissa for your time and wonderful answers. I know by the end of your book tour you will have many more devoted fans.
Okay, if you don't love this woman and want to read Megan's Way and The Knowing right now then I am concerned about your sanity!!
Now, I have about a million links for you to check out related to Megan's Way.
Megan's Way - the website. Everything you want to know is all right here!
The Women's Nest - Melissa's social networking site just for women. You won't be sorry when you check this out. There's health tips, friendship, laughter, and No SPAM (except for Megan's Way plugs on occasion)
An awesome news article and interview with Melissa!
Melissa's interview with Bella Online.
A great interview with Melissa about her online book group with Sheila at Book Journey
All her other blog tour stops...
September 4: My Book Buddies, hosted by Maryrose Serac. 1 copy of Megan's Way will be given away!
September 5: Debs Desk, hosted by Debbie Deskin, 1 copy of Megan's Way will be given away!
September 12: That's A Novel Idea, hosted by Alison Rotich, 1 copy of Megan's Way will be given away!
September 14: So About What I Said, hosted by Melissa Blake, 1 copy of Megan's Way will be given away!
September 15: Book Tumbling, All Things Books, hosted by Christine Zegelis
September 17: These Are Days, hosted by Jessie Ford
September 18: Readaholic, hosted by Bridget Hopper
September 21: Brown Girl Book Speak, hosted by Terri Lee-Johnson
September 24: The Obsessive Reader, hosted by Rachel Connell
October 6: Park Avenue Princess, hosted by Amy Santos
Okay, and now for the best part. I have ONE SIGNED COPY of Megan's Way to giveway! Here is all you have to do:
- Comment and tell me what part of Megan's Way sounds most interesting. Make sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you win
- Tweet about the giveway with a link to this interview for one additional entry
- Blog about it for another entry.