Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Today I am hosting the blog tour for Melissa Foster's sophomore novel Chasing Amanda. Before I post my review I would like to let you get to know Melissa a little. Rather than ask her questions she has answered a million times or give her a boxed-in topic, I gave her free range of my page. (After reading two of her books I had no doubt that she would write something better than what I could try to pry out of her and I wasn't disappointed). So without further ado Melissa Foster...

The Reality of Character Development, by Melissa Foster

When Alison invited me to write a guest post, I really had to think about what I wanted to say. So many bloggers provide guidelines for guest posts, and Alison was kind enough to simply ask for whatever it was that I wanted to write. Thank you, Alison, for giving me such an open road.

I find myself staring at a blank page, and wondering what Alison’s blog readers might find interesting. I’m often asked about my characters, and if they’re based on real people. What I’m never asked about, is how real those characters become to me. Now, we’ve got a meaty topic!

As an author, I have the privilege of coming up with the setting, plots and subplot of my stories, which can be incredibly fun. The characters, however, offer a different type of fun. While I do have the role of developing each character, which is a very cool undertaking, there’s also a great responsibility that goes along with the creation of these people who I will live with for the next nine months to a year (or longer).

Typically, my characters appear with backgrounds, personalities, and even styles in place, making the physical side of development easy. The more difficult part of character development is making the characters flawed. In real life, all people have flaws and vulnerabilities. The trick in writing is to create flaws and expose vulnerabilities while continuing to develop the character’s strengths and likability.

I take the responsibility of developing three-dimensional, realistically flawed characters very seriously, going so far as to live with them for probably way too long. I think about my characters long after I’ve written the books. Their backgrounds and scenes play out in my mind like movies. Sometimes I even catch myself laughing (out loud) about what one of my characters might think about something that’s going on in real life.

The next time you run into me, if you see that I have a far-off look in my eye, you might want to sidle up and ask me which “friend” I’m thinking about. ‘-)

If you’re in a book club, or just want to chat about writing, email me: thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com.

My Review:

Chasing Amanda is a complex novel full of characters wearing the mask of one life and living the turmoil of another.

Molly Tanner seems to have it all. Married for many years to her husband Dr. Cole Tanner, they are still in love and extremely happy. Her son Erik has gone to college, but phones regularly and remains close to his parents. However, Molly struggles with the gift (and curse) of "the Knowing". She can see and feel things that have happened or are going to occur. Nine years prior she ignored her ability and a child named Amanda lost her life. Unable to live with the guilt, Molly's family moved to the small town of Boyd's to start fresh. Now this seemingly safe community has been rocked by the abduction of a child. Molly's past comes back to torment her and her family as she begins to have visions of the missing child. She struggles to determine what she is really seeing and what is still haunting her from the past. As we follow Molly through her race to find the child we also see the development of many other residents of Boyds who harbor their own secrets.

Chasing Amanda is told from various character viewpoints, but is never difficult to follow. Each character gradually reveals a vital part of the mystery while adding another shocking detail to their life. I was initially worried that there may be "too much" happening, but it seemed to be just right. Each character was developed so fully that I felt like I knew them personally. I routed for them and feared as I read on that a character I had grown to love was going to be guilty of a heinous crime. As each of their stories grow so does your understanding of why they have made the choices that are now ruling them.

The mystery has so many twists and turns that it was impossible to figure out who was guilty of what. Heck, for awhile I wasn't even sure what they were doing to know what they could be guilty of. 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.

Melissa Foster is a fabulous writer. I reviewed her first book Megan's Way here. It still continues to be one of my favorite reads as a blogger. On a very exciting note it is currently being adapted to film. I have very happily kept in touch with Melissa as she continues to write and I anxiously await each of her new novels. Melissa is also the founder of The Women's Nest a wonderful site for women.

Melissa did provide me with an e-copy of this novel for my review. However, I really enjoyed it and bought a copy to support her and to be able to easily read it across all of my devices.

Thanks so much Melissa for inviting me to participate in your blog tour.


  1. Thanks, Ali, for hosting my blog tour. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Chasing Amanda!



  2. Chasing Amanda is a riveting story. Molly Tanner, unknowingly witnesses the kidnapping of a young girl who is later found dead. The horrid tragedy haunts her nine years later, as her mind is flooded with memories and regrets when another young girl is missing.
    This book is very well written. The characters are developed nicely, the storyline is consistent and the pacing is fast and mesmeric. The imagery is fabulous. I could picture the scenes quite clearly. It has been quite some time since I've enjoyed a book this much.

  3. Wow. Very great story indeed. I was so amazed.