1) Do you read romance novels? What is your opinion about this genre, both as a writer and as a reader?
I don’t read romance. I know that sounds odd, since many readers consider “Come Back to Me” romantic suspense, but I find the generalization of the genre just a little fluffy for me. I like angst when I’m reading.
2) A book does not have to be categorized as “romance” to be “romantic.” Are there any novels that you consider “romantic,” and do you have a favorite love story?
Oh, gosh, does it have to be a book? Just kidding. There are many books that are romantic without being romances. In fact, I think many books that I really enjoy aren’t romances, but have romantic undertones. They’re not always the typical romantic undertones—I think there can be romance between same-sex friends without it being dirty or sexual. There can be romance between platonic friends of different sexes, and then there’s true male-female romantic love. Hmm … maybe I’m over thinking this, but in one of my favorite books, “Snow Flower And The Secret Fan,” there was romance between the two Laotongs, and I think that is probably one of my favorites.
3) Can you tell us about the chemistry between Tess and Beau, the main characters in your latest novel?
I think they were drawn together initially because Tess is very much a methodical control monkey, very Type A, but underneath, she is vulnerable. Beau is very masculine, and wasn’t threatened by Tess’s success. He saw through her tough exterior to her vulnerable side. The chemistry between them was still very fresh and new, as they hadn’t been married for very long. So, while they weren’t in that honeymoon phase that people talk about, they were still in the pre-children stage; their only focus (besides work) was each other. Their love was strong enough to pull them both through the tragic separation that they endured. I also think it went deeper than love—I think they liked each other, as people, very much, and with that came respect for one another.
4) Please tell us a bit about your other projects, such as “Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories,” as well as any future projects you have planned.
I’ve written three books, all in different genres. “Megan’s Way,” which is a story of a single mother, her fourteen-year-old daughter and her lifelong friends. Megan develops terminal cancer and has to decide if she’s going to get treatments or not. I won’t give away spoilers, but it is a very emotional ride. “Megan’s Way” is currently being adapted to film. “Chasing Amanda is a suspense/mystery about a woman who unknowingly witnessed an abduction of a little girl. Seven years later, another little girl goes missing, and she races against time to help find her. Molly Tanner, the main character, is also clairvoyant, and uses those senses to unravel the clues. “Indie Chicks’ is an anthology. I didn’t have much time to prepare for that book, and I fear I didn’t do it justice with my story. I was told to write something short about what it meant to be an Indie chick, and I took it to mean what it meant to take part in the group. The stories in the book are stories of tragedy and personal hurdles that led us to where we are. Mine is not, but it blends well to lighten the read. Cheryl Shireman did a fine job of putting the anthology together.
5) How would you describe your writing journey? Was it difficult to secure an agent and become published?
Everyone’s writing journey is very different. Mine is still ongoing, and nothing in publishing is easy if you want to do it well. I published “Megan’s Way” on my own in 2009, and I didn’t begin really marketing my work until “Chasing Amanda” was released. I work very hard to promote my work, and I work very hard to promote others, and to help others learn how to promote themselves. Every day is a challenge with marketing. I reassess my goals and my tactics constantly, and I’m always looking for better ways to help and guide others.
Probably the part of publishing that I’m most proud of is the creation of WoMen’s Literary Cafe, and the bringing together of readers and authors. Every day we help each other learn and grow in our fields. No longer are authors alone on their journeys—in 2009, I had no group to help me. In fact, throughout my journey, I’ve had no group behind me, haha. That’s the main reason for WLC. I promised myself that whatever I learned, whatever skills or tactics have worked for me, I would always share them with others.
It is more difficult to get an agent than it is to climb Mount Everest. Okay, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but now that I’m working with Jenny Bent, I understand just how different writing for the readers and writing for publishing houses can be. I was lucky enough to be referred to Jenny, and even luckier that she liked my voice (in my work). For those who want to be traditionally published, the most important advice I can give them is to seek an editor who has worked directly for a large publishing house in the past. There is a night and day difference in expectations and writing style.
6) Do you have an opinion on the e-book revolution? On indie publishing?
I think the e-book revolution is fantastic; anyone can publish. I also think we need gatekeepers, because too many indie authors either don’t get their work edited because of financial reasons, or don’t think they need to have their work edited. We each have one reputation and, as authors, it’s my feeling that, in order for our work to be taken seriously, we have to first treat it as such, which means investing in editing, professional covers and caring enough to insure our readers get what they deserve—polished books.
I’m sure I’ll receive a few stink-eyes for saying the above, but it’s true. I’ve been working with editors to try and barter for authors who cannot afford to hire editors, and a few have come through. Once authors accept that readers do care about editing, the world of indie publishing will be a stronger one.
7) Nowadays, many publishers expect their authors to use social media to promote their books. Some authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities. As a fellow blogger and user of social media, what are your thoughts?
Oh yikes. I’m a chatterbox, so I love social media. For me, it’s a way to reach out to readers that I otherwise might never have met. I love it. However, it is very distracting and certainly takes away from my writing focus. We’re in a changing world, and social media is part of our society. I think the success of social media and the enjoyment of it depends on the user. Authors can always hire someone to do their social media for them, and perhaps that would provide a middle ground. For me, though, I want to touch as many lives as I can. I use social media to share positivity and incite happiness as much as I use it to promote others or share my work.
Info about the author:
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three international best-selling novels: “Megan’s Way,” “Chasing Amanda” and “Come Back to Me.” She has also been published in “Indie Chicks,” an anthology. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the WoMen’s Literary Cafe, a cross-promotional site for authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production of “Megan’s Way.” Her works include journeys of self-discovery, heartfelt emotions, loyalty and love.
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Chat w/Melissa on The Women’s Nest
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: