BGBS: Megan's Way is brimming with so much emotion. It really had me engaged because of its realness. Did you revisit past experiences to achieve this or solely rely on imagination ?
Melissa Foster:That's a great question. I pulled from all aspects of my life. In fact, when writing, I had to act out a few scenes (weird, I know), to make sure I was writing everything I felt the character would feel. Olivia's emotions were raw and I pulled some of that from the episode with my mother's surgery, even though I wasn't a teen at the time, but I also pulled a lot of the push-pull from my experiences with our teens.
BGBS: Spirituality is almost like a fifth character in the novel as we see it expressed through Megan's connection to her daughter, a ritual, meditation, etc. Why was this element significant to the story?
Melissa Foster: When Megan came to me, she had this connection already in place. It surprised me as much as everyone else, I think, but it wasn't something I could dissolve - it was too strong. In fact my editor, Dominique, who I adore, wrestled with me about taking it out and I felt it was too powerfully a part of Megan, that it had to be kept in. I think the connection made Megan's relationships even stronger-it gave piece to her friends after her death-just by her wisping by, touching an arm, her smell lingering. It gave them comfort.
BGBS: In the book, Megan has a near epic friendship with her best friend Holly. What inspired this sisterly bond?
Melissa Foster: I have six brothers and no sisters! I had a best friend when I was growing up, and many really close girlfriends that I grew up with who were almost best friends, but there's always that one that knew all (or most) of my secrets. I loved that relationship, the security of it, and the comfort of knowing that I could turn to her for anything. As a grown woman, our lives have taken us in different directions, although we do keep in touch. As a grown woman, I have a few close friends that I feel just as close to, even though we don't have the same history. I wanted to let Megan have the carry-over and security of that one sister-like friend who would always be there.
BGBS: Many first time authors are opting to self-publish. How has that experience been and will you choose this means of getting published for any future work?
Melissa Foster: The experience has been interesting and a learning process. I chose to self-publish because the publishing industry as a whole had cut back due to the poor economy, as did most businesses. I wanted to get Megan's story out there for readers and move on to my next book. The publishing part of the process was actually not difficult, though when you self-publish, you climb mountains rather than hills. Around every corner is a face of doubt because self-publishing has had such a negative stigma associated with it in the past. I am a strong-willed woman and believe in the power of Megan's Story, so rather than shrivel away, I push forward and show people Megan, I ask for comments and feedback, and welcome both negative and positive. Marketing when you are self-published is a battle in-and-of itself, and I'm not sure how self-published authors who don't have that skill succeed. I am a marketer by trade, so to me, this is another chance to succeed-and hopefully my readers will feel as if they've gained something valuable by reading Megan's Way.
That being said, although it's enjoyable having full control over my writing, distribution, etc., I do very much hope to be picked up by a literary agent. There are many more readily-available opportunities for agented-writers.
BGBS: What can we expect from you in the future?
Melissa Foster: A lot! I am currently working on rewriting my second novel, The Knowing. It is a mystery with a paranormal twist (of course!) about a seven-year-old girl who is abducted. It is set in the small town of Boyds, Maryland, and during the search, long-held secrets of residents are exposed.
I really appreciate your time Melissa and look forward to what you bring us in the future.
Melissa is more than happy to respond to any future questions my readers may have. So, just leave a comment and I'll make sure that she provides a response.