Megan's Way and this month it's time for her novel Chasing Amanda.
Chasing Amanda is about two chances. The first time, Molly Tanner didn't even realize the importance of the little girl crying in the parking lot, but when history repeats itself she isn't going to let her second chance slip through her fingers. She'll do anything to save this little girl...and ultimately herself...even if means risking her family, her sanity, and her life.
Nine years ago, Molly escaped the urban rush of Philadelphia, and the memories of being the last one to see a little girl before she was abducted and killed, for the slow paced life of the small town of Boyds, Maryland. Her life finally seems to be back on track: her son is in college, her adoring husband loves her, and she's happy.
But it all falls to pieces when another little girl is abducted from a nearby park. Taunted by clairvoyant visions, Molly is determined to decipher the clues to find this little girl. While unearthing clues Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets and another side to her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.
Chasing Amanda has been nominated for the Dan Poynter Global e-Book Award. The winners will be announced later this summer. Keep your fingers crossed! Megan's Way, which was on a WOW! Blog Tour last month, won the 2011 Beach Book Award for Spirituality, was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Spirituality and has also been nominated for the Dan Poynter Global eBook Award.
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Format: Paperback, 378 pages and e-book
Hang on to your seat for this thrilling peek inside Chasing Amanda here. And check out the exciting book trailer below!
Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of Chasing Amanda, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in a random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, July 7 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #ChasingAmanda, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post on the following day, Friday, July 8. Good luck!
About the Author
Melissa Foster is the author of two novels, Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating with director Wendy Crouse of Dream Real Pictures in the film production of Megan's Way.
Melissa hosts an annual aspiring authors contest for children, she's written a column featured in Women Business Owners Magazine and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington D.C. Melissa is currently working on her next novel while living with her family in Maryland. Melissa's interests include reading and writing (of course!), painting, visiting Cape Cod, helping women see the positive side of life, and enjoying life with her family and friends.
You can also learn more about Chasing Amanda by viewing her book trailer here.
---------Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: Melissa, it's so marvelous to have you back at The Muffin again and offering us a new book. Chasing Amanda had me on the edge of my seat so I have to ask you how this book came to be. Was it a news story, someone's random remark? Where did the idea come from?
Melissa: Chasing Amanda was born of my worst fears. As a parent, I've always worried about the darker side of society. I evaluate my surroundings for safety first, enjoyment last. I'm a runner, and I used to run on White Ground Road, which is a road that is portrayed in Chasing Amanda. White Ground Road is beautiful, very serene and parts of it are very secluded. One day. while I was running on a particularly creepy section of the road, I began to think about how easily someone could take me into the woods--and how no one would hear me scream. Chasing Amanda was born from that fear.
WOW: Some authors tell me how their books seem to go in a totally different direction once they start writing. Did the plot change much from the inception to the final result?
Melissa: That's a great question, because I think that most books change directions at some point during the writing process. Chasing Amanda's plot didn't change one bit from the original iteration, but subplots were added and back stories were changed. In fact, the sex of Pastor Lett was changed in a later iteration as well, but the plot remained the same.
WOW: It's interesting that the creation of Chasing Amanda was so definite. Perhaps because it was your second book. Does the process become easier with each book? Faster?
Melissa: Chasing Amanda took many years to write because I actually wrote it before I wrote Megan's Way, but it was titled The Knowing at the time. Megan's story was too strong to ignore, so I put The Knowing down while I wrote Megan's Way, and revisited it a year later. It took another year for me to complete Chasing Amanda. The name was changed when I added the subplot of Amanda's death.
I'm now working on my third manuscript, and the writing process definitely becomes more streamlined, and I believe it's because the more we write, the stronger our writing skills.
As for tips on novel writing, follow your heart. If you have a story to tell, and "they" say everyone does, then write it. I think the biggest mistake new writers make is to skip the important step of editing. It's a critical step, and no book should be published without professional editing.
WOW: Along with professional editors, do you have a group of readers to give you feedback on your writing?
Melissa: Beta readers are your best friends and your worst enemies all wrapped up into one. I do have beta readers, or test readers, and they change from novel to novel. I have a few that know me personally, and I have a few that I've never met, but have been associated with. If I am to gain valuable and honest feedback, I have to trust my readers to know that they will not hurt my feelings with their honesty. They are blatantly honest and very picky. I have battled over something as small as one descriptor, and the name of a character. Battle is a strong word, and they aren't really battles, but we have heated discussions sometimes, and I do not always win.
I couldn't produce a strong story without beta readers from all walks of life. If my books are going to appeal to the masses, then they have to offer a valuable theme and enjoyable read. My beta readers help me see things through a reader's perspective rather than through the writer's goggles.
WOW: Can you tell us about your writing experience? Do you have a specific schedule or place to write?
Melissa: I feel like the luckiest woman alive. I love what I do, and would do it for many more hours each day if I had the opportunity. I began writing full-time in 2006, when my youngest child went to school full-time. Since the first day he attended Kindergarten, I've been at my computer, Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 2 pm each day, with the exception of June 15 through September 1st. I don't write during the summers. That's my time to rejuvenate and do a bit of marketing and book signings. I spend the summers with my kids at Cape Cod (where Megan's Way is set).
WOW: A lot of writers are thinking about self-publishing. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of going the self-publishing route?
Melissa: Self-publishing is a good option for many writers, and nowadays many best selling authors are self-publishing and moving to ebooks (that are self-published). The publishing industry is going through many changes right now, and large publishers seem to be on the fence with taking on authors without a history of publications. No one really knows how long paperbacks are going to remain strong sellers, and if you look at the sheer economy of publishing--ebooks cost nothing but internet speed, while with paper books you have the cost of printing and shipping and then the quandary of costly return policies. I'm a paper book lover, but I recognize that you can buy many ebooks for the cost of one paperback.
One of the main difficulties that surround self-publishing is that you have no big publisher's name behind you, which makes it difficult to get into bookstores. I don't know how much that will have an impact two years from now, but as of today, it seems to still carry somewhat of a stigma.
Marketing is another area of difficulty. Writing and marketing are two completely different occupations, and writers are not marketers. While traditional publishers don't typically handle marketing for their authors, it's easier to maintain a stream on sales when books are on the shelves of bookstores rather than just available on online venues. Then again, that all may change within the next few years.
WOW: You've been offering your ebooks at bargain prices of 99 cents to $2.99. Why did you choose this bargain price? To encourage readers to take a chance on a new writer?
Melissa: This is my second book so I'm not that new of a writer. [She laughs.] Ebooks are essentially downloads. The reason I offer them at bargain rates is I prefer to make my books affordable rather than price them higher for more profit. I write for my books to be read, not for the income. With the vast majority of Kindle books bargain priced, I'm simply keeping up with the market.
WOW: And, always my final question...any news you want to share with us?
Melissa: Megan's Way is currently casting for the film production. This is a major event, because it's my understanding that less than one percent of the books that are pitched as movies actually make it to production. I'm very proud of this accomplishment.
My third novel is almost complete. Come Back to Me is an international love story/tragedy. When Tess Johnson's husband is killed on an overseas photography assignment, never knowing about her pregnancy, she struggles to put her life back together. While Tess deals with a new client, offering her more than just a new project her husband is found alive in the middle of the desert by two women fleeing honor killings. What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.
--------Blog Tour Dates
July 6, Wednesday @ Caroline Clemmons
Don't miss our first book review for Melissa Foster's novel Chasing Amanda. Return to Caroline Clemmons' blog on Friday for a chance to win your own copy.
July 7, Thursday @ From the TBR Pile
Intrigued by the novel Chasing Amanda? Today's your chance to win a copy--e-format or print--winner's choice.
July 8, Friday @ Caroline Clemmons
Stop by for an interview with Melissa Foster, author of Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way. You'll also have the chance to win a copy of Chasing Amanda.
July 12, Tuesday @ Old Musty Books
Let's talk about when it's time to say "The End" with Melissa Foster, author of two published novels and working on finding "The End" for her third.
July 13, Wednesday @ Musings from the Slushpile
Julie has some questions for novelist Melissa Foster as well as a giveaway of her novel Chasing Amanda.
July 14, Thursday @ My Reading Room Blog
If you could ask novelist Melissa Foster anything...what would you ask? Today's your chance! Bring your questions to My Reading Room!
July 15, Friday @ Steph the Bookworm
Would you be brave enough to pursue a kidnapped girl, no matter what it cost you? Stop by for a review of Chasing Amanda and a post about how helping others can help you succeed.
July 18, Monday @ Reading Lark
After reading the suspense filled Chasing Amanda, Reading Lark has plenty of questions for author Melissa Foster.
July 19, Tuesday @ Work a Day Reads
Learn about your new BFFs...better know as the characters of your latest work-in-progress. Novelist Melissa Foster writes about just how much we should know about these characters before we start writing about their lives.
July 20, Wednesday @ Kritter's Ramblings
Don't miss a review of Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster and drop by Kritter's Ramblings on Friday for more!
July 21, Thursday @ Book Flame
Stop by for an interview with Melissa Foster and a review of her book Chasing Amanda.
July 22, Friday @ Kritter's Ramblings
How can reading help your career? Melissa Foster, author of the novel Chasing Amanda, shares her insights today.
July 26, Tuesday @ Bitsy Bling Books
Everyone loves a surprise! Melissa Foster, author of Chasing Amanda and Megan's Way, is stopping by Bitsy Bling Books with a surprise guest post.
July 28, Thursday @ Reviews by Molly
Novelist Melissa Foster stops by to answer that age-old question: why did you become a writer? Molly will also be reviewing her book Chasing Amanda, about a missing girl and a neighbor's drive to find her.
July 29, Friday @ Life in Review
Don't miss a review of Melissa foster's novel about the search for a missing child, Chasing Amanda.
August 2, Tuesday @ Cmash Loves to Read
Have fun with today's guest post by Melissa Foster, author of Chasing Amanda.
To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar here.
If you have a blog or website and would like to host Melissa or one of our other touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email Jodi and Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of Melissa Foster's novel Chasing Amanda.
Here's how to enter:
1. For your first entry, just leave a comment on this post! Leave a comment or ask Melissa a question to be entered in the random drawing.
2. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #ChasingAmanda, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet.
The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, July 7 at 11:59 PM, PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day--Friday, July 8, and if we have the winner's email address from the comments section, we will also notify the winner via email. Good Luck!