This week I’d like to introduce everyone to Melissa Bowersock, the author of Stone’s Ghost. Melissa is a prolific writer with ten novels and one non fiction book to her name (and her pen name Amber Flame). It seems she can turn her hand to a variety of fiction genres that include contemporary, western, fantasy, romance, action/adventure, spiritual, satire or biography.
When I think of ghost stories, I tend to think of those that shock and frighten, making me want to run for the nearest door or handy cushion to hide behind. I don’t tend to think of them as something to be savoured and enjoyed and therefore I do find myself avoiding them. I’m so glad I didn’t do my usual trick with Melissa’s book of avoiding it because I thought I’d find it stressful.
Considering the genre, it’s a very gentle read that explores the way in which our lives are often hampered by past events and experiences. Melissa does this from the perspective of two ‘voice’s’. The first is Matt, the main protagonist, whose encounter with ‘the other side’ helps him to realise what is important to him. The second is Janie who is finally released from her binding to the earth by laying her own past to one side as she helps Matt deal with his problems.
Altogether Stone’s Ghost is a very enjoyable read and one I’m so glad I didn’t avoid. I shall be looking forward to reading more from Melissa in the future.
The Melissa Bowersock Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you
I can’t swallow pills. I know, I know, it’s not a physical thing, it’s a psychological thing, it’s silly, get over it, etc. Doesn’t help. However, I’ve gotten used to chewing up pills and I’ve found that it seems to bother other people more than it does me. I once went to have some tests done on my thyroid and I had to swallow a capsule of radioactive powder. I explained to the tech that I had to pull the capsule apart and dump the powder into my mouth and I could swallow that, but could not swallow the pill. He got a disgusted look on his face and said, “How do you eat?” I said, “I chew up my food!”
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
One of the reviews of my spiritual fantasy, Goddess Rising, was particularly rewarding for me because it showed me that the reader “got” the book: One of the most amazing books on the energy of the Goddess I have every read. Melissa captures the ambivalence each Goddess lives with in her apt presentation of the struggle between humanity and the spiritual. From page one to the end of the work, Melissa holds the reader, always asking her to enter the mystery and the passion of discovery of self. Will read this again as the moments of needing assurance happen often to us in our human form
Are the names of your characters important to you?
Hugely important. I have about a dozen baby name books that I peruse often, and I can happily sit and read a phone book for hours looking at names. My characters’ names have to embody the character in some way, they have to feel like the characters’ personalities. Sometimes I will choose a name by the meaning of it, but the phonetics of the name still have to be a good fit as well. I also put a lot of thought into the last name, and the two names together have to have a nice cadence. The number of syllables is important, as is the softness or hardness of the consonants. There’s a lot more to it than just throwing darts at the phone book!
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Absolutely. Just last night I began to get bits and pieces of a new story and this morning on my drive to work I was expanding on it in my mind. It was all getting extremely interesting as I was figuring out how the pieces all fit together, but at some point I realized I was driving on auto-pilot as I was plotting! Not good. A new story (or a knotty story that needs taming) can take over all my waking moments to the point that I stop seeing, stop hearing, stop thinking about anything but that. Sometimes watching TV, my husband will say about a news story, “Wow, that’s interesting,” and I have no idea what he just saw. I’m looking at the TV but I’m not seeing it. I’m watching my characters interact.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I’ve never not wanted to be a writer, but I have wanted to do other things as well. My dream job would be to do what Barbara Walters does, interviewing interesting people. I think it’s hugely interesting to get under the façade, to dig down and find the real person underneath. Of course, I do that with my characters in my books, but doing it with real people would be fascinating and surprising.
How do you remain sane while working?
That’s debatable! While some might think that I am at my most insane when working (see above about occupational hazards), the time when I am not working feels almost empty to me. As a writer these days, I have to spend quite a bit of time on marketing and promotion, have to interact on social media and forums, have to appeal to news outlets and bloggers to get the word out, but none of that has the excitement of creation to it that writing does. Working on my writing keeps me sane while making me insane at the same time, but that just seems to be the yin-yang of creation. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?
Gosh, there are so many to choose from. I’m been extremely fortunate in my life but I think I can narrow this down to two things. The first would be holding my first published book in my hand for the first time. There is no other feeling like that, seeing the thing that you’ve dreamed about, worked on, plotted, planned for so long and now it’s finally a real, tangible thing you’re holding in your hand. It’s the ultimate satisfaction. The second would be going to Machu Picchu in Peru. That’s been on my bucket list ever since I was probably about 10 or 12 years old, so finally going there, walking through the grounds, seeing it with my own eyes was just breathtaking.
Are you jealous of other writers?
My first inclination is to say no, but there are times. When I see someone break into the best-seller lists, when I see someone has sold their book to a movie company, I am glad for them but also jealous, as I would like to experience that myself. However, with the advent of the internet, social media and all the many writers’ forums online, the community of writers has expanded and evolved into this great big family and I count my writer-friends in the hundreds and interact with them daily. Thanks to that, I realize that we all share similar ups and downs, similar accomplishments and discouragements, similar joys and fears. Knowing that we are more similar than different helps to put that momentary jealousy in perspective.
What is the book that you wished you had written?
Hands down best book on the planet: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This book is just wonderful and it defies pigeon-holing. It is at once a coming-of-age story, a comedy, a tragedy, the great American novel. It is one of the few books that I can read over and over and it still makes me cry real tears, still makes me laugh out loud. The writing style is fascinating, since Irving weaves around from past to present to future and yet still manages to propel the reader through the chronology in a clear and satisfying way. And I think the most amazing thing about this book is that, while it follows two boys through their sometimes exuberant, sometimes painful maturation into young men, overall the book is cradled in a delicate bubble of spirituality. I just don’t know of any book that can compare to it.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
Actually none of the above. My drink of choice is chai. I do drink tea, water, juice, wine and soda (beer: yuk!), but there is just something very comforting about a hot cup of chai. My favourite thing in the whole world is sitting on the patio during a thunderstorm with a good cup of chai. That’s pure heaven.
Where can you find out more about Melissa and her books?
Melissa is a wonderfully active onliner and you can find her all over the social web especially on the sites listed below:
- Melissa’s Website: newmoonrising.net
- Melissa’s Blog: mjb-wordlovers.blogspot.com
- Her Facebook Page: facebook.com/#!/pages/Melissa-Bowersock-author/164670386962492
- Her Twitter Account: twitter.com/MJBowersock
- Melissa’s Goodreads Profile: goodreads.com/author/show/460535.Melissa_Bowersock
- Her LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/profile/view?id=43585169
- Melissa on Amazon: amazon.com/Melissa-Bowersock/e/B002BLJON0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
- Melissa on Smashwords: smashwords.com/profile/view/MelissaBowersock
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/