Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and seventy-sixth, is of multi-genre author Melissa Bowersock. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic author who writes across multiple genres: fantasy, adventure, romance, biography, satire and spiritual. She began writing stories of bunny rabbits at the age of 5, wrote her first novel at 12 and has never slowed down. She currently has published 9 novels and one non-fiction, and is putting the finishing touches on her 10th novel, aiming for release in July 2013. She has a distinct appreciation for variety, not only in reading and writing, but in life. She and her husband have crisscrossed America and have traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Peru, enjoying the breath-taking wonders of the Grand Canyon, Uluru and Machu Picchu in their turn. She’s been known to go zip-lining, parasailing, treasure-hunting and snorkeling, and got to play astronaut at Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. For some reason, even after crossing off many items, she finds her Bucket List keeps getting longer instead of shorter! She is also a photographer and a certified hypnotherapist in her “spare time.”
She’s been married to her life partner and true companion for 42 years and has 3 children, 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She and her husband have moved about the West from California to Oregon to Arizona, where they now live. Melissa has always had a “day job” and (ever the space junkie) currently works for the National Observatory as part of a team building a new large telescope atop the Andes Mountains in Chile. Retirement is on the horizon and she is looking forward to spending more time at the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, her two most favorite places on the planet—as well as writing more, of course.
And now from the author herself:
I’m one of those writers who can’t *not* write, and I never know what I’m going to write next. I’ve never restricted myself to a single (or even a few) genre/s, but rather write whatever story grabs me by the throat and drags me in a headlock to my computer. I’ve never followed trends or tried to write commercial fiction, but even so was lucky enough to have my first two books (historical romances) published by a NY house. My next three books were published by small presses, and when my first two went out of print, I began investigating self-publishing options just to keep them viable. What I found was the joy of having total control, and my last five books have been self-published. The entire publishing industry is changing almost daily, and it’s an exciting time to be part of the emerging indie movement.
I find the dynamic process of writing to be absolutely fascinating. Since I’m primarily a novelist, I was pulled into my last book, the biography of my aunt, almost against my will. My aunt was an Army nurse and prisoner-of-war during WWII, and I discovered almost accidentally that the Wisconsin Historical Society had in their possession two scrapbooks that my grandmother had kept during my aunt’s time in the service. These scrapbooks contained letters, newspaper clippings, telegrams and pictures of everything relating to the events of the time, a veritable treasure trove of information. Since my aunt and all her generation are gone, I realized I had to write this story, or else it would stay locked up in a drawer and no one would ever know about it. I quickly found that writing a true story was a whole different ball game. While with my novels I was free to bend the story any way that suited me, with my aunt’s story I had a timeline of events, a roster of facts and her own personality to be true to. I was adamant about telling the story as factually as possible, neither embellishing nor diminishing the events or their impact on my aunt. There were times when I had to make tough choices about what to include, but I knew ultimately I had to stay true to the integrity of the story, even if it reflected rather glaringly on my family. I also knew I wouldn’t be done with it until I felt I could hand it to my aunt (or my mother, or my grandmother) without flinching. Luckily I was able to achieve that, and Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan has become a great source of pride for me. Originally I never expected to sell many copies, but the story has touched many people and was awarded a medal for biography by the Military Writers Society of America, then was featured in a documentary titled Our Wisconsin: The Military History of America’s Dairyland produced by WKOW-TV in Madison. Quite a reception for a book I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write.
Switching gears again, the book I’ve just finished is another novel, but its story is as complex as the last. I got the idea to write a ghost story after hearing about the many ghosts reported to haunt the London Bridge that was brought to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 1971. The bridge was dismantled stone by stone, shipped over and reassembled over a spit of the Colorado River, probably most of the most incongruous tourist attractions ever conceived. I decided it would make a fun little comedy to do a fish-out-of-water story where the female ghost had a difficult time adjusting to the modern desert southwest of the “colonies,” assisted by a living male protagonist. Light, fluffy comedy. That was the plan.
The book had other ideas.
Very quickly after starting the book, I realized that my protagonist, Matthew Stone, had a dark side to him, and the comedy I had planned was nowhere in sight. Instead I had a moody drama where both Matt and the ghost struggle to make sense of life and death and love. When talking with friends about it, they would often say, “I don’t get it. You’re writing the book. How can it turn out differently than what you want?” And the short answer is, I don’t know. It just does. I found myself writing things about which I had no clue where they would lead. I found myself writing things that, I thought, were just simple conversations, just the normal back-and-forth between two people, and yet later I realized that the kernel of the entire book was in those few lines of dialog. I didn’t even really know what the core theme of the book was until I was about 90% done with it. Then all of a sudden it was just there. This is what I love about writing, when the mechanical turns magical and the story writes itself. This is the ultimate pay-off.
I’m hoping Stone’s Ghost will be ready for release about mid-July. Stay tuned.
You can find more about Melissa and her writing via…
- Website: www.newmoonrising.net
- Blog: mjb-wordlovers.blogspot.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/#!/pages/Melissa-Bowersock-author/164670386962492
- Twitter: twitter.com/MJBowersock
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/460535.Melissa_Bowersock
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/profile/view?id=43585169&trk=tab_pro
- Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/Melissa-Bowersock/e/B002BLJON0
- Smashwords: smashwords.com/profile/view/MelissaBowersock
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.