Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster

Chasing Amanda

Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl's abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl's body was found, and Molly's life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland. 

Molly's life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly's home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she'd fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.

About the Author:

Melissa Foster"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"--Author Jennie Shortridge.

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of two novels, Megan's Way and Chasing Amanda. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and is currently collaborating 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, DC. Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Guest Post by Melissa Foster

The Genre Dilemma, by Melissa Foster

I’m what you might call a “genre hopper”. I’m lead by my stories and characters rather than being led by a specific genre. My debut novel, Megan’s Way, was a work of literary fiction, while Chasing Amanda was suspense. My next book, Come Back to Me (working title) is general fiction and my work-in-progress, Shades of Gray, is a women’s fiction/YA crossover. There’s no rhyme or reason for the genres I write other than what I’m feeling at the start of the project.

There are many authors, most, I believe, that write in one specific genre. They build a following in that genre, and their readers know what to expect with each book, while my readers are taken down completely different paths with each book.

Settling into a genre can be a very valuable avenue for writers. I’ve been told that it’s easier to build a loyal following by doing so. And, let’s face it; it’s an easier process to follow a genre formula than to recreate the wheel each time you write a book.  So why, you may ask, do I take the tougher road?

Nothing I do in my life is for the outcome that is typically expected. I don’t write to sell the most books or gain the loudest kudos. I write because it fills me with happiness. I write to share my stories with others, and I write because it allows me to continuously learn while doing something that I love. I follow my heart when I write, and I think my readers appreciate the diversity and raw emotions that I bring to them.

Is genre hopping okay? That depends on how you look at it. I don’t think that traditional publishers necessarily think it’s a wise or representable avenue, but then again, no one could have predicted the industry being overtaken by eBooks either. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a revolution (I doubt it, and I’m not looking to spearhead the notion, either). Good writing comes from the heart. Whether you’re a genre hopper or a tried and true monogamous genre writer, write what you love and your readers will follow.

Book Quotes:


It had been a cool October evening. Molly had left Walmart with an armful of groceries. She popped open the trunk and threw the bags in, trying to ignore the little girl’s screams coming from the black minivan two cars over. She settled herself into the driver’s seat, and rolled down the window. The deafening screams continued. Molly backed out of her parking space and inched slowly past the van’s rear bumper. The child’s father frantically tried to settle the little girl into the van, the little girl’s arms and legs thrashed wildly. The frustrated father’s eyes shot in Molly’s direction.
            “She didn’t get the dolly she wanted,” the man had said through gritted teeth.
            ….It was three days later, when Molly had seen Amanda’s face on the front page of the newspaper, that Molly put her nightmares and the image of the man together, and realized that it had not been the little girl’s father she’d seen, but Amanda’s abductor, her murderer.


“Are you going back already?” Molly asked Hannah.
“Some things are better left untouched,” Hannah said.

My Review:

            It has been a long time since I have read a book that truly held me captive. Chasing Amanda is a very well written book. The story line continuously delves deeper and deeper into a community of people and takes one surprising turn after another. Just when you think you have it figured out, wham! Another twist is revealed. It is not until the end of the book that the entire plot and cast of characters and their hidden secrets are exposed.

            The book begins with child abduction, one that Molly has had visions of happening. Unable to hone in on the specifics of her vision, she is unable to help the child. Years later, the past seems to be unfolding before her eyes when another child disappears. Even with the risk of destroying her marriage, she is drawn into her visions and her quest to help find the missing child.

            I began reading the book anticipating a simple storyline – child abducted, woman finds child through visions – but was pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded. The only analogy I can think of to describe Chasing Amanda is to picture the story line as a maze of intertwining vines leading downward to one stalk. There were a lot of surprises and twists and turns and entanglements with one discovery leading to another, each one more surprising than the last.

            Being quiet in tuned with my own sixth sense (in my own life) I have always been intrigued with books involving the sixth sense. Molly and her son, Eric, share this trait. While sometimes tugging at them, it proves to be a bond between them in the end. It is Eric, who finally convinces Cole, Molly’s husband and Eric’s father, that the visions are real and that Molly was in need of help.

            The use of Molly’s visions does not consume the book. The book also depicts the difficulties of having special abilities on a family, especially when family members do not want to believe or acknowledge the gift. Molly’s marriage is repeatedly pushed to the brink of collapse because of her gift.

            The loyalty displayed between some of the characters was impressive. It is very hard to find such loyalty and as a person who values loyalty, I appreciated this part of the story line. Chasing Amanda was also a story of understanding our human traits and idiosyncrasies, and learning to respect our differences.

            I could tell you a lot more about the actual story – but that would spoil the reading of the book. The book blurb tells you enough about the story, I hope my review seals the deal and makes you want to read the book.

Giveaway!
Melissa is a very generous author and she is providing 3 e-books for an
International giveaway. The only requirement to enter is to follow this blog via
GFC or NetworkBlogs. Melissa would love for you to visit and sign up for her newsletter here 
www.MelissaFoster.com

Please leave an email where you can be reached. The giveaway will run from September 28th
Through October 8th (my birthday!) I will post and email the winners on October 9th.

Any tweeting about the giveaway is greatly appreciated! (but not required)

If you absolutely have to read the book NOW, you can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking the icon below:




Disclaimer/Disclosure:
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. 

9 comments:

  1. I think it is amazing when an author feels comfortable to write in different genres. This book sounds amazing and heartbreaking. Fabulous review. I like that the sixth sense aspect doesn't consume the whole book. I am interested in the relationship between Molly and her husband.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Alexis, thank you so much for stopping by Donna's blog and commenting. Molly's ability is just one aspect of her life, it does not consume her, although it does drive her. I hope you'll pick it up. I think you'd enjoy the read:-)

    I'm releasing my next book, COME BACK TO ME, November 1st. You can read about it on my website if you'd like. www.MelissaFoster.com

    If you read CHASING AMANDA, let me know how you like it!

    XO,
    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful interview. "Chasing Amanda" is on my must read list. My online interaction with Melissa has been very positive.

    Donna, I really like your blog! I have never seen so many gadgets and widgets and badges! lol... oh my. Now following. I will be back again.

    Thank you both for a great post. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I prefer to see authors writing across genres and producing fresh material rather than being stuck in a genre and relying on a formula to get them through. Write what's in your heart. :-)
    Following on NWB as Amanda Chambers. (I tried to follow on GFC, but Google was taking a nap or something.)
    Amanda @ http://www.livinglearninglovinglife.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Donna. Awesome review and giveaway. I so want to read this book. I have Megan's Way. Melissa is an awesome writer. I really appreciate that she genre hops - I read that way. I think it is so cool that I have found a writer who knows the craft and writes the way I read. I think the fact that she writes because it makes her happy is one reason she writes so well. What she said about good writing coming from the heart is so true. Thanks for having her on - I love getting to know the authors. I tweeted the post even though it is after the date because it is a really good post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chasing Amanda is such a different story than the author's first book so I was not sure what to expect. It had me from the second page and in some instances; I could not turn the pages fast enough. The story was very interesting, not a subject matter you read about often. There are not many books out there where the characters have the gift of clairvoyance.
    This is a story that you can truly immerse yourself in, know that it could be real and keep thinking about it for days after you have finished the book. I am truly a fan of this writer her two books will certainly not disappoint her readers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is this a true story? But anyways, I loved the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fiction. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  8. Fake awards. http://zonalert.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/the-shameful-fake-writing-awards-of-melissa-foster/

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it! I read each and every response, and I love hearing thoughts and opinions from fellow bloggers, readers, and authors. If you have a blog, please leave a link so I can visit you back. Thank you.

I try to answer most comments, so if you would like to read my response, please visit often. Or, just click the "Email follow-up comments to [...]" box before publishing, to receive notification of new comments.

If you have to leave a comment anonymously, don't leave one at all. I will delete it. Own up to your thoughts.