Do you mind telling the readers more about who you are and what you do ?
MF: Who am I? I'm a writer. It took years for me to figure that out. As a teenager, I wrote poetry. Really, what teenager doesn't. When I graduated from high school, many moons ago, I made the decision to follow another passion, music. I slowly learned that I didn't have the drive to make it as a singer or a recording engineer.
Years went by and I worked different jobs, from factory production line worker to legal secretary. I stumbled upon a job at a weekly newspaper, which led to a better job at a daily paper which eventually led me to an even better job at a different daily newspaper. During the five years I spent with the third paper, I went to college with the intention of getting an Associates Degree in web design; it was a move toward something that I enjoyed. While filling the pre-requisites of any degree, I met wonderful teachers who encouraged my writing. Before long, I made the decision to pursue a degree in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing.
I had a wonderful boss at the time and he gave me the opportunity to cut my writing teeth with a weekly column in a supplement to the newspaper. I wrote movie reviews of foreign and independent films. You quickly learn the art of deadlines while working in the news business, but this column pushed me to refine my writing.
While all of this is happening, I'm dealing with chronic migraines. I gave up on my dreams because I stopped functioning as a normal human being. In pain 75% of the time left little room for pursuing anything. With the help of a fantastic doctor, one at the end of a very long line of so-called specialists, I found myself on disability and slowly improving. I'm still in pain 25% of the time, but when I'm not, I write.
I concentrated on short stories for several years, but at the beginning of 2012 I met Cresta McGowan via Ladies Who Critique. We exchanged stories and found we liked each other. She's really the reason I started the novel that's been in my head for years. She gave me that final confidence boost I needed.
Which came first ? "Abandon" or "Fool's Journey" and which is your favorite.
MF: Abandon came first. I started writing it while in college as a project for a writing club. It's changed drastically from that first draft. Fool's Journey came to me when I first started feeling better. Both hold a special place, but Abandon is probably my favorite. There's a bit of me in Greta.
What is your main source of inspiration when writing?
MF: I find inspiration everywhere. For instance, Abandon came to me while I was suffering from the flu combined with strep throat. I could barely breathe or swallow and spent several days on the sofa dozing in front of the television. During that awful time, I watched Robbie Williams in concert and when he chose the girl to bring on stage and kiss her, I thought, "No way. I would never do that." It got me to thinking though. When I was younger, I would have jumped at the chance. Greta was born from those thoughts.
Fool's Journey came to me at a time when I needed to shake things up. Try something different. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so I tried my hand at sci-fi/fantasy.
The short story I have entered into contests, Miltonia Butterflies, came to me when I was planning a flower garden.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring writer?
MF: My advice to aspiring writers is FOCUS. I spent a great deal of time promoting other writers; don't get me wrong, I'm glad I could help them, but it took away from the time I could dedicate to my own writing. If you really want to be a writer, decide what you want to write, fiction, articles, screenplays, etc. then work at it. Set aside time to write. Sure, you can help others, but don't forget yourself. You'll never finish that novel or any project if you don't focus on it, dedicate yourself to it.
You just have to open your mind. There are stories everywhere.
Describe yourself in four words.
MF: I can't. Truly. I even asked my best friend to help me with this one and she said, "It takes more than that." Describing me in words is like Doctor Who describing time: "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff."
What is your favorite horror movie?
MF: Horror movies… hmmm… I used to love horror movies, but in the past ten years or so, I don't seek them out as I used to. We talked about The Exorcist in the comments of one of your posts and it definitely ranks up there as a favorite. So does the original Amityville Horror and Poltergeist.
But, my favorite is M. I guess it's really a thriller, but it truly scared me. It was made in 1931, it's black and white and foreign, but the premise and the execution still enthralls me today. I highly recommend it. Anything that can use shadow and emotion to scare you while the violence is taking place off screen is a must see.
If a book was written about your life what would the title be?
MF: This is a fantastic question and one I don't want to answer. While I consider my life tame now, it wasn't always so. I remember telling a close friend about a situation I found myself in and she said, if it were anyone but you I would be surprised. Another friend said, it could only happen to you. So, I guess a book written about my life would probably be titled: It Could Only Happen to Missy Frye.
Your writing style in Abandon reminded me of Nicholas Sparks in some ways. Have you read any of his novels?
MF: I've never read anything by Nicholas Sparks. I've seen a few movies adapted from his books. As he's a best selling novelist, I'll take your comment as a compliment. The old adage, write what you would want to read, works for style as well as genre. I don't want to get bogged down in a lot of description and superfluity when I'm reading so I try not to write that way.
To wrap up, do you have anything you would like to promote? Websites, upcoming works, etc..
MF: I'm currently working on a women's fiction novel about two girls who loved the same boy in high school. He is killed in an accident and when we meet the women years later, we discover how his death has shaped their lives. There is a lot of tension, emotion and darkness.
I'm also working on a sequel to Fool's Journey in which we learn more about Rashmi and Dimitri.
My website is: www.melissamfrye.com and there you can find links to my blog, short stories and connect with me through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.