Interview with Melanie Mosher

It is my pleasure to welcome Melanie Mosher to my blog to talk about her middle grade novel, Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye.  Not only is the book available in print and ebook, but it is now available in audio. Pretty exciting! Melanie grew up in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and won an essay contest in grade two, sparking her imagination and beginning a lifelong love of stories. Fire Pie Trout received honorable mention in the Atlantic Writing Competition and later became her first published picture book. Melanie now lives in Gaetz Brook and continues to make up stories to share with her granddaughter, Emma.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing journey and when you first
knew that you were a writer?

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of writing for as long as I can remember. In grade two I won an essay writing contest and that gave me the encouragement to continue. I grew up in a house filled with books, so making up stories of my own seemed like the obvious thing to do. I remember imagining someone holding one of my books and reading it before they went to sleep.

Tell us about your book. What is A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye about?

This is a story of loss. Ten-year-old Laney has lost her younger sister in a tragic accident and the reader witnesses her grieving. Laney feels guilty about her part in her sister’s death and cannot talk about it. The reader also sees the rest of her family struggle, each in their own way. There are other characters who have experienced different types of loss.

Laney’s family spends the summer at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait, and here they begin to heal. The story is also one of friendship, hope, and resilience. It’s not all sad. There are bonfires with marshmallows and ghost stories, walks on the beach to find shells and sea glass, hide ‘n’ seek games to play, and plenty of kool-aid and watermelon.

 Why was it important that you write this book?

In 1976, my younger sister was killed in an accident and my family was devastated. My parents, so engulfed in their own grief, were unsure of how to help my siblings and I cope. We fumbled through and life went on.

Today, things have improved. There are grief counsellors in schools and an awareness that people may need help in navigating their emotions.

I wrote this story to offer comfort to a young reader who has suffered a loss or to encourage empathy for those who are near. And to show that talking is always better than not talking.

You mentioned in the acknowledgements that your book went through many drafts and started out as a short story in 1998. What kept you going back to the story and were there times when you felt like giving
up?

I put the story aside many times, but it always lured me back. This happens with my writing. I can write a draft and put it away thinking it’s not good enough. Over time, the idea comes back to me and I pull the story out and reread it. If the idea still appeals to me, I proceed with the next draft.

The original version of A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye, entitled The Diving Stand, was about 1200 words. It explored Laney’s fear of jumping off the platform into the deep water, a tangible fear with a possible physical solution—jumping. As time passed, I realized Laney had another fear, one that was less tangible and harder to deal with, the loss of her sister and discussing her guilt with her mother.

Do you have any words of encouragement for other writers out there
who have yet to see publication?

Tenacity!

Like any skill, writing is a craft that improves over time. Send your work out, but don’t be discouraged by rejection. Every writer gets rejected and it stings. Be willing to brush yourself off and try again. Either by reworking the same story, or creating a new one, or both. Believe it is possible!

Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you share it with us?

I usually have more than one thing on the go at a time. When one project isn’t working or needs to rest, I change to the next one. As long as I’m writing in some capacity, I feel like I’m moving forward.

I’m working on an early chapter book about a young boy who loves school but finds himself suspended after a bad decision that was made for a good reason. I’ve never written a male protagonist before, but this character arrived in my brain and had a story to tell.

I also have another picture book in the works, three freelance articles for magazines, and an adult non-fiction book that explores my journey with depression.

As you can see, they vary greatly. For me, it seems to help my creativity if I shift between genres and projects.

Thank you, Melanie for sharing a bit about your writing world with us. Congratulations of the publication of another book! I wish you all the best.

 

What’s it about: Every summer, Laney’s family visits their cottage on Tidnish Beach. Summertime on Nova Scotia’s north shore is slow and sweet: there are long days in the water until fingers turn pruney, bottomless glasses of cherry Kool-Aid, and bonfires with the other families summering along the shore. But this year the baking heat and bright red sand provide cold comfort. This year Laney’s little sister, Jenny, is gone.

Ten-year-old Laney grapples with the loss. She carries immense, secret guilt that she can only work out by writing letters to her sister. Laney’s mother won’t even say Jenny’s name, so writing quickly becomes Laney’s coping mechanism, to the detriment of her social skills. She avoids the other kids until she makes a new friend—one who doesn’t look at her with pity.

It’s a tough lesson for a preteen, but Laney must learn to acknowledge her grief in order to overcome it. When a situation arises and Laney needs to help her new friend, she finally understands that even though she will miss Jenny forever, she can find happiness again. A tender meditation on life and loss through the lens of a childhood summer, A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye will fill readers with warmth and spark important conversations.

 

Melanie’s book is available in print, as an ebook and in audio.

You can find out more about Melanie through the Nimbus Publishing website HERE

Melanie’s book is available through Nimbus Publishing.

                                                          Amazon

                                                          Chapters/Indigo

And don’t forget your local book seller!

2020 Pumpkin People

The Pumpkin People Festival was held this past weekend in Kentville. This year’s theme was Fables, Folklore & Fantasy. We didn’t have time to look them over properly but I grabbed a few shots while driving through.

You can check out their site here to find out more information.  Kentville ‘s Pumpkin People 

Hey Pumpkin People, did you forget there’s a pandemic going on? Where are your masks?

You wouldn’t know by these characters that COVID 19 was even a thing. (Sounds familiar?)  I mean, what about the six-foot rule?  Maybe?  I can’t tell the the people from the pumpkin people!

                                       Okay, maybe they’re sticking to their own bubble.

If you live in the area you can still check them out as they’ll be up for a few more weeks. To everyone out there I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving despite the pandemic.

FYI next time I’ll be posting an interview that I did with author Melanie Mosher who will be talking about her new middle grade novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye.

 

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