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

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?


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.



And don’t forget your local book seller!

When Tragedy Strikes

It’s been an emotional week in these parts. Life seems unfair when someone is taken before their time, and we can’t help but feel sadness over their passing. When tragedy strikes in a small community we all share that loss. We grieve for what we’re forced to accept– that someone we knew is no longer with us, taken away when they should have had many more years to live. There are two losses we’re left to deal with. First, for the person who has passed, but we’re also left with the feelings of how that loss affects us personally.

If you live in a small community, you can bet this person was someone you knew. Someone you shared a laugh with. Someone you came to for help. Someone you offered help to. Someone you worked with. Someone you waved to when you met them on the road. Someone whose children you grew up with. Someone who dipped you up an ice cream at the fair when you were just a kid. Someone who was a member of your family. Someone who did what was needed in the community without being asked. Someone who understood the grieving process a community goes through when tragedy strikes because they’ve done so in the past themselves.

Someone very recently made the comment that you, “Never hear about anything good happening.” I know it’s easy to go down that road when bad things happen. It reminds us then of all the recent tragedies we’ve heard. We don’t have to go in search for proof that bad things are all around. They will find us…. if we let them. And as many times as we go searching we’ll surely find those bad things….

Everyday if we go looking…..

If we look for it, it’s there.

But the secret is to look for good things instead. Accept the bad as a way of life, because it surely is, but seek out as much good as is possible….And it is possible….Maybe not on a particular day, but some other day it will be made possible. I understand why the comment was made. We listen to the news and are bombarded with stories that echo what this person had to say. But life is a balance. Good is all around us. So much good that it gets overlooked, overshadowed by the misfortunes that comes along.

Death comes to all of us. If we’re born, we will die. There’s no getting out of it. Our death will affect those around us–our family and friends, our community, people whose lives we’ve touched and were not even aware of. We don’t get to choose the time or place or circumstances of our passing or someone else’s. If this was so we’d all live forever because there’d never a right time to say goodbye, and we’d never be ready to let go. Quite honestly, the circumstances of someone’s death can sometimes be that hardest to deal with. We all understand that life is fleeting, changeable at a moment’s notice, but somewhere along the way we forget that death does not only come to the old and the sick. It comes also to the young, and the healthy, and to someone who had plans for another day. In this small community we’ve shouldered our share of tragedies. But we face it together, feel it together, mourn together, begin the healing process together.

The sadness will lift. The memories we’re left with will warm us and make us smile as we remember, a father, or a mother, or a sister, or a brother, or a son, or a daughter, or a grandchild or a neighbour.

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