Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Connecting with Melissa Payne...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Eric Weber (2020)
We're pleased to welcome Melissa Payne to CLC today. Her latest novel, The Night of Many Endings, sounds really interesting and was compared to The Breakfast Club by a reviewer on Amazon. Melissa is here to tell us more about it and thanks to Get Red PR, we have one copy to give away!

Melissa Payne is the bestselling, award-winning author of The Secrets of Lost Stones and Memories in the Drift. For as long as she can remember, Melissa has been telling stories in one form or another—from high school newspaper articles to a graduate thesis to blogging about marriage and motherhood. But she first learned the real importance of storytelling when she worked for a residential and day treatment center for abused and neglected children. There she wrote speeches and letters to raise funds for the children. The truth in those stories was piercing and painful and written to invoke a call to action in the reader: to give, to help, to make a difference. Melissa’s love of writing and sharing stories in all forms has endured. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and three children, a friendly mutt, a very loud cat, and the occasional bear. (Bio courtesy of Melissa's website.)

Visit Melissa online:

Orphaned at a young age and witness to her brother’s decline into addiction, Nora Martinez has every excuse to question the fairness of life. Instead, the openhearted librarian in the small Colorado community of Silver Ridge sees only promise. She holds on to the hope that she’ll be reunited with her missing brother and does what she can at the town library. It’s her home away from home, but it’s also a sanctuary for others who, like her brother, could use a second chance.

There’s Marlene, an elderly loner who believes that, apart from her husband, there’s little good left in the world; Jasmine, a troubled teen; Lewis, a homeless man with lost hope and one last wish; and Vlado, the security guard who loves a good book and, from afar, Nora.

As a winter storm buries Silver Ridge, this collection of lonely hearts takes shelter in the library. They’ll discover more about each other, and themselves, than they ever knew—and Nora will be forced to question her brother’s disappearance in ways she never could have imagined. No matter how stranded in life they feel, this fateful night could be the new beginning they didn’t think was possible. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?
I love to create real and relatable characters that draw readers into the story and make them want to keep reading until they figure out what happens next. When a reader emotionally connects to one of my characters so much that they think about her even after the last page, I am touched. Sometimes, readers reach out to tell me that they had similar experiences to a character and that her story reflected their own journeys in authentic ways. Or that they learned something new or experienced the world in a different way by reading about a person very different from themselves. Anytime that happens, I take it as a compliment and find encouragement to keep writing and learning and telling stories.
How is Nora similar to or different from you?
Because of the accident that killed her parents and traumatized her brother, Nora is convinced that she alone is responsible for the sobriety of her brother. Much of her life has revolved around his ups and downs, his success and failures. She doesn’t see how that has stunted her own life or how much of her own pain she’s buried with her sacrifices. While I can’t relate to the exact experiences of Nora, I can understand the pull of family and the desire to help the ones we love.   
If The Night of Many Endings was made into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
This question is so fun because what author doesn’t love to picture their characters on the big screen? However, sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who would be the right fit because we live in our characters heads for so long. I’d cast America Ferrera as Nora. I adored her in Ugly Betty and think she would bring the right balance of fierce devotion, internal grief, and loving care of others. For Marlene, I think Jean Smart would be perfect. She’s got just the right sardonic wit and underlying kindness that makes Marlene both unlikeable and loveable. Finally, I’d cast Jeff Bridges as Lewis because he has the perfect grit and the kind of gruff exterior that I envisioned when I wrote him.
What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
One of my favorite books that I read in this last year was The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. It’s a story full of heart, beauty and courage and it had me reading late into the night. I loved Xiomara’s journey and how every poem and page stitched this beautiful story together. 
What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic?
I learned that a little bit of downtime is a good thing, too much of it can hobble creativity, but that if we wait for the moment or the world to be perfect, we’ll miss out on all the good stuff that happens in the chaos. 
What is the strangest Halloween experience you've ever had?
When I was in graduate school, my program had offices in an old building called The Ridges. Built in 1874, this building had originally been a mental hospital up until the early 1970s. When I was there, part of the old hospital had been converted to office space, which included a computer lab (that’s right, I went to school in the dark ages of computer labs). One night, I was working in the computer lab on a presentation due the next day. It was late, around one or so in the morning and I was tired. I took a break to stretch my legs and left the room to walk up and down the hall. The lights in the hall were off, except for the exit signs which gave everything an eerie red glow. That’s when I heard the voices, low, mumbling voices that came from down the hall. I was the only one in that wing of the building. Needless to say, I ran to my car and didn’t get my presentation finished until daylight.

Thanks to Melissa for visiting with us and to Get Red for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends November 1st at midnight EST.

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Carla S. said...

We became good friends with a couple that is 25 years older than us. We did lots of things together, including travel, and remain good friends even though we moved away over 10 years ago.

traveler said...

I befriended an older woman when I first moved to the city and we remain very close and see each other for occasions as our birthdays are 4 days apart.

Toni Laliberte said...

I worked for an older woman as her PCA and we became friends. She's so easy to talk to and very funny. I love listening to her childhood stories.

diannekc said...

I made friends with a co-worker who I never thought I could work with. We haven't worked together in years and we still keep in touch.

Mary C said...

I became friends with a retired school teacher at Starbucks. He was looking for a place to sit and I offered him my seat as I was getting ready to leave. We chatted for a bit and now meet twice a month for coffee.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

I don't have many friendships... just a couple of the gals in my writing group but we haven't seen each other because of the pandemic.

Nancy P said...

I make friends with all sorts of people because I enjoy diversity in my life.

Mary Preston said...

I became very good friends with my boss.

bn100 said...

can't think of any

Rita Wray said...

I became very good friends with an elderly neighbor.

Anita Yancey said...

Years ago I became friends with a very elderly lady that I rented a house from.

Phyllis said...

An unlikely connection or friendship - my husband's cousin. She is very conservative and also is alert to conspiracies where there are none. Not vaccinated because she says it's a government plot. Despite all the craziness, we really like each other and stay in touch via email (she's in Illinois and I'm in California).

Xia Lee said...

I became a good friend of my neighbor. I treat him like my uncle.

jtmswim said...

I just finished The Apollo Murders and I would recommend it. Fact-based and written by an actual astronaut! Thanks for the giveaway chance. Stay safe and healthy.

Bonnie K. said...

Our next door neighbor when I was in high school was an elderly woman who had a nice collection of books. We connected over books, and she gave me books over the years. One day she invited me to her assisted living home and told me to take any books I was interested in as she felt she was nearing her time . She was a single woman, never married, and had no children. I’ve always been grateful having her as a friend, and I know she appreciated my parents’ help over the years.