Melissa Foster, Master of Setting

Traces of Kara, By Melissa Foster

Traces of Kara, By Melissa Foster

I’m thrilled to have Melissa Foster joining us today. Melissa is the award-winning author of four international bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa tirelessly helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa is also a community builder for the Alliance for Independent Authors. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. Today, she joins us to talk about her suspense and thriller novel, Traces of Kara.


Silverberry: What inspired your novel, Traces of Kara, and what’s it about?


Melissa Foster: I moved to a new town a year and a half ago, and while out for a drive with my family one night, we happened upon a dark power plant. It was the creepiest place I had seen in years, and I was mesmerized—literally. I found myself getting out of the car to stare at it in the dark, and the story began to take shape (much to my children’s dismay, as they wanted to hightail it away from there asap!).


Silverberry: You use a striking setting in the story. Why did you choose it and what does it add to the story?


Melissa Foster: After visiting the plant noted above in the dark, I was drawn to it in the daylight, and then…I had to get inside. I took a few private tours, and the interior of a coal power plant is not just dirty, which you might expect, everything is covered with a fine layer of coal dust, but there is an aura, or at least in this one there was. This particular plant had been rebuilt, with parts of the older plant still in tact in the form of basements that were roped off with yellow tape and dark corners roughly carved out of stone. The plant had too many cold, abandoned stone rooms that remained dark and untouched for years, and I simply had to place the story in such a ripe environment.


Silverberry: It sounds like a very creepy place! Did you need to do any research? If so, tell us about what you learned and how it found its way into the book.


Melissa Foster: I did, and I really enjoyed it. In addition to the tours, I spoke with the people who ran the plant and learned how the plant had run over the years, and how it had changed, how their shifts worked, what was expected and what could go wrong with key areas of the plant. It was fascinating. Most of what I learned could be added to the story in fine details. There were two particularly interesting areas of the plant – once I got past the horrific idea that the kind gentleman who was giving me a tour could kill me and ditch my body easier than producing a sneeze, I was able to focus on those areas. The actual coal processing area and the different levels of the rooflines were prime areas for the book to focus. A body thrown in the coal chute could be ground or buried, and the ductwork on the rooftop was so big, and so easily accessible, that bodies could disappear without anyone noticing.


I could have written the book from another perspective that I toyed with, one where the small town is involved in killing interlopers, and hiding the evidence at the plant…


Silverberry: You write in several different genres: suspense and thriller; historical, as in Have No Shame; dramatic fiction, as in Come Back To Me; and I understand you’re penning a young adult story. What do all of these genres have in common and what do you do to shift gears?


Melissa Foster: I’m currently writing contemporary romance, as well. I get bored easily, and if I’m not writing about characters that I am completely connected with, or topics that I can “feel” at the moment, then I won’t pen the book. Writing what I am passionate about provides intellectual stimulation for me, and I think for my readers, it provides diversity. I’m more interested in writing meaningful stories than racking up sales, so for me, writing what I love on any given day is sheer joy.


Silverberry: Tell us about some of the work you’re doing to support the efforts of other authors.


Melissa Foster: I am a pay-it-forward person by nature. I was raised to do more for others than I do for myself (thank you, Mom). So to me, helping authors is a natural extension of who I am. I work with traditionally published as well as independently published authors, and I help them to understand how to navigate the publishing world. I assist with everything from book marketing and actual publishing, to querying and building a media presence.


The two companies that I developed for authors, World Literary Café (WLC) and Fostering Success are geared toward creating a community of literary types: Readers, writers, literary services, bloggers, etc. We bring people together, offering ways to cross-promote as well as offering readers a way to learn about authors. In addition, the educational arm of WLC, Fostering Success, offers effective, affordable online courses that authors can take in an afternoon and refer to for years to come. In a few hours they can learn to publish, to marketing their books with real-life, easily to implement, information, and for newbies, we even have basic social media courses.


Silverberry: What’s ahead for busy you?!


Melissa Foster: Beginning in September, I will be publishing two contemporary romance series (that I am having WAY too much fun writing!). These are completely different than my previous work.


The Snow Sisters is a light, fun series with just the right amount of sexy, focusing on two sisters as they navigate dating, falling in love, and eventually, marriage and babies. The first book in the series, SISTERS IN LOVE, will be released September 9, 2013.


THE BRADENS, the second series, is about five brothers and one sister, and these books are scorching hot. This family is hot, wealthy, and wickedly naughty. Readers will meet a few of the characters in the Sisters books and the Snow sisters, and other characters from the Sisters series make cameo appearances in the Bradens, as well.


I think readers will love the light, fun, romantic flavor of these series.


Silverberry: Sounds like two fabulous series! Thanks for stopping by today!


Readers, grab a copy of TRACES OF KARA and learn about Melissa’s other books at the links below. And starting July 1st, look for a chance to win a copy of TRACES OF KARA in my Thriller and Suspense Giveaway Contest, right here on my website!


Purchase TRACES OF KARA at Amazon


Melissa Foster’s Website

TRACES OF KARA is an action-packed, pulse-pounding psychological thriller/suspense novel that features a determined killer who slowly loses his grip on reality as his carefully detailed plan starts to fall apart and a heroine determined to move forward with her life who now must reconcile everything she believed to be true about her family with the reality of their tragic past.

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