Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews Misa!
Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Melissa Rush, but I wrote Family Pieces under my nickname, Misa (pronounced Miss-uh). I'm an Indiana native, but now reside in Arizona with my husband and two children. I've been athletic all my life and have even suffered through running a couple of marathons, although lately I've spent more time on the floor playing make believe with my kids than exercising.
How long have you been a writer?
I began writing the novel in 2008, but I've always loved to write. Writing a book was a challenge I'd always wanted to tackle, but until I met a local author I'd never set out to try. Most of what I'd written previously consisted of marketing copy and business letters.
Do you have a "day job," or is being an author your career?
I still have a day job. I own an insurance agency, but I do desire to write full time some day. (hopefully someday soon).
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
As I mentioned above, I'd always wanted to write a novel. I've also always loved a challenge. So one night, as I was reading a chick-lit novel, I made a comment out loud that I thought I could do it. My husband overheard and asked why I didn't then. That was it. The challenge was out there and I had to follow through.
I think the journey of writing a novel is a tough one. It is difficult enough to persist through creating the story and getting it down on paper ... then editing, rewriting, more editing and the biggest hurdle of all ... sales and marketing. It is not for the faint of heart.
Please give a brief description / storyline about Family Pieces.
Family Pieces is a contemporary, coming of age meets family saga story. It is about a college girl who searches for a missing necklace charm after her mother passes away. The story reveals right away who holds the charm, but how she finds out and what happens from there, and the relationships are what the book is really about.
What was the inspiration for this story?
The entire story was built around a necklace charm. I met a man who makes puzzle shape charms for families that really did connect together and thought it was a creative idea. The next thought was what if a piece were missing ... who would have the piece and how would it build into a story?
How did it feel to have your first book published?
It feels good to know that I achieved my goal, however it is truly an emotional roller coaster. One reader may love the book and the next hate it. Everyone has different opinions and that's okay, but there are those that forget a human being with feelings wrote it. Those hurtful reviews are the ones that make you doubt and, of course, the only ones you remember.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
I knew I wanted a women's fiction / chick lit genre book when I started. My next will probably follow suit, however I have toyed with the idea of tackling a young adult book.
What genres are your favorites? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I love to read chick lit, favorites being Emily Giffin, Jodi Picoult and Sophie Kinsella. Lately, I've been reading a lot of debut and Indie authors. There is so much available with ebooks and many of the Indie books are quite well written.
As an aside, I think many people hear chick lit and think negatively. I interpret chick lit as more contemporary women's fiction - modern day women facing modern day issues.
Do you have a special "spot/area" where you like to do your writing?
I write anywhere - at my desk, on a notepad, by the pool (I live in Arizona where pools are everywhere.) If I had my dream choice, it would be daily under an umbrella by the pool.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
For Family Pieces, the story chose itself. If there was a charm missing, someone had to have it. If someone had it, they had to be connected to the family and so on. As I'm working on the second book, the characters have dictated what comes next.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
If I wrote full time, I'd put together a strict schedule. I think having word count goals are key to keeping yourself on track. For now, I write whenever I have a few minutes between my business and my children. I wrote much of Family Pieces in the middle of the night, but it's hard to get up if you're snuggled in bed with all the ones you love.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
Honestly, I struggle with the details. So when I had a review that said the book was too detailed, I wondered what they might have been reading. LOL I tend to write the action and keep the plot moving forward, then I'll go back and describe the room.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I love spending time with my son and daughter. They're growing up so fast and I'm soaking up every second (before they become teens and run away when I approach.) I also love to run, read, watch movies and spend time with friends.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
The same advice that I give to other writers - to remember you are the only one that ever has to read your first draft. It keeps the paralysis of "oh, this is horrible" at bay.
What is the most gratifying thing that you feel or get as a writer?
There is nothing more gratifying than hearing someone enjoyed the book.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
Primarily email or Facebook. I love hearing from readers.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences, or is it purely all from your imagination?
The background locations were based on what I'm familiar with and I did attend ASU, but as a graduate student. The story is complete fiction. I actually have had readers tell me they've lost their mothers and I feel bad as I'm blessed that my mother is still with me. The only reason I wrote that my character's mother passed away was that it was the catalyst for the story.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
I love books by the mainstream authors like Nicholas Sparks and, again, the ladies mentioned above. However, it wasn't until I met a local author who had written a small book that I thought if she could do it, so could I. So, she probably was the inspiration for me to start writing.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
I think most writers dream of making the best seller lists and having their book made into a movie. I would be lying if I didn't do the same. The ultimate success would be for me to be able to write full time. However, just putting a coherent story down on paper was success to me.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
I'm about a third of the way finished with my second book. I had not planned to write a sequel to Family Pieces, but the characters had more of their lives to share.
Thank you Misa for allowing me the opportunity to interview you on Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and for taking the time to share some things about you and your writing career with us!
About The Author:
Misa Rush graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Business Administration. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Gilbert, Arizona. Her debut novel, Family Pieces, was written between her two full-time jobs of owning a small business and being a mom.
BUY THE BOOK: Family Pieces
Book Description: Family Pieces
What do you do when your once charmed life falls to pieces?
Karsen Woods' life seems charmed from her hunkalicious boyfriend to her picture-perfect midwestern roots. Away at college, even the necklace she wears serves as a constant connection home - a family tradition created when her grandfather handmade each immediate relative an interlocking charm. Each piece crafted in the shape of a puzzle piece, each one interlinking perfectly together. But when the unexpected death of her mother turns her world upside down, she discovers there is a missing piece of her treasured family tradition and her life as she once knew it may never be the same.
Addison Reynolds resides in her posh Manhattan condominium and wraps her personal identity around running Urbane, the magazine empire built by her father. In a moment of haste, Addison divulges her deepest secret to her closet friend Emily - a secret she never intended to disclose.