Author Interview: Melissa Face

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I met Melissa Face when she contributed a story to one of my anthologies, In Celebration of Sisters. Her writing in her story, A Sibling Thing, touched my heart. Since then I’ve seen many articles she’s written in Prairie Times, and she always elicits giggles and laughs.

Today we’re chatting with Melissa about her new book that just released, I Love You More Than Coffee. In her debut collection she shares emotions that many experience in the day to day life of being a parent: anticipation, joy, fear, guilt, and worry, to name just a few.

Melissa, in your Amazon description you ask – Have you ever been so exhausted that you showed up to a meeting carrying your baby’s diaper bag instead of your briefcase? We want the juicy details. Did this ever happen to you?

It absolutely did! I arrived to work just in time to attend an IEP meeting for a student on my caseload. I was teaching students with special needs at the time. I had missed the first part of the day to take my son to the doctor. He had an ear infection and we had both been up for most of the night. When I walked into the conference room for the meeting, I had my to-go coffee cup and my son’s Winnie the Pooh diaper bag! I had to borrow a pen and paper from a coworker.

I have to share something that was in your article ‘Something Unicorn’, published in the July 2020 Prairie Times. You wrote:

“While the three of us are often on the same page of the dinner menu, there’s one more family member to consider: six-year-old Delaney. She has no true allergies or dietary restrictions, yet she swears off a new food every week.

“Oh no. I don’t eat green beans anymore,” she said the other day.

Delaney has eaten green beans since I spooned them out of Gerber jars. But now, five years later, they don’t suit her.

Then there’s the issue with pasta.

“Remember the old days when I used to eat red sauce on my pasta?” Delaney smiled up at her dad as he prepared a special butter sauce just for her.

“That was last week, Delaney. Last week you ate red sauce on your pasta,” he responded.

Life happens so fast and these little snippets can easily get lost in the small details that can overwhelm busy parents. How do you remember these little tidbits so you can work them into stories later?

Since the pandemic, I have written almost every day. Sometimes it’s just a few lines, but other days it’s the draft of an essay. I have tried hard to take advantage of this point in our lives that seems both endless and fleeting, depending on the day. When I’m working full-time as an English teacher, I often add notes in my phone any time they say or do something cute or funny. I also take a lot of pictures to jog my memory.

Later on in the same article, you wrote about how your husband arranged all of Delaney’s favorite fruits and vegetables in a rainbow display on her plate to tempt her into eating. Unsucessfully. You mentioned watching her gag on food you insisted she try and how as a parent you worry about the juggling act between being not catering to a child’s picky ways, yet not wanting them to go to bed hungry either.

This reminds me of one of my favorite sister stories. When Sue was little, she didn’t like green vegetables. (She still doesn’t, fifty years later.) Dad was demanding that she eat her peas. She fought back with the argument, “I ‘frow up.” Dad, being the young father and disciplinarian that he was in those days, insisted. So she ate them. And then proved that her prediction was correct. All over the table.

Do you think that some of these Delaney stories will be ones repeated over the years of her growing up and will follow her into adulthood?

I do! Delaney has had a strong sense of self from day one. She has always known what she likes and especially, what she doesn’t! She has very particular tastes when it comes to fashion and food. In fact, her first phrase was “no like!”

How about Delaney’s brother, Evan? Does he have his own share of stories repeated and shared in your new book?

Yes! My collection begins with an essay about me realizing I’m pregnant with Evan and all the worry and anxiety that come with the early stages of pregnancy. Then there are essays about him referring to himself as “Baby Evan” and about the joy he brought into our lives after the death of my father-in-law. Actually, the majority of the collection is about Evan, but Delaney has become more of a star in recent years because of the hilarious things she says!

You’re a teacher, aren’t you? How do you juggle the demands of working full time, mothering even more full time, being a wife, and writing too?

I am. I teach world literature at a school for students who are gifted in the arts. During the school year, I am almost always working at night and on the weekends. I also jot down story ideas throughout the year and I write as much as possible during winter break and throughout the summer. I try to do as much grading at work as possible, and I grade/plan when my kids do their homework. I give my attention to whomever and whatever needs it the most at that particular time then put everything else in order after it. It is undoubtedly a constant juggling act. At home, my husband is a true partner. There is no “his” role or “my” role; we just do whatever needs to be done, and it has always been that way for us.

It seems you’ve been gathering stories for awhile to have enough to put in a book. I’m pretty sure that you have even more stories than are shared in I Love You More Than Coffee. How did you decide what stories to use in your first book?

I do have many more stories, but a lot of them involved other family members. Once I isolated the ones that were just about my children, I sorted them chronologically and eliminated a few that had similar themes. It was a difficult task. And since I put this collection together, I have collected many more!

One thing I haven’t written much about during these last few difficult days is COVID-19. It seems that there’s so much going on about it, that many are almost getting tired of reading about it. As a parent with two young children at home, and the disruption to life and to their school life – at least for the moment – I see your posts on Facebook and admire how you’ve been dealing with this disruption to ‘normal’ life and the positive attitude you’ve embraced throughout this. Can you share some of your coping techniques for some of the other parents that are going through the same stresses of parenting during these times?

I think our attitudes during COVID have been almost the same as our everyday attitudes. As a family, we have endured our share of grief and heartache, so we are truly thankful for every day we have together. I also believe in celebrating the joys and hilarity of parenting. If you stop for a moment in the midst of the chaos and really look at the annoying thing your kid has done, you can probably find the humor in the situation. Of course writing is a huge coping mechanism for me. I write for many reasons: to remember, to feel heard, and most of the time, to process whatever is going on in my life at that time. Usually, it is something related to motherhood. I have to also give my kids the credit they deserve here, too. They are both so good at finding fun things to do, participating in imaginative play, and laughing together. They have been my primary source of companionship and entertainment and have made the time at home bearable.

Do you foresee more books in a similar vein in the future?

I really hope so! I have an idea for a second collection, and I have done a little bit of work with it. I need to give my current project my full attention for now, though. But that’s hard because everyone says you need to have your second book out one year after the first! Yikes!

Thank you for joining us today, Melissa. We appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck with I Love You More Than Coffee. Please leave a few links where our readers can find you and your book and we’ll go follow and friend you.

Thank you, Trisha! Your questions were so much fun and thought-provoking. And I’m going to keep green peas far away from Delaney for a long time! Haha!

You can find I Love You More Than Coffee here:

i love you more than coffee

You can find Melissa here:

Facebook  – https://www.facebook.com/MelissaFaceWrites/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/melissafacewrites/?hl=en

 

BIO: Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids…a little more. Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, Tidewater Family Magazine, ScaryMommy, and twenty-one volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Read more at melissaface.com

Five Ways to Support Author Friends

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I Got Nothing #IWSG

Writer's Zen Blog

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”

Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard,Nancy Gideon,Jennifer Lane,Jennifer Hawes,Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!

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I Got Nothing

Apparently not even good grammar, according to the first thought that came through my mind as I reflected on what to write about for this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group post.

I usually try to write my post to answer the monthly question. But this month? Not…

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P: Pendulum of Age

Trisha Faye

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P: Pendulum of Age

At 8 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 10; there are two digits.
At 10 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 13; officially a teenager.
At 13 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 16; the age which we can drive.
At 16 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 18; legally an adult, able to vote.
At 18 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 21;
legally able to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.
After 21 yrs of age, we forget our age.

There it goes, the pendulum swinging in one direction. Get older, get older, get older. We were never old enough. We always wanted that next birthday – then the next one. Just a little older. Just a few years more. We can’t wait. Hurry and get here. Hurry! Hurry!

And then…without warning…the pendulum swings in…

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Guest Authors — the Brothers Salter

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Five Tips for Book Events

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Historical Fiction Short Story Contest #IWSG

Writer's Zen Blog

IWSG

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. We don’t have to write in response to the question posed. Usually I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post. However, this month, I’m taking a break from my norm to do a little shameless self-promotion for a historical fiction short story contest I’m holding.

The March 4 question (which I’m not answering this month)- Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

The awesome co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray,Lisa Buie-Collard,Sarah Foster,Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

Historical Fiction Short Story Contest

Part of being a writer involves marketing and self-promotion. That’s not always a good mix…

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Goodreads Challenge, Part Nine

Four Foxes, One Hound

The busier I get, the more I enjoy reading. Thanks to all my devices, I can pretty much read anywhere. So while waiting in doctor’s offices, ignoring football games, and avoiding my laundry I managed to read these five books. Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you!

51xk6jq-m9l._sy346_On the Surface by Margo Hoornstra
Margo was my guest here a few weeks ago. I read the first of her Brothers in Blue series and posted this review on Amazon and Goodreads:
There is so much action in this story I kept reading far later than I should. Brad and Jenny’s story is a wonderful opener to this series, and we get a glimpse of the heroes in the upcoming installments. Set in Michigan, we’re shown the contrast between the tough streets of Detroit and the peacefulness of the rural areas to the north. I’m looking forward to digging into Book Two!…

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Guest on Four Foxes, One Hound

I’m a guest today on Four Foxes, One Hound, talking about writing, how stories start, how people and items of the past led to some of the stories and books…and a lot more. Come stop by and say hi!

https://fourfoxesonehound.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/guest-author-trisha-faye/

Guest: Author Trisha Faye

I’m a guest today on Four Foxes, One Hound. Come stop by and say hi!

Four Foxes, One Hound

Today I am pleased to have as our guest Trisha Faye. Trisha is an amazing writer, who is versatile and prolific. All of her works are obviously “labors of love”.

Considering that she is a friend of several former Foxes, I feel that she is long overdue for a visit, and I am glad to be the one to bring her in. I think that everyone will find her diverse and fascinating.

We’ll delve into her body of works and discuss her new release.

Welcome, Trisha!

You certainly hit many points close to my heart: true stories of good people, some recipes, antique kitchenware, textiles, rescue cats, plus good-hearted fiction and the healing of hearts. You are a diverse person; glad to know another woman of my complex states of mind! With our shared birthday, June 20th, we put some credence to astrology: Gemini on the Cancer Cusp…

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