Monday, February 05, 2007

Welcome Melissa Senate!

Hello blogland,
I've been on a hiatus due to the advent of AFGO*. It's been interesting... actually, I am quite positive about all of it! Still, I've been a bit overwhelmed and so I must extend my deepest apologies to the Amazing Melissa Senate, of novel-writing fame. Welcome to the blog, Melissa!

Melissa is the author of the new book, LOVE YOU TO DEATH. The woman must breathe novels because she has written so many good ones!


A summer baby born in a Catskills bungalow colony, I lived in New York City as a kid, New Jersey as a teenager, Connecticut for college, Brooklyn for the those first few post-college years (I somehow had a $450 a month studio in primo Park Slope), then the Upper East Side of Manhattan until just two years ago, when I moved to a small coastal town in Maine for a quality of life experiment (for my young son, not for me). I have to admit that the quality of life in Maine is pretty great.

What was I doing in NYC all those years? I worked for Harlequin Books (starting as an editorial assistant and leaving as a senior editor) for ten years, then moved to two young adult book packagers, working on everything from the New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley ("We'll solve any crime by dinner time!") to Sweet Valley University (Elizabeth and Jessica were in junior high, high school and college simultaneously!).

When I sold my first novel, SEE JANE DATE, in 2001, I took a huge leap of faith to write full time. SEE JANE DATE was made into an adorable TV movie (starring Charisma Carpenter and Holly Marie Combs) for ABC Family and is now on DVD, and it's also the subject of and answer to a question in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Trivial Pursuit (My sister's in-laws were actually playing the game and got the question and knew the answer, which is how I found out about it in the first place). SEE JANE DATE led to THE SOLOMON SISTERS WISE UP (which took me on a 3 city tour of Italy (I've been to Rome twice in the past three years and would happily go every year for the rest of my life); WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANWAY?, which reunited me with the characters from SEE JANE DATE (it's Eloise's story); THE BREAKUP CLUB, my first novel to include a male main character (there are 4 main characters), and THEODORA TWIST, my debut novel for teens, which Teen magazine hailed "a hot (and fun) summer read.

My sixth novel has just been published. Set in Maine, LOVE YOU TO DEATH is a fun mystery about a young woman whose worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. The hot Portland police detective investigating is a little suspicious. Also just published is my first essay, The One That Got Away, in the anthology IT'S A WONDERFUL LIE: 26 TRUTHS ABOUT LIFE IN YOUR TWENTIES. In May, another essay of mine (Then Again, Maybe I . . .) will be published in EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, a tribute anthology to one of my favorite authors.

I love to hear from readers, so feel free to email me with questions or comments or just to say hello:


Abby's worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. Friends, familiy, coworkers–and a hot Portland police detective–think that someone is Abby herself!
First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced.
Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the Portland Police Department (and Very Probing Questions and Incredibly Delicious Face), doesn't think so. Neither do Abby's friends, family, coworkers and other exes–who are suddenly shaking in their shoes.
Soon enough, everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of posioninig their drinks….
Is someone trying to frame her? Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart. Which makes him next on someone's list.


"Melissa Senate is definitely one of my favorite chick lit writers. Her books are funny and fast-paced and always make you feel good!"
–Sarah Mylnowski
"Readers will cheer Abby every step of the way as she fights to clear her name and find her prince for whom the glass slipper will finally fit."
–Publishers Weekly
4 stars says RT Bookclub magazine


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

A: Wishful thinking? Just kidding! LOVE YOU TO DEATH is about a woman whose worst ex-boyfriends are on someone's hit list. It's a lighthearted mystery (Publishers Weekly goes so far as to call it a romp). Interestingly, at the same time I was starting the novel, I was writing an essay about a former boyfriend for an anthology (IT'S A WONDERFUL LIE: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIFE IN YOUR TWENTIES), and this essay brought up quite a few of my most obnoxious boyfriends/breakups. The essay was so personal and serious, and I think the novel became a lighthearted way for me to "deal with" these cads! I wish them all well. Really.:)

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Aside from reading like a madwoman (and/or madman) join online writers' groups, post questions, answer questions, develop a community for yourself. It's a great way to network, both with other aspiring author and published authors, to get info about agents, editors, publishing houses..and to make connections.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?

A: I do have 5 set writing hours a day while my son is at school, and sometimes I'm very disciplined about writing and sometimes I'm suddenly doing anything but writing. What I've learned, though, in the seven years I've been writing full time is that when I'm NOT writing, I actually AM writing, in my head, in my bones, in every bit of me. I'm seeking answers to emotional threads and connections for my characters, for the plot. Who knew that happened while you ate a bowl of Raisin Bran or furiously cleaned your already clean bedroom?

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?

A: Two things have consistently been the most exciting: 1) Typing The End when I'm finished with a manuscript and knowing that I'm proud of it, and 2) when a reader emails me or blogs about enjoying my book. Snoopy dance.

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?

A: At the very end of LOVE YOU TO DEATH, there's a little blurb that says to look for another Abby Foote mystery next year. But I changed my mind! When I was sitting down to write a proposal about the next Abby Foote mystery, another character, another story had already started to grip me and wouldn't let me go, and I actually tried to make it fit into Abby's world, but of course that was impossible. It's about estranged twin sisters in their late twenties and how they come back together. There's an intervention involved (of the least likely sister) for a bad-for-her engagement, and a road trip that takes them down a bumpy, but fun road. It'll be out in the summer of 2008. Later next year my second young adult novel will be published as well. Love writing for both audiences!

Thank you so much, Melissa! You may purchase Melissa's book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the bestest choice, your local indy retailer.

*AFGO=Another Fucking Growth Opportunity :)