I’d like to thank everyone who visited and commented during the January Black release tour and Unofficial Christine Ashworth week. It’s been busy around here, but it’s been tons of fun. Names were drawn. Gift cards were sent. Coffee cups were put in the hands of UPS. And it’s Monday again. Where does the time go? January Black has been out for two whole weeks!
Enough about me and my book for now, because we have Melissa Parrino here today! She’s seriously one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met, and she likes books (and therefore, she is awesome.)
WSR: What is the first book you can remember reading on your own?
MP: Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
WSR: What is your very favorite book?
MP: This is a toughie! It’s like asking me if I’d rather Sour Cream and Onion or BBQ chips – it depends on my mood. Today I’ll go with She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I don’t know what it says about me that I love to read about characters who are deviant and troubled. There were so many points in the book when I felt proud of the character in some of her outbursts, and I thought she and I could be one in the same. But then other areas of the book made me think she’d gone too far and quite possibly needed drugs or a short stint in an institution. The fact that the main character was so three-dimensional and flawed was appealing, and the fact that the book was written by a man totally floored me. The feminist in me applauds Wally Lamb, who went on to work with female prisoners and compile a book of their struggles in Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution (Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters).
WSR: What are your favorite genres?
MP: Horror, Drama and Comedy
WSR: Do you prefer books with linear storylines? Or do you enjoy flashbacks?
MP: Linear storylines are my preference, but I don’t mind flashbacks. It does become annoying at times when the flashbacks take up a large percentage of the book. The previously mentioned author, Wally Lamb, wrote a book titled The Hour I First Believed. Having been a fan of his work, I was prepared to devour this novel but found myself trying to choke down endless flashbacks framed within a thesis paper one of the characters was writing. It took me forever to finish the book.
WSR: What’s your favorite plot twist?
MP: How about this for a twist – I’m not going to answer this question! Mwahahaha! Seriously, nothing comes to mind, so I’m going to make up my own question.
Melissa, what is the most important thing to you when reading a novel?
Wow, Wendy, I’m so glad you asked! Character development in any book is paramount for me. If I can’t develop some sort of insight or emotional attachment to a character, I can’t be bothered to read the book. Even though serious Literature majors may find him to be a joke, I loved Stephen King’s Gunslinger series. Don’t tell my husband, but I may have had a few love affairs with fictional characters, including Roland from the Gunslinger and Shadow from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
WSR: Great question! See, lovely readers. I told you she was interesting. Melissa, what plot devices drive you crazy?
MP: Whether it’s a one-time or repeat offender, I dislike predictability or the use of a constant formula. Every V.C. Andrews book has to include a love interest who, unknown to the main character, is either her brother or cousin. Newsflash: it may have been a surprise in the first Andrews book I read, but by the third one, I wanted to pull my teeth out. Likewise, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code’s mysterious clues were ones that anyone in Art 101 could decipher but his “expert characters” were flummoxed. So, readers like myself were not at all surprised by the methods in which the clues were hidden.
WSR: If you could order a book, directly from an author, what would it be about?
MP: Since I know you were a writer of Star Wars fan fiction back when we were in college, I’m going to request you bring back Firefly! We want Malcolm! We want Malcolm! And I really want to see River kill people with her mind. Can you make that happen?
WSR: [looks thoughtful] I could….
Melissa is a graphic designer and works for a small software company. She lives with her husband of nine years, two young sons, a dog, and a cat.