Author Interview with Missy Fleming (Happily Never After)

In case you missed my review of Happily Never After, you can read it HERE. Fire and Ice publishers has the prologue and the first chapter of the book on its site to read for free. Check it out HERE.

Happily Never After is a retelling of Cinderella with a paranormal twist and an incredible setting (hooray for Southern settings).

The author, Missy Fleming, was gracious enough to entertain me by answering a few of my random questions about her book, the writing process, and a truly useless fact.

The book:

1.       I noticed in your author bio that you do not live in Savannah, Georgia. (I was shocked!) Your book, Happily Never After, takes place in this spooky southern town. What made you decide to use Savannah as the setting for your story?

I’ve read a lot about Savannah’s history, even before writing this book, so setting a ghost story there just felt right. I’ve been to New Orleans and in a lot of ways, I imagine Savannah to have a lot in common with it: full of rich history, stories of the paranormal, a haunting atmosphere. Now, I’m even more desperate to go to Savannah, to sit in Moon River Brewery for dinner at their restaurant, to wander the town squares. Maybe this year!

2.       There are many fairytale retellings out there. What made you decide to give this version of Cinderella a paranormal twist?

The story in my head, first and foremost, was going to be just a ghost story but when I sat down and started building Quinn’s back story, I saw a lot of possibilities to compare her to Cinderella, to give it a modern twist. Once we get past the ‘ball’, the similarities stop, but from early on I knew where I wanted to take the series and the ending of this book. With a family life much like the beloved fairy tale, it gave me a lot of room to help Quinn grow as a character.

3.       I was really curious about ‘George’ as I read Happily Never After. Will we see more of his character as the series continues?

Absolutely! I am going to share his story in the next book and he will have more involvement.

The nuts and bolts:

4.       What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Never give up. I think that’s the most important. I queried Happily Never After for a year, to agents and publishers, before finally getting lucky. Rejections can be a soul sucking experience, but you can’t let one or two or twenty stop you. All it takes is the right fit, the right person to champion your book.

Also, write for yourself. I went into this whole writing thing years ago knowing that even if I never get published, I’ll still be happy and feel like I accomplished something. I’ll always be proud I’ve managed to complete books. It’s not about making money. It’s about sharing a story that I hope the world will like! That mindset has helped keep me positive.

5.       What is one “mistake” you made and learned from while writing your book?

Trust me, there was more than one. I struggled a lot with pacing. Was I moving too fast? Was I dragging things out that didn’t have to be? I had the tenses all mixed up, writing in both present and past tense. I got stuck in character development. Ironically, the creepy parts were the easiest. This was only my second completed book, my first for YA, and I think it was a huge learning experience considering the genre was new to me. I also learned a story can never be perfect, no matter how many times I try to edit it!
Something random:

6.       Would you rather always be looking the wrong way in a photograph or always have a little bit of spinach stuck in your teeth?

I would rather always look the wrong way in a photograph. Who ever looks perfect anyway? At least without air brushing? I am SO easily distracted so it’s not a stretch of the mind to imagine I’d be looking at something else!

Happily Never After is available on Amazon.

Happily Never AfterThere's no such thing as happy endings.

Savannah, Georgia is rumored to be the most haunted place in America. Quinn Roberts knows it is. She's felt the presence of spirits her entire life, investigating and photographing them with her best friend. Only none of those encounters ever turned violent, until now. The menacing darkness feeding off her stepmother has promised she won't live to see her eighteenth birthday.

After a chance meeting Quinn reluctantly allows actor Jason Preston into her life, which has complications of its own. She's not used to letting people get close. Falling for him while fighting for her life, and her family's legacy, only complicates things more. Jason shows her exactly what she stands to lose, especially when she's being attacked by the mysterious entity. Each attack is more violent and terrifying than the last.

With Jason's help, she dives into the Roberts' family history, searching for a link between a woman who went missing a hundred and fifty years ago and what's happening now. What they find is a brutal murder and that the ghost doesn't just want to hurt Quinn, it wants revenge.

It wants her life.


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