Friday, May 8, 2015

SHOWCASE: Missing Melissa by Alretha Thomas

missing melissa sm

Missing Melissa
New Indie Novel

A sister's hope.  A parent's nightmare.

Twenty-two years old with a journalism degree from UCLA and a promising entry level position at a television station, Madeline Patterson is ready to take on the Universe. Raised by two loving parents, adored by her grandmother, protected by her dog, Pepper, and supported by her best friend, ”Madeline has it all. There's only one thing missing--literally missing--her identical twin, Melissa.

When Madeline and Melissa were three-years-old, their mother was carjacked in broad daylight while taking them to a doctor's appointment. She was able to get away with Madeline in tow, but the assailants left the scene before she could rescue Melissa. A long and massive search ensued, but Melissa was never found and is believed to be dead. However, a dream Madeline has on her twenty-second birthday, wherein Melissa appears to her as a grown woman pleading for help, convinces her Melissa is still alive. Against her parents'€™ wishes, Madeline vows to find her twin. However, in doing so, she unknowingly stumbles upon a series of startling clues that point to her parents' possible involvement in Melissa's disappearance. Paralyzed by fear, Madeline doesn't want to face what could possibly be the ugly and grim truth about her parents. However, her desire to find Melissa propels her forward, €”but nothing could prepare her for what she discovers.

Alretha Thomas

An award winning author, playwright, director, and producer, Alretha Thomas is making her name through her pen. Award winning plays and wanting to help her community, Alretha's background is as diverse as her personality. She started at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher picked and read her short story assignment in front of the class--that simple, loving act empowered a new writer. Continuing in high school, her numerous original oratorical conquests on the Speech Team led her to a journalism concentration at USC. 

Upon graduating, Alretha soon realized that her interest in journalism was not heartfelt. While at the taping of a live sitcom, the producer noticed her and encouraged her hand at modeling. Modeling didn't mean much to her, but it did lead her to acting and a NAACP Theatre Award Nomination (1993) for BEST ACTRESS. Alretha left acting and began to write full time. Her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces, six of which she directed--the community response was overwhelming. 

This led to full length plays outside of the church. In 2002, The Stella Adler Theater presented A Shrine to Junior. The play was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award and in 2004, Alretha's play, Civil Rites, was the recipient of an NAACP Theatre Award. Her play Grandpa's Truth ran at the Inglewood Playhouse in Inglewood, California in 2006, and was extended more than once by popular demand. Not only did radio station KJLH support by recommending this production to its listeners, but notables like the Mayor of Inglewood, Roosevelt Dorn, and music legends like Freda Payne and Stevie Wonder had critical acclaim for Grandpa's Truth. This wonderful piece was featured on Channel 5 (KTLA News) by Entertainment Reporter, Sam Rubin. Additionally, in 2007, Alretha's play that she wrote and directed, Sacrificing Simone, had a successful run at Stage 52 in Los Angeles and was called "an inspirational crowd pleaser" by the Los Angeles Times and in 2009, Alretha's ground breaking One, Woman Two Lives, starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient Denise Dowse, garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.

In between plays, Alretha's first novel Daughter Denied was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country. Representing her book, Alretha has been the guest on many radio shows and television shows including San Francisco Public Affairs show Bay Sunday with Barbara Rodgers on KTLA Channel 5. In 2011, Alretha launched her second novel Dancing Her Dreams Away, and it was also well received. Her third novel, Married in the Nick of Nine, spawned a four-book series that was acquired by Soul Mate Publishing in January 2014. Alretha's third indie novel, "Four Ladies Only," was released February 2014 and in August 2014 was awarded the Jessie Redmon Fauset Literary Award.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  Nothing outside of me really inspires my writing. My stories seem to be conceived immaculately. It’s like a seed is planted within me and it starts to grow into a story. And then the characters emerge and the plot twists take root. It takes over my entire being and it’s all I think about—giving birth to the story. Sometimes I wonder if I have tapped into a past life or another dimension because the stories seem so real to me.
Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A.  Having the ability to create other worlds. It’s such an amazing thing. You get this idea, you flesh it out, you create people, and their environment. You’re in charge of their destiny. You control the people and the world they live in. It’s a real high. Then when you’re done, you share these worlds with others and if you’re lucky they embrace what you have created.
Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  Getting your work to the masses and the rejection you have to endure while doing so. The publishing industry is so competitive now and everyone is writing. Everyone has a book. Agents, publishers, and reviewers are inundated. So as a writer you have to go above and beyond to get noticed, to get your story exposure. You have to have a heart of steel and a ton of tenacity to survive.
Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than writing.
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  The Write to Happyness.
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone.
Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.  Zora Banks in Terry McMillian’s Disappearing Acts.
Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. Cassandra Harte of my Cass and Nick series.
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.
Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?
A.  A heart for those less fortunate, my crazy laugh, and my indefatigable drive to succeed.
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Fall.
Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. My favorite book cover is the cover for Missing Melissa. I chose the cover after I had written the book. Red is a running theme in the book and Melissa’s favorite color. Also, the photo of the beautiful young woman in red peering into a mirror speaks to the twin theme. I couldn’t have found a more perfect cover.
Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I haven’t gone on tour for the book yet.
Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.  Not at this time. I am deeply involved in promoting Missing Melissa.
Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Thank you so much for taking time to read this interview. I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy ofMissing Melissa. It won’t disappoint.

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