Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Author Interview: Melody Nunez "An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past"

Being a book worm from an early age, I just love to read. So when my friend fulfilled her dream of publishing her book I was completely thrilled. Okay, I know what you are thinking...she's your friend, you have to love it. 

But I do love this book and I'm not the only one. Reviews boast "Romantic, spooky, quirky, sweet, creepy...there's a little of everything in these stories, something for everyone to enjoy." You find out for yourself by purchasing her book through Amazon HERE

And one of the best things that happens when your friend writes a book, as I read- the words came across my brain in her voice. It was like she read the book to me or rather we were having a wonderful conversation over a cup of tea. 

Here is my interview:

What is your favorite story in your new book?
Like a mother who has more than one child and claims to love them all equally, I can't imagine picking among them.  The stories sprang from my mind.  All the photos were hand selected and altered by me, so I'm pretty attached to all fourteen.  :]

Are any of the stories autobiographical? If so, can you give me an example?
None of the stories are autobiographical, but I have worked many "personal details" or things I've done, seen, or heard into the stories.  For example, the scene of the wedding meal mentioned in The Language of Flowers is a restaurant I actually went to with my husband in New York City.  Similarly, the type and manner in which Debbie's mother hoards in An Inherited Trait was something a customer told me about when I was cashiering at a craft store during college.  My love of baking is shared in And Some for the Road.  And though my life is much different than that of Beatrice in Beatrice Buttons, that's probably the story I identify with the most on a personal level.

I know we talked about the story in the book that left us feeling eerie, which story did you say you found gives you the most "chills"?

I think I'm immune from truly getting the chills, since I know the stories and characters so well, but I'd have to say that Cast from a Different Mold is probably up there on the list.  However, that's also the story that had my book's editor laughing, so I think it's all a matter of taste!

Are there any of the characters from your short stories that you feel you could still write about, or continue on in another story? If so, which character?
Ooh, good question.  In my mind the stories are pretty well wrapped up, but someone who read my book recently said they wanted the stories to go on - that they wanted more time with the characters.  That was nice to hear!  Actually, when I first started writing this collection I had eighteen stories - not fourteen.  I omitted four stories along the way.  Two of those four stories (the main characters were a librarian and an author) felt more like novels to me.  I may revisit those stories later on and work them into novel length pieces.

If any of your stories from the book could be made into a movie, which story would you like to have seen on film?
Can I narrow it down to a list of two?  I'd choose And Some for the Road, and The Language of Flowers.  I think they would translate well to film because of the premises and the imagery in each story.  Particularly the auction scene (And Some for the Road) and the wedding (The Language of Flowers).

"The Tattooed Lady" and "And Some For The Road" where two of the stories that I kept pondering after completing your book, your stories run the whole gamut of thrilling, romantic, etc. Besides the photos, where did you find inspirations for these stories?
The photos played a huge part, but I was also inspired by vintage ephemera/odds and ends collected.  Sometimes it was just the photo that inspired me (The False Groom), and the embellishment was just a visual tie-in to the story.  Sometimes I was inspired by a combination of the photo and vintage objects, like old watch parts (Each Passing Moment).

In a few cases I was inspired by visual clues on the photo itself.  For example, The photo of the woman in And Some for the Road has RI stamped on it in the lower right corner.  The photo was taken in Rhode Island, so I started thinking about how she might've ended up in Rhode Island in the late 1800s.  That locale allowed for the inclusion of Quakers and the Underground Railroad.

"A Restless Heart" was my favorite story, what was the inspiration behind it? Were you channeling your inner sewing diva?
Why doesn't it surprise me that your favorite story was about a seamstress/designer?  Apparently I was channeling YOUR inner sewing diva, since I'm still a sewing wannabe.  :]  This is one of those stories where I was inspired by the combination of the photo and some vintage objects - namely the needlework trim, the embroidery scissors, and the crushed flowers.  I just focused on the picture of "Sadie" and the decorative elements I added, and let my mind loose.  A Restless Heart is the result.

Are you working on any writing currently?
I'm on hold with fiction right now, since I'm working on some other projects.  However, I post regularly on my blog, and invite your readers to subscribe to my blog at

I'd also like to mention that the illustrations in the book are printed in black and white, but the original illustrations are in color and can be seen on my website by going to the BOOK page and scrolling down to the bottom.

Thank you for interviewing me, Amanda, and for sharing my book with your readers!

Also, I made her this sweet bag when her book came out. Best way to promote your book is having a book bag to get people interested in your work. 

Vintage buttons and trim framed a vintage embroidered boudoir pillow remnant. Buttons are a favorite for both Melody and me. 


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