Five For Friday: Melissa Amster, Chick Lit Central

Five For Friday: Melissa Amster, Chick Lit Central

Chick Lit Central founder Melissa Amster was kind enough to review my Rita Hayworth’s Shoes when I first self-published it back in 2011. Now on my girl’s first Diversion Books-published book birthday, I’m delighted to celebrate by welcoming Melissa to the “Shed!”

amster familly

I have always marveled at how Melissa could run more than one successful blog, work, and raise three kids. (My head spins with just my two!), and I was so excited and honored when she accepted my offer to be interviewed. Let’s learn more about her now!

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1. Please tell us about Chick Lit Central. What inspired you to start this blog, which has blossomed in such a short time into one of the top “go-to” sources for what to read? How did you go about getting it off the ground, and who are some of the other ravenous readers that help you run it?

It’s a place for authors and readers to come together and talk about chick lit. I started it because I was e-mailing with a few friends about chick lit novels we enjoyed and wanted to see who else in the world liked chick lit, as well. I figured there had to be a lot of fans. As a result, I’ve made some amazing friends! (Some are even authors.) I’ve also met a bunch of authors in person and it’s amazing to be known by name. One recently met up with me and my family for dinner when we were in her neck of the woods.

As far as getting it off the ground, it involved a lot of hard work, time, and patience. Thanks to the help of Crystal Patriarche from BookSparks, I was able to get it moving in the right direction instead of my PR naivety turning it into a train wreck.

We have a great team at CLC. Special mentions go to Melissa Patafio who teamed up with me to get this off the ground and helped with a lot of early work. She’s been absent for a while but is going to be more involved soon. Amy Bromberg joined the team in 2011, and her boundless enthusiasm for chick lit has been such an asset to us. She also knows a lot about PR that I never thought about. Tracey Meyers has been amazing with helping on blog stuff (putting together posts and updating pages) and keeping everything up to date with our Facebook group. She’s also found new authors that I never would have known to contact before. I love our review associates and guest reviewers, as well!

2. I know that in addition to your work on Chick Lit Central, you hold down a “day job” and write a separate blog, all while raising three small kids. How do find the time to “do it all”?

Funny thing is, I feel like I don’t have my act together. The whole “I don’t know how she does it” concept is lost on me. I end up slacking on some things I really should be doing, like organizing in my house or cooking more than I actually do. The good thing is that my kids go to sleep at a reasonable time, so my evenings are free. I also have lots of help on the CLC blog.

 3. Can you tell us more about your Merryland Girl blog? What it’s all about, why you started it, and how you see it evolving?

I created it in December 2009 because I was looking for an outlet for my thoughts that had nothing to do with parenting. It was a way to have something that was all about me. I blogged in it more regularly in the past, but I still post my thoughts at least once a week (via a blog project I do with some friends) and I also do a special project called “52 Stories,” where I share the thoughts of other people I want to get to know better. I decided to create a “like” page for it on Facebook to build more readership. It’s definitely a modest amount compared to CLC, but it’s an outlet nonetheless.

4. Have you done any fiction writing of your own? If you have, can you share what you’ve written about? If you haven’t, do you plan to? And what would you write about?

I participated in this fiction blogging activity back in 2010 and carried on a story through it most of the time. It was about this guy with a terrible secret and a girl he liked but tried to scare away, for fear of her finding out his secret.

Here is the last part of the story: http://merrylandgirl.blogspot.com/2010/11/painful-reminder.html (The other related posts are linked in here and you can backtrack to the beginning.)

I’d love to write a novel, but I always have ideas going through my head and am never sure what to do with them to carry them through.

5. What are you doing when you’re not reading–or writing about reading? Or meeting authors, reading about their writing?

I am spending time with my family, cooking (usually baking), watching my favorite TV shows or movies, hanging out with friends, observing the Jewish Sabbath, etc.

BONUS QUESTION: Which book, read recently or not, would you most like to see as a movie, and who would star in it?

Seeing that I just finished Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella and loved it, I could totally see it as a movie. (Click here to check out Melissa’s review of Wedding Night!)

Dream cast:
Lottie: Alison Brie (Think of her character in The Five Year Engagement here)
Fliss: Melanie Lynskey (I think she’s meant to play diverse roles and could pull this one off without a hitch)
Richard: Dan Stevens (I don’t watch Downton Abbey–gasp!–but I see his pics in magazines and totally picture him in this role.)
Ben: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (I hadn’t given much thought to who would play this role, but then I saw a pic someone posted on FB of him and thought: “Why not?!?”)
Lorcan: Jack Davenport (I watch Smash and was picturing him in this role as I was catching up on some episodes this week. He has that rough, brooding quality.)
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Thanks so much for stopping by, Melissa!
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Melissa with Jane Porter
Melissa with Jane Porter
MELISSA AMSTER lives in Maryland (DC Metro area) with her husband, two sons, and daughter. When she’s not reading and interviewing authors, she works for a Jewish non-profit. In her spare time (what’s that?!?), she likes to watch her favorite shows on TV, bake challah and desserts, and host meals and other gatherings. She’s also a parent blogger for Empowering Parents. Check out her personal blog and follow her on Twitter.

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Let’s connect! Find me on Twitter and Facebook, and email me: francine@francinelasala.com
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4 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Melissa Amster, Chick Lit Central

  1. I adore Melissa, and she has been such a huge support and a great friend. Chick Lit Central is proof that chick lit is far from dead, and we authors are so grateful to the entire CLC team. Having read Melissa’s writing, I so hope she does write a novel some day. Fanastic interview, ladies! Melissa, you are a very special person in my life.

    Samantha Stroh Bailey

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  2. What a wonderful interview. I have been fortunate enough to become friends with Melissa through her amazing blog! She is definitely a wonderful woman who does it all!!! Congrats on such a successful blog and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for chick lit and my favorite blog … Chick Lit Central.

    Like

  3. Melissa, I absolutely love Chick Lit Central – I’ve been reading your blog and book reviews, for like, FOREVER. And you should know, I don’t typically use the words, ‘for like’ in a sentence. But this time, it just slipped out. Helped with providing emphasis on the word, ‘forever’. Which I also felt needed to be in ALL CAPS so that you could feel the love.

    Like

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