Monday, December 22, 2008


By Melissa Clark

Today I'm blogging about an exciting writer, Melissa Clark. Though she's new to the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit and is promoting her debut novel, SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY, Melissa is no neophyte to the writing world. In fact, she has pretty glam and impressive credentials. But I'll let you hear it straight from her. My interview with Melissa follows ...

Hi, Melissa. SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY looks terrific, and I'm so impressed with the reviews it gets on Amazon. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind this beloved story?

SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY is a novel about Sasha Salter, who wakes up one day to find she is pregnant. Only problem is she hasn't had sex in over 2 years. The doctor's diagnosis is that Sasha's body has been harboring a 'lazy sperm'. Sasha must now open up the Pandora's box of her past loves to figure out which of her exes is the father - and what the future holds in store.

The idea was born because I was having lunch with a friend and overate. I lifted my shirt to expose my bloated belly and the friend said, half joking, "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" and I said, "Yeah, right, from a lazy sperm." I went home that night and started outlining the idea for a movie. I decided, eventually, to write it as a novel instead.

If you were in charge of casting the movie adaptation, who gets the call?

Natalie Portman gets the first call. I think she could bring depth and humor to the character. If she's busy making another movie or doing something wonderfully humanitarian we give Jennifer Gardner a jingle. She's likable, vulnerable. If she's having a baby then we try Drew Barrymore because she has nailed these roles in the past. There are lots of male parts in this movie, too. I'd love to see Emile Hirsch do a romantic comedy.

You have such an interesting writing background. Can you give my blog readers a short summary?

My dad is a writer, so I was always playing on his typewriter and writing on legal steno pads. I wrote short stories from the time that I could write. I studied writing and literature in both college and graduate school. In my 20's to mid-30's I worked as a writer in television. I created a kid's show called "Braceface" which ran for 5 seasons. I loved that experience, but really wanted to write a novel, so I quit my own show and set out to write SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY. It was the best risk I've ever taken!

What is one of the nicest compliments that you have ever received about SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY?

"I read it in one sitting." Since it took a year and three months to write, I am amazed and flattered when someone tells me they zipped through it.

Did you have any input on the cover, and are you happy with the finished product?

I was actually very disappointed with the cover at first. I was under the false impression that I had a say in the cover. I suggested a few ideas and then showed them a piece of art I saw at the Venice Art Walk. They were all received with a lukewarm attitude. Once day I got an email titled, "Cover!!!!!!" There were so many exclamation points that I knew I was in trouble. When the cover downloaded, I broke out in tears. A girl blowing bubbles was NOT how I saw my cover. Who was that girl, anyway? Why was she blowing bubbles? After calming down, I phoned the editor and explained my dismay. They made some compromises, like removing the almost-exposed breast and some other things that irked me. Clearly I have not made peace with the cover yet, however, I do think it pops and people have told me that they bought the book BECAUSE of the cover, so I'm humbled by that.

What's next for you?

I JUST completed a draft of a new novel, "Imperfect". It is another medical anomaly type of story, but very different than "Swimming..." This one is more of a coming-of-age story. I sent it to my agent last week and am now on pins and needles waiting for her response.

Good luck with it, Melissa! Hope your agent loves it ... and thanks so much for answering these questions.

Please look for SWIMMING UPSTREAM, SLOWLY the next time you visit your local chain or independent bookstore. To buy online, visit,, or any cyber bookseller. For more information, visit Melissa's website at

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