Today I am happy to introduce author Missy Fleming.
Tell us about your book(s). Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?
My current book is called ‘Who I Am With You’. It’s been a labor of love for years and one I have finally gotten to a place where I feel it is ready for the world. It’s about how tragedy changes people, how those people deal with that tragedy, and who we are once we come out on the other side. The backdrop deals with the after-effects of September 11th and how it continues to torment two survivors—a firefighter and the young woman he saved that day. Addiction, survivor’s guilt, emotional walls, it is all present daily in my main characters’ lives. I think they are both surprised by where they end up. It’s not all depressing! There’s romance and reconnection, forgiveness, self-discovery. It’s messy, just like life.
Tell us about your main character? What makes her so special?
Olivia, before 9/11, was a bit of a golden child. Daughter to wealthy parents, heiress to a global empire, her life was on the fast track and she never wanted anything different. Her parents were in the towers when they came down, and she was on the ground, waiting to meet them for breakfast. Dealing with literally watching them die hit Olivia hard, not to mention all the other horrors of that day. She had to leave and there’s a part in the book when someone asks her, ‘why California?’. For her, it was as far from New York as she could get geographically and culturally. She masked her pain with drugs—cocaine and heroin—they were the only way for her mind to be free, for her to sleep without night terrors. When we meet her in the book, she is nearly a year sober…this time. Her grandmother, who she hasn’t spoken to in almost ten years is dying and Olivia has to finally return home to face her past, which her grandmother interprets as taking her place in the company. This new Olivia loves to bake and finds joy in the simple things, so there is a bit of a battle of wills there.
Duncan is still a firefighter, relying on prescription meds and avoiding his family at all costs. He is fearless on the job and careless with his personal life. His survivor’s guilt fuels him. In his mind, he didn’t do enough that day, didn’t save enough lives. That was his one job and in his mind, he failed…except for the young woman he did save. He runs into Olivia randomly and they strike up a relationship. Through her, he is able to realize how badly he hurt his family, his children, and he begins rebuilding those foundations, but only after hitting rock bottom.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
I think the overall message is hope. That despite being a part of one of the worst days of our country’s history, a person can heal without forgetting. It shows us that what we think we want might not always be what is best for us. Who you are with one person isn’t who you’ll be with in the end.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
Never give up. Which is what everyone says, but it’s the universal truth.
Are you self published, traditionally published, or a hybrid? Why?
Both. Who I Am With You is my first adult novel and self-published. I have three previously published book that are Young Adult and published with a small publishing house.
If you could hang out for a day with any author, who would it be and what would you do?
Easy. I’d want to spend the day with George R. R. Martin and find out how his Song of Fire and Ice series is going to end and pick his brain on his characters. I admire the way he writes his characters to exist in such a gray area. The ones who start out bad you end up hating, the ones you admire fall. I love it!
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
My BFF (and writing/critique partner) are starting up our own publishing company! It’s called Mighty Girls Publishing and we want to focus on strong, kickass female characters. Female leads who show strength of mind and will, not just of body. We’ve written a few books together and have a vast library of our own works, so we’re starting with that. Eventually, we’ll be looking to take submissions and bring in other authors. It’s all about girl power with us. Our site will highlight not only our mighty female leads, but those in other books, in movies, and of course the ones in real life. It’s big and scary and super exciting! Watch for us!
Do you have any closing remarks?
Just to say thank you for this opportunity. Marketing is the bane of my existence, I am not afraid to admit that. Any little thing like this helps! It’s been a pleasure!
Thanks so much for being here today, Missy, and for sharing your book with us. Your new publishing company sounds amazing — I’m always on the lookout for kickass female characters!
Summary of Who I Am With You:
After witnessing the devastating events of September 11th firsthand, Olivia Van den Berg turned to drugs in hopes of burying the horrifying memory of her parents’ deaths. Nine years later, she’s sober and back in New York for the first time to visit her dying grandmother. With no other heirs, the family business will fall on Olivia’s shoulders, but is she strong enough take her rightful place at the head of a multi-million dollar corporation?
Duncan McMurray is a FDNY firefighter and a hopeless mess. He lost so much that fateful day – his family, his department brothers, his will to live. Years later he’s still struggling to come to terms with his survivor’s guilt and he does it with any substance he can get his hands on. One thought keeps him going … the girl with the chestnut hair he saved as hell crashed down around him, the only proof he wasn’t a complete failure.
A strange encounter reunites Olivia and Duncan once again and the two feel an instant connection. As Olivia falls in love with the man from her past, doors to her future begin to open and she must decide which path to follow. Who I Am With You is a story of love, fear, addiction and coming to terms with who you are and who you are supposed to be.
You can find Who I Am With You on Amazon and Smashwords.
Website – not up and running yet, it’ll all be on our Might Chicks Publishing site!