It’s 1968 and Melanie is turning thirteen. It seems like everyone is growing up faster than she is, but that doesn’t stop her from being an incurable romantic. When a gorgeous new boy shows up in her boring, small town, she’ll do anything to be noticed by him.
When an unexpected sequence of events lands her the job of trusted babysitter for his unusual little sister, Melanie is thrilled to be admitted to his inner circle. But then she has to figure out what really matters—a chance to be around him or staying true to her family and her best friend.
Read this dramatic coming-of-age story and be immersed in a time of turmoil and change in the heart of one memorable young girl.
This is a treat of a book, and one that will engage readers whether they are young or old.
Today I have the distinct privilege of interviewing my beloved older sister, Linda Shew Wolf! Hello Linda!!
First let me ask you about A Firefly Life. For those who are new to your book, tell us what inspired you to write it.
My daughter was about 11 years old at the time, and I saw what she and her friends were starting to go through in order to get the attention of boys, how they wanted to grow up quickly, and wished they could be prettier and more popular. I remembered the heartache of being a young romantic girl and wishing I could look more like some of the other girls in my class who were developing faster and seemed to be getting all the attention from boys. I started out just writing one scene from the viewpoint of a girl like that, and it blossomed into a full-fledged novel.
That's a pretty rough time in a girl's life.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I wrote it on and off for about three years, sandwiched between raising our kids and working full-time.
What delights you most about the story?
I love Melanie’s sardonic sense of humor and her good heart. It shines through even in her worst moments when she goes along with the crowd, willing to sacrifice her own sense of right and wrong to pursue the boy of her dreams.
I love that aspect, too!
Do you have a favorite character?
Melanie is my favorite, but I also love Tracy, the little autistic girl Melanie babysits. There are a few times where Tracy almost steals the show. I’m also especially fond of Jo, Melanie’s best friend.
They are all simply wonderful characters. Beautifully brought to life!
Do your story ideas usually come from pure imagination, or does a theme or an era strike you, and become the seed for a story?
Most of my story ideas come from the inner struggles of young people finding their way, but sometimes a historical era presents an interesting challenge for development. I admire a story that has a good plot but most of all, I like to see deeply into the soul of a character.
Me, too. I totally agree.
Do you have an idea of the entire story when you begin writing, or does it develop as you write?
I usually can see the shape of a story as a whole, in that I know where I want to go with it, but a lot of things happen along the way to modify that initial concept. That’s the adventure part of writing, to me—when the story starts to breathe on its own.
Do you find that your characters go in surprising directions, or are they usually just as you want them to be?
My characters surprise me quite often as they become flesh and blood before my eyes. Sometimes, it’s as if someone else is directing the movie I’m watching, and I’m just keeping the notes.
I can't help chuckling at how true that is!
As a busy person, I know you often need to take time off from your writing. During times when you’re not writing, how often do you experience ideas for new writing, or additions to works in progress?
There are definitely times when a work in progress captures my mind for awhile in the midst of other things. It’s almost painful to have to postpone sitting down to write when there is just no time.
I know what you mean. The story pulls at you and it's hard to have to resist that pull.
Hemingway said that writing was easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed. Do you agree with that or is writing more of an escape for you, or a relief, or a joy? How would you best describe it?
A little bloodletting ain’t so bad now and then, right? But actually, writing is all those things to me—escape, relief, joy, and frustration. The creative zone is my favorite place to be, so it’s well worth the occasional frustration of falling out of rhythm sometimes, or writing a whole scene knowing that I’ll have to dump it down the road.
How true. The creative zone is a compelling place!
What are your works in progress?
I have a novel going now about a young man who has just turned 18 and has an interesting dream life that becomes more and more his reality. I also have a period piece I’m developing, set in the 1920s, that is more of an adult level novel, a romance and psychological journey combined.
I can't wait to read them!! Thank you, dear sister.This has been such a lovely visit with you!
Okay readers, here's an excerpt from A Firefly Life:
Well, at least today, she wouldn’t have to worry about propping her eyelids open in class. Just before the bell rang, the new boy sauntered in and headed for the last empty seat at the back of the room. He acted like he didn’t notice the way the buzzing in the room swelled to a crescendo, or the way all the heads turned toward him like starving flowers groping for the sun.
The air became electric. Melanie felt as if her hair was standing on end. She clamped her fingers around her composition book and willed all the blood in her body to flow away from her face and down her arms. Thank God, he was sitting behind her and couldn’t see her face!
This is all in Your hands now, God. You’ve got to get me through this!
Melanie had a hot-cold relationship with God. Most of the time, she barely thought about Him. She had even nodded in agreement once when Barry Muldoon explained why he was an atheist. Some of his arguments did make sense. But at times like this, when her heart was threatening to slam a hole through her chest any second, she remembered how many times God had certainly rescued her in the past.
C’mon, God,” she whispered as Mrs. Doane turned from the blackboard and looked straight at her. She held her breath. Those round, buggy eyes considered her for a moment then wavered on to the seat beside her.
“Michael Markham,” she announced. “Please take the roll this morning.”
Mike lumbered to his feet as a wave of relief spread down Melanie’s back.
“Before you start, Michael,” Mrs. Doane peered down at the sheet in her hand. “We have a new student who is not on the list.” She squinted at the name.
Melanie had been holding her breath too long and exhaled louder than she meant to. In the seat in front of her, Sue Nichols let out a nervous giggle. Then the silence in the room deepened.
“Marseilles. It’s pronounced Marsay,” a strong, musical voice rang out. In one quick motion, all heads turned toward the speaker. There he sat, drumming his fingers absently on his desk and grinning at the class. “It’s French.” He chuckled.
He has movie star written all over him.
Melanie almost wanted to shout it. A tickly feeling started in her throat, as if a scream was cooking up somewhere in there.
She watched him in shock. His eyes were drinking in all the gawking stares, collecting them like offerings in church. His gaze rested briefly on her and a funny smirk crossed his chiseled lips.
I'll bet your interest is energized now! Linda's book is available on Kindle, in paperback or audiobook!
Here's the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Firefly-Life-Linda-Shew-Wolf-ebook/dp/B013HHSDTC/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501053888&sr=1-7&keywords=a+firefly+life
It's also available through Pelican books:http://prismbookgroup.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=37_73&sort=20a&filter_id=&alpha_filter_id=65&sort=20a