19 Nov 2013

Melodie Ramone: “After Forever Ends”

2 Comments Book Reviews

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“After Forever Ends” by Melodie Ramone is an absolutely charming and enchanting love story. Told by Silvia, an old widow it is the tale of her love to her husband Oliver, whom she meets at the age of 15 and whom she loves ever since.
Their wonderful, sweet, honest, romantic and deep love for each other crosses the paths of a few other significant people, not least Oliver’s twin brother Alexander and Silvia’s sister Lucy. This is the story of their life in Wales, their struggles and their ‘forever’.
The book is written in a most enchanting style and leads us through the stages of the couple’s life in wonderful detail, thoughtful, humorous, inspiring and heart-warming. 
I can’t stress enough just how beautiful this book is without crossing the line into unnecessary drama or kitsch. The romance is heart-felt, realistic and magic at the same time as Ramone has created very likeable characters that are not always totally perfect but are trying to be. Although the book begins with Silvia at an old age and being widowed it ends on a positive note and left me happy and cheerful. It is a credit to this author to have handled the sadness as well as this and bring happiness to a time when forever has ended.
I am massively impressed with this effort and urge you to see for yourself how lovely this book is.

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

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Hi Melody, thanks for taking the time for this little interview.

Hi, Christoph! Thank you SO MUCH for inviting me! I’m really excited to be doing this.

Tell us a little about yourself. I was surprised to find you live in the US but your book is so convincingly set in England and Wales? How did you decide on the location?

Well, I’m Scottish on my father’s side and Welsh on my mothers, so the locations were a natural choice. I’m familiar with the area that the twins in the book are from, which is right on the border between England and Wales. Quite honestly, it’s the happiest, most magical and beautiful place I’ve ever been, so when I decided that my story would be a positive one, Powys was the first place that came to mind.

Have you always written?

 I have been writing since I was about four years old. I used to make up little poems and stories before I could even write them down.

How did you have the inspiration for your story and your characters?  

After Forever Ends is based largely on my own experiences in life, or of experiences based on people who have been very close to me. I wrote it huddled under a blue blanket one very cold winter while I was living in New York. It was a dark part of my life where I was facing both inner and outer demons. I was unsure of the future and looking back at my past and trying desperately not to be bitter about my situation. A lot of things went into it; my homesickness for the UK and a little house that sits in Wales, missing friends who had left this world too soon, dealing with the passing of a relative I thought of as a mother. As I pondered all of this, and much more I won’t bore you with, I began to remember the good that was in my life. All the people, the places, the conversations and the laughter, and I decided to take those memories and change names, switch locations, and jumble circumstances. When the book boils down, it’s about 90% autobiography. And then I was reading it back to myself and I realized I had lived a wonderful, bumpy, spectacular, absolutely wonderful life. So I wrote some more and when I was done, I had After Forever Ends on a memory stick.

How much of the storyline was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?

I had nothing set in my mind at all. I just started telling the story at the day I met my high school boyfriend and went from there. I really let myself bounce around the memories the whole time I wrote. Nothing was planned or contrived. It was written how it happened, with a couple of embellishments for creative measure. 

I am amazed to hear this.  I would never have known. Tell us a little about your writing and editing process.

My writing process is erratic. It begins with a voice. Yes, as schizophrenic as that sounds, it always starts with a voice, like somebody whispering in my ear. And if I pay attention to them, they soon begin to infiltrate my dreams. Sometimes I will be watching them as if I am seeing a film, sometimes I will be them, but I start to get a clear vision, literally, of the world they live in, and an emotional knowledge of their lives. And then I just sit in the still with my computer and wait for them to tell me their story. I just type it as fast as I can, then go back and fill in the blanks, if they leave me any.

What is your writing environment like? Can you tolerate music or noise or are you a reclusive writer?

It really depends. I live in a house that is generally chaotic, so I often listen to music, but not music. Not exactly. Let me clarify. I tend to put on the headset and listen to Hindi chants or Buddhist chants. Certain ones, especially Ek Ong Kar and The Green Tara Mantra. They help clear my head, help me focus, and help me see more clearly what my goal in the story is. Other than that, I do prefer it to be quiet. Or, sometimes, I will play the same film over and over and over. I won’t even be paying attention to it, it’s like a hum in the background, but I just keep hitting repeat for hours. I did that with a ongHong Kong cinema film while writing After Forever Ends. I must have played it over two hundred times.

Which of your characters was most fun to write?

All of my characters were fun to write, but I especially enjoy Oliver. He was the most challenging character, because I couldn’t quite get into his head. See, I think of my characters as real people and when you “meet” Oliver, he comes off as completely sane and reasonable, but he’s really not. He’s way off his rocker. He doesn’t think like a normal person, his perceptions are different, so you just have to sort of accept him and not put any standards on him. But the thing about Oliver is, he is hysterically funny if you pay attention to him. I think he’s the funniest character in the book, but he’s subtle, too, so you have to watch him. Funny, I should use the word “watch”, but if you read the book you will know exactly what I mean.

Who would play them in a film?

I look for people who would resemble my characters and I have to say for Silvia, I’d go with Mandy Moore if she could do an Edinburgh accent. I’ve kind of fallen in love with her since I wrote the book and realized she looks a bit like Sil. She’d have to die her hair red and make it curly, though. For the twins, I’d love to have Ioan Griffudd, since he looks something like them in the face and he’d have no problem nailing the Welsh accent, being as he’s Welsh. I don’t know how tall he is, though. Lucy…physically speaking, I’d pick Isla Fisher.

Are you like any of the characters?

I am more like Silvia than I’d like to admit and enough like her to be proud that we’re the same on many levels. Silvia’s a lot more attached and insecure than I am. That’s really a big difference between us. I am fiercely independent and she has a deep need of people. It’s one of the things I like about her, though, her endless capacity to receive and return love.

What is your life like?

Well, I live in a big, ugly yellow house on a shady street in a historical district with nothing other than cute little white houses on it. I have two daughters, a husband, and a couple of pets. I wake up in the morning and immediately check my computer for e-mails, then tweet, then check my Writing Group, then I think about making coffee. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Most of my days are busy. My girls are home schooled, so we do a lot of that, and I take them to their music lessons and out shopping. We go to Sonic a lot for drinks. I like to cook and I do a lot of different things in the kitchen, hence my reputation for being a “Certified Kitchen Witch”. When I’m not cooking or cleaning or teaching or being a taxi, I like to paint and knit. And read. And write, of course. My days are always busy and almost never boring. I have a very busy, quiet, happy life. I have a lot of peace, which is something I didn’t have when I was young. I’m lucky.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Wow. You know, my favourite books are the really old, dry ones that I read when I was young. I am not a subscriber to the modern concept that a story should be told in 300 pages or less. Screw that. I love Tolkein, Alcott, and Lawrence. Those stories they told were real. Absolutely real and raw and dirt and messy and they were long, but once you read them, you actually lived another life. You came out of them with somebody else’s experience and wisdom and you were a better person for knowing the characters. Those are the kinds of books I want to write. The kind that change your mind and get into your soul and stay there forever.

As far as films, I’m a big fan of Hong Kong Cinema, but not the karate genre, per se. I love Hong Kong drama. My all time favourite film ever is a Hong Kong film called “Anna Magdalena”. But as far as American cinema, I just like movies that have meaning, or are funny. It’s always nice to just laugh.

Music…well, that’s a whole other subject! I listen to everything from opera, standards, and jazz to Iron Maiden. It depends on my mood. 

What are your views on independent publishing?

Well, I’ve been in the publishing industry on and off since I was twelve years old. I made a very intentional decision to self-publish. It wasn’t born of the frustration of being rejected by traditional publishers. I know full well I can be traditionally published, because I’ve done it under a different name. However, I didn’t want to be told what to do. I didn’t want my book to be gutted. It was so personal and so special to me that I wanted it how it was. I didn’t want it to be necessarily polished or perfect. I wanted the reader to have one of two experiences as they read: to either be the person Silvia, the narrator, was speaking to, hearing her voice as she rambled, watching her remember her life and tell it in her own words, or to be an eaves dropper on the train with them. My goal was to tell the story the way my own grandmother would have told it to me. I didn’t want anybody touching that, so I didn’t let them. I have every intention of doing the same thing with my next book, too. Every story has a soul and every author has the right to tell it the way they want. I like to do things my own way without a lot of aggravation. I’m very punk rock that way. 

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My best qualities are my sense of humour and my inner strength. I’ve been through a lot in my life and it’s made me empathetic and passionate about everything and everyone. I’m kind. My odd qualities? Oh, my, there are many! I don’t look at things in a traditional way…at all. I believe only in possibilities and never in limitations.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

My favourite animals are bats. I think they are so cool and so cute! My favourite colour is emerald green. My favourite outdoor activity? Well, I’m not very outdoorsy, but I do like campfires and starry skies.

What would you take to a remote island?

BOOKS!

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Joey Ramone. I’d love to have made my world famous pot roast for him, as a thank you, before he passed away. We’re no relation, but I’ve always been a fan.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I’m currently doing some freelance editing, but I’m working on novel #2 as well. I don’t really like to talk about my works in progress, but once it’s ready to rock I’ll be posting on Twitter and on my blog.

 

Links:

Amazon:  http://bookShow.me/B009ODTG86

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6540025.Melodie_Ramone

website 

twitter username melodie_ramone
About this author

I’m a wife, mother, keeper of fuzzy critters, author, speaker and certified Kitchen Witch. When I’m not creating Culinary magic, I can usually be found writing stories, reading books, relentlessly tweeting, knitting or delving into fringe Physics. Super geek? Oh, yeah. 

What else? Well, I’m funny and quick tempered, older than I look and young enough to be able to fall on roller skates and still move the next day. I’m short. I have curly, red hair. My favorite color is emerald green. I like Japanese Anime, rainy days, cats, kids, and any movie that includes Simon Pegg. 

I’m obsessed with the Science of Physics, particularly Particle Physics, although in the last few years I am drawn more and more toward Astronomy. I’m fascinated with Outer Space and what’s going on out there. Hubble and the Mars Rovers have sparked a passion in me that goes back to the first time I saw Star Wars. And that was a long, long time ago. I’m a curious person by nature. I want to know everything about everything, I want to see it. I want to understand it so I can understand the origins of our universe. But, then again, I want to understand everything in general. 

Some things I never will. I will never understand hate. I will never understand ignorance. I try to let them wash past me, but sometimes it’s hard. I think, in some ways, it’s why I write. So I can leave behind a world I don’t always understand, one I sometimes find too painful to stay in, and create my own universe. One that parallels this one, one that is similar, but one which I, ultimately control. One where everything, at least to me, makes sense.

In short, I’m a happy person. I’m not perfect and I’m not entirely sane, but I don’t pretend to be. In the end, when I look back at my life I will see an amazing smear of color. All the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the strength and weakness that was me. I’ll see all I did and all I failed at. And I will sigh and I will say that I lived. I really, truly lived. I was real. I wrote books. And that, I think, will be good enough for me.

 

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written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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2 Responses to “Melodie Ramone: “After Forever Ends””

  1. Scott Stevens says:

    A deep and meaningful book. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, Melodie.

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