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Swimming Upstream… Anyone else relate to this?

 Melissa Clark’s debut novel:

Judi: Okay, the title totally “reeled” me in because it’s right up my alley (river, creek, whatever). Where did you come up with this idea, Melissa?

Melissa: “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.

Judi: I love the premise! Which part(s) were easiest to write?

Melissa: I love writing dialogue. I’ve written a few plays in the past and found it incredibly satisfying. I learn so much about my characters through what they say. I often have the feeling that they speak through me and I’m just listening and transcribing their words. I know a lot of writers feel this way. It’s hard for me to slow down and be descriptive – really describe a setting or something. I am very aware of this and tried to do it more consciously in the new book. 

Judi: Your bio is very interesting and I’m wondering if you could give us a little more in-depth about your writing background?

Melissa: My dad is a writer, so I was always playing on his typewriter and writing on legal steno pads. I wrote short stories from thetime that I could write. I studied writing and literature in both college and graduate school. In my 20s to mid-30s 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!

Judi: What do you love most about this book?

Melissa: I appreciate this question because I feel a little weird loving it so much. I feel genuinely tender toward my characters and feel very disconnected to the fact that I created them. I appreciate their personalities and foibles. Every time I reread the book, I enjoy going on the journey with them all over again. When I was writing the book I had that swoony feeling of romantic love. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I bumped into things all the time, etc. I’ve never told anyone this before!  

Judi: So What’s next for you? 

Melissa: 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.  
Melissa, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. I absolutely love the premise of this book and will definitely add it to my TBR pile. Wishing you all the best




4 Responses

  1. I have just got to ask. Not that I really care or anything, and not that this relates to me in any way, but, um, is that really possible? I mean you know, a slow swimming sperm, implanted a couple years ago (lets see, that would be late 2006, OMG) leading to a pregnancy? Just medically curious. I guess I am also curious about the book, which I plan to look for. And of course, (somewhat depending on your answer, which might have certain financial implications) buy.

  2. I am also curious if it’s medically possible, but either way I think I’ll love this book!

  3. I love the premise of this book, as you describe it. I have added it to my to-be-read list.

    I remember Braceface! Very funny. What a big leap of faith to quit a successful show to take up novel writing. You are brave and obviously, quite talented.

    I will be looking for your next book as well. Keep on doing what you are doing, it’s working.

  4. I can see that tracking down the father after two years would make for an intriguing plot. What will each man say? And who will she want to be the father? Very interesting…

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