Melinda James has a problem. She’s in Skyview Haven because her entire family and best friend are dead. Did she kill them? Does she belong in the asylum keeping her from harming herself and others?
Her father Paul James is killed in a car accident. She attends his funeral and she does see him lying in the casket. Or does she? It turns out her best friend Beth is the one who is dead and her father is there to console her. What is going on?
She thinks she’s going crazy, especially when she discovers both are actually gone from this earth and they talk to her from…‘the other side.’ Are her father and Beth actually speaking to her from beyond? Why? What do they want?
Soon, Melinda finds the answers and they aren’t what she wants to hear. Paul insists he was killed and his whole family is in danger.
This is part of Melinda’s story that she shares with Dr. Alex Leever, the psychiatrist who is assigned her case. All she wants is someone to hear her story—and believe. Melinda slowly begins to trust Dr. Leever and steadily reveals her long, complicated, intricate tale.
While at Skyview, Melinda meets Trent and they become friends, until she learns something about him that rocks her world. Is he there to hurt her? Does he want what her father was killed over?
Problems mount quickly and she discovers that there are people who want something only she can give them. Is Trent one of those people?
Her family tries to help from beyond, but Melinda is running out of time. She needs to give them what they want or die. Can the dead protect the living? Will they be enough to protect her?
Get your copy today from Amazon
Today is the release of Starr Reina's latest novel, The Other Side, Melinda's Story. In celebration of her new release, I received the opportunity to review her and also post an excerpt of her fantastic new novel. Thank you, Starr, for visiting Bookworm Babblings today! Let's get started:
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
A: I loved reading the Nancy Drew series and the Hardy Boys’ series and that led me to believe I could do this myself. I was only about fourteen. That was when I actually started writing. But because of ‘circumstances,’ I stopped and didn’t begin again until I was an adult. Those ‘circumstances’ were the words of my father. At that young age, I wrote about four chapters and showed my father. He thought I was committing plagiarism. As a kid, I was hurt and angry. As an adult, I look at it and say ‘thanks, Dad.’ Apparently, my writing then was enough to make him think I copied someone else’s words. But of course, I hadn’t.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: My first reaction is to say upon my first published book, but that’s really not true. From my first book’s release in 2005 until now I have grown exponentially and in my opinion, dramatically. I’m not sure I have an actual answer to that question. I write books, yes. But I don’t think my mind realized I might be a ‘writer’ until I joined the big leagues with the big honchos at ITW (International Thriller Writers). Does that make me a writer? Absolutely not. But be able to spin a tale for readers to enjoy, does.
Q: What inspired you to write your first book?
A: The challenge that I could do it. As an adult, I had to find out if any ability I had as a child was still there.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: I've written in 3rd person, but enjoy 1st so much more. I love lighthearted, witty writing, but I seem to pen more suspenseful words.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: "The Other Side” just fit because it’s about a parallel world. The subtitle “Melinda’s Story” came about because it is her story. The next book will be Trent’s story and to know who that is, you’d have to read the first book! :)
Q: Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?
A: Not at all. I have a weird outtake and I love the paranormal. That’s all I can contribute this book to. That realm has always fascinated me and besides, when writing it, the rules are different. Who can say ‘that can’t happen’? It’s the paranormal!
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
A: I still have to say the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys’ series. They are what got me on the road to penning my own words and I can’t ever forget that.
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A: Yikes, that’s a hard one. Heather Graham? Alexandra Sokolov? I’ve read many young adult and paranormal books and in a sense, they’ve all contributed to the result “The Other Side’s” final galley.
Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
A: Going from past to present and back again and doing it seamlessly was a bit of a challenge for this book. I think (hope) I nailed it, but I guess my readers will tell me!
Q: And finally, who is your favorite author, and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A: I have a few, but the first one that comes to mind is Paul Kemprecos. His Soc series is incredible. His writing is what I explained above: lighthearted and witty. In his books, he has non-humans as characters and I’m not sure he meant that to happen, but it did. I love his series!
Well there you have it everyone! Be sure to check out my review of "The Other Side, Melinda's Story" on April 12th.
I tried to tell them it was going to happen, but nobody would listen. They all said I was just having bad dreams, or that I was crazy.
It started at my father’s funeral. It’s been so long since it first began, about eight years ago. Sometimes though, it seems like yesterday. My father was there. No, I don’t mean just in the casket. He was there. He talked to me, begged me to tell Mom that we all needed to run and hide. He said we were all in danger.
I asked him why he didn’t tell Mom himself. He said he tried, but she wasn’t listening. I heard him fine. But I didn’t believe him. Why would we be in danger? We can’t just up and leave. My friends are all here in Beaumont. When I told him this, he said it was important, that it was a matter of life and death. He seemed so worried, but I was so confused, I blew him off.
I guess when it first happened I didn’t pay any heed to his warning. We went on with our lives. Mom was grief stricken, my brother Kyle was in his own world playing videos and I was trying to shut my father out of my mind. Was I going crazy? What was wrong with me? Dad was dead, but I could still see and hear him.
If I tell you the story, will you believe me?
About the Author
A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story "Cut", Reina has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich Series. The first is “In the Name of Revenge”, the second, “Deadly Decisions” and the third, "One Major Mistake" was released July 10, 2012. Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works' distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
Reina is the artistic creator of the Ivanovich series featuring Pavel Ivanovich. Flanking Ivanovich's side in "Deadly Decisions" is Teresa Mancini, who vies with Ivanovich for readers' attention. According to J.M. LeDuc, who was "raised in an Italian family", Teresa "is perfect...like all your characters". Reina is also the author of young adult novella "Cruel Whispers" and its sequel novel "Cruel Past".
Reina is an executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Reina is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged the weekend-long event to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Reina has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Connect with Starr: