Hello Everyone!, Welcome to my Blog. Today I’m interviewing Melody from the book Fool Me Once.
Please introduce yourself for those who haven’t met you in your author’s other books.
Greetings! I’m the title character in Melody Joy’s Personal Mystery trilogy (Fool Me Once, Love Me Twice, and Kiss Me One Last Time), by Malena Crockett.
My mother named me Melody Joy because she was sure I would grow up to be a musician, like she was. My father’s family name is Provence, which makes sense I guess, since they originated in France – probably somewhere near Provence! The Bainbridge name came from Walter’s family.
Tell us about your family.
Both my parents are descendants of early Mormons – some were with Joseph Smith and the very early church, and many crossed the plains to move to Utah with Brigham Young after Joseph Smith was killed. I’ve heard some people refer to me as an across-the-plains Mormon, not because I crossed the plains but because my ancestors did. That makes me distinct, I guess, from Mormons whose families came into the church later. My great-great-grandfathers on both sides were polygamists (they had multiple wives and lots of kids). Mormons don’t practice polygamy any more (at least not the ones who follow the official Salt Lake City Church), but I’m only two generations removed from this very intimate, huge family perpetuating system. I have hundreds of second and third cousins, and I have a lot of siblings – mostly sisters in my case. That makes for very interesting family dynamics.
How did your upbringing influence who you are today?
How did it influence who I am? It influenced virtually every aspect of my life. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my memoir. I wanted to share the experience of what it’s like to be a “modern Mormon woman” – because there’s still a lot about that experience that people who are not LDS never hear about, and those who are in the church never think about – it’s just part of their reality, but it impacts everything they think, do, and say. Being a devout Mormon isn’t a Sunday-only kind of a thing. Dedicated Mormons eat, sleep, and breathe their religion. They teach their children all about the church and about the Mormon beliefs from the moment they are born, and spend a lot of time at church and doing church-related things even during the week. For me it was a pretty safe way to grow up – I was protected from a lot of the hazards facing kids my age. It kept me away from drugs and alcohol and sex and other potentially negative influences, but it also kept me in something of a bubble. When I finally did find out that the rest of the world could be both really cool and really harsh, it was a very difficult awakening. I’m still learning about the world on “the outside,” and I’m still pretty conservative in my behavior most of the time (at least as compared to most of the rest of the people on the planet). On the other hand, I don’t go to church nearly as much as my mother would like me to anymore! I’m not sure how that’s going to work out. Women’s roles in the church appear to be expanding, gradually, but they’re still very rigidly proscribed and most Mormon women don’t see the limitations because it’s the only way of life they know. I wrote my story for them – for the women who start to see things differently and don’t feel like they fit, for the ones who want to try something else but don’t know how, for the ones who are afraid to change because they don’t know what that change will bring. My experience is proof positive that you can live through change, whether voluntary or not, and come out better and happier for it.
What was your first thought when you met the hero/heroine?
My first thought when I met Walter? I actually talk about that in my memoir – Fool Me Once. It’s the story of my life with Walter and all the turmoil we’ve been through together. The first time I ever laid eyes on him I nearly ran into him and knocked him down. I didn’t see him until I had actually bumped into him. It was mortifying. I just wanted to go hide, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him because he was so beautiful to look at!
Why did you fall for him/her?
Oh – so many reasons. He was gorgeous, he had those gray eyes and fine features. He was smart, he was articulate, he had a slightly warped and sarcastic sense of humor – similar to mine. He had a very sexy singing voice and could play the guitar and sing at the same time. It was something I could do, too, so we spent time on our first few dates making actual music together. That’s about the most romantic thing you can do, really – singing together can be a deliciously sensual experience. We had a lot of common interests – music, books, hiking, sports, travel. We had a lot of fun playing together for a while there.
Why did you choose your occupation?
It kind of chose me, I think. There were so many things I could have chosen to do (architecture, music performance, veterinary medicine), but when I was at the point of making those choices I was hobbled by lack of confidence and lack of support. The church has long insisted that women should place their focus on their homes and families and leave the money earning to the men. This was certainly true when I was college age, and even though I went to college and was studying for a bachelor’s degree, there was always that inner conflict about whether I should be pursuing a profession. Plus we married pretty quickly – I was only twenty, and Walter was twenty-three. We needed money to pay bills with, and Walter was taking as many classes as he could handle so he could get done with his degree asap. So I dropped back to taking classes at night and went to work full time to cover the bills. I ended up doing all kinds of things over the years, but ultimately they led me to a paralegal job that was pretty cool, except for the fact that it was a financial and professional dead-end. The only way to advance within the profession was to go to law school and get a law degree. So that’s what I did... and then all hell broke loose.
What are your strengths?
I love this question! For much of my life, I might have responded with “I don’t have any” but I’ve learned how untrue that is. I have a number of idiosyncrasies that make me unique, and for me those are my strengths – those are the things that make me “own” who I am and use those traits to my own best advantage. Nobody else can be me nearly as well as I can!
Specifically, I have the ability to step back from a situation and look at it “From a Distance” to try to get the whole picture. This is particularly useful when dealing with conflict or deception. I seem to have a sort of sixth sense that I can’t really explain to anyone, but it lets me see when people are lying to me. It comes in handy from time to time.
I’m also a really good speller. Weaknesses?
I can be indecisive. I don’t like giving up options, so sometimes I avoid making choices. That can be a problem if I’m not careful.
I’m a sucker for a furry face. Usually that applies to animals, but sometimes it applies to humans. I like the look of a neatly trimmed beard and mustache – so lovely. I have to be careful not to let that sway my thinking.
I swear a fair amount these days, but I try not to do it in public. I’m told that’s a weakness, but I’m not convinced. It takes some genuine linguistic talent to become really fluent at cursing. Just ask Spock; he never could get the knack of it.
Chocolate. I have a huge weakness for chocolate.
What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
That’s a really good question. Probably my biggest hurdle is my soft heart. I tend to be too willing to defer my own dreams in favor of helping someone else achieve theirs. This goes back to the confidence and support thing – it has been a pretty dominant theme in my life.
If your story was made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
Ha! Nobody has ever asked me that question before! I think this comes down to two Emmas – Emma Watson, to play me as my younger self, and Emma Thompson to play me as my older adult self. They both have the ability to play characters who are strong yet vulnerable, smart but uncertain, very capable but very human. That’s how I see myself. I like to hope that when necessary I’m the strong, smart, capable person, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve been the vulnerable, uncertain, very human person despite my best hopes. The combination of Hermione Granger and Elinor Dashwood would be a lot of fun to watch.
Do you have any hobbies?
I used to play a lot of racquetball and golf – both are great games. Racquetball is particularly useful for blowing off stress. Golf is more stress-inducing, but it’s a good excuse for being outside. I love watching birds and animals in their native habitat, and I like taking photographs. All of those things have kind of leveled off as I’ve gotten busier. Right now when I have a little bit of time I read, and play the piano and sing when I can get a few minutes to myself. And I’m really into researching my family genealogy. Those are some fascinating people….so many stories to tell. Now that I’m just about finished with my own memoir, I’m going to work on telling the stories of my female ancestors. Talk about badass women – they did some amazing things! Someone needs to tell their stories – usually we just hear about the husbands, when it’s the women who kept hearth and home together while the men were out rounding up new converts. Plus, that research will almost certainly take me to Scotland, Wales, England, France, and who knows where else. Any excuse will do!
How would you spend a free day?
A totally free day? NO worries? No bills to pay? No crazy spouses to deal with? In that case, a day at private beach, with a cabana and a non-stop supply of fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them (those umbrellas are so cute). I’ll need a pile of really good books to read and a dog or two to keep me company. Then I’m good. In fact, today’s a good day – I think I’ll go do that now! It’s been lovely chatting with you; let’s talk again soon! Bye!
What an interesting character! I don't know about you, but I look forward to reading the story! Here's further information about the book and Malena Crockett.
Buy link for Fool Me Once:
Love Me Twice is in production and scheduled for release later this month.
Kiss Me One Last Time will be out near the end of the year - October-ish.
About Malena Crockett
Malena Crockett is a recovering fairy tale princess and a story keeper. She collect records of Mormon women’s experiences from family histories, pioneer journals, and private and public sources, and weaves them into fictional narratives about the messy, complex and humorous human entanglements that can result from living a Latter-day Saint life. Her characters, like most humans, can be naïve, vulnerable and flawed, but they are more often strong, smart, and courageous, and have to rely on inspiration and heart to work through the challenges life presents. If you're a Mormon, you'll probably find yourself in familiar territory when you read her books. If you're not a Mormon, you'll get a taste of what it's like to be one, from various perspectives.
When she's not writing, she likes to hang out at the beach, wiggling her toes in the sand and watching the birds and critters play in the water. Sometimes she takes their pictures when they're not looking.
Malena has done time in both the Mormon corridor and the Bible belt, and now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved human, canine, and feline family.
You can learn more about her and her books at www.malenacrockett.com, or follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/malenacrockett.author.storykeeper/) or Twitter @malenacrockett.
Thanks everyone, for joining us. I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!