The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 9

An Interview with Melissa Ostrom,

author of The Beloved Wild

Melissa Ostrom’s short story “The Snow Globe,” featured in the last issue of The Passed Note, was a modern cliffhanger of sudden, unexpected secrets. Two young girls become friends, but one girl is more than readers expect: at the very last moment, she disappears. While her novel is still cloaked in mystery, Ostrom’s new book The Beloved Wild couldn’t be more different in tone or in setting.

This debut novel is set in the Genesee Valley of western New York during the 1800s. Harriet Winter, a young woman trying desperately to figure out her life and identity, has something...a little unexpected about her. Much like Ostrom’s characters in “The Snow Globe,” Harriet and her compatriots are surprising until the last page.

Melissa Ostrom was kind enough to answer a few questions about The Beloved Wild, her writing process, and what’s next in her career.

SRJ: This book, Melissa, is so beautiful. The language is lovely, the way the arc is constructed… it’s a writer’s dream! This of course makes sense, because you teach literature as well. Did you always want to be a writer?

MRO: Thank you, Stephanie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the novel. Actually, when I was growing up, I spent much more time dreaming about living in the worlds of the novels I adored than imagining creating my own fiction. Instead of wanting to become another L. M. Montgomery, I wanted to become her character, Anne Shirley. I loved Anne Shirley. Still do. Not until I went off to college did my passion for reading boil over into writing pursuits.