Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maureen Fisher's Virtual Book Tour

Welcome Maureen Fisher, Author of The Jaguar Legacy on this step of her Virtual Book Tour.
Thank you, Maureen for stopping by. In the last few days we have learned a little about you, and enjoyed learning about The Jaguar Legacy.
Today you are here for an interview.

So Let's get started.

1. If you could start over with your writing career, what if anything would you change?

I gave this question considerable thought before answering, and came to the happy conclusion that I wouldn’t change anything. Nada. Not one painful, gut-wrenching moment of despair; not one beginner’s mistake (and I made every one of them in the book and then some, but oh, how I learned and grew!), and not one glorious, miraculous moment of triumph. I must admit, though, that looking back at the bright and sunny June morning in 2002 when I made the fateful decision to hang up my hat as a management consultant to write romance, I had no concept of what lay ahead.

2. What was the best piece of advice you received regarding the life of a writer?

I think the best advice was, “Never edit your first draft while you are writing it. Get the thing written, THEN you’ll have something to edit.” I’m still trying to master this one, and finally broke down and told my critique partners that they won’t be seeing any more of my next manuscript until I have reviewed and edited it and am ready to unveil it for critique. Another great piece of advice was, “Eat chocolate.”

3. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 - 1603). She was one of the most powerful women in history, and her story has always fascinated me. A decisive ruler during a time known as The Golden Age, Elizabeth negotiated the slippery slope of male-dominated politics with ease, dealing ruthlessly with any opposition. Despite the fact that she might lop off my head, I would love to ask her about the personal stuff -- for example: Did you love your daddy, Henry VIII, in spite of the fact that he executed your mom, Anne Boleyn? Do you have any issues around being locked in the Tower of London by your sister? Why did you never marry? Is it because of physical deformities in the, ahem, most private areas of your body as some claim, fear of childbirth, or merely a desire to avoid male dominance? Do you feel any guilt over killing off Mary Queen of Scots, your cousin and main rival to the throne? Were you really a virgin when you died or did you indulge in at least one mad, passionate affair?

4. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?

It’s a toss-up. Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum because I think she’s a hoot and Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie Fraser because he’s the most sympathetic hero I have ever encountered -- I guess I prefer Beta males with Alpha moments. And he’s hot. And he’s not afraid to show his emotions. And he knows how to pleasure a woman, oh yeah.

5. In the next century, what do you hope people will remember you for?

I hope people will remember me for my humor, intelligence, strength, integrity, and insight into human nature. I hope they will say, “Maureen Fisher touched many lives. I wish I could be just like her.”

6. How do you balance your personal and writing time?

I have no idea how other authors manage to tend to young children, work outside the home, prepare gourmet dinners, and still crank out wonderful books between feedings and diaper changes. I salute these authors. I take my hat off to them. I’m jealous of their dedication. And consider myself blessed that I do not have a ‘day job’, other than my writing, to worry about.

My two sons are adults and long gone from the family nest, allowing me to focus most of my creative energy on writing. My husband respects my writing and is very good about giving me my space. He now understands (after many gentle and not-so-gentle hints) that any interruption breaks my train of thought, jolts me out of the story.
I try not to schedule any activities other than writing before noon, but this self-imposed schedule conflicts with my new bike riding regime. And coffee with friends. And doctors’ appointments. And household chores. Truth be told, if I am in the throes of writer’s block, which is most of the time during the first draft, morning writing conflicts with almost everything.

7. How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?

I generally start with a high level concept. The characters come next (using a character template), followed by the plot, though these tend to be iterative as the plot drives my characters’ back story and vice versa. For example, when beginning The Jaguar Legacy, I knew I wanted to write a story about a hunky archaeologist and smart-mouthed heroine, a lost city, and past life flashbacks triggered by the dig’s energy. Initially, I planned to set the story in Egypt, but changed the location to Mexico because my husband and I had recently visited Monte Alban, a Zapotec city built on top of ancient Olmec ruins. I settled on the Olmecs because they were an advanced race and so ancient that only a smattering of conflicting information exists. Archaeologists agree, however, that the Olmecs worshipped the jaguar and that the priests believed they could shape-shift into the jaguar. Hence, The Jaguar Legacy was conceived.

My second book started the same way -- with a high level concept. A newspaper article describing the Fur Ball, a hoity-toity charity extravaganza to raise money for the animal shelter, inspired Fur Ball Fever. Also, I wanted the book to take place in an upscale condominium complex on the Jersey Shore, a setting guaranteed to provide an unlimited supply of quirky characters doing outrageous things.

8. What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

The Jaguar Legacy is a paranormal romantic suspense, though I would call it more of a mystical romantic adventure, akin to Raiders of the Lost Ark with hot sex. An avid fan of romance ever since I laid hands on my first Barbara Cartland novel, I am a firm believer in reincarnation and past lives. Furthermore, archaeology has always fascinated me to the extent that, as a child, I wanted to be an archaeologist.

People tell me my voice lends itself to humor (though others claim this is debatable). Fur Ball Fever, a romantic suspense with comic elements, is the first-born in The Condo Capers mystery series. Hopefully many siblings will follow.

I also have a couple of great ideas for more paranormal romantic suspense novels and would love to write a women’s mainstream fiction. Some day, I might even write a how-to book on writing after I figure out how to do it properly.

9. Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?

I haven’t written many characters, but I must admit that the heroine of The Jaguar Legacy, Charley Underhill, is my favorite. While loving the flaws and foibles that make her human, I admire her complexity, spunk, and wit. Never boring, Charley is full of contradictions and more than a few hang-ups. And no wonder. An independent woman at heart, she has lived under the thumb of her manipulative and alcoholic mother her entire life. While honest and ethical, she sees no alternative but to tell a lie that nearly destroys her in order to save her mother’s life. Her passion for life bubbles over, while her tendency towards bossiness, rash actions, inquisitiveness, and mulish obstinacy trip her up at every turn. When feeling nervous, which happens a lot around Alistair Kincaid, she falls back on smart-assed comments, witticisms, and a quirky sense of humor to mask her discomfort. She will do anything in the world for her friends and is intensely loyal. Courageous and resolute, if she believes in a cause, nothing will stop her from doing what she feels is right. In the end, Charley finds within herself the strength of character to overcome emotional trauma, supernatural evil forces, and mind-numbing fear to save the man she loves.

10. If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?

The Jaguar Legacy would require a hunky dark-haired hero (Clive Owen playing a Scot) and a blonde woman with curly hair as the heroine (Scarlett Johansson).

I also like Josh Holloway and Dennis Quaid as male actors; Jennifer Anniston and Sandra Bullock as female actors.

11. What would you want readers to take away from your books?

Emotional healing is possible when denial is stripped away, and anything is possible, if only you have the courage to take a chance.

12. Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?

· Don’t give up because of rejections or stinging critiques. Keep on writing.
· Mistakes are inevitable. Every writer makes them. Learn from your mistakes and keep on writing.
· Send that manuscript out. I was amazed at the number of authors who won’t submit their manuscript to an agent, editor, or contest because they fear criticism.
· Pitch your book at every opportunity. Practice first on a fellow writer.
· Eat chocolate and keep on writing.

13. Where can readers buy a copy of your book?

The Jaguar Legacy is available at Borders and Barnes & Noble, though you may have to order it online. It is also available at www.amazon.com or www.amazon.ca.

14. What other projects are you working on right now?

My next book is a comic romantic suspense, Fur Ball Fever, the first salvo in the Condo Capers Mystery Series.

Whirlwind action alternates between the seamiest side of Atlantic City and an upscale Jersey Shore condominium complex called Saltwater Village, proud sponsor of a hoity-toity pet charity extravaganza called The Fur Ball.

Sporting a dwindling bank account, an overwhelming debt load, and her family’s censure for a lifetime of impetuous mistakes, renegade Grace Donnelly faces catastrophe. Her family poodle, last year’s Fur Ball winner, disappears, the apparent victim of a dastardly dog-napping. How can she launch her new career as private investigator if word of her incompetence spreads? Unless she nails the perp, Grace faces not only the loss of her furry companion, but also the humiliation of failure and bankruptcy when yet another career bites the dust.

Grace’s suspicions focus on several candidates: a neighbor’s trophy wife, a slick televangelist, and her former flame, Nick Jackson, finest PI east of the Rockies. Her persistent investigation nearly blows his cover in his quest to nail the phony preacher whose corruption killed his twin. Unable to save his brother’s life during Desert Storm, Nick finds himself re-living his worst fears when confronted with Grace’s rash actions. To salvage his case, his sanity, and Grace’s skin, Nick sees no choice but to join forces with the sassy crusader who rubs him the wrong way -- and so many of the right ways.

Locked in an uneasy alliance, their joint investigation leads the reluctant couple into unexpected romance against a wacky backdrop of animal politics, drag queens, a dominatrix or two, the swinging scene, and a fascinating underworld of fetishism and bondage. The two cases converge in a zany roller-coaster ride of murder and mayhem, culminating in a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.

Thanks so much for dropping by Maureen. And good luck with The Jaguar Legacy and your latest book Fur Ball Fever.

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