Happy Thursday! Today is a special day at I Loves To Read, as I am having my first ever guest blogger, Loucinda McGary. As a special celebration in honor of our guest, I am also hosting a book give-away for her brand new book The Treasures of Venice. I have read this book and can testify (as I will tomorrow in my review) that this book is worth it. So enjoy our special blog, and post a comment at the end for your chance at winning your own copy. (I forgot the rules…)
Rule #1: Only comments on this blog post can win.
Rule #2: Name and e-mail please. And if you’d like, a link to your own blog, for my own pleasure! 🙂
Rule #3: Contest ends September 10th
I Loves 2 Read; September 3, 2009
Thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog and talk about my new release The Treasures of Venice. This is my second romantic suspense novel for the Sourcebooks Casablanca line and it is now on the shelves of bookstores and available to order online. Like my debut release The Wild Sight, this book is a contemporary romantic suspense with some paranormal elements. It also has an Irish hunk hero, but instead of being set in Ireland, the story is set in Venice, Italy and has a secondary storyline set in 1485.
I’ve recently had several opportunities to speak in person to groups of writers and readers about my writing process in general and both my books in particular. I’d like to share a few of the most frequently asked questions and my answers about The Treasures of Venice.
What gave you the idea for your book?
I heard a piece of music on the radio. I listen to classical music and when an unfamiliar piece came on that I liked, I listened carefully when the announcer said, “That was the incidental music to the opera ‘Jewels of the Madonna’ by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.” I went home and googled the opera and the composer, who happened to be a Venetian.
Venice is such a romantic city, and I loved the idea of setting a book there. After I started reading the summary of the opera (which is actually set in Naples), I started thinking “what if…” and the idea for The Treasures of Venice was born.
Did you have a tough time coming up with character names and personalities?
No. Generally my characters show up in my imagination with their names and personalities fully intact. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get to know them. Yes, they really do “talk” to me, and I know far more about their lives than is ever written in their particular book.
I will say that coming up with authentic sounding Italian names for many secondary characters was a bit of a challenge. I try not to name my characters the same name as people I know. But I happen to know a lot of people with Italian last names, and I did ‘borrow’ a couple of them just for fun. I’m happy to report, the people involved got a real kick out of it, too!
Are any of the characters like you? Why or why not?
All of my characters have certain aspects that are like me, even the villains! I can’t help myself, because all their thoughts and feelings are filtered through me. While writing this story I would purposely think, “If I were a young woman who’d never had a father, and her fiancé had just jilted her, how would I react if…?” Or, “If I were a guy whose sister has been kidnapped, what would I do if…?”
So in some respects, they are all me, but then again, not really. I would never do some of the things or get myself into the situations that happen to my characters! Thank goodness.
While writing, are you always focused, or distracted?
I’m easily distracted, but I need to stay focused. That’s why I have set writing times and a writing routine. I don’t listen to music (like so many writers do), and I can’t watch TV or carry on conversations (in person or online) while I’m writing. Rewriting and revising are a totally different story, but getting down the first draft requires a lot of concentration. While writing my first drafts I often say I am “in my writing cave” because I sit at my computer all alone, many times until way into the night. Did you ever think your story would one day get published?
I had just about despaired of this book ever being published because it received many rejections over the course of the two years that I submitted it to agents and editors.
To be honest, it did have a few things working against it, the setting of Venice, Italy for one. Editors really seem to want tried and true settings, and all of Italy is not used that often in novels. It also has that dual storyline set in both contemporary and Renaissance time periods that editors and agents weren’t quite sure how to deal with.
But as the saying goes, “it only takes one yes” and I was thrilled when my editor finally said yes to this story! She loved the setting and the dual storyline and ultimately, I think readers will too.
Do you have any other questions about my writing process in general or about The Treasures of Venice? I’d love to answer them!
About the Author
Loucinda McGary took early retirement from her managerial career to pursue her twin passions of travel and writing, and sets her novels of romantic suspense in the fascinating places she has visited. She was a finalist in the 2006 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest in Romantic Suspense. She lives in Sacramento, CA. For more information, please visit http://loucindamcgary.com/.