Jun 24, 2013

First Interview & Photos from a California Adventure

While I was off touring the California Coastline* this past week, my co-writer Scarlett Amaris went and lined up our first ever interview for SAURIMONDE, our recently released paranormal romance novel, with Kristi of Kristi's Book Readery (You can check out her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kristis-Book-Readery/461915803894133).

I was excited and nervous filling out the answers. I must have changed a couple answers a zillion times (okay, maybe like three, but still). You can read our interviews here (scroll down a little bit for mine):


Here's a snippet of mine:

How are your book/books doing right now in comparison to what you hoped?

Well, on one hand I'm happy if even just one person reads our book and it moves them, on the other hand I'd love for even more readers to get to experience Saurimonde. Regardless, the reviews we've received thus far have been very favorable, which makes my heart sing.

Most important thing about being a writer?

For me, writing is like breathing - I couldn't live without doing it. So, I guess the most important thing about being a writer is actually being a writer, and having the confidence and opportunity to live the dream, which actually took me a long time to get to despite having known most of my life that I wanted to be a writer. For years I was crippled by fear and insecurity, but then I experienced a traumatic, life-changing event that made me realize life is short and only you can make your dreams come true so I then grabbed up the reins and pushed ahead publishing my first book, In The Now, a deeply personal and candid memoir about my childhood and college years. Scarlett Amaris, my co-writer on Saurimonde, read In The Now and immediately realized I'd be the perfect person to help her tell Saurimonde's story. At the time I was stuck on a project and welcomed the fun distraction of writing paranormal romance and soon fell in love with the story. It's a dream come true to finally have it published.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think I get most of my inspiration from nature, be it the quiet majesty of redwoods or the roaring of the ocean pounding the shore. However, I live in Los Angeles - a concrete jungle - so I don't often get the chance to be in nature, but I grew up between a cornfield and a forest so I crave it. Driving along the coast this past week, we took a detour through redwoods in Northern California. They're so tall and old; it felt amazing to stand amongst them. If you listen long enough, they'll tell you their tales... I find inspiration in music and art, too, so if I can't get to nature I lose myself in a playlist while surfing the internet for paintings and photography that move me. Also, I love to people watch. All growing up, my Mum and I would ride the T from Riverside to Boston and, to entertain ourselves on the journey, we would point out fellow passengers making up whole complicated back stories. We still do this. Just last week we were in a diner somewhere near the coast concocting wild tales. Sometimes, though, inspiration will hit me out of nowhere. A couple weekends ago I was cleaning the kitchen when an idea I had been mulling over for months suddenly collided into a fully formed short story in my brain, so I grabbed up the nearest notebook and wrote 9,000+ words about a possessed ovary while sitting on my kitchen floor.

How do you cope if you get a bad review?

To be honest, I haven't gotten a bad review (yet) but I suppose I would initially feel hurt but then tell myself to let it go.

Occupational hazards of being a writer?

Probably a combination of being super moody when the words aren't flowing and the loss of social graces after being isolated awhile working on a project.

What book or film character would you say you were most like?

Probably Lewis Carroll's Alice because I grew up in a pretty sheltered rural town in Massachusetts then followed my dreams to Los Angeles like naive Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to the strange and fantastical Wonderland.

What makes you laugh?

Everything. I laugh a lot, especially at really inappropriate times like when people hurt themselves or during horror flicks when someone gets slashed. I just can't help myself. When I'm feeling down and need a pick-me-up, I search "Schadenfreude" on YouTube - hours of entertainment!

Which has been the hardest to write?

I've been juggling a few different writing projects lately, one of which is called Medicated and it's about a truly frightening experience I had after having an allergic reaction to a prescription medicine wherein I completely lost my mind and hallucinated off and on for a couple of months. That book has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever tried to write. Revisiting that time in my life is emotionally draining and embarrassing. I frequently have to stop, bury it in my desk, and work on fun stuff like fantasy or sci-fi to shed the bad memories and feelings.

Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters?

More magic, more mayhem, more bad decisions, and more accidental happiness.

Do you have any weird quirks you'd like to share with the public? :)

I think my weirdest quirk right now might be my obsession with the TV show Ancient Aliens. My dad read Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods when I was a kid, so I always saw it lying around the house, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I finally picked it up and read it myself after marathoning several episodes of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. The whole concept of ancient astronauts fascinates me. Recently I met Giorgio Tsoukalos at Monsterpalooza and I'm such a big fan that I was nervously shaking like a leaf in the wind the whole time!

Is there a person, alive or dead, you dream about meeting if you could?

William Shakespeare. My freshman year at Boston College I tested out of the basic English class requirement so I was allowed to take any English class I wanted. I chose a class entirely devoted to the writings of Shakespeare and loved every minute of it. There's a lot of strange humor in Shakespeare's works with which I connect. I'd love to be able to have a chance to sit with him and get to know him, what made him tick, who was he really, what inspired him... Also, Shatner. I'd love to meet William Shatner.

(Read more here: http://kristisbookreadery.blogspot.com/p/author-interviews.html.)

Also, you can purchase SAURIMONDE here:

*Now that business is out of the way, I thought I might share some of my favorite shots from my California Coastline tour from LA to Mendocino.

Our first stop was Morro Bay wherein lies the famous giant rock, albeit obscured by ominous mist.
Our next big stop was the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. I fell in love with the pools. Above is the Neptune Pool and below the Roman Pool.

Elephant Seal snoozing on beach near San Simeon

Sea Lion mama and baby in Santa Cruz
Then we explored some redwoods where I had to hug a tree.

We had a pretty extensive adventure. I'll add a couple more shots below, but if you'd like to see all of them, I'll be uploading more photos to a Flickr set over the next several days (as I have time): http://www.flickr.com/photos/melissa/sets/72157634266792438/

View from Mendocino

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Wine Country, Goldeneye Winery

Grape Leaves


Catalina Island

Famous Catalina tiles

Interior wall design, Casino Theater, Catalina Island

Tiffany lamp in ceiling of Casino Ballroom

Me & Jeremy at The Casino, Catalina Island

Cool fish  in the Japanese Garden at Huntington Gardens
[Edited to add interview snippet. 7.10.2013]

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