Monday, February 6, 2012

An Interview with Cara Marsi


Please join me in welcoming Cara Marsi as she shares with us a little information about her writing journey, her writing inspirations and distractions, and what she’s got in the works.

Be sure to check out her excerpt for Murder, Mi Amore, after the interview.

1) Links to website and list of books with purchase links.

Buy links plus excerpts for all my books, except my short story anthology, are on my website.

Short story anthology, A Cat’s Tale & Other Love Stories

2) How long have you been writing? What got you in to writing?
I’ve been writing seriously since 1992. A friend and I were trading Harlequin romances, looked at each other one day and said, “We can write these.” It took 10 long years before I sold my first book. Writing is hard work.

3) What was your first published book? Looking back, is there anything you’d change about it?
My first published book was a traditional romance, A Catered Affair, from Avalon Books. I originally wrote it as sensual but had to take out the sex, alcohol and cursing for Avalon. I have the digital rights to it and will soon publish it electronically but with a new title and cover. I added back the alcohol (wine drinking), some curse words and a love scene. One thing I learned from this book is that when I had to take out the love scenes the book was stronger because I had to focus on the relationship between the characters and not depend on the love scenes.

4) What or Who has influenced your writing?
I’ve loved to read from the minute I learned how. Elizabeth Howard, who wrote a series of YA romances that I read as a young teen, probably influenced me more than anyone. I loved her books and wanted to be a writer like her. Also I used to read Robert Ludlum. When I heard he had a house in the Caribbean and wrote from a terrace overlooking the ocean, I thought all writers made that kind of money. Was I ever wrong.

5) Where do you get your ideas?
From instances in my own life, like in A Catered Affair. From TV shows and movies, from news items. From everyday things all around me.

6) What hinders your writing? (distractions? noise?)
My husband and my cat hinder my writing. My husband keeps coming into my office to talk and my cat comes in and cries until I leave my desk and walk her to her food bowl to watch her eat.

7) What genre are you most comfortable with? What would you like to explore?
I’m most comfortable with contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I have one paranormal romance out now, Cursed Mates, from Noble Romance Publishing. I’d like to write more paranormal.

8) Are you a by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you have to use an outline to put your collective thoughts into some semblance of common sense?
I have to have an outline. I’ve tried writing seat-of-my pants and it didn’t work. I like to be organized.

9) Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
That’s a tough question. I love them all. A Catered Affair has a special place because it’s my first. Logan’s Redemption, a romantic suspense, holds a special place too because it’s a story that had jumbled around in my head for years. Murder, Mi Amore, a 2012 EPPIE finalist for best romantic suspense, is dear to me because it’s set in Italy, a country I love. I could go on. I love them all for different reasons.

10) Do you incorporate some of yourself into your characters? Personality traits? Likes? Dislikes?
Yes, all the time. I think every author puts a little of herself into everything she writes, like that famous chef who said every cook should put a little of herself into everything she cooks. I love cats, and most of my stories have a cat character. I have always fought to be independent and my heroines fight for their independence. Personality? I’m shy so my heroines are usually on the shy side.

11) What do you think is the perfect hero/heroine? Why?
A woman who has flaws and knows it. A woman who knows what she wants and fights for it.

12) What is your latest release? Please share the blurb and purchase info with us.

Other than my anthology of short, sweet romance stories, I have a new novella, a contemporary romance called Loving Or Nothing.

Here’s the blurb:
No stranger to loss, Tami Morrelle is holding on with one satiny thread to the only thing she has left that ties her to her loved ones - the family bridal shop.

Local bad boy Daniel Ramsey is back in town and on a mission - to turn Tami's world upside down - any way he can.

Daniel needs Tami's beachfront home and business to complete his crowning achievement as a successful developer. His latest proposal hinges on buying former high school classmate Tami's land to make it happen. More importantly, it will show those in Loving who were convinced he'd amount to less than nothing they were dead wrong about him.

For Daniel, it's Loving or nothing. For Tami, selling out to Daniel will leave her with nothing. But when the ruthless developer and sentimental bridal shop owner clash, sparks fly.

A secret crush. Two wounded hearts. Will Daniel and Tami be willing to give up what they think they need and open their hearts to what really matters in Loving?

(Includes bonus short story, "Accidental Love.")

Available now exclusively on Amazon Kindle, also available in print.

13) What do you have in the works?
As I mentioned, I’m revising A Catered Affair, now titled, A Catered Romance. I hope to have that available by Valentine’s Day. And I have a very steamy novella called Storm of Desire, which will be out in a few months.

14) Do you have any suggestions/comments for prospective authors?
Read the kind of books you want to write, attend workshops and conferences, learn the business side of writing and never give up. Writers who give up never publish. Write what you love.

JUST FOR FUN:
1) What is the sexiest or most erotic thing someone has said to you?
When I first started dating my husband he told me I was a hell of a woman. I thought that was really sexy. He also said he found my slightly rounded belly sexy.
2) If you could be an animal, what would it be? Why?
A cat, what else?

3) If you had super powers, what would they be? Why?
I’d be like Samantha in the old “Bewitched” TV series. I’d twitch my nose and my house would be cleaned.

4) If you could be an immortal, what would you want to be? Why?
A witch. See above.

5) If you could change three things in the world, what would they be? Why?
Cats would be idolized because they are the best creatures in the world; we’d stop killing wolves because they are magnificent, much-maligned creatures; and it would rain every night while we slept so that every day would be sunny. Of course I’d want world peace. That goes without saying.

6) Is there anywhere you’d like to visit? Why?
I’ve always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. I’ve seen most of the major national parks but those two. I’ve always wanted to see the Alamo and will see that in March when I attend EPICon.

8) Do you have any obsessions? What are they?
I don’t like clutter. I clean out my closets and drawers twice a year.

9) Do you have a crush on any actor/actress? Who?
Not anymore.

Author Name: CARA MARSI

Book Title: MURDER, MI AMORE

Genre: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Publisher: THE WILD ROSE PRESS

Purchase: AMAZON

Format: EBOOK

BLURB:
Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.
But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

EXCERPT: PG

Lexie had started to run to him when someone grabbed her arm, pulling her around. A man, his face hidden by a ski mask, held tightly to her. Her shock ratcheted to fear. “Let go,” she yelled, trying to jerk her arm away from him, but his grip tightened. The dim light from the balcony above illuminated his flat black eyes. She had seen those eyes before. Holy shit. She was in trouble.

The masked man grabbed for her purse. She screamed, and with strength she didn’t know she possessed, whammed him on the head with her purse. He staggered back, swearing, and slipped and fell. Lights and freedom beckoned from the nearby Via Corsi, but all Lexie could think about was Dominic. Turning on her heels, she ran to him, slipping on the ancient stones herself as Dominic struggled to stand. But before she could reach him, the mugger caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder, twisting her around. Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.

“Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.

Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.

Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”

“I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.

Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”

He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”

“Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay. You’re safe with me.”

She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?

8 comments:

Cara Marsi said...

Shannon, thanks for hosting me on your terrific blog today.

K. M. Springsteen said...

WOW! It's amazing to read your journey. Mine is very similar (though I am not as far along). I wrote with a sensual edge but my break came with a sweet/clean read publisher, so overt references to sex, as well as cursing had to be removed - but the work is well-received (many people tell me they get caught up in the story and don't miss the heat) and the most amazing thing was - the stories ARE stronger. It becomes about chemistry and emotions and the plot. Great post!

Liz said...

great post Cara. I wrote what is about as close "sweet" as I've gotten with a prequel to a series--because it was set in 1960s Istanbul the mores of the time were just different and I tried to remain faithful to it.
LOVE Logan's story...
cheers
Liz

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Cara! I love reading about your journey and you've been such a good friend to me. I hope we can meet again soon. oxoxox, vb

Vicki Batman said...

Forgot to say--I'm with you on being Samantha! She was/is cute, sexy, and funny!

Cara Marsi said...

Thank you, K.M., and congratulations on your book. Sounds like we had a similar experience with needing to "sweeten" our books. It is so true that not relying on the love scenes to carry a story strengthens the story.

Liz, thanks for posting. I'm glad you loved Logan. He's kind of special to me too. You know I can't wait to read your Istanbul story with our guy Marko on the cover. Your story sounds delicious.

Vicki, thanks for posting and for being so supportive. I hope we can meet again soon. Glad someone else wants to be Samantha. She was cute funny and sexy and could clean house with the twitch of a nose. What's not to like?

Katherine said...

Great interview, Cara. I have a similar interruption when I'm writing - my cat insists that I touch her when she starts eating, so she runs back and forth from the food dish to where I am in the next room and puts her paws on my thigh until I get up and go into the kitchen to pet her so she can eat.

Great blurb and excerpt. Wish you lots of sales. :o)

Cara Marsi said...

Thanks for visiting, Katherine. My cat wants me to pet her too while she's eating. She's here now as I type, crying, trying to get me to go to her food bowl.