Author Interview with Monica McCabe

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 Q: If we were having a real in-person conversation, where are we? Beach, bar, talk show, radio?

A: I’d have to combine two and say beach bar! We’d enjoy the warmth of the sun while sipping on a frozen daiquiri, listen to sea birds, and watch boats come and go in the harbor. Doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Q: Tell us about the Jewel intrigue series. Would you describe them as adventure with romantic element or romance with adventure?

A: Well, I’ve been accused of being plot heavy in the books. Like that’s a bad thing or something. *Snort* So I guess I’d have to go with adventure with romantic elements. I suppose there could be some truth to that statement though. I usually work through the plot first. The romance is second. Is that wrong of a romance writer to admit to?

 

Q: Of the three novels, which hero is your favorite?

A: Holy cow. That’s an impossible question. Each has elements that I’m drawn to, so I love them all. But…don’t tell anyone…I do have a favorite of my three books. It’s Phantom Pearl. Maybe because it’s the latest one, but it’s really more about the storyline – Yamashita’s Gold and a WWII mystery. I was fascinated by the research!

 

Q: Will there be more Jewel Intrigue books?

A: I hope so. My contract mentions an option for a fourth book, and I’m waiting on word from the publisher. If so, I have a secondary character in my first book…Jason Harvick. He had such a strong personality and kept trying to steal the scenes. Which shows, I guess, because I’ve had several demands to get busy writing his story.

 

Q: What else have you written?

A: I have a completed YA novel written in the same adventurous style. It’s set in the Amazon River basin in Brazil. But my first book ever was a historical. I love reading them, so naturally I thought it’s what I’d write. Nope. Turns out, it takes a special sort of voice and I honestly don’t have it. Critique partners kept asking me… Have you ever considered writing contemporary? I hadn’t. I eventually gave in though, and switched. That’s when I found my niche.

 

Q: What can we expect next?

A: I’ve got another adventure series in the planning stage. And I’m working on a mystery collaboration with my critique partner. And of course, book 4 in the Jewel Intrigue novels. Right now though, I’m trying to figure out this newsletter thing. Believe it or not, it’s more daunting to me than the prospect of writing another book!

 

Q: You are quite an adventurer, how much of your own exploits do you include in your writing?

A: Guilty. I’m constantly doing this. I think all writers draw inspiration from personal experience. You can’t help filtering book events through that lens and I believe it adds flavor to the writing. We can all look at the same thing and see it multiple ways. That’s a great thing!

 

Q: What has been the most harrowing experience you have encountered so far (facing down lions on safari? Seeing a real bear in the woods while hiking?)

A: I’m not sure. I’m an adventuress, but I do have limits. I don’t like heights, so climbing Mt. Everest isn’t in the cards. Neither is rock climbing. No way. But I’ve never shied away from exploring new places, learning to scuba dive, taking a hot-air balloon ride, or hiking the back country. I’ve been pretty close to Alaska’s brown bears while visiting Katmai National Park, but they weren’t interested in me, they had salmon on the brain. Haven’t yet been on a safari, but it’s on my short list. I can only hope to see lions!

 

Q: What has been the most exciting adventure you have been on?

A: Oh my word. That’s a tough one. I guess I’d have to go with climbing the ancient Mayan pyramid at Chichén Itzá, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. We flew from Cancun on a small 10 seater prop plane and landed on a grassy runway carved out of the jungle. It was fantastic. We spent all day exploring the ruins, and topped it off by climbing to the top of the pyramid. Let me tell you, the energy up there is freaky strange, but the view is spectacular. The climb down was steep though, and pretty frightening for someone who doesn’t like heights. There were no guard rails or safety features, nothing but ancient crumbling rock, steep stairs, and a sign that said climb at your own risk. We did. And it was completely worth it.

 

Q: Where do your characters come from?

A: I start with a loose idea, a type of character, then focus on plot. Once the story begins to form, personalities begin to take shape too. Take book one in my series, Diamond Legacy. I knew my heroine was going to be a dental zoologist. I got the idea from a newspaper article regarding the Nashville zoo. Seems they had an orangutan that needed a root canal and they had to get on a wait list to fly in a vet specialist. WOWZERS! That intrigued me and Miranda Parrish was born. She’d be tops in her field, travel extensively, and have to go to Botswana where she’d stumble into diamond smuggling. I knew the hero would be an undercover agent in the dark world of conflict diamonds and gunrunners, he’d also be driven by a personal vendetta. That’s the way all my books start – shadowy idea of a character, while the plot takes center stage. Eventually, that flips.

 

Q: What was the last book you read?

A: Reading is a luxury anymore. It’s a time thing. But I do have a 45 minute commute to the day job, then 45 back home. So audio books are a Godsend. Last one I listened to was a Steve Berry book. He’s a favorite because his books are a twist of historical mystery and contemporary thriller. Before that it was a Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg novel. They co-write the Fox and O’Hare series. A female FBI agent and a dashing con artist. The books are irresistible!

 

Q: Do your books have soundtracks that helped to create them? Or what do you listen to when you write?

A: No soundtrack. Music is too distracting. I need quiet in order to concentrate. What I do though, is create a wall of pictures. I print out character images, setting locales, anything and everything that has import in the book. I tape them into a collage on the wall by my computer. For Phantom Pearl I had images of Dallas and Riki, pictures of Australia and Singapore, the crashed WWII plane, the treasure, and locations of all major events. It really helps me visualize the story.

 

Q: Cake or pie?

A: Pie. Specifically…Key Lime Pie. Food of the Gods.

 

Q: What’s on your pizza?

A: Funny you should ask. One of my first jobs was a waitress at Pizza Hut. It was a lot of years ago, but one summer they came out with this incredible Taco Pizza. During the rollout we had to wear a sombrero and shout out Ole! whenever someone ordered it. Totally goofy, but the pizza was da bomb. Can’t find anything like it today…but the memory lives on. Sigh…

 

Q: If you win big on the lottery would you buy a ticket on a Virgin Galactic?

A: Umm…no. I love to fly. Like, for realz. Big planes, little planes, sea planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, even parasailing – I’ve done them all. Skirting the atmosphere on a space flight? I can’t begin to tell you how much that freaks me out. Same with parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane. Never, never, never. Not gonna happen, no matter how rich I become.
(edit: someone who understands why would you jump out of a good plane?)

 

3covers

Diamond Legacy:
Africa-where diamonds are the currency of the weapons trade, and trust is the only option between two strangers…

Emerald Fire:
History didn’t always get it right. Sometimes the past is changed by a
two-hundred-year old journal written by a man history declared insane…

Phantom Pearl:
Vendettas and government secrets make a bad combination…

These are available from

Amazon

Kobo

Nook


 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.36.15 PMAdventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure, goofing off outdoors, or researching that next big trip.

Monica is currently working on the Jewel Intrigue Series for Kensington’s Lyrical Press.

You can find Monica McCabe at:

Monica McCabe – Author of the JEWEL INTRIGUE SERIES

https://www.facebook.com/authorMonicaMcCabe

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MonicaMcCabe

https://twitter.com/@monicamccabe/

Musings from the Bread Cafe

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Musings from the Bread Cafe -the first.

The guy in the corner ahead of me is gesticulating frantically. It is vitally important the person across from him get his point. There is one problem, the seat is empty. I can’t decide if he is practicing a conversation re-hashing a conversation or completely whacked.

The odds are fairly high, based on how he’s dressed, that the ear away from me has a blue tooth phone accessory in it. I just can’t see it. So to me, he looks a little bit crazy.

There is a rather obnoxious woman drowning out the book club I’d be more interested in eavesdropping in on. All I know is next week they’ll be back to discuss chapter two. They are behind me, so I can’t even sneak a peak at what book they are reading.

I don’t eavesdrop on purpose. After all I’m here to work, not to people watch.

I feel a little S.L.O.W. in that it took me so long to realize I could drop the kids at their weekly sporting practice and come and write. I used to take grading and crocheting to sports practice. Dragging the laptop around, not so easy: I can’t balance it on my knees and write while sitting on bleachers.

I’ve been coming to the Bread Cafe for just about six months now. I haven’t tracked word count yet, but I know I can write a good chunk while here. Mostly I track what types of scenes I’m writing. I have this theory, all writers working in public should either be killing someone, hiding a body in their word count, or writing smexy. Honestly, I haven’t written or edited that many romantic interludes while here.

It’s time to refill my tea and get to work.

Teaser Tuesday: All I Want

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Jason led Amy out of the restaurant. He dropped her hand and then he spun on the ball of his foot, completing several full turns. He stopped with a jump, planting his feet. “Whoo!”

“I guess you enjoyed your supper?” Amy ran after him as he danced down the street.

Jason leaped onto a planter before jumping and landing with another spin.

“If you were singing, I would think I’d been transported into a musical,” she said, looking up to Jason as he spun around a lamp pole.

He smiled down at her.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you’re dancing up the street like a mad man.” She laughed.

Jason twirled and executed an undulating body wave before coming to a stop in front of Amy.

The breath caught in her throat as he merged their personal spaces. “You are music that makes me feel like dancing,” he confessed in a low whisper.

Amy expected her face to burst into flames with the heat of her flush, but instead it suddenly was cold and wet. She lifted her face to the sky to watch the sudden downpour overtake them.

She laughed. “It is like a musical, and now it’s raining.”

“You know what that means, don’t you?” Jason asked.

Amy shook her head.

“It means the hero gets to kiss the girl now.”

 

©2017 Lulu M Sylvian