Archive for October 6th, 2010

Marta Acosta is the author of the Casa Dracula paranormal romance series. Haunted Honeymoon (Casa Dracula book 4) was officially released by Simon & Schuster/Galler on October 4th. A former regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, she has degrees in creative writing and literature from Stanford. Under the name Grace Coopersmith, she has a book titled, Nancy’s Theory of Style, which was published on May 2010. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Her books have been named BookSense Picks, Catalina Magazine Humor Book of the Year, and Fresh Fiction Fresh Picks.

Wonderful to have you here, Marta. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, Haunted Honeymoon. What inspired you to write it?

Haunted Honeymoon is the conclusion of my romantic, sexy, funny Casa Dracula series. Each book has been a part of my eccentric heroine Milagro’s growing up. In Happy Hour at Casa Dracula, Milagro finds a home and family with a pack of snooty, but decent vampires. In the second book, Midnight Brunch, she’s able to work on her writing and stretch herself as someone who solves big problems. In the third book, she faces unknown enemies, plans a wedding, and tries to figure out what she really wants. When she asks her sometimes lover why he didn’t help her fend off an enemy, he says, “You don’t need help. You’re the heroine.”

Milagro is a freak-magnet and no matter what she does or where she goes, lunatics and extremists are drawn to her. Frankly, she likes nutty people, parties, flirting, and rushing into situations.

However, Milagro has many regrets and she’s insecure enough to want another chance to do things right. So Haunted Honeymoon explores why Milagro is the way she is and whether it’s possible to have a do-over with a fabulous man.

Are you a full-time writer or do you have another job?

I’m a full-time writer. Writing and the business of writing – blogging, answering mail, doing Q&As, events, etc. – take up all my time and I usually don’t take days off, even weekends.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Stream-of-consciousness is fine for writing a first-novel, but not a great way to sustain a writing career. I liken it to building one elaborate room of a house, the bathroom for example, with all sorts of luxury features and then trying to build a house around the one room. A lot of people think plotting is dull, and I always find it really hard to do, but if you set the framework of a book, the interior will be much more sound. You can always change things, but I think having an overall plot lets you develop more complex storylines.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Good question. I don’t know. I wrote the synopsis and a chapter, submitted it to my editor, waited, got approved, then did a first draft and submitted it. While I’m waiting, I’m working on other projects. The book goes back and forth between my editor, the copyeditor, and myself. All in all, it takes at least a year, if not longer.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

I suffered from writer’s block when I was younger. Things changed with my freelancing jobs. I found that writing was much easier when I got a paycheck for turning in a story. Whenever I do feel stymied, I force myself to keep going. I can always go back and rewrite, but the very process of writing gives me ideas.

What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

I daydream. I consider it part of my job. If I wake up in the middle of the night, which I always do, I think about my stories and what I can do with them. I used to find taking walks with my old dog very helpful, but now I have two crazy dogs and I have to pay attention to them when I take them out in the mornings.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I did the query route for an agent. I don’t even remember how long that took. When I finally got one, she wanted me hire an editor to help me rewrite my novel. The editor didn’t have a sense of humor, took out all my funny stuff, and I had to put it back in. Many months went by while editors looked at my book. Finally an editor was interested and there was a one-day mini-auction of my first novel. It was pretty exciting.

The advice I’d offer is: be prepared to be turned down a lot. It’s so easy to get discouraged. If the rejections keep mentioning the same problem with your manuscript, then maybe you should fix the problem. Don’t be so in blindly in love with your book that you can’t think of ways to improve it.

Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?

Not at all. I don’t have one. Some people love groups, and others don’t. If you don’t like being in a group, for heaven’s sake, don’t force yourself to join one.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

I’ve got too many to maintain!

Marta Acosta Website: www.martaacosta.com

Grace Coopersmith Website: www.gracecoopersmith.com

Vampire Wire Blog: www.vampwire.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MartaAcosta

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Marta-Acosta/615530904

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

I’m currently working on two projects, a young adult gothic with a ghostly theme and a romantic comedy set in San Francisco. Both are just in the initial stages, but I hope one will find a home!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Thanks for having me here, Mayra! I hope that your readers will check out my latest Casa Dracula novel, especially those who’ve been following the series. I think it will offer them a real emotional reward, just as Milagro finally steps into her proper role in life and with the fabulous man she truly loves.

Thanks, Marta!

–Latino Books Examiner Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Her latest book is, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event. Check out her website at www.MayraCalvani.com.

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