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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blog Tour & Author Interview: The Treasures of Venice by Loucinda McGary

I would like to thank Loucinda McGary for stopping here at Morbid Romantic as part of her blog tour for The Treasures of Venice. The Treasures of Venice is a book that I am looking forward to purchasing because, let's face it, the Renaissance is just beautiful. And a Renaissance scene set in Venice, the most beautiful of all. So, welcome Loucinda McGary!

An Up-Close and Personal Interview with Loucinda McGary

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest here on Morbid Romantic. My second romantic suspense novel published by Sourcebooks Casablanca was ‘officially’ released this week, though it has been popping up on store shelves since the last week of August. I’m excited to be promoting The Treasures of Venice, because not only does it make me a multi-published author (that phrase has such a lovely ring to it!), but it is also the first romantic suspense I wrote and is truly the book of my heart.

The Treasures of Venice is unique in the romantic suspense sub-genre because it has a few paranormal elements, and features a dual storyline set in both modern day and Renaissance Venice. Here’s a blurb describing the story: When American librarian Samantha Lewis and Irish rogue Keirnan Fitzgerald set off to find priceless jewels, they become embroiled in a 500-year-old love story that eerily prefigures their own... In 15th century Venice, beautiful and wealthy Serafina falls in love with Nino, a young Florentine sculptor. They decide to flee to Padua, and to fund the trip, Nino copies a set of jewels that then disappear. In modern-day Venice, Keirnan needs Samantha's help to locate the jewels so he can pay his sister's ransom. Samantha must decide whether the man she's so drawn to is her soul mate from a previous life...or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure?

Now that you know a wee bit about my book, I thought I’d answer some personal questions. I’ve heard from both reliable and dubious sources that readers like to ‘get to know the real author.’ So I asked my intrepid critique partner Cathy D. to send me some questions she thought readers might like to have answered. So here are my answers warts and all!

Q: When you are reading for pleasure, what is the one thing that will make you put down the book and quit reading?
A: Glaring mistakes that pull me out of the story. Two examples that spring to mind were both in recent novels written by well-known authors. The first was actually in a book set in Venice and the heroine was running around for hours during Carnevale wearing nothing but a bedsheet -- no shoes, no undies, nuttin’ honey! Well, I’ve been in Venice just a few days after Carnevale (that’s why The Treasures of Venice is set at the same time of year) and trust me, she would have had hypothermia after about thirty minutes. The second story had the hero taking his motorcycle for a long drive west of Los Angeles. I’m a native Californian, so I fell on the floor laughing, but you only have to look at a map to see that the only thing a long way due west of LA is the Pacific Ocean!

Q: When you were in Ireland and Venice, did you know you would be setting novels in those places?
A: Afraid not. I visited long before I started seriously writing for publication. But both places left lasting impressions on me, and I always take photos and keep extensive travel journals on my trips. Pulling those things out stimulated my memories and made me recall the sights, sounds, smells, and other things I experienced. I also bought guide books and maps before I started writing to be sure I had my facts straight. No long drives into the Adriatic or the Irish Sea!

Q: How do you pick names for your characters? Are they family names for the Irish heroes?
A: Most of my main characters pop into my mind with their complete names -- first, middle, and last -- intact. Though I will say that my hero Keirnan’s nickname, Sionnach came about when I was looking up some Irish Gaelic phrases. I came across the Irish word for “fox” and thought it the perfect moniker for my clever hero. I purposely try not to use family names for my Irish characters. Wouldn’t want to insult any relatives (any more than I usually do), or give them an over-inflated ego! While researching online, I ran across a great website that lists the most common Irish surnames (from 100 year old census records) broken down by county. I use these largely for secondary characters, since as I’ve said, my main characters appear with their names.
Interestingly enough, when Keirnan Fitzgerald popped into my imagination, I knew he was from County Kildare, where they breed many Irish thoroughbreds, and that his father was a horse trainer. Later, when I looked at the most common names from County Kildare, Fitzgerald was on the list!
Trust your characters. They really do know best.

Q: Are you hurt when someone criticizes your books? How thick is your skin?
A: Even after years of rejections, I’m afraid my skin is still not quite thick enough. Negative reviews do get to me, and no matter how many wonderful, glowing reviews I get, it is the negative ones I remember most. Go figure! A: I know not everyone likes the same things, and I really don’t mind when a reader or reviewer says something like, “this story just didn’t appeal to me.” But it is another thing when they attack the genre (if you know you don’t like something, don’t read it!!), or they totally miss what I was trying to achieve with the plot or characters. A: Usually, after I read a really negative review, I’ll pour myself a tall, cool drink and hurl a few choice Irish curses as I quench my thirst. :-) All right, I’m afraid I may have revealed entirely too much of the real me! Do you have any other questions about my writing process? My books? Where I came up with such cool Irish curses? Ask away!

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/.

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