Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Q&A with Misa Ramirez

I'm so pleased to have another friend and chapter mate of mine on the blog doing Questions and Answers. (Just click on the title of this blog post to visit Misa's website.) Last year, Misa Ramirez launched her debut novel and book one in the Lola Cruz Mystery series, Living the Vida Lola. This month, Lola is back with the publication of Misa's second novel, Hasta La Vista, Lola. So without further adieu, here are the questions and Misa's answers...

Please tell us about your latest release Hasta La Vista, Lola and how you came up with the idea for the book.

Thanks for having me here today, Cindy! It's been a busy couple of week with the release of Hasta la Vista, Lola! This is the second book in the Lola Cruz Mystery series, and was so much fun to write. The initial idea for the mystery sparked from a newspaper article I read in the Sacramento Bee quite a few years ago. There was a man who died, and his wife discovered after his death that he'd led a completely separate life with another wife and kids. I took that idea and twisted it around, Lolafied it, and ultimately the mystery evolved into something else, but that was how it started. Little ideas take hold and sprout and before long you have a whole tree!

The mystery in the first book also came about from a newspaper article. It was an unusual way for someone to die, and I ran with it.

In Hasta la Vista, Lola!, Lola walks into her parents' house to find nearly every single relative of hers there...mourning her death. Except, of course, she's not dead! Which begs the questions, who is dead, why was she using Lola's name, and who was the intended victim?

Lola Cruz Mysteries are equal parts mystery and romance/relationship, so much of the book continues where Living the Vida Lola left off with Jack Callaghan and the on again/off again relationship they're having.

How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start writing?

I've been writing on and off for 15 years, or so, but with the intention of publication, about 6 years. I taught middle and high school English/Language Arts; reading and writing have always been a passion of mine. I'm so fortunate to be able to do what I love!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about writing?

I enjoy revision the most, believe it or not! I know, I know, CRAZY!!! For me, the first draft is always the hardest. I really struggle with plotting and my characters evolve slowly, so sometimes it's an excruciating process (which I still love!). Revision allows me to add to what I've already created, to fine tune, to create layers, and to really dig in.

What is next on the horizon for Misa Ramirez?

I've developed a middle grade series for girls called Quiz Girl. It's being shopped now. I'm currently working on a women's fiction novel with magical realism, and books 3 and 4 in the Lola Cruz Mystery series are being submitted as we speak. I'm always busy, busy, busy!

I've also launched a brand new web site called Books on the House (http://booksonthehouse.com ) which is all about bringing great books to readers. Each Monday an author and book are featured, and the following Monday, several copies of that book are given away to random winners. We'll feature skype interviews, as well. I've been working really hard on it, and am so excited to see it grow.

And, of course, I'm always chasing heroes! (http://chasingheroes.com ) Never a dull moment.

Thanks for having me, Cindy!
Thank YOU, Misa, for taking time out from your very busy schedule to do the Q&A!

Now it's your turn! Do you have a question for Misa about her books or her writing process? Don't be shy! She'd love to hear from you!


Anonymous said...

Hey Misa, What do you think has been the most interesting thing you've learned about Lola in writing her two books? Also, what do you think is the #1 thing a writer can do to promote herself and her books?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Virna,
Thanx bunches for stopping by and GREAT QUESTION! I'd love to know the #1 thing writers can do to promote themselves and their books!


Helen said...

Hi Misa

These books sound so good I have them on my must have list.
You really are busy I would love to have some of that energy to keep going some days LOL.
My question what do you do to relax and turn off to everything I know I read and have some wonderful adventures that way that keep me enthralled.

Have Fun

misa ramirez said...

Hi Virna, Thanks for stopping by, and thanks mucho, Aunt Cindy, for hosting me on your fun blog!

Good question, Virna! I think I've learned that I want to be Lola sometimes! She's so fun, sassy, free, and really knows herself, and those are all qualities which I think I have, but would like magnified sometimes.

As far as promotion, I really believe--now that I'm smack in the middle of one--that a blog tour creates a ton of exposure that you can't get in any other way. I would definitely rank that at the top of my list of things to do for every single book release.

misa ramirez said...

Hey Cindy! Like I said to Virna, the blog tours, having fabulous bloggers like yourself post interviews like this, and generally being see widely on the web is the best exposure ever.

I set up many of the blog stops on my tour, and also worked with Pump Up Your Book Promotion and Latino Blog Tours to create a total of 37 blog stops and reviews! That's a lot of exposure to potential readers I would not have otherwise reached.

misa ramirez said...

Hi Helen,

Busy is an understatement at the moment! I feel like there's scarcely time to breathe sometimes! But, it's wonderful and exciting. My newest venture, books on the house ( http://booksonthehouse.com ) is definitely taking a lot of time, but that will slow down once it really gets rolling. As for relaxing, I used to take walks but had knee surgery in December which has sidelined me. Will start biking in the spring.

I read every night--I really can't unwind and go to sleep unless I read first! It's a habit. I love to get completely lost in a good book. The last one I was really absorbed in was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. To me, there's nothing better than truly becoming part of another world in a book!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanks for popping by, Misa!

My Sourcebooks publicist agrees about the blog tour! For TToV I did 21 blogs in 27 days and boy was my head spinning. But I think you are right about reaching readers you would not otherwise. I'm sure I'll have an equally extensive blog tour for Wild Irish Sea, but I'm looking forward to it. I really love hearing from readers!