Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spotlight Sunday with Maureen O. Betita

 How did you start your writing career?
            Why…by writing! I have always dreamt of being a writer. From early days I read, I do not remember not being able to read. And so I dreamt of writing and creating my own stories. I envisioned myself as the next James Michener/Leon Uris. But in the end, those were not the stories I found myself wanting to write. Instead, it was the serial that attracted me. In the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Tarzan… I began writing in earnest while sitting in a Starbucks, working on my morning pages, ala Julie Cameron and The Writer’s Way. And out stepped Miranda, a character from a series I began to write. And still hope to someday see in print.
            My publishing career is starting with The Kraken’s Mirror.
Tell us about your current release.
The Kraken’s Mirror is set in an alternate universe where pirates wear Ipods, the great Albino Kraken plays at being cupid and my heroine is Emily Pawes, a widow from modern day California. She stumbles on a magical mirror and ends up in Tortuga, 1697. It isn’t long before she falls into the arms of Alan Silvestri, a pirate cursed with good luck. And yes, good luck can be a curse! She is the answer to ending his burden and obtaining revenge against the creature who set the curse in motion. He is her answer to the yawning pit of growing old.
But this is no cougar story. Both Emily and Alan are well seasoned characters. The attraction they feel for each other is hot, spicy and full of adventure. I loved writing this book and I hope my readers will enjoy it! 
Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
Oh, that is so hard! I love my leads. Emily is such a character and her ability to cope with all the strange things she encounters makes me love her. At the same time, the level of understanding and passion which Alan shows? Ah, makes me dream of waking up on his ship! All in all…I really adore the Great Albino Kraken, for bringing these two together!
I mean, who doesn’t love a cupid? On this day before we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s nice to know a creature with multiple bows is ready to cast his arrows into the world and reawaken love and passion everywhere!
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Formula, shmorula! Develop? Lord love a duck. Sigh. We talk about these things on the RomanceWritersRevenge all the time. (The blog of writing pirates I tend bar for.) They are wild for this technique and that technique and I sigh, and mix another drink. I realize after the fact, that I…have no formula. Well, no formal formula. I don’t plot, I wander, I frolic, I toy with and I write. And write. And write.
Over the years of all this writing, I have developed enough skills and ability that I don’t get lost as often as I used to. (see the next question)
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
All that wandering leads to a lot of editing. And revising. I often find myself at the end of a story dangling from the highest yardarm, upside down, tangled in plot lines, unfinished tangents and fighting to break free. Which leads to a lot of slicing and dicing. That is the hardest part of my writing style. If it can be called a style. Well, I think I do it in style!
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
Pirates! No, really! I have a series written. The one that started that fateful morning at Starbucks. I call it the…NEVER ENDING PIRATE SERIES. Actually, I call it the Caribbean Spell series and someday…it’s gonna be out there for the world to fawn over. I’ve scared many an agent and editor with the explanation that I’ve written…ready for it? 29 of these books. Though to be honest, I don’t expect more than, maybe a dozen of them to make print. Or five. Or maybe three.
A woman can dream!
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
            Inspiring me? Edgar Rice Burroughs. If that man can write, and publish, 11 of his Barsoon series, 26 Tarzan books, 7 in the Pelucidar series, and another few dozen in other series… Why can’t I?
            Another is Fritz Leiber, with 7 Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books.
            And currently, I’m loving and finding Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green great role models.
What books have most influenced your life?
Oddly enough, it was Michael Moorcock and how he set a spark in me regarding the idea of the multiple universe and reoccurring characters with his Eternal Champion series. I credit him with setting me on the whole what-if path to an extreme that literally makes me chuckle. In my worlds, anything goes.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
There are so many…all of whom I mentioned above. Most of the living authors I adore would turn me into an absolute babbling fool if I met them. I’ve been known to do the blathering big fan thing. (Uh, doh… books, yours, love. Fan, me big fan…drool) So, I tend to idolize authors I’m in no danger of meeting. Like the poet Walt Whitman. Long gone, safe to adore and idolize. All praise Walt, greatest American poet, ever!
What is your favorite way to promote your book?
            (This is the question I made up!) Because, people…I love to blog. If you find me at a blog, one of the many I am a regular with, or as a guest, and you comment, do come back, because I will answer questions, ask you questions, gibber and chatter with abandon. And I love finding and putting together gifts for people who visit when I guest blog. Like krakenish jewelry, or pirate artifacts. So, comment when you see me!
I also love to chat with people in person so if you see me at RT, please, talk to me! I won’t be hard to find. Pirate hat. Goes everywhere with me. With lots of feathers in it.


Kathleen said...

I really enjoyed your interview, Maureen! Whatever style you have for your writing is perfect, it seems to work in your favor!

Love the name Caribbean Spell series, too!

JoAnne Kenrick said...

I'm in a big ol' plot-lines tangle myself..hope I get out of this soon, as the finish line is right there in front of me!
But I think that's half the fun, and where the story ends up, it always surprises me. LOL

Can't wait to read about your Pirates... something tells me I'll LOVE it :)

Maureen said...

Kathleen - Yeah, the no-style but with style style! At least I'm honest about it. Though I can see myself years from now, teaching a class on the Tangle Style of Writing.


I do adore my Caribbean Spell series... And it will be published one day! I swear it!

Maureen said...

Jo-Anne - Some days you just have to pull out your cutlass and slash through the lines holding you back. I sawed through a bundle a few months back and then spent some time splicing back the main ones I needed...and viola! I got a book published!

I swear, I was inches from the deck, just dangling! So, I know the feeling...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT interview Maureen!

I always quake inwardly when I hear writers discussing 'formulas' because I know I don't have one! So, YAY! Always nice to find another writer to admits the same. ;-)

Can't wait to read The Kraken's Mirror!


Maureen said...

Well, thank you, Aunty! We formula-less authors can hold a panel at RWA one of these days.

"How To Succeed Without a Plan."

Though if we titled it that Cherry Adair might come after us since her mantra is plan it all!


Denise McCray said...

I love the interview, Maureen. Can't wait to see you at RT!

Maureen said...

Abigail - Love your name! ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

Denise - I'm so jazzed for RT!