Monday, January 18, 2010

Author Interview ~ Missy Martine

Welcome to the group today, Missy. Make yourself comfortable. We're very happy to have you here with us today. Let's get started:Where are you from?

Well, I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee. However, when I grew up I tended to move around a lot. I’ve lived in seven different states; Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and finally California which is where I am now. Although to be honest, it’s our hope to be able to retire in a few years and move to Wyoming. It’s our favorite place in the world.

When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I didn’t honestly begin writing until just a few years ago. I’m a retired nurse, and up until 2002 I owned a medical billing service in Oklahoma. In 2002 we moved to Minnesota and I suffered a series of small strokes. I was very lucky; I didn’t have any major debilitating problems during recovery except for a definite problem with communication. I had a lot of trouble saying the words that would go through my mind.

For the most part, the condition was only temporary. It took about a year, but I was finally able to start making sense when I talked with people. During that time of my life, I discovered that I didn’t have any problems with typing out what I wanted to say. I know, strange huh? Actually, typing out everything turned out to be good therapy for me. It enabled me to make endless lists to help remind me of things I would forget. Unfortunately, the strokes did leave me with one handicap. I have a great deal of problem with short-term memory. It’s a problem that still plagues me to this day.

Since I couldn’t work in nursing, or insurance billing any longer, I turned my spare time to reading. I read romance book, after romance book. I think it was driving my husband nuts. He wanted me to find something a little more challenging, something that would keep my mind active and exercised. One day he challenged me to a dare. He said, “Why don’t you write your own romance book? After all you’ve read, you must know how to go about it by now.” I think it was his tone, kind of like he expected me to laugh it off, which made me decide to give it a try.
My first effort was a disaster, and I’ve never let anyone but him read it. But I learned from my mistakes, and sat down and wrote “Table for Three.” I’m not sure if I would have ever sent it to a publisher, but Nigel encouraged me to give it a try and the rest is history. Siren/Bookstrand accepted it and here I am, writing on my fourth and fifth book now.

How did you come up with the title? Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The title, “Table for Three” was to be representative of the changing lifestyle choices that abound today. More and more we see alternative lifestyle relationships. It’s just a fact in today’s environment. I’d hoped to convey to my readers that it’s never too late in anyone’s life to find true love. Women, especially older women, tend to get in a rut and think that love is passing them by. Maybe they’re alone due to divorce, separation, or even death. After a certain age we tend to give up on that part of our lives and settle for less than we deserve. I wanted to pass on the message that even us older broads, still have a chance to make our fantasy dreams come true.

Now I didn’t think I was writing about anything in my own life when I started this book, but a cousin who read it says that it really followed along the paths of my own life. Now, before you ask, no, I don’t have two men waiting for me at home. What I do have is a younger man that I met after divorcing my husband of twenty years. I guess, like my heroine, I pretty much felt that life had passed me by in the romance department and I was going to be content with a quiet little life, reading my books and spending time with my friends.

I met my husband, and he literally swept me off my feet. I may have thought I was too old for romance, but he had no such thoughts. He brought more romance into my life in three months than I’d experienced in twenty years. He is truly the love of my life, my soul mate. We’ve been married for ten years.

If you had to choose, what writer would you consider a mentor?

That would have to be Leah Brooke. I once told Leah that her books made me discover romance again. That’s a pretty impressive thing since I was over the age of fifty when I said it. Her series about “Desire, OK” has kept me inspired romantically for a long time, according to my husband. I re-read them on a regular basis and I never tire of them.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

I’m not sure that you’d consider her new, but Dana Marie Bell has captured my interest in the last year. I’m fascinated with shape-shifter books, and her Halle Puma Series is the best. She’s really gifted in combining humor, romance and intrigue. I carefully watch the “Coming Soon” section of my favorite sites for her newest books.

Another author that I think is fairly new that intrigues me is Nicole Morgan. Her Sweet Series, Sweet Redemption, Sweet Salvation and Sweet Vengence, were excellent, very romantic and spine tingling at the same time. I look forward to reading some more of her work.

What are your current projects?

I’m just finishing up a trilogy entitled “A Wolfen Heritage.” The first one, “Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage” should be out by the time you publish this interview. The second is, “Denying His Wolfen Heritage,” and the final one is “Changing Their Wolfen Heritage.” Outside the trilogy, I’m working on another shape-shifter book called “Screams From the Mountain” and a Vampire book that hasn’t received a title yet. That may sound strange, but I don’t ever give them working titles. There will come a time when I just know what I’m thinking is the right title for that book. And I always go with it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? What was the hardest part writing your book?

My greatest challenge is working with the short-term memory loss. It requires me to make really detailed outlines, and to have them accessible at all times. I jokingly told my husband that it would benefit me to have a large blackboard to list my characters when I’m writing, so I don’t forget names and plot lines while I’m working. Instead, he convinced me to use Excel files that are always up on the computer.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I like to travel, and I like to take pictures. Nigel’s had to travel a lot for the jobs he’s had in the past few years, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel with him at times. A few years ago we spent 3 weeks in Mainland China and that was an experience I’ll never forget.

The travel I like to do the most is in Wyoming. We take the jeep so we can go off road, and then we hunt down and photograph wild animals. I went digital with my photography a few years ago, and it’s nothing for me to take between 700-900 pics a day while we’re on one of our trips. We take so many, I have to carry the computer in the car so I can download at lunch and have the camera empty for the afternoon.
Other than travel, I’m still an avid reader, with a library that easily totals over a thousand. To me, there’s still nothing better than a good, hot, romantic story.

What does your family think of your writing?

Most of them have been pleasantly surprised, and pretty supportive. My husband has been at the top of the list as far as support goes. He reads everything I write, and offers his honest opinion, and suggestions when they’re warranted.
I’ve gotten a little ribbing from my friends, concerning the book’s content, but nothing really bad.

I only had one relative that had a somewhat negative reaction, and it was actually funny. When I told her, on the phone, about “Table for Three” being accepted for publication she congratulated me. She asked a few questions about it, and then I told her it was about a threesome, two men and a woman. She shrieked into the phone, “Three people, you mean together, at the same time?” When I said yes, she told me that it wasn’t any of her business, but she wasn’t planning on reading it.
My mother-in-law has worried me the most. She’s been so proud, and told everyone she knew about the book coming out. Then, she told me that her book club had plans on getting it and making it one of their mandatory reads one month. Now, I’ve tried to tell her what it’s about, but I’m still not sure she understands. She’s 85 years old and I have a feeling her book club is in for quite a shock!

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Be true to yourself. Don’t let someone else’s opinion sway you from what you believe is good. Write from your heart, and you can’t go wrong.

What animal do you think makes a good pet and why?

I’m a cat person now; at least that’s what my husband tells me. I never had cats before I married Nigel, and now we have three. I do think they’re the best type of pet for us though.

Cats are very independent. They require a lot of love, but not much in the way of maintenance. You don’t have to walk them, only scoop their boxes and keep their food and water bowls brimming. Most of them don’t allow a lot of close cuddling, so if you work a lot you don’t have to feel guilty that you’re ignoring them.
If you like to take weekend trips, like we do, they do just fine with an extra litter box and extra bowls of food and water. You don’t have to put them in a kennel or hire a pet-sitter.

They’re very clean animals, preferring to clean themselves rather than have you bathe them. And last, but definitely not least, they are extremely quiet and the neighbors don’t complain about them meowing at three in the morning.

What were you doing at midnight last night? Are you a morning or a night person?

I’m a definite insomniac, and I’m up past midnight almost every night. Last night, I was playing Farkle from my Facepage. I’m proud to say my highest score ever was 32,000, which I’ve never seen anyone beat.

I don’t really do much writing during the night. It’s strange, but I’ve found I do my best writing when Nigel isn’t in the apartment, even if he’s sleeping.
I’ve always been a night person; I just seem to come alive late at night. It probably comes from working as a nurse so many years ago. I always worked either the 11-7 shift, or 7pm to 7am with 7 days on and 7 days off. I got used to my life being after dark and it’s just stayed with me.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

When we were in China I learned early on that it was best not to ask what something was before you ate it. One of the nights there we went to a place that specialized in Brazilian Bar-B-Que. Everyone stayed at their tables, and the waiters would come around with beg skewers full of some type of meat and if you said yes, they would push some of it off on your plate. I let my husband, and one of his associates, talk me into trying a great deal of un-recognizable things that night and I only had the misfortune to ask about one of them. I had eaten six little, tiny pigeon’s hearts! Ugh, they were rubbery, and chewy and I never thought I get them swallowed when they told me what they were.

Then in another restaurant, I ordered chicken. I figured what could go wrong with ordering chicken. Boy, was I wrong. They brought a plate of chicken to the table. It had been cut up whole, bones and all, into pieces about 4 inches long. This had been boiled, but only long enough to cook it through and not long enough to tenderize it. And, to make matters worse, the chopped off head had been placed on the top as a garnish. The eyes were still looking at me! I never ordered chicken again while we were there.

What is your favorite pizza?

This is making my mouth water just writing about it. I like to make my own, crust and all. For ingredients, I like hot sausage, ham, and pineapple. The sauce I made from my own tomatoes and I tended to make it quite spicy. Then, we put about a pound of mozzarella cheese directly on the crust, and then on top of the ingredients. It’s cooked at 375 until just barely brown on top! Yum!!

If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

I’d wish that I could re-do my life over. I wasted so much of my youth, and my young adult years chasing dreams that could never come true. I’d wish that I cold go back to about the age of 30, and re-live those years with the knowledge that I have now. It saddens me to think of how many years I spent without love in my life.

Table For Three by Missy Martine

Cass Abernathy is forty-three and she's getting a second chance at life, and maybe even love. She's finally divorced, after years of abuse, when she learns an unknown uncle in Oregon has left her his estate, and more importantly, his house. Filled with hope for her future and excited to have a place of her own, Cass heads west not knowing what she'll find.

What she finds are hot and sexy twin brothers intent on making her a part of their lives. It's too bad they're so much younger because they bring out feelings she's never had before.

Meanwhile, there's someone else interested in Cass' inheritance, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he wins.

Will Cass overcome her fears and open her heart to the two men who love her, and will she discover the truth about her inheritance before it's too late?

"Cass' story came to life as a way to encourage women of all ages not to give up on finding true love, and to keep their minds open to all possibilities. After surviving an abusive relationship, she's able to open her heart to a different kind of love. She gives her heart to not one, but two sexy brothers." ~ Missy ~


lillie_80 said...

Hi Missy!

I loved Table for Three and can't wait for the sequel!

Melissa said...

Missy ~~ wonderful, wonderful interview. What an inspiring life you've led!! I bet if you had it to live over, you wouldn't be such a wise, savvy woman.....I've got to check out Table For Three!!

Denysé said...

Hey, Missy! As always, a very upbeat and engaging interview. I love your attitude and your optimism, it never fails to make me smile... you are a shining example of how to succeed and love what means most to you, love itself. Congratulations on your successes, because they are clearly many, and the best may yet be ahead.

Love to you, always.

Miriam Newman said...

Oh, Missy, I don't mean to laugh about the book club, but... Some of those gals may surprise you, though!

Missy said...

Hey Everybody, thanks for stopping by to read my interview

Lillie 80 - I'm glad you liked Table for Three. The sequel is called Catch Her When She Falls, and will be out early in 2010

Melissa - Thanks for the kind words and I hope you enjoy Table for Three

Denyse - Thanks for stopping by, and for your continued friendship

Miriam - LOL That's what I'm afraid of - having those old girls suprise me :) Thanks for stopping by.

Missy Martine

Blanche said...

Hi Missy!!

Great interview!! I can't wait to read Table For Three!! :)

Missy said...

Thanks Blanche, You'll have to stop by my website and let me know how you like Table for Three.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Missy Martine

J.Rose Allister said...

LOL Oh my, Can you imagine THAT book club meeting after the nice little ladies have read TABLE FOR THREE!

You make a good point about alternative arrangements. Art imitates life, so I believe the popularity of menage, etc. is largely due to us fictionally exploring alternatives that are on the rise in culture.

Great post!