Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview with Loucinda McGary

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Loucinda McGary. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Treasures of Venice. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Treasures of Venice is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements and a dual storyline set in both contemporary and Renaissance Venice.

American librarian, Samantha Lewis is in Venice on what should have been her honeymoon, but she called off the wedding after learning that her fiancé cheated on her. Sitting in an outdoor café in St. Mark’s Square, she is feeling a bit sorry for herself when a handsome stranger approaches her and asked her to play along with him. On an impulse, she does and goes with him into the Doge’s Palace.

Charming Irish rogue, Keirnan Fitzgerald never met a lock he couldn’t pick. But he finds himself in Venice on a dangerous mission. His sister, a Renaissance scholar has been ruthlessly kidnapped. The ransom is the legendary Jewels of the Madonna, stolen and missing for over 500 years. Keirnan’s plans do not include becoming involved with a beautiful American tourist, but he and Samantha seem drawn to each other in an almost other-worldly way.

As the story behind the jewels original disappearance in 1485 unfolds, Samantha and Keirnan question if they are soul mates from a previous life. Or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure?

The Treasures of Venice is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I didn’t. My original title was Jewels of the Madonna, which is the name of the opera that inspired me to write the story. My publisher came up with the title The Treasures of Venice.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My love of romance was fostered by my mother who read the great Gothics written by Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. She had their books lying about and as a young, bored teen, I picked them up, started reading and was soon hooked! When I decided to seriously pursue publication, I wanted to write romantic suspense just like those wonderful authors I’d loved for so long. However, I will admit those paranormal elements that always find their way into my books are undoubtedly a side-effect of all the fantasy novels I used to devour along with the Gothics.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My original inspiration for The Treasures of Venice started when I heard the incidental music to the opera Jewels of the Madonna by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. After hearing it on the radio, I went home, googled the opera, and thought it could be the basis for an interesting story. I started playing the writer’s favorite game, “What if…” and eventually, the story for The Treasures of Venice evolved.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

This book has only a very light paranormal element in it so most of my research was on the setting, Venice, and some research into art, specifically ceramic sculpture. Since I had visited Venice, I used my photos and travel journal to recapture the mood of the city. I also have a writer buddy with relatives who live near Venice. When she visited them, she took a bunch of pictures of the cemetery isle for me and even sent me a map of the place.

For the art ‘research,’ my DH happens to have a degree in fine art and is a ceramic sculptor. He is definitely my favorite research site, for obvious reasons!

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

My hero, of course! I am always a little in love with my heroes. If I don’t love them, then why should my readers?

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

My characters usually arrive in my mind fully developed and with their first, middle, and last names already in place. I don’t have anything so formal as character sheets or interviews, but I ‘talk’ to my characters inside my head. Yes, for most non-writers this might sound somewhat bizarre, but those of you who write know exactly what I mean. I ‘talk’ to my characters and they answer me. I know far more about them than ever makes it onto the pages of the book I’m writing.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I like to set my stories in places I’ve visited. I do use maps sometimes so I can get a better idea of distances and directions. I’m terrible at discerning north, south, east, and west, so maps can help a lot. Photographs, especially ones I’ve taken, also help me to recall the feel of a place, how it smelled, the colors and sounds. I like to bring all of that to readers so they can feel like they are living the story right along with my characters.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

As I mentioned above, my earliest influences were Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, and Mary Stewart. Oh, and J.R.R. Tolkien! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Lord of the Rings, and that was before the movies came out. I also loved Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and fantasy author Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara series.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I wish I knew! My publisher is a firm believer in blog tours and my in-house publicist helped me arrange an extensive tour for both my books. Since I know my publisher wants my books to succeed just as much as I do, I will take her word for it that all these guest blog posts are worthwhile. I do have my own personal blog and participate in two group blogs, which I greatly enjoy.

I also love to do guest signings and speak to groups, but my time and resources have limited those to just my local area. Sourcebooks did have a signing at the RWA National Conference in Washington DC and we actually ran out of books! I think there were ten of us Casablanca authors who participated and we all had a blast signing and talking to readers.

Finally, I do send out bookmarks and post cards. If anyone wants one or both, please email me through my website.

What do we have to look forward to next?

My third romantic suspense with paranormal elements, The Wild Irish Sea, will be released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in July, 2010. This one centers around telepathic twins, one of whom accidently witnesses a murder.

Thanks, Loucinda!

To celebrate her book release, Loucinda is offering a free book of The Treasures of Venice or The Wild Sight (your choice) to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at



Anonymous said...

Good Morning Loucinda. Thanks for joining us again today. The chocolate must be that good. :) I also grew up with Phyllis, Victoria and such. Glad to know I'm in such great company. Enjoy your day!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Loucinda. Great interview. The Treasures of Venice sounds good.

Linda Andrews said...

Hi Loucinda.

Treasures of Venice sounds great. I love exotic locations for books, especially the ones I want to visit. I look forward to reading the psychic twins story when it is released, but now I'm curious what is the paranormal element in Treasures? Is it reincarnation or a secret?

joder said...

Thanks for joining us today. I really enjoyed the interview.

Are there other genres out there you're wanting to explore?

Estella said...

The Treasures of Venice sounds like a great read.
I enjoyed the interview.

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hi Loucinda!
Your book sounds wonderful! Another one of those books to read while curled up by the fire!Good luck with it!

Emmanuelle said...

Hi Loucinda, great interview !
I read many very good reviews about this book. How do you feel about your next release. Do you feel more pressured, or do you try to just not think about it ?
I haven't read it yet myself, but I'm planning on it.
Thanks for the giveaway too ;-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Everyone!

I apologize for not being here on Friday, had a family illness that kept me in So. Cal longer than expected.

Thanx to Kim for inviting me! And BIG THANX to Crystal, Linda, Joder, Estella, Donna, and Emmanuel for your comments! Let me answer your questions in another comment.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Linda,
Yes, the only paranormal element in Treasures is the past lives/reincarnation. The Wild Irish Sea, which has the psychic twins is probably the most "paranormal" of my books yet. I hope you enjoy it!

Emmanuelle, it was a bit more stressful to write Wild Irish Sea since I'd never written a book completely under contract before. Luckily, I know my process well enough to be pretty confident on how long it takes, but there's always that tiny element of doubt in my mind! :-P Fortunately, I've met all my deadlines thus far, and plan to continue. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOPS! Almost forgot, thanx for asking about other genres, Joder! I'd love to try a full-blown historical, since Treasures has a sub-plot set in 1485 Venice and I loved writing it. But I'm always worried that I'll get too carried away with my historical research.