Good morning everyone. Today Coffee Time Romance has the pleasure of speaking to Cara Marsi. Welcome Cara, please relax in our cozy recliner, and slip on the blue fuzzy bunny slippers, and share some hot tea or coffee. Karenne has been gracious enough to prepare some fresh brownies and cookies for our interview this morning. So please enjoy, and allow us the opportunity to learn more about Cara.
Cara, welcome to Coffee Time Romance. I am so glad to be able to interview you. I have to tell you, Cara, I read on your website about the Twilight Zone episode about the bookworm. Oh my, that one episode still bothers me.
Thank you for having me at Coffee Time Romance. I’ve got my tea in hand and my fuzzy slippers on and a fresh brownie on the table. I’m glad you mentioned that Twilight Zone episode. I’ve met a lot of writers who are haunted by that poor man’s plight. We book lovers can relate.
The readers are so excited to hear about your latest and can hardly wait for you to discuss this wonderful new book with us. Why not tell the readers something about Murder, Mi Amore, a romantic suspense set in Rome, Italy? Yes, Cara, please tell us about this thrilling story.
Murder, Mi Amore is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy. It ends in Las Vegas, Nevada. A while ago Wild Rose Press sent out a call for stories for a new series they were developing called Jewel of the Night. It could be set anywhere in the world, but each story had to involve a blue diamond. I liked the challenge of writing a story set in someplace exotic. I’d visited Italy with my husband in 2006. I’d visited once before on a family trip when I was twenty, some years ago. I love Rome, and I especially love anything to do with Ancient Rome. So I thought, why not write a story set in Rome? Writing Murder, Mi Amore, was like taking my trip all over again.
Since I enjoy writing romantic suspense, I decided to write a story of murder, mayhem, jewel thieves and terrorists. I played the what ifs: what if a young American woman is in Rome to forget a broken affair and suddenly finds herself pursued by some very bad men? Sure would put a damper on her Roman holiday. And what if she meets a mysterious, hunky Italian who may or may not be involved with what’s going on around her? I had such fun putting Lexie in danger and giving her ways to dig herself out, only to find more danger. Here’s the blurb:
Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.
Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems like the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.
But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before the missing diamond gets them both killed? Was there any experience from anyone that led you to compose this story?
I used my experiences from my trip to Italy in 2006 in this story. The hotel where Lexie stays on the Via Corsi is modeled after the one where we stayed. When Lexie walked down the Via Corsi, I pictured myself walking along that same street. Our hotel was close to Trevi Fountain, which figures prominently in the story. In the book I have a scene in the ancient Pantheon. The Pantheon was also around the corner from our hotel. There’s a whole chapter that is set in the village of Ripa Teatina in Abruzzo. My paternal grandparents were from Ripa Teatina, and my husband and I visited there when we were in Italy. Every place Lexie visited in the story was one we visited. Her favorite gelato flavor, kiwi melon, is my favorite. My trip wasn’t nearly as exciting as Lexie’s. No one tried to kill me, no one stalked me, and a handsome, mysterious stranger didn’t come into my life. I have my own hero in my husband, though, so that’s okay.
What is it about writing that draws your attention and brings you closer to the characters?
As I’m writing, my characters come alive. I feel as if those characters live with me. I breathe them. I think about them no matter what I’m doing. I get to know them and love them, and I miss them when the story is finished.
Cara, how would you describe your work station?
We converted a small bedroom on the first floor into an office for me. My desk sits in front of a window that overlooks the small rose garden. It’s very pretty in the spring and summer, not so much in the winter. The most exciting thing I’ve seen was when a fox buried a dead squirrel under one of the rose bushes.
My bookcases dominate the office. I’m surrounded by books, many of which I’ve had for decades. They’re comforting old friends. I also have pictures of wolves all over the walls and on the bookcases. I love wolves. I’ve written a werewolf paranormal romance to honor my wolves.
Also, Killer, my fat black cat, visits me often. She’s such a diva. She’ll meow for my attention until I stop writing and pet her, or walk with her to her food bowl and watch her eat. As far as Killer is concerned, it’s all about her.
Do any of your characters ever wake you during the night demanding your attention?
Sometimes, especially when I’ve wrestled with a problem in the story. As I said, when I’m writing, my characters are always with me.
Is it hard for you to let a story go once it is finished?
It’s hard because that story and those characters have lived with me for months. But it’s also a feeling of accomplishment that I’ve completed the novel. Then starts the really hard part, submitting it.
In your opinion, what are the three most essential ingredients of an excellent novel?
Characters that are fully fleshed out and that readers will love and root for. Emotions, lots of genuine emotions that will pull at the readers’ hearts and keep them turning the pages. And conflict that will make the story one the readers can’t put down.
Cara, if a reporter wanted to walk through your shoes for a day, what would they see?
The reporter would be very bored. They’d see a woman who isn’t very organized. A woman who sometimes feels she’s running around with her head chopped off. A woman who tries to do it all--keep up with housework, clean, run errands, and write. A woman who’d rather write all day, but knows she needs to get out of the house once in a while. I walk two miles every day and I go to the gym twice a week. I have to force myself away from the computer. And my husband expects me to talk to him once in a while. Left on my own, I’d sit in front of the computer all day wearing my sweats and fuzzy slippers and become a recluse.
What does the future hold for Cara, with any upcoming releases that you would like to share?
I’ve gotten the rights back for my 2007 Wild Rose Press romantic suspense release, Logan’s Redemption. Its available now exclusively at Amazon Kindle.
Stay tuned for exciting news about my werewolf paranormal romance.
Cara, I don’t know if you are into much cooking but let’s have a little fun. Bobby Flay comes to your house and invites you to a throwdown. What dish would you challenge with him?
He’d laugh at me because I’m not much of a cook. I like to cook. I’m just not very good at it. I do make a mean lamb stew with cider though. I’d rather eat Bobby’s food and I know my husband would too.
Do you have a favorite pair of shoes that you cannot do without?
I have a pair of sandals I wore on our trip to Rome. I should throw them out because they’re so worn, but they traveled the Roman streets so I don’t have the heart to discard them.
You wake up one morning to learn you are a farmer and have to plant a crop that is crucial to feed America for a year. What crop would you begin planting on your farm?
Broccoli. Say what you will about broccoli, but it’s filled with nutrients.
If a genie gave you three wise wishes, what would you wish for?
Number one: that we could all learn to live together in peace.
Number two: that my son will find the right woman and the right job to make him happy.
Number three: that I can persuade my husband to move to Arizona.
Would you like to share your myspace, website, Facebook, or blog with your readers so everyone can see what Cara is up too?
Website |Twitter | Facebook | Here’s the link to my video for Murder, Mi Amore | Buy Murder, Mi Amore
Cara, I cannot thank you enough for being our guest You, indeed, are a great storyteller. I look forward to all your sensational stories that you have planned for the future.
Thank you, Cherokee and Coffee Time Romance, for having me. I enjoyed myself. And the brownies are delicious. I think I’ll have another one before I leave. And maybe a cookie or two.