I’m thrilled to have Libby Mercer in the “Shed” today. The editor in me just can’t help but notice this chick-lit lady’s incredible talent. Her books are so compelling and beautifully paced. Of course as a writer, I can’t help but feel a little jealous of how well she expresses her stories. Reading her definitely makes me want to become a better writer!
Libby and I share a lot of interests but here’s a fun fact I’m sure she won’t mind I divulge: We both have a passion for nerds. She may be the only other woman around my age I know who also has the hots for George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in It’s A Wonderful Life–something we discovered during a Christmas promotion we did together.
Even if you’re not a nerd (or nerd lover), be sure to stalk Libby on the Web–she loves that kind of thing. Here’s how:
You want to know the number 1 reason I’m delighted to host Libby today? She’s sharing an excerpt from her not-yet-released book, and the cover! Now let’s find out more about this fabulous fiction-ista and what makes her tick.
I got the idea for Unmasking Maya when I first moved to San Francisco as a single gal. I thought it might be a good idea to look for love in Silicon Valley, given the insane amount of intelligent men with great jobs (and very few women working there) but I soon got wise to the fact that a lot of these guys are so brainy that their interpersonal skills are a little underdeveloped. Not all of them of course. Anyway, I got to thinking that this type of guy would make a great love interest in a book and that’s what got the wheels turning.
2. Can you explain how your story-making process unfolds? And do you have any special rituals when it comes to writing?
Usually I start with a general idea like the romance with a tech guy or the project I’m currently working on – a girl who opens up an ice cream shop. I let the ideas roll around in my mind for a while and figure out who my characters are. Once I’ve come up with an opening scene, I just go for it. I start writing and find out where the story wants to go. I can’t say I have any special rituals, but I do need silence in order to concentrate. I always have a trusty pair of earplugs nearby in case of noise outside.
3. Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what were you doing before you did? And either way, can you remember your “Aha!” moment?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story at the age of seven – a picture book entitled “BIG and small.” I still have it and it’s so much fun to look at. Basically I just compared things I observed: “Apartments are big, my dollhouse is small” and “My dad’s hat is big. Mine is only little.” I kept on writing stories all through childhood and my teens and college years too (creative writing major). After college, I worked as a journalist, a shopkeeper and the marketing director of a natural health company. While I was working full-time, I didn’t get much writing done, but I wrote entire novels during periods of unemployment! So no, I don’t have an “Aha!” moment – at least not before I hit the ripe old age of seven.
4. Writing the book is only part of the equation when it comes to publishing a book. There’s so much more that goes into getting the word out that many new authors may not know. Can you share some of your process when it comes to launching a new book?
You said it, sister! Marketing makes all the difference in the world. After I’ve got a project ready to go (and this is after finishing all the edits and formatting it for e-readers) I write the blurb for the story. And after that’s done, I start contacting book bloggers to see if they’d like to review. Meanwhile, I’m working with an illustrator to come up with the right cover for the book, and I’m also thinking about ideas for guest posts (or writing them). So I’m constantly in contact with bloggers – sending my book out and arranging guest posts. I also try to tweet, post on Facebook and post on my blog in the hopes of generating a little pre-release buzz, but I’m afraid I haven’t been very good about that lately.
5. And speaking of “sharing” and “new”… Can you share anything with us about your WIP? And how about an excerpt? And…cover….?
Funny you should ask, Francine. As it happens, I’ve got another release coming up next month. Like Unmasking Maya, it’s a romance/chick lit hybrid, but the setting is very different. This one takes place at a wellness center in the mountains of Vermont, or as my hero, Adam, would say, “a nuthouse out in the middle of Nowhere, Vermont.” I had loads of fun writing in his point of view! Here’s the cover:
What is the universe up to?
Guilty of nothing other than working too much – or so they say – Adam Stowe is dumped at a “wellness center” in the middle of nowhere by a couple of concerned colleagues. When he meets Lorraine, the beautiful and bewitching yoga instructor, his spirits start to lift, but once he discovers what a flighty fruitcake she is, they drop back down to subterranean levels.
For Lorraine Jameson, Luna Wellness Center was a beacon of solace when her life was falling apart, and she can’t stand the way Adam’s toxic energy is poisoning the peace. He embodies everything negative about the life she discarded eighteen months ago. Despite being fiercely attracted to the arrogant man, she’s determined not to let Adam Stowe anywhere near her heart.
Adam and Lorraine couldn’t be more unsuitable as a potential couple… so why is the universe so dead set on uniting these two?
The Karmic Connection is a different kind of love story with a cast of quirky characters and a mystical, magical New Age-y flavor.
BONUS QUESTION: Congrats! Unmasking Maya has been optioned to become the next big summer blockbuster rom-com! (Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever?) You get to pick the cast! Who plays who?
That would be so fabulous! I’ve thought a lot about this and for some reason, I can totally see Michelle Williams as Maya. I’ve always thought there was something a bit haunting about her. Now, Derek is a bit more difficult to cast. To be honest, I’d want Jack Dorsey, the guy who created Twitter, to play Derek because there’s this one photo of him that looks exactly like how I pictured the character. As far as I know, this Twitter guy has no acting ambitions, but you never know… For Lin, I’d would bring Zhang Ziyi on board. I know it’s not her type of role (if you don’t know her, she’s the star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha) but I’d love to see her in the role of Lin, the wacky IT girl. And for Maya’s agent, Inez, I’d cast Sofia Vergara. Aside from looking the part, I think she’d really bring a lot of fun to the set.
It was so great chatting with you today, Francine. Thanks for having me!
It was great having you here. Please come again sometime!
Here’s where to buy Libby’s books:
Excerpt from The Karmic Connection
(The Karmic Connection is coming soon, but you can follow Libby’s release information on Goodreads.)
She walked over and knelt down beside him. “Adam?” she murmured. She touched his shoulder and he lifted his head with a wince. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’ll be all right.” He closed his eyes and when he opened them again, he gave her a wry smile. “I just sat up too fast.”
She nodded in understanding. “How many cups of coffee do you drink each day?”
“Usually about seven. Or eight.” He lowered his head back to his knees. “I don’t suppose you guys have any aspirin?”
“I’m afraid not.” Lorraine bit down on her bottom lip. He looked so miserable. Her hands burned to stroke his cheek, to kiss away his pain, and she was mortified by her inappropriate desire. In order to prevent herself from doing something unacceptable, she kept talking. “But I can make you a special tea that will help.”
“Tea. Great.” He closed his eyes again.
Serena looked over from where she was rolling up her yoga mat, concern written all over her wise, old face. “Is he okay?” she mouthed.
Lorraine shrugged and then nodded. He would be okay, although she knew how gruesome he must have been feeling at that moment. She’d been there once.
She felt torn. There was something she could do to help (in addition to the special tea) but it would probably complicate her feelings further.
Stop being a baby, Jameson.
In truth, Lorraine really had no choice in the matter, being bound by oath and all…
“Give me your hand, Adam,” she instructed, sitting back on her feet.
He opened his eyes in surprise and then promptly narrowed them in bemusement. “What for?”
Now it was Lorraine’s turn to close her eyes in irritation, but only for a brief moment. She reopened them and said, “Pressure points. Just do it.”
He gave her a skeptical look, but he relented and offered her a hand.
Lorraine did her best not to notice the perfect shape of Adam’s hand, and she tried to ignore the thrilling sensation that shot through her body as she took that smooth, warm hand in hers. She did her best not to notice the way the candlelight gave Adam’s hand a delicious golden glow, as if it had been lightly glazed in butterscotch sauce, and she tried desperately not to fantasize about licking the sweetness off.
Honestly! She needed to get a hold of herself. She took one deep, cleansing breath after another, and then she balled her hand into a fist, jammed it under Adam’s palm, found the fleshy bit between his thumb and forefinger, and she pressed down as hard as she could with her thumb.
One, two, three, four.
“Yikes, Lorraine. You’ve got really strong thumbs,” he said quietly.
“Mm hmm.” She didn’t look at him. She couldn’t. Why wasn’t he being rude? It really helped her when he was being rude. Where was that negative energy when she needed it? He was so close. He was too close. The scent of him was intoxicating. Most of the men she came across these days smelled like patchouli and sandalwood. Adam just smelled clean. Like rain.
Goddess, forgive me. I just want him so much…
Focus, Jameson! Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen.
She tried to slow her breathing, but it was no use. Her body was out of control. It felt like each and every one of her nerve endings was waving a sparkler around and a marching band had set up camp inside her heart. As for her belly, it felt like there were two or maybe two-hundred trapeze artists swinging through the air down there.
What was going on?! Lorraine shook her head and peeled her gaze away from Adam’s hand. The studio buzzed with activity. Frank rolled up his yoga mat. Naomi pulled on a pair of warm, woolen socks. Joel waved to Lorraine before he left the studio, and she nodded back at him, smiling goodbye.
Breathe in… and breathe out. Breathe in… and breathe out.
The deep breathing helped. And it also helped to avoid looking at Adam and his hand. She locked her gaze on the candles flickering from the low wooden bench against the wall and focused on her breathing.
Lorraine was so preoccupied with maintaining control that she completely lost sight of the matter at hand. She tried to figure out how many seconds had gone by. Forty-seven? Sixty-two? Seventy-eight? She had no idea.
A gentle squeeze of her shoulder made her jump. Instinctively, she released her grip on Adam’s pressure point and clutched his hand tightly. Also instinctively (probably) he clutched her hand back just as tightly.