Today for Writers on Wednesday we feature a Q&A with Mariposa Cruz
1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
I intended to end the Rhythm & Romance series with “Wedding Tango”, but while having dinner with a friend of mine mentioned her club had a band for all of their dance events. I started thinking about a two-man band in a dive bar and by the end of the evening I knew had the final story in the series.
2. When did you take up writing?
I’ve been jotting down stories in notebooks since childhood. I published my first short story in the college literary magazine and wrote articles for the campus newspaper. Once I saw my writing in print, I was hooked and I’ve been alternating between writing fact and fiction ever since. I write romance as Mariposa Cruz and I write women’s fiction and freelance articles as Susan Winters.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
The stories I like most as a reader is ones that “take you there” and I strive to do that with my own writing. The Rhythm & Romance series has been a joy to write because I love dancing and it has been a blast bringing readers out with me on the dance floor.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
My hero’s Uncle Greer, co-owner of Last Chance, has a gruff exterior but a tender heart. He first appears in “Package Deal” and managed to elbow his way into “Ladies Man” and winds up sharing the stage with Carson in “Lovestruck Two Step”.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
A friend of mine who wanted to entice me into a home-based business forwarded me a recording extolling the benefits of being an entrepreneur. The speaker stressed the importance of treating the enterprise as a job, not a hobby you pursue when you feel like it. I passed on the “opportunity”, but I took a business-like approach toward writing, keeping a writing schedule and setting tangible deadlines. By having more structure in my writing life, I’ve been able to get more accomplished while still having a good time.
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I’ve always written during the morning before anyone is awake except for Bentley, the cat. He’s an ideal writing companion. Bentley doesn’t criticize my work or interrupt me except for an occasional nibble on my computer screen to get my attention.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
I tend to wing it. When I start a story, I have the ending in mind, but I’m not always sure how I’m going to get there
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis-I love the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, but that one is my favourite.
“Still Life With Bread Crumbs” by Anna Quindlen-A well-known photographer at the crossroads of life finds love and new life where she least expects it.
“The Eight” by Katherine Neville-Though I’m more of a checkers girl, this novel about a mysterious chess set is absolutely riveting.
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
My current WIP is the first book in a new romantic series, Men of the Silver State. It’s in the early stages of the first draft, but I can tell you it involves a beer- imbibing knitting circle, karaoke and a horrible car accident (not caused by the knitters).
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on
Believe in yourself. I know that sounds like grade school advice, but sometimes you have to hold tight to the basics when facing an incredible challenge (like finishing a novel). When you are serious about your work, eventually people will get it.
Lovestruck Two Step Excerpt:
“You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.
“Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.
He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.
“You’re good,” she exclaimed.
“I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.
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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.