You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.
Name: Maureen Fisher
Tell us about yourself - where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
Born in Scotland, and dragged to Canada by well-meaning parents at the tender age of seven, I survived childhood and adolescence by immersing myself in books. Thirteen years later and a University of Toronto graduate, I convinced the federal government to hire a Fine Arts specialist as a computer programmer. Three years later, I graduated again, this time to full-time homemaker and mom, raising two wonderful sons. Plunging back into the business world, my second husband and I started a small but thriving management consulting company. This marriage survived because we pledged never to work on the same project again. Ever.
After a century in the consulting world, I grew weary of wearing snappy power suits, squeezing into panty hose, and fighting rush hour traffic. I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was certain of one thing -- it wasn't a consultant. I made a life-changing decision, ignored advice to the contrary and quit my day job, and attended a 5-day seminar entitled How to Write a Novel. How hard could it be? Look at the bookshelves. Thousands of authors pulled it off every year, some of them more than once.
Between as much travel as we can squeeze in, my husband and I live in Ottawa where I volunteer for an addiction family program, play bridge, and slave over a computer to improve my writing skills.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My Inner Voice was hollering at me for decades, trying in vain to get my attention. I have a knack for denial.
It's like this. When I was in grade seven, I stood up in front of my long-suffering classmates, heart hammering in my skinny chest, and droned out my first public speaking assignment--a memorized essay I had compiled about dinosaurs. I covered the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous waterfronts. At least ten of my classmates dozed off and one appeared to fall into a full-fledged coma, alarming Mr. Hughes, my teacher. Indeed, my performance was so pitiful, he must have felt sorry for me, because he gave me another chance. “You have until Monday morning to redeem yourself, young lady,” he intoned.
That gave me exactly three days to pull together a brilliant speech.
Being a staunch advocate of pain avoidance and a coward to boot, I turned the problem over to my mother, knowing full well she would jump to my rescue. She rose to the occasion and spent the weekend writing a delightfully funny story entitled, “On Housebreaking a Puppy.” On Monday at 10:00 a.m., I delivered a brilliant essay that knocked the socks off my delighted classmates and a relieved Mr. Hughes. Nobody fell asleep this time. My classmates thought I had developed a sense of humor over the weekend, and my mother and I received an 'A' for our efforts. After that, I figured, why mess with success? My mother wrote another couple of polished pieces brimming with adult humor to round out my primary school writing career in style, and I slunk into high school with high marks and low self esteem. Feeling like a total fraud, I made no attempt to write another creative word outside of essays and technical reports for several decades.
Fast forward many years. In June 2003, a good friend and primo energy healer (she refers to herself as a 'soul healer') called up our spiritual guides, guardians, and gatekeepers to channel an unforgettable session during which I made a life-changing decision. I walked out of her house knowing I would write books. Not dry, boring, technical treatises or management reports, but fresh, funny romantic suspense novels.
How many books have you written?
The Jaguar Legacy is my first book. I am currently in the middle of my second, a romantic suspense with comic elements called Fur Ball Fever.
How do you decide on their topic?
Wow, that's a tough one. With me, each book is different.
My first book, The Jaguar Legacy, is a paranormal romantic suspense that gives voice to my belief in reincarnation. Triggered by the energy of the archaeological dig, my heroine makes the unnerving discovery that in her past life, she had been an Olmec High Priestess, trained to kill at an early age, and thirsting for power. Over the last few months, it occurred to me that perhaps the past life I wrote about was one of my own. Certainly, it was the part of the book that flowed most easily, the only part that required little or no editing.
A newspaper article about a hoity-toity charity extravaganza called The Fur Ball provided the kernel of the idea for my second book, Fur Ball Fever. What could be more fun than a romantic suspense set against a wacky backdrop of animal politics -- a Best in Show (with hot sex) meets the Stephanie Plum Series? I wanted something funny, something outrageous, something zany. I zeroed in on a pet-napping gone terribly wrong (yes, there is a murder). Throw in two former flames as private investigators and reluctant allies, an aging flower child auntie, a phony televangelist, a missing trophy wife, several drag queens, a dominatrix or two, the swinging scene, an underworld of fetishism and bondage, and the result is a zany roller-coaster ride of murder and mayhem, culminating in a Fur Ball extravaganza the locals will never forget.
What works best to keep you focused and on track?
I am a pretty disciplined person, and do my best writing in the morning. I try my best not to schedule any appointments during that time. Whenever life creeps in and I fall off my self-imposed writing schedule, my husband usually steps in and reminds me of my priorities. He even helps me re-shuffle some of his responsibilities and shoulders some of my load.
When I need support, again, the first person I turn to is my husband. He has read every word of my book several times, and has absorbed the tough lessons I learned during the critique and rejection process. Now, not only does he act as my consultant on all manly matters, he, too, can recognize a weak hook, a POV error, motivation that lacks credibility, an opportunity for more humor. In addition, I have a strong support group with several critique partners to keep me focused and on track. Also, I'm a member of the Ottawa RWA, and I attend at least two conferences a year.
Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I guess the answer has to be love of writing. No one in their right mind would ever become a writer with the express goal of making tons of money. However, I wouldn't turn down nice, healthy royalty checks and adulation from millions of devout fans.
What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
The first thing I did was hire a publicist who knows the business inside out -- something this first-time author did not. If you can afford one, I highly recommend it. She sent my book to several sites for reviews (some free, some for a fee), set up book signings, organized a book tour for several of her authors, hauled me in front of a television camera for an interview about romance writing, arranged for online interviews, and generally holds my hand to guide me through the maze of promotion options. She also has a contact in the film industry, so I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
At the same time, I hired a specialist to design and build a website, joined a couple of chat groups, established a presence on www.MySpace.com, and had business cards, bookmarks, posters, and brochures printed up. I am currently participating in a Virtual Book Tour (this interview is one of several in the tour), placed an advertisement in Romantic Times, and contacted the local columnist who wrote a little blurb about my book.
What are some unique methods?
At the New England RWA conference, I dressed as a jaguar for the Saturday night masquerade. I wore a flashy jaguar-print outfit, furry ears, painted my nose black, and drew whiskers on my face with eye liner.
Do you sell through a website?
My website at www.booksbymaureen.com provides links to Amazon in Canada, the US, and Britain.
Do you plan on writing additional books?
Absolutely. I plan to alternate my Condo Capers Series (Fur Ball Fever is the open salvo in this line of comic romantic suspense) with paranormal romantic suspense. I have several good ideas for both.
Interview Presented by -
Nikki Leigh - http://www.nikkileigh.com
Author of the Book Promo 101 Series
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