Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Brunch 2/16/14


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!
Thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

So, can you tell us what makes Cara Marsi tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
What makes me tick? I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked that before. I’m not quite sure how to answer. I think if you asked my husband, he’d have a different answer than my son, and my son would have a different answer than my sister. I’m a self-proclaimed TV junkie, a news junkie, a political junkie. Besides my husband and son, I love books, history, traveling, and cats, not necessarily in that order.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good love story. And from the time I first learned to read, I’ve loved books. As a child, I’d read anything I could get my hands on, even cereal boxes. I always had my nose in a book. I love movies and TV, too. Starting from about the time I was eight years old, I’d stay up late on weekends watching old black and white romantic comedies on TV. Those old movies influenced my love of romance. As a teen, I read the YA romances of Elizabeth Howard and the Judy Bolton mystery series, which always contained a little romance. I once wrote to Elizabeth Howard and told her I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have a typewriter (this was in the dark ages before computers). She wrote back that I didn’t need a typewriter to be a writer. I wish I’d kept that letter. Growing up, my dream was to be a published author, but life got in the way.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
I’ve just started the third book in my Redemption series, Anita’s Temptation, a romantic suspense. Anita is the cousin of Doriana and Franco, main characters from the first two books. I’ve had readers ask for her story. Here’s a very rough, unedited snippet from the first chapter:

She got to her front door and let out a little scream. The packages fell from her hands to land in a pile by her feet. Her front door hung open, splintered as if someone had kicked it in.

Insides trembling, she backed away and ran down the steps, digging into her purse for her phone. Near the bottom, she stumbled and almost fell, but strong arms grabbed her and kept her upright.

“What’s wrong?” a deep male voice asked.

She looked up into brown eyes, almost black in their intensity. A stranger. Had he been walking along the sidewalk, or did he follow her from her house?

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
Yes, I do include some of my own experiences in most of my books and short stories. In A Catered Romance, I took a hurtful thing the guy I crushed on in seventh grade said about me and expanded it to form the inciting incident in the story. In one I’ve just written, Capri Nights (no release date), I used the experience I had when I visited the Isle of Capri in Italy when I was twenty. I met an Italian named Giuseppe Desiderio, made out with him on the roof of the Europa Palace Hotel, and wrote to him for six months after I got home. Of course, I change the incidents in my stories to make them deeper and more interesting than they really were. My life is dull.

Also, on that same trip to Capri, I had a date earlier in the day with another Italian guy who worked at our hotel (two dates in one day!). I was on some mountain with this guy and he got fresh with me so I hauled off and hit him with my purse. In Murder, Mi Amore, my heroine hauls off and whacks a guy with her purse because he’s attacking the hero.

What genre do you typically write in and why did you choose this over others?
I mostly write contemporary. I love the Presents line of Harlequin, and many of my books have those same elements, a strong guy with vulnerability redeemed by the love of a woman. My heroines are usually more independent than the heroines in the Presents line though. I love writing about feisty heroines and the strong guys who love them. As a news junkie, I’m very aware of what’s going on in the world, and that helps me write contemporary stories. I have written short stories with paranormal or fantasy elements, and I wrote one werewolf romance. I got the rights back for the werewolf story when the publisher closed its doors. I’ve had it edited, something the publisher never did, and I plan to republish it within a few months. I’ve written three romantic suspense stories, Logan’s Redemption, Franco’s Fortune, and Murder, Mi Amore. I love writing mysteries into my romances.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
I wish I could say I’m really organized and have files and index cards with character analyses and scenes. But I don’t. I usually write a short outline, then I have to force myself to put my butt in the chair and write. I have a hard time starting a story.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
I find inspiration from things that have happened to me; from things I see or read about on the news; sometimes plots pop into my head from nowhere. If I knew any tricks of the trade, I’d publish a How-to Write a Book book and make millions. There are no tricks other than work hard and never give up. Writers who give up never publish.

What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
I can’t think of any odd places or situations where I got an idea for a plot. When I visited Italy in 2006, I kept thinking that Rome, with its twisting, ancient streets would be a great place for a suspense book with a chase scene through the streets. I wrote Murder, Mi Amore based on that.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
If the blurb pulls me in, I’ll buy the book. I like characters with flaws who are real people, characters with emotional baggage who grow through the story. If the blurb makes me think the characters are perfect, I’ll probably not read the book. I love traditional romances with strong, hot heroes. I like the heroines to be independent, or women who are fighting for their independence to live their lives the way they want.

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
I love Jude Deveraux. She writes in several sub-genres and tells compelling stories. Her A Knight in Shining Armor is one of my favorite books of all time. I also like Amelia Grey. She writes historical romances that always have a little humor. There are many others, too numerous to list.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
There are some grammar errors that bother me. For instance, the misuse of further and farther. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does. Also when I read or hear someone use “I” when it should be “me.” For instance, this sentence: “That bothers her and I.” It should be “That bothers her and me.” Those nuns who taught me in grade school spent half of each day on grammar. I’ve retained some of what they taught.

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
Reading, of course. I exercise for an hour five days a week. As mentioned before, I’m a TV junkie. I have my viewing schedule down to a science. I also like to cook. In fact, I’ve written some foodie romances and am getting ready to put three of my foodie romances in a boxed set I’ll call Sweet Temptations Boxed Set.

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Cara. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors.
And thank you for having me.


Cara Marsi, an award-winning author and self-proclaimed TV junkie, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Freed of her fabric-covered cage, she can now indulge her love of all things romance. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. And she loves to put her characters in dangerous situations or situations merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.

An eclectic author, Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She's also published numerous short romance stories in national women's magazines and online. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast in a house ruled by their fat black diva of a cat named Killer.


Amazon Author Page
Her Website
Twitter or @CaraMarsi
Facebook Author Page
Romance Books 4 Us Blog


Doriana Callahan's life is unraveling. Someone is stalking her and sabotaging her father's company; her teenage son is rebelling; and Logan Tanner is back in town. For sixteen years she's kept an explosive secret from Logan, a secret he soon discovers.

Logan never belonged in Doriana's world, but a long time ago he allowed himself to dream of a future with her, until the awful night he was forced to run. Now he's back and he needs her forgiveness, but first he must forgive himself.

Despite the fact that Doriana kept the existence of his son from him, Logan vows to protect her. He races against time to stop the culprit threatening Doriana and works to forge a bond with his son.

Can the love and passion that still burn between Doriana and Logan overcome old lies and new dangers? The clock is ticking on a second chance at love.


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