Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
In some ways my characters are all me, in others, they’re nothing like me. Most often the lessons the characters are learning are things God is trying to get through my thick head, but the circumstances my characters find themselves in are usually very different from my own. I’ve never been a single mom, or widowed, or divorced, or been an archaeologist, but I have felt like a failure as a mom and grew up in a divorced family. I’ve know what it’s like to try and control things when life feels out of control. I know how helplessness and hopelessness feels, and I’ve been learning what it means to truly surrender and rely on God.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Oh, dare I even bring it up. Not sure it was the quirkiest, but it was more like “WHAT were you thinking?” A couple of years ago at my children’s school event I entered the Karaoke “Most Embarrassing Mom Performance” and won. In my defense, I thought the prize was going to be way better than it actually was. Thankfully, I waited until the very end of the evening when they were putting up the table and chairs. Only a handful of people were there, though I did see one teen videotaping! Hopefully, it’s long gone and will never surface!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I discovered I could express myself through the written word, better than the spoken word, I knew I was a writer. I was probably nine or ten, and I started journaling my feelings, dabbled in poetry and stories. In school, I’d be the student who always went way over page count. I guess still can be wordy. But when the words flow, there’s no stopping them.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I don’t care about genre, though I’d probably stay away from horror and erotica! LOL! It’s the story and the characters that grab me. I’m partial to women’s fiction, mystery and suspense, and I’ve been known to enjoy a historical romance and even Sci-Fi or Fantasy. I think that’s why I like to write in different genres. Though I’m only published in mystery/romance at the moment, I have suspense, YA, and women’s fiction collecting dust in my computer.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
You think I’m sane? Ha, fooled you! All I do is run, run, run…and dance! Actually, dancing is how I keep my sanity. After writing, marketing, keeping up the house, and carting kids to and fro, I carve out ME time at least 2-3 times a week for an hour or more to dance. I started ballroom dance lessons almost two years ago, and have never looked back. Dancing is not only a hobby, it’s a passion with instant gratification, unlike writing which is a passion, but more of a calling and career for me. Writing took years before I saw any real fruit of my labor.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes I choose them by their personality or meaning. Other times a name just pops into my head and I know that’s their name. Sometimes a name doesn’t fit and they go through a name change. It’s different with every character.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I hope I don’t sound egotistical or self-centered, but the accomplishment I’m most proud of is me. Through my life I’ve see God work and try and teach me things, but for some reason, I didn’t understand the lesson. I’ve been through rough times in my life and came out stronger. I’ve had a goal or dream, and despite opposition and fear of failure, pushed ahead and fought through oppositions to have some success. And I’m starting to get the lessons God is teaching me. THAT is a huge accomplishment and I hope that these things, truths in my life, will come out in the stories I write so I can share what I’ve learned and help others grow. THAT would be an accomplishment I’m most proud of.
What is your favorite food?
I honestly don’t have a favorite food. I love food in general. I used to be partial to Italian, but don’t eat it as much as I used to. Too many carbs which I’ve learned are not good for my body. I love trying foods from different countries. I enjoy sushi and lamb vindaloo (Indian,) but give me a good old fashion cheeseburger or sausage omelet with cheese. For my sweet tooth nothing is better than Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream, or Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheese Cake, but I don’t indulge in those very often. I even like health food and crave a yummy avocado, Greek yogurt with fruit, or a heap of hummus with chips. It’s amazing how my diet has changed for the better over the years.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Excuses … I never seem to have time to write, but I don’t think that is the entire truth. Yes, I’m busy, but I find time to dance … I think I’m afraid of tapping into the emotions needed to write a book. Not because I’m afraid to go there, but it involves a process and can actually drain me of emotionally energy. And with a husband, four kids and a dog, I rarely have any kind of energy at the end of the day. Once I go to that emotional writing place I need to go with my characters, I like to stay there for a while. Sometimes I just don’t have the amount of time needed to stay and really accomplish what I need to, so I guess I just make the excuse not to “go there.” That’s one thing I want to work on this year. And I’ve actually created a writing schedule for working on my fiction.
Tell us about the featured book.
“Gina Conroy has written a smart, fast-paced mystery in which vulnerable characters rise to the occasion. Single-mom Mari’s life is anything but mundane. Scars from her past mingle with the danger of her present while romance and a journey of faith impatiently wait their turn for a walk in her five-inch leather boots.” Tanya Dennis, writer, blogger, editor
Archaeology Professor Mari Duggins is adjusting to life as a single mom and trying to balance a television career, but gets caught between the pull of her former flame, a field archaeologist, and her ex-husband who is wanted by the FBI on an antiquities crime. Then her colleague is murdered, and she gets in over her head as she searches for truth in a desert of lies. Mari Duggins’ life caves in as she tries to excavate the truth, but realizes only God can dig her out of the hole she’s created. Will Mari sort through her muddled feelings and put her trust in someone else before her world caves in? Or will the truth bury her alive?
Sound intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
Monday, 7:42 a.m.
Basement Lyndon University
When I stepped out of my dressing room into the dim hallway, I should have heard death’s gentle taunting. I should have seen it hovering in the glow of the flickering lights. I should have felt it drawing me closer to the abyss. Instead, I rushed through the hall toward the campus television studio, my heels clicking on the tile like a ticking time bomb.
I dug in my red Coach bag, found my compact mirror, and held it on top of my latte while I dabbed my shiny forehead. It would have to do. I couldn’t be late for the biggest show of my career.
The intoxicating aroma of fat-laden pastries wafted my way, tantalizing my taste buds. Mental note: Find the Einstein who put the breakfast buffet between my dressing room and the green room and have him lobotomized. At thirty-two, I had a hard enough time maintaining my weight to please that mother-in-law of a camera. An impossible feat for anyone over a size two, I know. But my stubborn Sicilian heritage kept me in denial.
I dropped the mirror in my leather bag and slowed enough to take a clumsy sip of nonfat, sugar-free caramel latte, then gulped the creamy liquid, trying to appease my appetite.
It didn’t work.
The allure of the forbidden fat grams assaulted my senses, my stomach growling with
Eden temptation. I glanced
at my watch. 7:43. My heart lurched, then sprinted along with the rest of me. Seventeen
minutes to D-Day.
I like it!! How can readers find you on the Internet?
If you can’t find me than you haven’t looked! LOL! Just try Googling me!
Or connect with me on:
Pinterest: Author Gina Conroy
Thank you, Gina, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Digging Up Death (A Mari Duggins Mystery)
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