|M. Garzon and equine friend|
Monday, March 17, 2014
M. GARZON INTERVIEW PLUS HER LATEST RELEASE, BLAZE OF GLORY
Please welcome M. Garzon to the blog. She's visiting and sharing and interview. Here's the interview:
Caroline: Where did you grow up?
M: When people ask me where I’m from, I never really know what to say. I was born in Holland, but moved to Canada when I was four years old and spent the rest of my childhood moving around Quebec. I have two brothers; none of us were particularly close to our parents but we’re very close with each other. This, despite the fact that if they weren’t so much bigger than me, I would’ve happily strangled them numerous times. I was a wild child, the undeniable black sheep in my family, and that much hasn’t changed (a writer, really? Can’t you get a normal job?)
Now I live in the relatively small town of St-Lazare, Quebec and I’m a single mom to two fantastic kidlets, aged seven and nine. They live with me 100% of the time, which I love but which also made writing quite a challenge at first. Three cheers for school!
Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and genres?
M: I know some people will groan, but Stephenie Meyer’s writing was a revelation to me. I actually prefer her lesser-known book, “The Host”, over the Twilight series. She was the first author I read whose story felt so real and immediate to me that the characters truly felt like friends, so much so that I didn’t care about the holes in the story. My books have gotten some comparisons with Twilight, which some consider an insult, and others find amusing because there’s nothing remotely supernatural in my stories. I take it as a huge compliment though, because I hope it means that my characters have become real to someone in the same way hers came to life for me.
A current fave author is Laini Taylor. I love her wild imagination and offbeat style. As for genres, I don’t pay much attention to them – to me, the story’s what matters. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of YA dystopian/fantasy type stuff, but before that it was heavy dramas (think Khaled Hosseini and Jodi Picoult), and when I was younger it was science fiction. Oh, and lots of horse novels, of course.
Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
M: Relax? Do people still do that? Okay, I jest. Sort of. Being a working single parent means that I have to combine hobbies with necessary tasks, so right now I’m making a scrapbook with my son, and I like to walk our dog through the woods near our house. I still love to read, but it’s not always as relaxing as it used to be… sometimes it’s hard to turn off the “edit” function in my brain. I used to like bubble baths and going dancing with friends, but that’s a distant memory…
Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
M: I’ve had a succession of favorite quotes throughout life, as I suppose everyone does as they grow and expand. My current favorite is: “Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell first said that; he meant for people to identify what they were truly passionate about, and to pursue it wholeheartedly. That’s what writing is for me.
Caroline: For me, too. How long have you been writing?
M: Since the spring of 2009. Before that, I didn’t write at all.
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet?
M: Most is done on my laptop, since I can’t keep up with the muse writing by hand. I usually write in the quiet of my bedroom office, but I’ve written in cafés and libraries, and done a considerable amount of scrawling on scraps of paper in the car.
Caroline: Ah, yes, the scaps of paper when you’re away from home and an idea strikes. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
M: I actually had to look up what a “panzer” is to answer this question (and I’m assuming you’re not referring to the German tank).
This is something that’s still evolving for me. When I wrote Blaze of Glory I happily spewed out entire scenes, totally out of sequence, without any thought of plot or cohesive character development (bet you want to read it now, don’t you?) Each subsequent book has been planned out a bit more. I’m planning to write a fantasy series next year, and that one will require extensive plotting beforehand.
Caroline: Not the tank. It’s lovely when the scenes come like that, isn’t it? Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration?
M: The short answer is yes. But I’d have to qualify that and say those people and things are inspiration only, and markedly different from what appears in the final product. Several of my friends have let me borrow their names, which is nice.
Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Do you write daily?
M: You know what they say about the best-laid plans! I usually only bother with specific goals and word counts if I feel I’m getting into a slump, although they’re useful for deadlines too. My kids had chicken pox one after the other in January, followed by colds. I lost five weeks of writing time, so now I’m using word counts to make sure I meet my spring deadline.
Caroline: Keeping a schedule with small children is tough. What do you hope your writing brings to readers.
M: Enjoyment, pure and simple. We all need to escape into someone else’s world once in a while.
Caroline: So true. What long-term plans do you have for your career?
M: I’ll be writing for the rest of my life, one way or another. It would be nice if the TV series got made soon, because it would give me the freedom to spend as many years as necessary on the fantasy series I’m planning.
Caroline: Having a TV series optioned is terrific. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
M: I’m working on an as-yet-untitled kid’s book with my children. The story is about a boy trying to form a relationship with a fractious Canadian horse. It’s been very interesting for me to learn about this heritage breed. It’s our national breed of horse, though most Canadians don’t know it, and a few decades ago it was almost extinct, even though at one time it was the most popular breed in North America.
Caroline: That sounds intriguing. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
M: If you write because you love it, then you’ll never be disappointed. But if you’re trying to get published, there are a few things that may help. First, learn about how the industry works. Get an agent, because without one you have almost no chance of being published, except maybe by very small, niche publishers.
If a query letter is supposed to be one page and yours is three pages long, you’re already doomed. There are plenty of great resources online to help you learn how to write a killer query letter. If you’re not getting any bites from agents (requests to see a sample of your manuscript), then re-write your query letter. You may have to go through the cycle several times. It took me months to find an agent; it takes some people years. When I was sending out queries, some people were nice, some not, and most never responded, which is worst of all. If any agents give you feedback, by all means use it to make your query or manuscript better!
Once you have an agent you trust, try to take their advice. Before my agent would send my manuscript anywhere, I had to cut it down by 25%. It took me two months, and it was painful, but it was also worth it.
If you’ve tried for years and you can’t get an agent or a publisher, you might want to consider self-publishing. Here again, you need to do a LOT of research (and don’t fall for those scams that ask you to pay thousands of dollars up front to get your book out there). The books that tend to make it in self-publishing are those that have been professionally edited and polished over and over. Most of all, enjoy the process J
Caroline: Good advice. What is a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
M: Until I had children, I had never in my life lived in one place for more than three years, and I frequently stayed a lot less than three.
Caroline: Share something that would surprise or shock your readers.
M: This is a question I’ve never been asked before. My mother has ADHD and learning disabilities. I grew up feeling very protective of her, but sometimes also resentful that I didn’t get the chance to fully be a child, without responsibilities.
Caroline: She was lucky to have you. I believe your book is in a series. Tell us about it.
M: Yes! Blaze of Glory is the first of a trilogy. I’d describe it as a family drama, although book one has a strong element of romance. All three books are already published, and due to popular demand I’ll be writing at least one spin-off book in the near future.
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
M: I can’t sing. Like, at all. So any requests for singing interviews are out.
BLAZE OF GLORY Blurb:
"The first book in the popular trilogy, soon to be a major new television series!
Some fires can consume you.
Last year, I had it all. Two jumpers on the show circuit, a lot of wins, and a lot of attention - the good kind. But now I have nothing. My life is circling the drain. The only spark of light that exists for me is my new, forbidden passion. If my stepfather finds out, he will kill me. My twin brother, my only blood relative in the world, has already begged me not to. But I can't help myself. If it can't be horses, it has to be this..."
BLAZE OF GLORY Excerpt:
I squished my way through the water-soaked grass to the pasture. The sudden downpour had cooled the air, and I shivered slightly in my wet clothes. The worst of the storm seemed to be over, and when I reached the pasture fence I paused, debating whether I needed to bring the horses in. The rain had abated to a fine drizzle, and there hadn’t been any lightning or thunder since I’d left the barn. It was such a relief to escape the tense atmosphere there that I lingered, leaning on the fence and watching the dark wet patches creeping down the horses’ coats.
I didn’t hear the footsteps until they were right behind me. I knew whose they were without turning; only Jaden’s presence would raise the hairs on my body like that.
“Tea,” he said my name like a caress.
I was about to duck away, but he knew me too well—his hands shot out and gripped the fence board on either side of me, though he didn’t touch me, of course. He was so close now that I could feel the heat from his body searing the back of mine, but this heat made me shiver all the more.
“How long are you planning on not talking to me?” His voice was subdued.
I shrugged. I felt, rather than heard, his sigh.
“You’re angry with me.”
He was wrong about that. It wasn’t anger that was making me avoid him, it was self preservation.
“I don’t blame you. I know I’ve made a mess of things. I came to give you a choice… I was planning to leave at the end of the season.” He paused, but my brain was already frozen. As though it couldn’t process the word ‘leave’. “But if you’d rather I left now, I’ll understand. I’ll find a spot for my horses closer to Toronto.”
My chest constricted painfully, and my breath started coming in sharp, raw gasps. Either way, he would be gone. My only option was whether to prolong my suffering. It was always the same impossible choice: the pain of his presence versus the torture of his absence. I didn’t say anything. I don’t think I could have spoken even if I’d wanted to.
“Let me know what you decide,” he continued quietly. He hesitated, then dropped his head close to mine; I felt the zing of current from my face down to my shoulder. He whispered his parting line in my ear.
“I miss you.”
I waited until his footsteps faded to surrender to the wracking sobs, and they shook me for a long time before I pulled myself together and went back to work.
Amazon buy link:
(also available on Kobo, NOOK, and iBooks)
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
M. Garzon rode horses professionally for ten years, until an injury prompted a career change. She returned to school and completed a BSc; then for good measure, an MBA. After several years of toiling as a business consultant, she turned to writing in a desperate bid to regain her sanity. A mom of two fabulous children, she lives in St Lazare, QC and considers herself extremely lucky to be a writer.