I want to welcome Connie Vines. First, I'd love for you to introduce yourself.
Barbara, I’d like to thank both you and your blog followers and visitors for inviting me here today.
I reside deep in the quirky suburbs of Southern California in a butter-yellow house shaded by mimosa and magnolia trees with my husband. I’ve published over one hundred fiction and nonfiction articles, eight genre novels and educational student activity books. I have also worked as a ghostwriter of literary fiction and one screenplay. I am a member of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers. I’ve served on the executive board of the International Chapter of Romance Writers, and I am currently the president of the Gothic (GothRom) Chapter of Romance Writers.
Tell us about your latest release.
"Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow,” Book 1 of my Sassy & Fun Fantasy Series.
Blurb: Alive, Steampunk novelist Meredith Misso worked hard at living the perfect SoCal celeb life. Now that she is a Zombie, it’s all about the make-up, non-vegan lifestyle, and her soon-to-be ex, who somehow managed to Velcro himself back into her life.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
My favorite villain is the wicked witch of the west from "The Wizard of Oz".
Why is she my favorite villain? She covets (a vice both adults, and children, can identify and understand). She wants Dorothy’s ruby slippers and she will whatever she must. She is a real threat to everyone in Oz. The Wizard believes the Witch’s magic is so powerful that she could kill him if he goes near her.
The Wizard finally offers Dorothy a trip home if she will kill the Witch. That shows how loathsome she is to the embodiment of good in Oz. The Witch actively tries to kill Dorothy and Company several times, with wolves, bees, the winged monkeys, crows. She captures the Cowardly Lion and tries to starve him to death. She tries to burn the Scarecrow to death. She does all of this to force Dorothy to give up the ruby slippers. She steals one of Dorothy’s slippers, by tripping her over an invisible bar. Dorothy finally has enough and throws a bucket of water on her. Why does it kill her? Because water is pure. The Witch is corruption in all respects, and thus the embodiment of impurity.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
This is such a difficult decision. All of my characters are my favorite. I had such a great time with Meredith, of “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”—she is so sassy and seems to make the best of all life tosses at her. I must confess that Lynx Maddox, my hero in “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1 is my favorite. A Texas rodeo cowboy who. . .well, the French say it best: “Un si beau Texan!”
3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write in multiple genres. I began writing my career writing fiction and nonfiction in children’s and young adult magazines. However, romance (women’s and YA) is my main genre.
4.) What are you working on now?
As a rule, I work on two books and a novella/YA novel at a time. My next release is an anthology titled: “Gumbo Ya Ya -- for women who like romance Cajun & men Hot & Spicy”.
5.) What got you to start writing?
My family tree is dotted with novelists, playwrights, professional musicians and composers. Therefore, it would have been odd for me not to have an interest in a creative form of expression.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
I have a sense of time and place (when I am on vacation, a photo may trigger something), then I hear a conversation in my head. Like when you walk past a table at a coffee shop and catch bits and pieces of a conversation. I was visiting my youngest son and family in Yucaipa, CA when I spotted a bag of “Zombie Popcorn” inside an organic roadside produce store. Then, several weeks later, when I was at the dentist’s office (coincidence, it had nothing to do with the popcorn, promise), the x-ray tech was sharing her experience at the Long Beach Zombie Walk. Then, ZAP, I had the nucleus of my story.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
My readers wouldn’t be surprise if I divulged that I collected “Monster High Dolls” but they might be surprised to learn of my gingerbread collection. In fact, one of my Pinterest boards is Gingerbread Boys Love Gingerbread Girls.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I have freelanced many a time as a writer. At one point, I worked as a fragrance consultant at a perfumery. I tested women’s PH levels by touching a wand (not magical) to her wrist and developed a list of compatible fragrances. To learn more, you will need to read my next release.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Never give up. Never miss a chance to improve your craft. Write, Write, Write! Why do I remember these words of wisdom? Because there are no short cuts in life.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
However, I’m going to name Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (Coco Chanel) a French fashion designer as my person of choice. After all, she was the designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
"Walking on Sunshine" and on some occasions, possibly, “Weird Science”.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A Spotted Saddle horse. I was toying with the idea of returning as a black Gypsy Horse with a flowing white mane and feathering on my legs—until I remembered these horses are on the chunky-side. I’d prefer not to live another life worrying about the size of my ‘behind’.
Excerpt, "HERE TODAY, ZOMBIE TOMORROW".
“You and Elvis have done a great job on this house,” Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen where the tour began. “Sorry I couldn’t get over, until now, but I’ve been sort of… well, busy.” Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case, Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag. She hoped her sister didn’t ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie, and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months, was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.
Pippa waved the comment aside. “I’m glad you like it. We had such fun decorating. Of course, we couldn’t do it all at once, but it’s more satisfying putting it together treasure by treasure.”
Meredith glanced from Pippa’s impish features and short spiky black hair to the perimeter of the room. Taking in every detail and nuance of Pippa’s decorating talent, she let her gaze rest on a collection of figurines by fantasy artist Jasmine Beckett-Griffith crouching at the top of the ebony stained cabinets. A black arch-top fireplace mounted against the wall, flames flowing from a bed of clear river stones, and HOME SWEET HOME embroidered on a sampler with a tiny vine of blood-red roses tangling though out the letters completed the focal point of the room.
Even though Meredith was on the best relations with her sister, she couldn’t help but feel a sharp nip of jealousy. It hadn’t been so long ago that she’d had her own happy home. Unfortunately, she’d filed for divorce from Viktor and then there’d been that bizarre little accident where she’d ended up dead, and then undead.
While Pippa’s two kids, Ethan and Emma, played in the living room, to the accompaniment of 1960s rock-and-roll musical on TV, Meredith sat in the kitchen with her sister, fiddling with the end of the tea bag that dangled from the rim of her China cup.
Since her sister was contemplating the contents of a tin filled with Danish cookies, Meredith found herself cataloging the events that led up her ‘accident’.
A charter member of the SoCal Arts Association, she’d been participating in the annual Zombie Walk Festival in Long Beach when it ‘happened’. Crowds always made her uncomfortable, but this particular event was to raise money, so she was obligated to attend. And, it only went to reason; this year’s participation broke all past records.
Twelve-thousand gleeful ghouls stormed Long Beach’s renovated Promenade. The crowd became so large that it spilled out over Pine Avenue for an all-out downtown invasion. Meredith didn’t recall much about the accident, nor who or what, reanimated her. She remembered over-hearing a security officer informing a pungent-smelling zombie that he couldn’t purchase an alcoholic beverage (apparently he didn’t match up with his photo ID). Within moments, a shoving match between the two men ensured, quickly escalating into zombie chaos: shouting, running and chomping.