Mari Mancusi: I was working in a local TV newsroom, much like Maddy, and had been assigned the most ridiculous story on the planet—Cosmetics that Kill – and I wasn’t making much progress on it. (Simply because, as a rule, they don’t.) But as always that didn’t matter much to my TV station—they just liked the idea of how the promo would sound.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was so fed up and frustrated by all that counted as “news” in this day and age, I put aside the book I was working on and just started writing—pouring all my real life angst into my fictional character. Of course, luckily for her, I was able to give her a happy ending. Real life – eh, not so much!
CTW: What made you want to write a book about someone in the journalism industry?
MM: It was my life at the time. And I knew people on the outside had NO IDEA how corrupt tv newsrooms actually were. People are under the impression that TV news is journalism when it’s really just entertainment paid for by commercials. Also, some of the things that happen in a TV newsroom are just so ridiculous, it made for an easy satire.
CTW: What is one trait or interest you share with the main character, Maddy?
MM: She’s probably the most autobiographical characters I’ve ever written. We’re both ambitious, but also aren’t afraid to kick back and act silly. Also, we both love Kate Spade purses and eighties music.
CTW: The camera man in this book is super hunky. What's one characteristic you find most attractive in a leading man?
MM: I like the more sensitive types – rather than the pure alpha hero. I’ve dated alpha guys in real life and they can be annoyingly controlling. I’d rather have someone smart and fun than domineering and I try to bring those heroes to life in my books.
CTW: What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this story?
MM: To write characters who sounded realistic, but not use real life people! I wanted to show the archetypes of TV newsroom people (the narcissist anchor, for example) but I didn’t want to embarrass a real life person. After all, narcissist anchors are people, too!
MM: I over exaggerated some of the side character to maximize the humor and make them less like real life people. While people like Terrance the main anchor do exist in the real life newsroom, he’s a bit over the top. Also, I did give him redeemable qualities and pointed out why he might act as he does—to keep him human.
CTW: If we took a look at your bookshelf, what book would be the most worn out from re-reading?
MM: None – I read on my Kindle now! Ha ha! But for old school books, I’m a huge fantasy buff. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, for example, is a book I’ve devoured many times.
CTW: What's one thing you have to have to write? (i.e. comfy slippers, warm blanket, cup of coffee, mood music, etc.)
MM: I’m a caffeine junkie so coffee definitely. I also like to keep little mementos of whatever I’m writing about. My latest series, Scorched, which comes out in September is a dragon story and so right now I’m surrounded by dragon stuff.
CTW: What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
MM: Read and write everyday no matter what. It’s like exercise – it gets easier the more you do it. If you really want it, nothing will stop you – not kids, not husband, not housework, not regular work. Make it a priority even if only for a half hour a day. Also, don’t be in such a hurry to get published. Learn your craft, research your industry and have many, many people beta read your book. Enjoy the experience, too. Once you’re a published author it’ll be all about deadlines.
CTW: What's next for you and your writing career?
MM: I have a new YA trilogy, Scorched, coming out in September of this year from Sourcebooks. I call it Terminator with dragons.
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Mari’s tour page will be entered to win a Kindle Touch! One bonus winner will win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Love at 11 before February 25 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries. Use the Rafflecopter here to win! ** Please note this is open to US citizens only.**
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