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  • Pages

Please Welcome Maria Zannini & Tank

touch-of-fire

Maria, Thanks for agreeing to be a guest on my blog.

Thank you, Greta! I started answering these interview questions and behind my shoulder I kept hearing the occasional grunt or sigh. I knew it was Tank, dog extraordinaire and all around good guy expressing his disappointment with my answers.

Fine, I told him. If you can do better, go ahead.

Well, darn if he didn’t take me up on it. I wanted to edit this piece, but he kept his paw over the delete key so I am forced to send this as he woofed it to me.

I hope you don’t mind. Tank can be rather insistent.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?Maria–or mommy as I call her is my whole world. She’s a little too focused on her monitor when she’s in the middle of a story, but that’s because she has the tenacity of a terrier, the stamina of an Australian shepherd and the audacity of a cat. But she never misses my mealtimes and will immediately step away from the computer if her family ever needs her.

I think the best way to describe her is that she is an adventurer at heart. We are always going on exciting escapades, whether it’s chasing chickens or exploring the woods when we hear strange noises. (There are a lot of strange noises when you live in the wilderness.)

And did I mention she was smart? She always has a cookie for her favorite dog–ME.

How long have you been writing?

Well, she’s been writing for as long as I’ve been here. Mommy and her very handsome husband adopted me from a rottie rescue group when I was two years old. I was awfully big and I guess my size intimidated a lot of people. Nobody wanted me. But it didn’t faze mom and dad a bit. It was love at first sight.

I do think I must be a source of inspiration for her because she started winning contests and writing a LOT more by the time I turned four.

What is your writing process like?

I mentioned earlier that my mom is tenacious. She plots her whole story out first and sometimes reads it to me for my opinion. (I have very good opinions.)

Once she has the story set in her mind, she taps away at that clicky thing like a Chihuahua in heat.

Mmm…Chihuahua. 

Tank, The Wonder Dog

Tank, The Wonder Dog

Uh…where was I?

Anyway, mom is very focused, but she never forgets to pet me or give me kisses when I lean all 135 pounds of me against her leg. You see, I suffer a little from post-traumatic syndrome. Angry men with guns and knives make me nervous. I don’t like to talk about it much, but mom understands. She always makes me feel safe.

Can you tell us about your release Touch Of Fire?

It’s a cool book. Mom has the best imagination! Touch Of Fire is set 1200 years in the future on a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Earth has changed a lot. Technology has completely disappeared and the human race is divided between plainfolk and magical people known as Elementals. Every Elemental can control one of the four elements: earth, air, water or fire. But Leda, the main character can also read auras. A good trait to have if you play poker, but someone wants her for something far more vile.

When an ancient book surfaces, it threatens to disrupt the balance of power and reintroduce technology to a people that know only magic. Leda is charged with finding it, but instead she meets Grey, a plainfolk scavenger who deliberately tries to keep her from the book.

Despite their ingrained prejudices, they fall in love and must fight to survive a much greater foe, a madman hell bent on ruling the world and creating the fifth Elemental.

Do you have any other books coming out this year?

Not yet. Poor woman was nearly blind and had to go through a series of horrible eye operations for over a year. She’s much better now, but for a while I had to moonlight as a seeing-eye dog. I never let her out of my sight. She needed me!

What are you currently working on?

Oh, I like the book she’s editing right now. It’s a pirate book with werewolves set in the 16th century. I wish she would write a dog book, but werewolves are okay. Better than cats. Not that there’s anything wrong with cats, but they’re not nearly as interesting as dogs.

I’m trying to use my super powers of persuasion to make her write a dog book. I think I could help her with that a lot.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Well, I don’t want to brag, but I think I give her a lot of her best ideas. Like in Touch Of Fire, all that cool world building—that was me. I told her: Look, there will always be people and dogs in the future, but buildings will collapse, infrastructure will disintegrate, and societies will forget their roots. Religions and governments will merge and blend. It was great fun creating that future world. If you pay close attention to the names you can figure out the original 21st century names they’re referencing.

Mom definitely likes to extrapolate. Every time something catches her interest, she builds on known facts and twists it, infusing her stories with a quirky irony that gives readers that ‘aha’ moment.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

She loves dog books, of course. But she reads everything. Her favorite books are fantasy with a touch of sci fi. She’s rather picky, but she does adore LS Viehl and Catherine Asaro.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

I wasn’t sure, so I had to go look. She does have some fiction up there, but most of her books are nonfiction. That must be because she does so much research. Sheesh! You should see the research she does. Madness!

What was the first romance book you read?

That would be “Taken By You”, by Connie Mason. I know because she still has that book. It was the book that inspired her to start writing romance.

If one of your books was made into a movie, which book would you like it to be and which actors would like to see as the lead characters?

Well, she only has one book in print now (it hits bookstores tomorrow!!) and I think it would make a great movie. Leda is a spitfire who tends to act before she thinks and Grey is a big brute who is smarter than he lets on. We can’t agree on the female lead, but the male lead is definitely Hugh Jackman. He’d be perfect as Grey.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?

She likes to write about women who take chances so I guess any of her heroines would do, but I think she might like to trade places with the heroine of the pirate book she’s editing–at least for a day. Her heroine is a pirate who lives on the high seas. Mom can’t swim, so I think she would like to be someone who isn’t afraid of the water.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

We spend a lot of time in the woods and in her garden. That woman is fascinated with EVERYTHING. Even I get tired of being outdoors, but not her. She also paints professionally. I’ve seen paintings of some of my predecessors on the walls. I keep wondering when she’s going to immortalize me in oils. I’m very handsome, you know.

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?

That’s easy. She wants to know what kind of pet-friends you have. Do they stay with you when you write and read?

Okay, mom. You can send this to that nice lady now.

Gee, thank, Tank. And thank you, Greta for having us over!

Website: http://www.mariazannini.com/

Blog: http://www.mariazannini.blogspot.com/

Super cool contest for Touch Of Fire

Buy TOUCH OF FIRE at:

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | My Bookstore and More

Read an excerpt at Samhain Publishing

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