Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Terrific Tuesday with Margay Leah Justice:)
Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Hello, my name is Margay Leah Justice and I am the author of Nora’s Soul, a story about one woman’s struggle with faith who becomes a pawn in the struggle between two factions of angels, one light and one dark.
Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
Not in a horror story sense, but yes. I think it scared me because it hit so close to home for me.
Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
See question above! Yes, I have, in a few stories that are still in the process of being written/rewritten.
How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
It depends upon the book and its theme. For historicals, I would do a vast amount of research to make sure that I got it right. Same goes for stories with paranormal themes, such as magic or shapeshifting. Usually, I research first and then write, but I have stopped in the process of writing to do more research.
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
I don’t think there’s a specific message. I try not to moralize or preach to readers; I try to get them to think for themselves about the themes I write about. But I would like for them to look at things from different angles in my stories and, most important, I want them to enjoy what they’re reading.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I am usually a plotter. In fact, I plot in such detail sometimes that I often refer to it as my first draft. I have gone the pantser way for a couple of stories, though, and that was interesting. When I have gone the pantser root, the story did take on a life of its own, but in a good way.
How long did it take for you to be published?
I have been trying, some times harder than others, to be published for at least ten years.
If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
Don’t stop trying to achieve your dream because one person said no. Keep on going until someone says yes. Don’t let anyone take that dream away from you. (It’s something I have to remind myself of to this day!)
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
I do still write some in pen and ink, but for the most part, it’s the laptop now. My must haves are coffee, a block of quiet time and a story I’m passionate about writing.
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
Julia Quinn, Jane Austen, Sabrina Jeffries, Luanne Rice, Adriana Trigianni, Jude Devereaux, Lisa Kleypas, to name just a few! I think Jude Devereux was a big influence on me growing up. I used to write nothing but medieval love stories when I was younger because of her, but they never materialized into anything. Might have to revisit them someday…
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I share my name with a cat. Of course my mother didn’t know this when she named me, but my name (the nickname of a relatives’ girlfriend, derived from Marygail) is also the name of a wild, South American cat similar to the ocelot.
What is your favorite Spring Break vacation?
A book! Let the young kids have Florida and what not, I’d rather read.
Favorite St. Patrick’s Day memory or ritual? (ie: Do you wear green? Fix corned beef and cabbage? Speak with an Irish dialect for fun?)
Definitely the corned beef and cabbage. My mother fixes a mean corned beef and cabbage!
I’m a March Madness fan. Do you follow the college basketball tournaments? If so, who’s your favorite team?
No, not much of a basketball fan in general. But give me the Patriots and I’m there.
Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
Thank you so much for having me! It’s been fun. You can find my book on Amazon.com. For further information, you can find me at http://margayleahjustice.com and http://moonlightlacemayhem.blogspot.com/
Blurb for Nora's Soul:
When angels of light and dark collide on earth...
Once he held a favored position in the heavens. But one moment of weakness casts Dante out and now he is cursed to walk the earth, collecting the souls of vulnerable women to buy his way into hell.
All hell breaks loose...
But standing in his way is Peter, an angel of light. Peter is everything Dante is not. Pure, above reproach. And determined to prevent Dante from achieving his goals. Peter will stop at nothing to protect the souls in his charge, even if it means achieving the impossible - leading Dante back onto the right path.
And no one is safe from the fall-out.
Nora Kendall believed in angels. Once. But then she lost her brother to cancer despite all of her prayers - and she lost her faith in all things angelic. Now, she is a lost soul who wanders through life like a sleepwalker, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to others.
Kyle Cameron is one of those risks. Burned by a bad marriage, his only concern now is providing a stable life for his children, who are left motherless by the unexpected death of his wife. This means working overtime to grow his architectural firm into a viable business - and leaving the care of his children to the care of someone he trusts. Despite his past connection with Nora, Kyle isn't certain that she's the right person for the job. He also doesn't want to reconnect with her and repeat history.
But fate - and the machinations of two angels - has other ideas.
“I don’t want there to be any misconceptions or hurt feelings between us, Nora.”
The sound of his harsh voice snapped her attention back to him. “Misconceptions?” she repeated, confused. “About what?”
“About what you and my sister expect is going to happen here.”
“I don’t – “ Her protest died on her lips when he placed a fingertip over them, silencing her. She nearly choked on a shallow breath at the fireball of sensation that roared down to the pit of her stomach at that minute touch. Thankfully, he withdrew the finger before she could do anything really damaging to her pride – like suck it into her mouth – but the fiery sensation lingered in her stomach, quietly banking a fire of old sensations into full life.
“I don’t need a social secretary,” he said, seemingly unaware of her reaction to him. “If I did need a secretary, I’d find one through a headhunter, not my sister.”
“And I certainly wouldn’t take one whose background is in social services.”
“Well, then, it’s a good thing I’m not here to be your secretary.”
“Good. Now that we’ve got that established, let’s move on.”
Kyle ignored that last comment as he launched into his speech. As he spoke, he made a leisurely circle about Nora, pausing to lean toward her in punctuation of each sentence.
“I’m not looking for a wife or a new mother for my children – “
“I’m not – “
“ – so if that’s the little scheme you’ve got going with my sister, you can just forget about it now.”
“I don’t have any ‘little scheme’ going with Joelle - or anyone else, for that matter!”
“Glad to hear it,” Kyle said, his tone belying his words. “Let’s move on, shall we?”
“Oh, please do.”
“I live alone. I like that.”
His breath skimmed her right ear as he leaned in close to her, front to front. She tried not to shudder at the pleasurable sensation it sent shimmering down her neck and into her stomach, where it joined the fire still banked there. She feared that she failed miserably. She almost didn’t hear his next words in the aftermath of the sensations he aroused in her.
“I throw my clothes on the floor when I undress.” He slipped around her right shoulder, but circled close to it – too close. “I leave the toilet seat up. I squeeze toothpaste from the middle. I sleep in the nude.” He leaned over her shoulder. His lips pressed to her ear, his breath searing a path down the left side of her neck now that, oddly enough, brought chills to her spine. “I like that.”
As the chills rippled through her, Nora swayed, slightly off-balance. Kyle righted her equilibrium with a quick, painless jab of his knees to the backs of hers. Then he pulled back, abruptly, completed his circle as he drilled home his point. “I don’t want anyone picking up my clothes. I don’t want anyone putting down the toilet seat or telling me where to squeeze my toothpaste.” He paused to quirk his lips in what could almost pass for a smile at the suggestive statement. “And I don’t want anyone buying me silk pajamas. I don’t want to be reformed.” He leaned his face so close to Nora’s then that his features filled her entire realm of vision. “Got that?”
Well, of all the arrogant, insufferable – ! Nora was trembling with rage by the conclusion of Kyle’s little speech. Just who the hell did he think he was, anyway, making demands like that?
“That’s what I missed about you all these years, Kyle,” she said with hard-won calm. “That charming personality.”
Kyle smiled then, but it was just a flexing of the muscles; there was no warmth to it. He leaned nearer to Nora, the tip of his nose in a position to touch hers should either of them make the slightest movement. It was an oddly intimate pose; a slight twist to the left, or a slight twist to the right, and their lips would be touching, even if no other parts of their bodies were. But the heat of his body – emanating from his skin in a wonderfully male scent that reminded her of warm summer days at the beach – did touch her; like a brand, searing another impression of him on her heart. The urge to melt into him wasn’t as hard as the urge to pull away; it took all of her strength to resist it. Oh, no, she wouldn’t give him that.
“Oh, I can be very charming.” He dropped the smile. “Or not.” Withdrawing, he stared down his nose at her, pointed a finger toward her collarbone. “Your choice. Just remember this – I don’t want to be seduced.”
“Oh, I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” Nora said, her voice so thick with sarcasm she nearly choked on it. She thought she detected a flicker of something – admiration, perhaps – in his eyes when she stated, “I’m here to take care of your children’s needs, not yours.” But whatever she thought she saw in his eyes was gone before she could name it. Must be my imagination, she decided.
“See that you remember that.”
“Oh, I will.”
They faced off for an eternal moment, two battle-scarred warriors at an emotional impasse. Each waiting for the other to flinch first. When that didn’t happen, they simultaneously relaxed their stances, as if by some silent agreement.
Kyle took a wary step backward. His eyes never left her face. “Good. Then there’s nothing left to discuss. Is there?”
“Just one thing,” she said when he would’ve turned away. She ignored the annoyed look he cast over his shoulder as he paused on his flight up the stairs. She started down the hall toward the sounds of merriment emanating from the kitchen, but paused when she came abreast of Kyle on the stairs. “I take my responsibilities very seriously.” She hesitated, for effect, then drove the statement home with, “All of them.” And then she was gone, leaving Kyle to stare after her in wonder.
Nora’s Soul, by Margay Leah Justice