Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Back to the Future: A Q&A with Marianne Mancusi

Are you bored with the standard chick lit but still want some refreshing, getaway reading? Well, look no further than the work of Marianne Mancusi! It's great when a chick lit author takes on a twist and does something with chick lit that hasn't been done before.

Marianne Mancusi is part of my writers' co-op called The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit. In addition to being a witty writer, Marianne is also a very nice person. She helped a friend of mine negotiate the waters of the publishing world and gave her a ton of great advice AT NO CHARGE, LOL. Funny Writer+Nice Person=I Like. So I am thrilled to have Marianne here today! Welcome to the blog, Marianne!

About Marianne Mancusi

Marianne Mancusi is a multiple Emmy Award winning television news producer for WHDH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked for news stations in Orlando and San Diego. A Massachusetts native, she currently lives in Massachusetts with her British husband Aaron and their dog Molly. She has six other adult and teen chick lit novels under contract with Dorchester and Berkley.

About Marianne's new novel, A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court

Once upon a time there lived an outspoken fashion editor named Kat, who certainly was not your typical damsel in distress. But when a gypsy curse sent her back in time to the days of King Arthur, she found she'd need every ounce of her 21st century wits (and pop culture references) to navigate the legend. After all, surviving a magical plot, an evil prince, and a case of mistaken identity--all without changing history or scuffing your Manolos--takes some doing!

Luckily, she's got her very own knight in shining armor, Lancelot du Lac, on her side. The honorable-to-a-fault and devastatingly handsome champion insists on helping her out, even though she's not quite sure she wants him to. After all, shouldn't he be off romancing Queen Guenevere or something? Will Kat manage to stay out of trouble long enough to get back to her beloved café lattes, cosmopolitans and cashmere? And what will Lancelot's forbidden love mean for the kingdom of Camelot?
And now, onto the Q&A.

MO'C: How did you get the idea for this book?

MM: I was reading a lot of Chick Lit style books in the summer of 2003 and I really liked the funny, irreverent, sarcastic voice. However, I saw that the market was getting saturated with the same old "good shoes, bad boyfriend, bad boss" kind of books. So I wanted to think of a way to really get an editor's attention. In the end, I decided throwing my Chick Lit character back in time to the days of King Arthur might do the trick. :-) I was always a fan of Arthurian legend anyway, so it seemed a good fit.

MO'C: What is your writing routine like?

MM: Since I work a full time job as a TV News producer, I am forced to wake up early every morning to write. I write from 6am-8am and if I'm really into a book, I'll also write on the commuter train into work (on my laptop). Sure, it's sometimes hard to wake up to that alarm clock when you know you could set it two hours later and still make it into work on time, but to me, writing is worth waking up for.

MO'C: Did you have any writing rituals or habits associated with writing this book?

MM: Hmm. Not really, except that every time I finished a chapter, I would bring it into work for a few non-writer friends to read. I also had a critique partner, of course, but I really liked getting the reactions of what worked and what didn't, from a reader's perspective as well.

MO'C: Did you have to do a ton of research?
MM: Yes. For both the medieval and the modern stuff! Even though I was familiar with the King Arthur legend, I still had to read a ton of Camelot related books to get all the details. I also read a bunch of medieval nonfiction so I could make the world of Camelot seem detailed and realistic. And finally, I had to do a lot of Internet research on my pop culture and fashion references.

MO'C: What are you working on now?
MM: I just finished a teen vampire book called "Boys that Bite." It's about a high schooler who accidentally gets bitten by a vampire (through a case of mistaken identity) one week before prom. It's very Buffy the Vampire Slayer'ish and was a LOT of fun to write. The first one in the series comes out in April of next year as part of the Berkley Jam line.

Thank you so much, Marianne! Visit Marianne's site, and buy her book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my personal favorite, at your local independent bookseller via Booksense.