Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mark of the Look by Molly Greene Blog Tour Guest Post/Interview

What happens when a workaholic serial remodeler falls in love with an old stone cottage built by an ornithologist and his eccentric Irish wife? If you’re Madison Boone, you kick your budding romance with handsome Psych Professor Coleman Welles to the curb and lose yourself in a new project.

Madison is a skilled property “flipper” who renovates distressed homes in addition to her busy real estate sales career. She struggles with the inability to put down roots years after the sudden death of her beloved parents. Madison and her three wise, hilarious friends all wonder if she uses her busy, work-centric lifestyle as an excuse to avoid connection with anyone but them.

When Madison checks out a probate sale outside Healdsburg, California, she falls in love with the European-style house on a private tract of land overlooking Lake Sonoma. In fact, she likes the place so much she climbs in the window for a private tour. With help from lawyer and friend Genevieve Delacourt, Madison soon learns that the estate’s corrupt attorney has manipulated the sale and is attempting to steer the purchase to an anonymous client in a deceitful plan for personal gain.

Good fortune enables her to purchase the Blackburne’s property, but far more than a new home and lush gardens await discovery during this renovation. As Madison works on the remodel, she’s drawn into an old love story with dangerous consequences. In the process, she discovers herself as she unearths buried secrets. The series of events both endanger Madison and lead her to love – and a permanent home. Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores deep friendship, choices, and how individuals cope with loss.

Guest Post:

Five Things I Know Are True
by Molly Greene

Upfront disclosure: Perfection remains below my sightline, out of reach. I don’t pretend to know it all, and I am not trying to give advice about the best way to cope with life. However, as a self-published author in the midst of a wild indie rollercoaster ride, I have found that good life coping skills can also be used to smooth the path. These behaviors and beliefs work for me.

1. Humor helps Laughter smoothes the rough patches and highlights the wins. I appreciate people who make me chuckle, and I cultivate relationships with friends who value a sense of fun. Drama is something to be avoided. Since there are lots of opportunities for drama in the publishing world, I try not to take it all too seriously. I said “try.”

2. Almost all bad luck leads to something better There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Great good fortune is disguised as extreme bad luck.” Does that mean we’re supposed to get excited about a flat tire, flooded basement, computer malfunction? No. What I try to do is focus on solution and wonder how the Universe is going to turn the chaos into a benefit. It’s tough, I don’t always manage, but I do cultivate the ability to ask myself what good may come of the crappy things that happen. Bottom line: Release disappointments and focus on what’s good.

3. I am responsible I am responsible for my behavior and the choices I make, and my decisions – good and bad – helped form the person I am. I can’t blame anyone else for sad, bad, or angry outcomes. I choose the way I view opportunities, people and events, and these choices help determine the quality of my life. I can’t control things that happen or other people’s reactions, but I am in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing my response. And I am proud of the moments when I catch a glimpse of the individual I aspire to be.

4. Whatever I’m avoiding is most often exactly what I need to do The conversations I don’t want to have, the patience I don’t want to summon, the approach I don’t want to take, the feelings I don’t want to acknowledge, the tasks I don’t want to begin: whatever I’m sidestepping is usually a red flag. If I just do it, it’s seldom as bad as I thought it would be. The benefits reach beyond the obvious. For instance, when I began to tackle my hardest work projects first thing each morning, I developed better self-discipline overall and my life worked better.

5. Perseverance is key Life – and self-publishing – is often frustrating and disappointing. That’s not going to change. When I was younger I was a quitter, but eventually I found that walking away for good is just as unsatisfying as dealing with problems. So now I simply choose to persevere. I give myself permission to close the computer, take a drive, and avoid a given situation – until I feel strong again, or regenerated or renewed or once again equal to the task. Then I take a deep breath and start over. It’s okay to take a short vacation, but never, ever give up on your dreams.

1. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? 
A bed, a shower, and the ability to jot things down. To expand on that: a completely decadent bed with 800 thread count sheets, piles of feather pillows, quilts and a down comforter, a fully functioning solar shower with gallons and gallons of hot water, and a stack of pens or pencils and blank, lined journals.

2. Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 
Everyone should read Mark of the Loon to experience my characters’ unique, smart, hilarious personalities, incredible friendship, and what it’s like when women can be fabulous buddies who work as a team.

3. Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
I’m working on the second book in what will be the “Genevieve Delacourt” series. I fell in love with my Mark of the Loon characters and wasn’t willing to let them go. So I’m now one-third of the way through Rapunzel, which features Genevieve Delacourt and another cast of characters. Truth be told, the sky is the limit for the trouble this group has the potential to get into. I hope to have my second novel out by mid-year 2013, with many more to come.

4. What inspired you to want to become a writer? 
I love stories in both books and movies, and I’ve always been a reader. I wrote a really bad novel in the late 1990s, and I’ve written an enormous amount of nonfiction as part of the responsibilities of my day job. I began to develop the plot of Mark of the Loon several years ago as a positive place for my mind to go during a tough time in my life. I discovered what great fun it is to incorporate memories, feelings, and situations into fiction, because you don’t have to stick to the truth or describe events in real time. I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t stop and completed the first draft of the book within about a year.

5. Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
It’s a huge accomplishment just to have persevered long enough to write, edit, proof, format, and publish a good story. My reward comes mainly from what I’ve created. Mark of the Loon contains an element of suspense, but is – in many ways – about love. I’ve chronicled the life of a woman whose best friends dish out hard advice, but also sustain her and lift her up without coddling. My book became a narrative about pals who care for one another unconditionally, in spite of their shortcomings. The bond they have is unique, and they don’t take their good fortune for granted. I will do the same!

6. If you could jump into a book and live in that world, which would it be? 
I’d love to jump into Mark of the Loon, and rightly so, because that’s why I wrote it. I was envisioning my ideal house and property in a place I’d love to live, so I used Healdsburg, in Northern California, as the setting. I’d live it Madison’s house in that bit of countryside, in a minute!

7. What is your dream cast for your book? 
I’d cast Anne Hathaway as Madison, Kate Winslet as Genevieve, and a young Colin Firth as Cole.

8. What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

9. What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
It’s hard work to choose the path of a self-published author. In a perfect world, I think most indies would opt to be traditionally published with generous advances and corporate marketing teams at our beck and call. But it doesn’t work that way very often. More likely, (especially new) writers receive small or nonexistent advances from big publishing houses, it takes two years to get the book to print, authors get no marketing support, and the end result is a good novel that goes nowhere. Cons of indie publishing? Tons of hard work and a steep learning curve. Pros? Huge satisfaction and financial rewards for those who are successful. I consider self-publishing, both fiction and non-fiction, as a new frontier for the creative entrepreneur who understands the power of quality work. My advice? Persevere.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 
If I could live anywhere, I wouldn’t choose just one place, but I think one of my homes would have to be in the Pacific Northwest. I miss the moist air and deep green of lush countryside. All that rain would be the perfect vehicle to force me to stay inside and write all winter!

11. What is your favorite quote? 
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

12. Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 
I’m an over-thinker who speaks her mind and Madison stuffs her emotions, so we’re very different as far as how we cope. But parts of every one of my characters exist within me or my close friends. (Except for Velasco, I wouldn’t actually own up to being like him.) Humans are so complex. Like actors, there’s not an emotion we haven’t felt (or that we haven’t watched someone experience) that we can’t conjure up and write about. Not one. I didn’t have to work to create characters, I just plumbed the depths of my own personality. And people I know :-O

13. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? 
To stop blaming others for what wasn’t working in my life and take responsibility for my choices, decisions, and behavior. As a result, I learned that I am the common denominator in all things, both good and bad. That’s actually great news, because if I don’t like the way things are going, I can change it. If I blame someone else, I give away my power and I relinquish my ability to improve future outcomes. Make sense?

14. Hidden talent? 
My dad taught me to whistle as well as any man. It’s so much fun to shock people by belting out a whistle as loud as a construction worker. Yay!

15. If you were a bird, which one would you be? 
A Grosbeak. A few years ago I was walking through my rural neighborhood early on a hot July morning. I saw my dog sniffing something in the middle of the road. When I caught up, I found him hovering over a newly-fledged baby bird, exhausted and weary, hunkered on the asphalt. A neighbor told me she was a Grosbeak and taught me how to feed her, and she stayed with us through the summer, winging her way beside the dog and I and calling to us –“chit, chit chit”– sometimes hitching a ride on the dog’s back. Just thinking about raising that baby reminds me of the way unconditional love alters us forever for the better.

16. You have won one million dollars – what is the first thing that you would buy?
A cell phone. I don’t actually have one, can you believe it? The truth is, complete and utter financial independence would be lovely. Then I could write full time and buy really expensive furniture. And travel!

17. Which authors have influenced you the most, and how? 
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird was fabulous and I recommend it for any aspiring author. She talks about how writers should listen to conversations around us and fold what we hear into our own characters. As Anne says, it doesn’t get better than real life. As for pure fiction? Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is the funniest stuff I have ever read. I’d give a lot to be able to write like Janet. She’s my heroine.

18. What do you do in your free time? 
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time for anything but writing in my spare time for a while. I’m my best person when I don’t have a lot on my plate, and I’m looking forward to the day when my life returns to that state. It will allow me to enjoy the things I love to do – gardening, decorating houses, browsing thrift shops, writing, my daily walk. Even moving furniture.

19. What’s your favorite season/weather? 
Fall is my favorite. I call it “thinking season.” I love the weather when nights are crisp but we still feel the sun on our faces during the day. Fall is the time to do a lot of mental planning about things like characters and plot, because winter is right around the corner and once the weather turns frigid, it’s the season authors get so much work done on our books.

20. What is your guilty pleasure? 
Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies from Trader Joe’s.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
Rating – PG

Connect with Molly Greene on Twitter & GoodReads

This Tour hosted by Orangeberry Tours :)

1 comment:

  1. Brittany, I am so thrilled to be a guest on your gorgeous blog today! Thank you for your generosity and support!