***Contest starts today. Details following the interview.***
Megan DiMaria is an author and speaker who loves to encourage women to embrace faith authentically as they journey through life’s demands and delights. Her upbeat personality and deep appreciation for the humor in ordinary moments creates a bond with women as they laugh and learn that life is a grand adventure, one not for the weak of heart.
Her debut novel, Searching for Spice, is about a long-married woman who wants to have an affair—with her husband. Her second novel, Out of Her Hands, is about taking life as it comes at you with all the surprises and challenges you face with young adult children.
You can find her online at www.megandimaria.com and www.megandimaria.blogspot.com.
I love the cover of your first novel Searching for Spice. Where did the story idea come from?
Searching for Spice was written as a response to a running joke I had with some girlfriends. You know, despite being long married, women still want romance in their lives. God hard wired us to crave closeness and a special connection with the men we love. Unfortunately, some times we need to remind them of that. 🙂
After enjoying a great freshman debut with your first novel, did you feel pressure to meet your reader’s expectations with your second novel, Out of Her Hands?
Yes, I certainly did. You can’t imagine what a relief it was to get another top rating, 4 ½ stars, from Romantic Times Magazine for Out of Her Hands.
In addition to your blog, which is chalked full of helpful information for writers, you also write for the “Denver Writing Examiner.” How do you manage writing novels, blogging, and writing for “Examiner.com?”
Honestly, it’s a challenge. I don’t always get to touch all bases each week, but I give myself permission to be human. Right now we’re in the home stretch of planning my daughter’s wedding. I always make time with family a priority.
As a writer, which authors initially sparked your desire to create stories?
I’ve been a lifelong reader. My all-time favorite author is Maeve Binchy. I love the worlds and the characters she creates. I’m not one of those readers who only read a certain genre, so I enjoy many books by many authors.
Many writers extol the benefits of having a mentor or acting as a mentor to other writers. In your career as a writer, have you worked with a writing mentor?
I’ve never worked with a single mentor, but being a member of American Christian Fiction Writers I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and be encouraged by many wonderful writers.
Shortly after the release of your first novel, Searching for Spice, I remember seeing pictures of your book launch party on your blog. Can you share a few tips on how to plan and execute a successful event?
One of the most important things to remember about a book launch is that first and foremost it’s a promotional event. A word about your book launch party: the reason for the event is not to celebrate with friends and family, as much fun as that is. The reason is to generate publicity for your book.
I planned my party for a Thursday evening because local media and industry professionals might be more inclined to attend if you’re not taking time away from their personal time.
I sent invitations everywhere I could think:
* local authors, agents, and editors
* radio and television stations
* I even sent an invitation to the mayor of Denver. We’re a very literate city, and although he didn’t make it, I was flattered that it was under consideration by his office.
I live in suburban Denver, and I could have found a nice venue in which to hold my party. Fortunately, a friend offered me the use of the top floors of the D&F Tower, an historic building on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver.
The reason for using a fabulous venue is to lure people to the party who might have declined the invitation had it been held in my local rec center. Mission accomplished! Three different editors of local magazines came to the party as well as bookstore employees who received the invitation.
Another consideration was the day and time of the party. I held it on a Thursday evening because professionals who are not acquainted with me (editors, bookstore employees, etc.) might be more likely to attend a function on an evening that doesn’t cut into their family time. That’s why the party started at 6:00 p.m. as well.
I would imagine that most writers can recall the moment they saw their first novel on a bookshelf in a bookstore. Can you tell us about when you first saw your book on a shelf? What went through your mind?
It was a wonderful, surreal moment. I’ve always wanted to be an author. As a teen I worked next door to the public library. On my breaks I would wander through the aisles of books and locate the spot on the shelf where my book would sit (alphabetically). So seeing my book on the shelf for the first time was breathtaking. I prayerfully thanked God for allowing me this great blessing.
Megan, we’ve come to the end of our chat, but I do have one final question for you before you dash off. Since your first novel, I’m sure you’ve received lots of great reviews and emails from your readers. Can you share one of your most touching reader comments?
Yes, the comment that touched me most was from a reader who confessed her marriage was less than perfect, but after reading Searching for Spice she had the thought, “What can I do for my husband today?” Wow. Knowing that my book encouraged her to enliven her marriage and love her husband was humbling.
Thank you very much, Sharon, for the opportunity to visit your blog. I enjoyed hanging out and chatting with you.
Contest time!!! Leave a comment for an entry into the drawing to win Out of Her Hands. The contest is available to U.S. residents only, and starts today and ends October 5, 2009. The winner will be announced on the October 6th.