Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dating Da Vinci (and a Visit with Malena Lott)

I'm pleased to welcome Malena Lott to Brant Flakes today! Her book DATING DA VINCI (Sourcebooks Casablanca) is her latest women's fiction release, which Publishers Weekly said was "Written smartly...satisfying and uplifting." (Nice!) Aside from writing novels, Malena is a brand and marketing consultant who lives with her family in Oklahoma. She also facilitates personal and professional development workshops for women.

Welcome, Malena! Can you tell us about your book? Dating Da Vinci is a Texas-based Under the Tuscan Sun meets How Stella Got Her Groove Back. A young widow, 36-year-old Ramona Griffen, searches for joy with the help of a handsome younger Italian immigrant named Leonardo da Vinci. Her humorous and heartwarming journey takes her on some unexpected adventures of body, mind and spirit as she learns to let go of her grief to make room for a wholly new life.

What pulled you into this story, and as a writer made you think "I have to write this"? What do you consider the heart of your story? Women, especially mothers, tend to put themselves last on the list. I wanted to share the story of someone who has lost the love of her life and has focused on just “getting by” each day, but is ready to find a way to be joyful again, even through the pain. The heart of the story really is, is there love after death, and the courage it takes to not only survive but to build a great life again.

Any tried and true tricks for beating procrastination? I have to say, I'm pretty lucky. Hugh (Jackman) typically promises a shirtless steak dinner (him, not me) if I meet my word count goal. If that's not enough motivation, Brad's aromatherapy massages usually get me in the mood, though sad to say, it's not for writing. Heck, usually my imagination can trick me into getting back on the laptop to write away into the sunrise. Like, "finish this and you'll be as famous as Sophie Kinsella and you'll never have to buy groceries again and you can spend all your time lounging on the beaches drinking frozen Flirtinis!" I'm so easy.

What is your author fantasy? Writers already have active imaginations, so this one is a no brainer. Vision board, here I come! Hit the top 10 of the New York Times bestseller list, have a long line waiting for me when I arrive for book signings, have my books optioned for films that actually get made and made well, and a few national TV appearances to boot. TODAY show, The View, Oprah, you know. Just the small stuff, you know? Not that I’ve given any of this much thought. Not a bit.

Do you pay attention to book reviews? If so, has there been any particular review that made your heart do a little dance? I use Google Alerts so I’m kind of like Santa. I know when people have said naughty or nice things about my book! Fortunately, reviewers have enjoyed Dating da Vinci, so that’s a thrill when you click that link and get to read what people are saying about your “baby.” I’ve selected some of my favorite quotes on www.malenalott.com.

Oooh, not only does she have favorite quotes, she also has contests, book excerpts AND cooking recipes/videos on her website! She has one for "Monster Cookies"--Yum!! Thanks to Malena and you all for stopping by :-).


Robin said...

Marilyn, you are going to bankrupt me with all these fabulous authors and book recommendations! I love Malena's tricks for beating procrastination! Thanks for the intro. I'm going to go check out her website. Monster cookies and books? I can't resist that combination.

Pam said...

Cookies! Marilyn--are you trying to kill me with food?!? And great authors and fabulous books?

Have you no consideration, woman? Sheesh!


L.A. Mitchell said...

Malena, you sound like you have such a wonderful sense of humor. I'm sure it comes through your characters. Your book really does sound uplifting. Best of luck with it :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin, Pam and L.A.~Thanks, ladies! We've had a hailstorm of terrific authors touring this summer and fall because so many of them had big releases, but I took a look at the GCC schedule and it really slows down through the winter and spring...which is good because I have so many books to catch up on myself!! As for the cookie recipes...well, they're available year round :).