"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview with Monica LaPorta and Review of The Priest

It is my pleasure to welcome author, Monica LaPorta to my blog today. She has kindly agreed to stop by and chat with me. Lets get started.

1-   Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Monica La Porta and I am an Italian who landed in Washington State several years ago and never left. I love the rainy weather that seems to aggravate other people. The daily drizzle makes everything luscious and green around here, and the occasional mist adds a moody element. It is the perfect setting for writing. Imagine the horror of trying to focus on crafting your story while outside the sun shines and the waves of the Mediterranean Sea crash against the shore. I shudder at the mere thought.

2-    What was the inspiration for The Ginecean Chronicles?
I’ve always been fascinated by “what if” stories; they allow the reader to look at an established situation with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes, an idea becomes more powerful when analyzed from the safety of a mirror. Reality is presented back to you by the reflective glass, revealing new details. I often wonder about the society we live in and the way it treats anybody who doesn’t conform to its ephemeral rules. It saddens me to think that a simple quirk of nature and fate can dictate millions of people’s existences. How many human beings suffer because their affections are considered a sin? How many women still live in conditions close to slavery? But, it hasn’t been always this way, and it could be different in the future. The idea of an alternate reality slowly took hold in my mind and I asked myself, “What would happen in a world where women rule over men and heterosexual love is considered taboo? How would this society evolve?” The Ginecean Chronicles are my answer to those questions.

3-   How long have you been writing and have you published anything else?
I have always enjoyed writing, but only three years ago I decided to give it a serious try. It was one of those moments when you realize it is about time you start doing what you like and stop thinking of doing it. Although The Priest is my first published novel, it is the seventh I have written. Three of my previous works will probably never see the light of day. I still have some hope for two of them, but they need work. The sixth is Pax in the Land of Women, the second novel in the Ginecean Chronicles, which has just come out.

4- What has been the most difficult task you have faced while getting your books published?
I would say that finding a great editor was the biggest obstacle. I knew from the beginning that the topic I wanted to write about was controversial and the chances a publishing house would take a look at The Ginecean Chronicles were slim. After I wrote The Priest, polished it, sent it to my beta readers and polished it some more, I hired three professional editors and a cover artist. The Priest was edited several times, until I was completely satisfied with the results, then sent to the proofreader for the final touches. There is some stigma about self-published authors, but I work on my craft as if my life depended on it. Hopefully, my words will stay after I’m gone. I want them to be my legacy.

5-    Can you tell us a little bit about your WIP?
 Currently, I’m editing the third novel in the Ginecean Chronicles, Prince of War, which should be released next fall. Meanwhile, I’m working on two different projects. The first is a fantasy novel inspired by the Northwest weather and the jokes about the North westerners in general. We are known to be pale and afraid of the sun. I exaggerated those aspects to create a world where people can only live in darkness. The second project is an addendum to the Ginecean Chronicles and it can be read back to back with The Priest, although it isn’t part of the main plot. Once I finished writing the trilogy, I discovered I wanted to spend some more time in The City of Men, and I had two characters begging to come to life.

 6 -  What types of books do you like to read and do you have a favorite author?
 Reading is one of my favorite activities and I am a huge fan of any genre that transports me to other planes of reality. Science fiction is my first choice, but I also like fantasy and urban fantasy. Lately, I’ve discovered regency romance and paranormal. My favorite authors are: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Edgar A. Poe, H. P. Lovercraft, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende, Camilleri, Guareschi… The list could go on forever, but all my favorite authors have one trait in common, their stories are character oriented.

 7-   You have a rather unique and interesting hobby. Can you tell us about it?
 I love building miniatures. The smaller the better. I discovered the wonderful world of dollhouses when I moved to the United States, and I combined my love of painting and sculpting to create micro universes. Working on a small scale vignette is rewarding; it gives you the opportunity to freeze time on a precise moment and enjoy it forever. Several years ago, I was introduced to the quarter inch scale, which is—as the name suggests—four times smaller than the more popular one inch scale. A regular dollhouse tea cup can be used as a lampshade in a quarter inch scale vignette. The smaller scale is accordingly easier to display when your house is already crowded with paintings and cold porcelain sculptures. As I mentioned, in addition to miniatures, I also paint with acrylic colors on every surface that doesn’t move and I model with a homemade clay made out of cornstarch and white glue, called cold porcelain because it resembles that fine material once dry. I created two miniature tree houses for my imaginary gnome friends using cold porcelain. 
 8 -   Where can the readers find you?

   Readers can find my books on Amazon. If you are interested in reading an excerpt from The Priest, click on the cover  http://bit.ly/monica_thepriest

    This is my blog, where sometimes I also talk about my writing, but I normally put pictures of my crafts  http://monicalaporta.com/

    This is The Ginecean Chronicles Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#%21/ginecea

    Link to Pax in the Land of Women   http://bit.ly/monica_pax

Review of The Priest

The Priest
The Ginecean Chronicles #1
Monica LaPorta
Feb 2012
Kindle Edition

   Mauricio was born on Ginecea and like all men is just a number to be ruled over and used by the pure bred women. He has never seen the light of day. One day he hears Rosie singing and his life is changed forever. An unlikely friendship develops that blossoms into an affection that is deemed perverted and sinful. You see, on Ginecea, only women are worthy and unions are between women. As times goes by, Mauricio, discovers an important piece of evidence that threatens to destroy their very way of life.
   This book is the first in the Ginecean Chronicles series that can be easily read in one sitting.   This is an exceptional book that takes the reader into an alternate universe. Women rule the world and men are only good as slaves. The author does a fantastic job of describing what is happening and the emotions and feelings of the characters that the reader feels as if they are there. Rosie, the President's daughter, goes to Ginecea to become pregnant. This goes against everything her mother's want for her. She is expected to marry another woman that they have selected for her; but she has no desire to. Mauricio only wants to be able to get out in the sunlight and feel the warmth on his skin. Once he hears Rosie singing, he is unable to get her out of his mind. He finally makes contact with her and only wants to be friends with her. Since he is a slave and a man, this is strictly forbidden. His fate is sealed once he is no longer needed for his sperm donations. Rosie has other plans and is determined to make things turn out differently. Can life and love turn out for this unlikely pair or is their destiny already sealed? This is a fantastic story and I highly recommend it. I will be looking forward to the second book in the series.
   I was provided a copy for reading and reviewing purposes by the author. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any way except to receive the book to review.

I give The Priest 4.5 out of 5 stars

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