Friday, May 08, 2020

Welcome Maria Imbalzano to our garden interviews

Hello Maria

tell us about you and your books

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I plot my stories to the nth degree. I start with developing the two main characters and going through their internal and external goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then I determine the inciting incident and two or three major setbacks which will happen along the way, which includes the black moment. Then I plan each chapter by scene, determining whose point of view it will be in, and what will happen specifically by writing down a series of questions with three word answers that will help jumpstart each scene when I’m ready to write.  I use a spiral notebook for each new story. Yes, I’m an over the top plotter.

How did you do in English as a kid?

I liked reading but hated writing compositions. I had no creativity back then. I’d get stuck on the first sentence. I didn’t like writing until I was in law school, but legal writing is a very different type of writing – analytical and linear. I was good at that.

When did you decide to become an author?

About twenty years ago, I was reading a well-known author and got frustrated when she told the reader the same thing on page 103 as on page 100. I said, “I bet I could do this.” My husband said, “So try it.” And I did. I had no idea where to start, but I had an idea in head. Across my desk at work came a flyer for a legal education class entitled “How to Write a Book in Fourteen Days- A Lawyer’s Guide.”  I laughed, but signed up. Thinking there would be no one there, I was surprised to see over a hundred would-be John Grisham’s in the room. That seminar was instrumental in putting me on track to plot my books and I use that method now with every book I write.

What tips would you give a new writer?

Read “how to” books on everything imaginable: characterization, plotting, point of view, description, pacing – the list goes on. Also go to writing seminars and conferences which are so inspirational. Talk to other writers and ask questions about anything and everything dealing with writing. Once you’ve written something, join a critique group and exchange chapters. My critique group is instrumental in pointing out flaws in my characters or the plot or any other problem.

What are your current projects?

I am in the middle of my Sworn Sisters Series. I wrote two books in the series (“Sworn to Forget” and “Sworn to Remember”) and there are two more in the works.  I needed a break from these books, so when The Wild Rose Press sent out a call for novellas for their new summer series “One Scoop or Two,” I decided to try my hand at a shorter story. It was so much fun to write partly because I based it on my mom’s life when she was in her teens and early twenties. Her family had owned an ice cream and confectionery shop in Roebling so I used that as my setting. I asked my mother dozens of questions about her memories working at the counter. My mom was also an Arthur Murray’s dance teacher in her early twenties, so I used her experiences when shaping my heroine. The result is “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” which will be released soon. Since I loved writing this novella so much, I’m now writing one for The Deerbourne Inn series.

and for a little fun...

Do you enjoy giving interviews?

I love it. It’s easy to answer questions about something you’re passionate about.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?

I like to think I am. My family does not agree. I like to explore the places where we go on vacation. My husband and daughters would rather lounge at the pool and relax. I like that too, but not all the time. One year we were in Key West and we passed The Audubon Society Museum. I suggested we go. No one wanted to, but my older daughter had a school project due and decided that would be a good thing to write on. So she came with me (although she found it extremely boring). One year when I was on vacation with my husband alone because both girls were in college, I suggested a few things that we could do. He texted both girls and said “Mom’s making me do things. Help.” 

Have you ever found true love?

Yes. With my husband. We’ve been married for 32 years. We met at the law firm where we both work so we have a lot of common. He’s my best friend and a fabulous husband, father, and now grandfather.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Pizza. And chocolate. (Not together)

What is your favorite time of year and why?

I love, love, love summer. Warm weather and sun makes me happy. I especially like to walk on the beach and get lost in the sight of the ocean.

Where can we find out more?

Download Sworn to Remember on Amazon and other online retailers


D. V. STONE said...

Great to get to know more about you. We took my son to the Walton Museum in Virginia I thought he would die of boredom. D. V. 🦉

Barbara Bettis said...

Enjoyed getting to know you better! I'll bet a session on the way to write a novel from a lawyer's perspective would have been vastly interesting. Glad you joined it and soared from there!!

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Maria: Nice to learn more about you and your writing process.
How fun you had the family background for your one scoop or two story. Great title.

Anna Taylor Sweringen said...

Great interview Maria. My husband was a professional ballroom dancer and used to teach at Fred Astaire to pay for his college tuition. I'm eagerly looking forward to June 1 to read your story.

Maria Imbalzano said...

Thanks for your comment Gini. I loved interviewing my mom for this book.

Maria Imbalzano said...

Thanks Barbara. Writing fiction is so much so much more fun than trying a divorce case.

Maria Imbalzano said...

Thanks D. V. My adult kids still don’t love to go to museums. It must have been all those museums in Italy that scarred them for life.

Maria Imbalzano said...

Thanks Anna. So you must be a great dancer as well!!!

Anna Taylor Sweringen said...

LOL! Nope I've got two left feet and a husband who doesn't mind saying ouch a l : )ot.