Zoey Le Mar

Interviews

This is an old blog post with Jean Price.

Ask The Author!
 
Today we have Michael Lopez in the hot seat! He’s here to tell us about his book Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear.

Welcome to Ask the Author! I’m excited to have you here. Let’s get started!

What five words best describe you?...

Hopeful, Imaginative, Dogged, Fun-loving, Loyal

If we looked at your writing area at your house, what would we find?

You would find a clean organized desk with a shoe box, a folder, and a mini-computer. The shoe box holds index cards of the characters, places, monsters, and magical effects. The folder holds character profiles, pictures of inspiration, maps, research, and scribbles of random thoughts, and book/chapter blurbs/outlines. The compact mini-computer holds the template of a paperback book that I write in.

How do you write? Do you write every day?

I don’t write every day. I’m one of those types. I write when I’m inspired. I like to do research or gather inspiration and ponder on the possibilities in my head. I let my imagination play scenarios with the characters. I would say I think and plot every day. I take notes. With those, I turn into writing.

Are there any tricks you use to get you in the mood of writing?

It depends on my mood. I have two methods to my writing madness. The first is I stay at home, lock myself into my office, turn off my phone, play soft music, and write. The second is I go to a bookstore or coffee house where I filter out all the noise and people and focus on my writing.

What genre(s) do you write?

For the moment, I am writing children’s fantasy. I have dabbled into poetry and adult crime.

Why did you choose that particular genre?

I chose children’s because I think there’s a niche that’s not being addressed. That niche is girls as sassy, smart, strong heroes.

Share your pitch/book jacket from Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear.

Zoey Le Mar has, what she thinks, is a typical preteen life in the suburbs: soccer, dancing, a strict yet loving father and mother, a pesky little brother, Owen, and two best friends, Danielle Hernandez and Lucy Le Mar. Without warning, during the preparations for Owen’s birthday party, Zoey receives her first premonition, based on a secret truth. It starts to undermine her once peaceful eleven-year-old existence. The forewarning matches a recurring dream that has plagued Zoey since Owen’s current age of seven. The premonition and dream involve mystery, monsters, and magic. At first, Zoey ignores the forewarning, not realizing what’s going on, the importance of it. The premonition pertains to a family secret, a forgotten responsibility, many generations removed. Unfortunately for Zoey, the family secret doesn’t want to stay secret and starts to spill into and disrupt her life – the monsters are real and coming for her. What will Zoey do?

What’s something about your book that makes it stand out from others in the same
genre?

What makes my book stand out from the rest is I have smart strong multicultural girls as forefront heroes of an action fantasy book.

What’s a favorite line from your book that you’re proud of?

“You are the answer. All you have to do is believe.” I like the psychological aspect to this line.

Tell us the thing you like most about your hero/heroine.

Zoey Le Mar is smart, sassy, strong, yet she doesn’t play by the rules. She makes mistakes and learns the hard way. There’s a vulnerability to her projected bravado.

What do you want your reading audience to take away from your book?

I want the reader to take away that girls have value. A hero is a hero no matter the gender or ethnicity. Girls have intelligence and strength. Girls matter. Girls count.

Did you have to do a lot of research for this book? If so, how did you go about it?

Yes, I did a lot of research for this book. I had to learn what my writing style was. I had to know the difference in showing and not telling. I had to brush up on my grammar. I had to do research on Celtic, Native American, Chinese, and Eastern Indian cultures. I observed preteen girls, when I was teaching, at school, on the playground, and at the mall.

Did anything surprise you about the publishing process?

I was very surprised how hard it is to even get your toe into any of the publishing world’s doors. I was surprised that a lot of the publishing world doesn’t take unsolicited or unagented manuscripts. I was surprised how cold and callus the rejection notes or emails, if you get any, were. How does this help an aspiring writer?

Would you give us a sneak peek into your next project?

I am currently editing book two Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi. It will be out soon. This time the adventure revolves around Danielle’s Native American background.

What’s the best advice you could give to aspiring writers?

I would say 1) grow a thick skin, 2) learn about writing styles, 3) get a good writing circle to give you good honest feedback, and 4) remember it’s not personal, it’s business.

And lastly, where can we learn more about yourself and your book(s)?

You can find my book at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=zoey+le+mar+and+the+veil+of+fear&sprefix=zoey+le+ma%2Cstripbooks%2C302

You can find my book at Createspace.com

https://www.createspace.com/3664367

My website is:

http://zoeylemar.webs.com/

My link with Facebook is:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-Book/227390273996902

Thank you for Michael Lopez for joining me today. I’m so glad you visited and shared with me a little about yourself and your book. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

Jean Price
02/01/13

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This is an old blog post with Kevin Middleton.

Tell us your latest news?

On the February 9th, 2012, Outword Magazine (a Sacramento alternative newspaper) published an article about me and my book. I was thrilled and honored. I hope it’s the start of the door being opened.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing at the age of 7. I loved changing the words with crayons in my Dr. Seuss books, (Mom, not so much so). That led into cartooning, me drawing the pictures and creating the story. I displayed them at the local library where I thought I died and gone to heaven. There were so many books. Every summer, from 1st grade until 6th grade, I lived at the library reading and writing. I took a break for many years, and it wasn’t until college that I took writing back up. I wrote picture books, short stories, and poetry. That lasted 6 years then I took another break. It wasn’t until I started teaching, with summers free, that I seriously got into writing.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?


My first brush with fame came when one of my poems was published in an anthology. Then I won the publisher’s Honorable Mentioned Award. That was a rush, and I liked it. The next year, I repeated the experience with a second published piece in another anthology with another award. I was hooked. After that, I called myself a writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?


I had a children’s literature course in college (in ‘88), and on the first day of this assignment the class was asked to list male/boy heroes in a series of books. We filled up the blackboard. The next day the class was asked to list female/girl heroes in a series of books. The class came up with only four. I thought how sad, but I didn’t nothing about it. I forgot about that experience until my 3rd grade female students in ‘06 asked me, “Where are the girl heroes? Where are the girls of color? Where are the smart girls?” That shocked me. Then I recalled my college experience. I thought that’s not right. After school, I went to the book store and did some research. Not much had changed in 18 years. They were the ones that prompted me to write.

How did you come up with the title?

I like abstract concepts to intrigue the reader to read on, but my writing circle didn’t like my first title. I asked them to throw out ideas. They did. I took a sampling for most of them and came out with Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear.

What books have most influenced your life?

I would have to say Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara. I was 16 when I read its daunting 736 pages. I immediately identified with the main character, Shea, and his exploration of life far from the comfort of his sheltered home. He was forced to leave and perform a David vs his Goliath. At first, he was with a group to guide and protect him. Then he was separated from them and he had to rely on himself and what he was capable of. I was envious of that. Years later after I reread it in college, another character from the book, Allanon, piqued and fueled my curiosity of why people behave the way they do; hence my BA in psychology. It’s funny—you are what you read. LOL.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?


I have several favorite authors as an adult, but if I had to chose, it would be Dean Koontz. After I read Phantoms, I said to myself, I wish I could do that. I like how Dean takes the paranormal and weaves a normalcy into it. There’s always a character you hate and an underdog you root for. I also like how pulls something from the past, the music of Benny Goodman for example, and makes it trendy and interesting again. He’s got his craft down, and it’s enjoyable to read.

What book are you reading now?


I just finished The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan and V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. Now I’m reading Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman and Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. I like to read Young Adult to keep up with the trends of today and Adult Fiction to keep my sanity.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on the 2nd book, Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi, of my five-book series. I’m halfway through it, (damn revisions). :-)

Do you see writing as a career?

I want to say yes, but only time will time. For now, I’ll take it as a hobby, and hope my passion blossoms into something more.

Who designed the covers?


My other half did most of the heavy lifting and designed the picture. (I did the rest).

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part for me is taking my hard work and giving to my writing circle and focus group. I have flashbacks of grade school on test day. The teacher has her red pen out and goes at it on my paper. Then she hands it back to me with a scary smile. “Better luck next time. Muwhahaha!” I’m still in therapy. LOL!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes, a big THANK YOU to my honey bunny, family, friends, writing circle, focus group, test subjects, and fans for going on the ride and reading my book. I know it was a leap of faith, and it’s good to know I had company along the way. It helped immensely. Thank you so much. See you all next book.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011, by Chrissy Peebles blog on The Purple Brick Road

Fun Interview with author Michael Lopez

I'm so pleased to welcome Michael Lopez. He is the wonderful author of Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear. Tune in and enjoy as we meet the fun side of Michael!

About the Author

Michael Lopez was born in Hawaii. He grew up an Air Force brat and traveled half the globe. Michael interacted with different people and cultures for the first twelve years of his life. He found this awe-inspiring and fascinating. It was from these experiences that his love of learning and for exploration grew. Michael has earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a teaching credential, and a master’s degree in education. Currently, Michael lives in Northern California.

Hello Michael. Welcome to the Purple Brick Road. It's a pleasure to have you today. Please tell me about your book.

Zoey Le Mar has, what she thinks, is a typical preteen life in the suburbs: soccer, a strict yet loving father and mother, a pesky little brother, Owen, and two best friends, Danielle Hernandez and Lucy Le Mar. Without warning, during the preparations for Owen’s birthday party, Zoey receives her first premonition, based on a secret truth. It starts to undermine her once peaceful, eleven-year-old existence. The forewarning matches a recurring dream that has plagued Zoey since Owen’s current age. The premonition and dream involve mystery, monsters, and magic. At first, Zoey ignores off the forewarning, not really realizing what’s going on or the importance of it. The premonition involves a family secret, a forgotten responsibility, many generations removed.

As Owen’s birthday party begins, more premonitions intrude and stagger Zoey. Even her cousin Lucy gets pulled into one somehow. Then a strange present, another two-feet-tall gargoyle statue, adds to the continuing mystery of her family and this evolving day. Still wary, Zoey dismisses the warnings and all the coincidences guiding her. Humor becomes her favorite avenue to deflect the strangeness. Though ignored, the premonitions expand and continue to haunt Zoey.

The party ends and Lucy goes home. With that avenue of communication closed, Zoey finds solace by going to Danielle’s house. On her way there, Tricky O’Leary, a fellow classmate and local bad boy, stops her. He discovers something’s wrong and tries to help. Zoey brushes off his offer and ditches him. Once the coast is clear, she continues onto Danielle’s house and gets chased by what she thinks are monsters. But she’s not sure. She makes it to Danielle’s house and ducks inside. However, a classmate and fellow teammate, Rhea Khan, taking out the trash, sees what chases Zoey, and it becomes her problem. In the meanwhile, Danielle helps Zoey investigate the strange happenings of the day, the gargoyle present, and her family story. But an odd accident occurs when Zoey and Danielle get too close to the bizarre truth.

Now, inadvertently, all four girls, Zoey, Lucy, Rhea, and Danielle, are involved with the Le Mar family secret, possessing pieces of the puzzle. As night falls, the ignored premonitions start to come true. From a pocket dimension, the high priest of the monsters, the golems, orders some of his clan to cross over and hunt for the disturbers of the truth. Zoey’s ripple effect has many results: an accidental kidnapping of Rhea then Lucy, Owen getting taken, Zoey crossing over with an animated gargoyle protector, Danielle being dragged into this mess, and Tricky finding a way there too.

Can Zoey find a way to believe in herself and take control of this situation? Can Zoey find a way to fulfill her destiny and end this forgotten responsibility? Can Zoey find a way to do what’s right and save herself, her friends, and her brother?

That sounds like a fantastic read. What's your next project?

I’m working on the second book in the series, Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi.

If you were attending a Halloween party, what would your costume be and why?

Fred Flintstone. He’s a big loveable lug. He tries hard, and his heart is in the right place.

I agree! He's a big sweetheart. What’s your favorite line from any movie?

Galadriel (from Lord of the Rings): Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

List five adjectives to describe yourself.

Tenacious, loyal, curious, giving, and witty

Awesome qualities! If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?

You are the answer. All you have to do is believe.

Nice slogan! Does Prince Charming exist?

No, but Prince Close Enough does. LOL!

Ha ha! You're so funny, Michael! If you were the Miss World, what would your message for aspiring models be?

Why, to wish for world peace, of course.

Love it! What are your favorite foods?

Pizza, lasagna, and enchiladas.

Those are some of my favorite foods too! Yum! What's your favorite drink?

Mountain Dew.

Do you have any pets?

Two dogs, Eva (min pin, 17 y.o.) and Gracie (border collie, 5 y.o.), and one cat, Beebop (1 y.o.)

Sitting alone in a big field, looking at stars, what do you think/feel?

1) I want to be onboard the USS Enterprise exploring space. 2) I feel small in the grand scheme of things. 3) Other life has to be out there.

Love those statements! Pen or pencil?

Pencil. You can have a do-over and erase the mistakes.

What is your favorite commercial?

An E-trade one, the baby girlfriend. (And the milk-aholic Lindsay wasn’t over. Lindsay? Milk-a-what?) And the Betty White Snickers commercial. So funny.

Those are hiliarious! If you could meet anyone from history, who would you meet and why?

Benjamin Franklin, because he lived his life as an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched?

Who said that? Where are you? Mom said I’m not allowed to talk to strangers. LOL!

LOL. What cartoon character best represents your personal philosophy?

Bugs Bunny, because, according to Elmer, he’s that rascally rabbit, and I’m very rascally.

If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose?

My 18th year. I would break away from my family and comfort zone and go away to college this time.

If you could be a character in any novel you've ever read, who would you be and why?

Peter Pan, because, I could fly, be young forever, and have a friend who can do magic.
I'd love to fly and be young forever. What's your favorite bumper sticker?

Frodo failed. Bush has the ring.

What is the wallpaper on your computer?

Pictures of my friends and me.

What a fun interview! Thanks, Michael, for visiting fun Interviews on The Purple Brick Road. It was a pleasure to have you. And a big thank you to everyone who tuned in. Chrissy.

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