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
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
You can find my book at Createspace.com
My website is:
My link with Facebook is:
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!
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.