Interview: Marta Acosta

Marta Acosta is joining us today! We will be discussing Haunted Honeymoon, the last book in her Casa Dracula series.Information on the giveaway is posted below the interview.

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started into writing?

I'm like a lot of writers in that I wrote compulsively as soon as I learned how. I was always scribbling notes, stories, poems, and letters. I studied writing in college and also wrote reviews for the school newspaper, which was great because I got free tickets to shows and plays. In fact, I highly recommend writing for a newspaper, website, or newsletter if you're interested in a career as a writer.  You learn how to meet deadlines, copy-edit and proofread your
work, and you can also build a readership and network. You find out how people perceive your writing and you learn how to deal with criticism.

After college I had a variety of jobs, mostly with non-profits. I wrote a lot of press releases, brochures, and newsletters, in addition to regular boring business communications. While I was earning a paycheck, I was also writing to amuse myself on a humor website and I began freelancing for newspapers.

NRR: How were you inspired to write the Casa Dracula series?

I did it on a whim. I had a full-time job and was writing newspaper articles in the evenings and on weekends. Much of my freelance columns were humorous, and I thought of the idea -- a funny, bright, impulsive young woman gets caught up with snobby vampires -- and wrote Happy Hour at Casa Dracula.

It didn't even occur to me to write a series, and I'm so glad my editor asked me for more Casa Dracula books because I've been able to develop the characters and stories. It's been a delight to be able to take Milagro from being a silly girl  to a more substantial young woman who still enjoys silliness. I feel wonderful when readers tell me that Milagro feels like a good friend, or that they'd love to spend an evening out with her.

NRR: Can you share with us a day in the life of Marta Acosta?

My daily life is agonizingly dull.  I start off by walking my dogs by the bay. They run wildly around the fields while I ramble and think about my projects for the day. Then I write my Vampire Wire blog, which takes altogether too much time. I answer emails and handle the business side of being a writer before I finally get around to working on my fiction. I do the regular wife-mother stuff, too. I feel like I'm cutting school if I spend a weekday out with a friend.

NRR: In the Casa Dracula series Milagro had romantic struggles. Did you always know who she was going to end up with?

I knew who I wanted her to be with, yes, and I think these hints can be found in Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. I will say that my editor was rooting for one character and I was rooting for another. She asked me to revise scenes to make one guy more sympathetic and more of a potential choice for Milagro.  I did as she asked, but I think readers can sense that one fellow is my favorite all along. I gave him all the best dialogue.

NRR: Haunted Honeymoon is the last in the Casa Dracula series. Will we see any of these characters in other work that you will do?

Nancy Carrington-Chambers, Milagro's fancy, trust-fund friend, has her own novel, Nancy's Theory of Style, which was written under my pen-name Grace Coopersmith and published in May 2010. There are no vampires, but it's a fun, sexy romantic comedy. Milagro appears in a few very funny scenes and Gigi Barton, the partying heiress, is also in the story. I'm offering the complete draft of this novel as a free read or download at Scribd, http://www.scribd.com/doc/37115908/Nancy-s-Theory-Draft. Readers can also enjoy a free draft of my second Casa Dracula book there, Monster Motel, which was rewritten almost entirely and published as Midnight Brunch.

My next book is a young adult gothic, The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, which will be published by Tor Books in 2012. One of my favorite Casa Dracula characters appears in a few pivotal scenes. I may bring back Milagro and her fabulous husband some time later. I imagine them having fantastic adventures together, but right now I think I'll take a break from humor so I can come back to it fresh.

NRR: Your writing style has the perfect blend of romance,humor and mystery. How long did it take you to put one of these novels together?

Good question! My answer is: I don't know. I'm usually working on other projects while writing a book and there's a back-and-forth process with my editors. I may hand in a manuscript and not get notes back for months. Let's just say four months for the initial draft and a year for the final draft. I always love the chance to do revisions because I think of ways to improve the story each time I go back. During those morning walks with my dogs, I'm always trying to think of ways to make the funny parts funnier, the romantic parts more touching, and the action more exciting.

I like writing in first-person narrative for the Casa Dracula novels because it allows some fun at the expense of the slightly deluded narrator.  Of course, we are all slightly self-deluded, which is why we make mistakes. First-person narrative also works in terms of the mystery. The narrator only sees certain things, only knows so much, but the writer has to convey more information to the reader. It's as if the narrator is looking out a narrow window and describing the scene. The writer has to give just enough clues for the reader to guess that the perspective from the narrow window doesn't accurately reflect the larger landscape.

NRR: What is next in the works for you?

My editor at Tor will be sending her notes for a revision of The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, so I'll start working on that. I have a short story in The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance, which will be released in February 2011. It was a challenge for me to write a short story and a romance! I wasn't quite sure what romance readers want in their stories, so I did a little research on romance sites, and my tendency is to write longer pieces, so I had to edit myself. I'm currently working on an adult gothic that takes place in both 1850 and 1990. It has a ghostly element and it's great to dive into a very different world.  Readers can keep up with what I'm doing by visiting my website, www.martaacosta.com, but I tend to be much better at updating info at Vampire Wire, www.vampirewire.blogspot.com.

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