Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blog Tour: Dazzled by Maxine Nunes #interview

Mystery / Contemporary Noir
Date Published: June 25, 2015

During a brutal L.A. heatwave, four people are murdered in the Hollywood Hills and Nikki Easton's best friend Darla Ward has disappeared. The police think she might be one of the victims.
In her relentless search for the truth, Nikki discovers the hidden side of her friend's life, laying bare secrets buried before Darla was born, and uncovering widening layers of corruption that reach far beyond Hollywood to the highest levels of government.

Purchase Link

Special introductory price for the paperback is $6.37 (will be $12.99). And the Kindle edition is just $3.99.



Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

The first line in DAZZLED asks, “What’s real? How do you know what’s real.”
And as the heroine, Nikki Easton, searches to find out what has happened to her missing friend Darla, the answer leads her into deepening layers of truth.

Her search also opens up a lot of other questions I think most of us grapple with. How can you ever know another person, how can you love after you’ve been hurt, what is the power of beauty, the promise of money? But there are no hard-and-fast answers, no messages here. You just get to experience, through the characters, the choices and actions those questions lead to.

But DAZZLED is, of course, primarily a mystery -- and there’s one question that is answered. Whodunit?  

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Everything! Writing fiction is challenging on as many levels as you want it to be —and you can set the bar where you want it. It’s why I love it, why it’s something that’s never stops being interesting.

But on a practical level, plot and structure are the toughest hurdles. It’s not exactly writing -- it’s more like putting an intricate clockwork together (or maybe a piece of furniture from IKEA!). Not my favorite part of the job, but with a mystery getting it right is crucial. What I do love is making scenes come alive. And it’s also really satisfying to get a sentence down that captures something from an angle the reader has never seen before.

Sometimes the toughest challenge is cutting a favorite line, or page, or chapter that you love, because it just doesn’t belong there. And you’ve got to be ruthless kill it.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
Dazzled is by far my favorite. I wrote a lot of quickie romance novels for rent money when I was in my twenties. I cranked out one a month — typing an outline in the morning, then writing a chapter a day until I was done, no looking back. They’re fast, fun reads. But I’m glad I did them under a pen name.
If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Clare Danes. Hands down. I didn’t have her in mind when I wrote the book, but her unusual face, her forthrightness, her combination of androgyny and femininity are exactly Nikki.

When did you begin writing?
I haven’t thought about this for a long time, but one day in my late teens — in a sort of flash — I suddenly understood that I could write a book and that it would be pleasurable and satisfying. That flash was all about what the process would involve and not about any particular book. Weird, I know. I’m not the least bit woo woo, but most of the valuable things that have come to me in my life have come out of nowhere. It wasn’t until after college, though, that I actually started playing around with writing and eventually wound up doing it for a living.

How long did it take to complete your first book?
Those little romance potboilers I wrote in my twenties took a few weeks each. Dazzled took a few years.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been inspired by every writer I ever loved -- and there are a lot of them. But for a long time, looming larger than any other, was Philip Roth — his dynamic and totally original voice, his spiraling structures, and his depth. When I first started playing with writing, everything had his rhythm and I tried to swirl and layer and heighten as he did. That was a long time ago, and has little to do with Dazzled. But if you keep your eye out, there are two brief passages where you might still see the tiniest trace of his influence.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
When the scenes are coming from a true place and I can feel the strength of the language and images. And I love when the writing takes off on its own, when your fingers on the keyboard are flying and taking you someplace you never dreamed of going. 

Describe your latest book in 4 words.
Fast, dangerous, dark and surprising.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
Dazzled was originally published in hardcover. It’s just been released in trade paperback edition, and for a limited time it’s on sale for half of what the regular price will be.

As for the story itself, the heroine, Nikki Easton, was a teenage runaway who’s now almost 30 and trying to put down roots in LA, which is essentially a rootless city. She’s not a beauty like her closest friend Darla, but she loves acting and is trying to build a career as a character actress. When Darla disappears, and Nikki tries to find out what happened to her, she discovers the hidden side of her friend's life, laying bare secrets buried before Darla was born, and uncovering widening layers of corruption that reach far beyond Hollywood to the highest levels of government..

As for future books, because she’s an actress and will shoot films on Iocation, I plan to set other books in places that interest me or that I have a strong personal connection to — Paris, Cuba, the logging country of Canada. I’m also interested in the past — both political and personal — and how it colors the present. So I’m working on a mystery now that takes place in Lisbon and involves Nikki in a crime that has roots almost half a century earlier when the country was a dictatorship. I’m also working on a standalone mystery that takes place in the Mad Men era in Manhattan.

Maxine Nunes is a New Yorker who's spent most of her life in Los Angeles. She has written and produced for television, and currently writes for several publications including the Los Angeles Times. Her satiric parody of a White House scandal won the Pen USA West International Imitation Hemingway Competition.

Contact Information

No comments:

Post a Comment