TdToday we have the first of our Saturday Coffee with Authors series. This is a fun interview with M. Weidenbenner, whose novel, Cache a Predator, has just been released. These great questions have been borrowed (ok, I’m not giving them back, so we’ll say stolen…) from Richard Flores IV, so be sure to visit his site, too!
1. Share a little bit about yourself. Did you always see yourself as a writer?
I was raised in the burbs of Detroit, Michigan with five brothers. No sisters. My mother had six kids by the time she was 28. Can you imagine? I love kids, but sheesh, I don’t think I’d have any hair left. Each time she brought that bundle home from the hospital I’d cry. I really thought she liked boys better.
Even though I was the second oldest I wasn’t given the task of being the “second” mother. (Thank God.) My mother was a women’s libber ahead of her time. After she popped us out she went to nursing school. My brothers had to cook, clean, and do household chores as often as I did, and I learned how to change my oil, tires, and spark plugs by the time I was sixteen.
My parents are still alive and together after 58 years. Amazing, no? Dad used to correct our grammar and spelling when we were kids. Today he often helps me edit. Mom helps me brainstorm. Both parents used to tell me I wrote well, but I was more into business then writing when I was younger. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I got the writing bug really bad.
2. What was the most challenging thing to confront about writing this book?
Choosing which body part to cut off.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Let me explain. Cache a Predator is about a dad who wants custody of his five-year-old daughter, but there’s another subplot that deals with geocaching.
When I decided to write the book and include elements of geocaching I didn’t know what geocaching was all about. Not at first. I researched it. Geocaching is a sport using a GPS device to find hidden cache boxes. These boxes are in every community. I thought, wouldn’t that be cool if my villain was hiding body parts in cache boxes? Then I thought, who would do that? Who would he/she target?
Let me ask you—who do you like the least in our society? Wouldn’t pedophiles rank right up there? Yeah, I thought so too.
Then I thought, why would the villain cut off a body part and what body part should it be? I dove into my villain’s personality, life-experiences including traumatic events, and asked him/her. We came up with the perfect body part, the one that would make the most sense, the one that wouldn’t allow a pedophile to harm one more child.
We’d write it so the pedophiles would have to live without their man-part. Forever.
So I wrote the book. My beta readers thought it rocked.
My agent said, “I can’t rep you unless you rewrite the story. Can’t you change the body part to eyeballs? After all, it’s the eyeballs that get pedophiles in trouble, right?”
She had a point. I thought about changing the body part for months. Should I keep it as it is and self-publish the beast? Or should I rewrite the book with hopes that I’d land a publisher? I asked my beta-readers. All but one said to keep the book the way it was written.
I’m a girl with a huge entrepreneur spirit so I decided to go it alone. My agent was fine with me taking the Indie route with this book, but she said, “Keep in mind if the book tanks you’ll have to disclose your stats to publishers when you’re trying to sell your other books. Even if you use a different pen name a publisher has the right to know.”
Talk about pressure. (So, buy my book!)
3. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m winning ugly on the tennis courts. I’m queen of the rim shots. No joke. It’s ugly.
4. So what book is on your nightstand or on your e-reader right now?
You mean besides CACHE a PREDATOR? Yes, I email my books to my Kindle so I can read my words like a reader instead of a creator. Sometimes I never make it past the second chapter.
· “The Secret Zoo,” by Bryan Chick. (I write children’s books and love to read them too.)
· “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by L. Hillenbrand. The main character in this novel is my hero. I’ve met him and held his hand. In total awe.
· “The Plot Skeleton (Writing Lessons from the Front),” by Angela Hunt. I have a blog titled Random Writing Rants where I teach adults and teens how to get published. I’m doing a series on How to Write a Novel in 30 Days. This week is Tip #6 and I will quote from Angela’s book. Love it.
· “Writing in Overdrive,” by Jim Denney. No one in the world writes faster than my friend Jim. When I’m feeling sluggish I like to read sections of this book. Jim’s words inspire me.
5. Tell us about what you’re working on now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
I’m finishing the edits to my YA fiction, “Love is Just a Word,” about a Russian teen who’s adopted by a family in the states before she has a chance to say good-bye to her mama and tell her a secret that haunts her.
I also have a YA supernatural suspense novel series (WILLOW) that I’m waiting to sell, and a children’s chapter book series titled ECLAIR. (Yes, like the pastry.)
I’m plotting my next suspense novel and hope to write it in November during NaNoWriMo.
6. JUST FOR FUN: I’m from the Florida coast and we have a thing called hurricane parties. The idea is to hunker down all together with friends and family to weather the storm. If you were going to host a hurricane party, which of your characters would have to be invited and why?
Really? What part of the state? I have a house in west-central Florida. I use it as my writing den often. I love the gulf coast, but I’ve never had to live through a hurricane. And I’ve never heard of a hurricane party. What do you do? All hide out in the bathtub together? I guess that’s nothing like a FB party is it?
Hmm, which characters would I invite? It would have to be Aunt Fifi (short for Stephanie) in my Willow book series. She’s this middle-aged pink-haired woman who wears stilettos and skinny jeans and talks with a twang. She puts electric dog fences in yards so she’s mechanically inclined which might come in handy if we lose power in the storm. She’d be the life of the party. I’d love to have Willow and Trae there too because they’re fun and have powers that might come in handy. (But if we’re huddled in the bathtub together Fifi will have to take her shoes off first. I wouldn’t want her spiky heel digging in my foot if the weather gets really bad.)