Loucinda McGarcy: A true “Romance Diva”

Loucinda McGarcy: A true “Romance Diva”

I am very excited to welcome my pal Loucinda McGary for my third week of hosting guest authors. Loucinda – who in another incarnation is Cindy or “Auntie Cindy” – is one of my oldest romance writer friends. Lucky for me (until now), she lives in California so we were able to connect on several occasions over the years, strengthening our friendship. On top of that, Loucinda’s novels aided in establishing my new-found passion for romance novels.

Today she is here as Cindy and Loucinda, sharing bits from her personal life and her writing life. Enjoy both interviews, and be sure to answer her question at the end for a chance to win one of two offered copies of her newest novel, The Mozart Murders.

CindyMunozLoucinda McGary has two great passions: writing and travel. To date she has visited 47 states, 34 countries, and taken 25 cruises. She likes to set her stories of romance and suspense in some of the exotic locations she has visited.

She has three traditionally published novels and seven that are Indie ebooks. Her stories have placed and won several contests and awards including the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest, the Australian Romance Readers Awards, and the Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of 2012 and 2013.

Follow Loucinda’s latest news on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/loucinda.mcgary

She is also on Twitter @LoucindaMcgary
Amazon Page
Contact by email at: cindymm18@gmail.com

 

The Interview with “Cindy” ~

Q – What are your favorite books to read?
A – Romances, of course! I want my happily-ever-after.

Q – If you could live anywhere in the world besides where you now reside, where would it be?
A – I love travel and visiting all kinds of places, but I’m always happy to come home to California.  I’m a California girl, born and raised and I love living here, though I wouldn’t mind having a house near a Central California beach.

Q – What hobbies or pastimes do you partake in to relax?
A – My mom taught me to knit when I was 14, and it is one of the few things I do right-handed. I also crochet, but I took a class in my early 20s to learn to do it left-handed. I find the repetitive motions of knitting and crocheting to be soothing. Also, interestingly enough, I can knit or crochet when I’m riding in the car, but reading gives me a headache. Truth is stranger than fiction. 🙂

Q – Do you have any favorite TV shows?
A – I don’t watch much TV but I’m hopelessly addicted to Downton Abbey. I started watching in the second season when Lady Sybil ran off with the Irish chauffeur. Since it is so long between new seasons of Downton Abbey, I’ve now started watching Call the Midwife. And I’m absolutely frothing for the new series based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander!

Q – What kind of movies do you like to watch? Can you name your top five favorite movies of all time?
A – I love action/adventure, and if a little romance is thrown in, all the better. I don’t mind if it is historical, contemporary, or science fiction, as long as it has lots of action. Hmmm, narrowing it down to five favorite movies will be difficult… LadyHawke, Pulp Fiction, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Silence of the Lambs, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original Star Wars trilogy, Gone with the Wind… OOPS! Sorry, I knew I couldn’t stop at five. LOL!

Q – Do you have a favorite place you have traveled to? Or perhaps a place you long to visit?
A – I have found unique and enjoyable things everywhere I’ve travelled, and I’m always excited to go somewhere I’ve never been. One place I’d love to go is Egypt. I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids, and hope I get a chance someday in the not too distant future.

Q – If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be and why?
A – William Shakespeare, so I could find out once and for all the identity of ‘the dark lady.’

Q – What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten?
A – To date, I’ve taken twenty-five cruises and they often serve some pretty unique dishes, which I always try. The first time I ever ate escargot was on a cruise, and I LOVE them. I’ve also eaten (and liked) frog’s legs, alligator fritters, oysters Rockefeller, and tuna tartar. One thing I didn’t like (but I had tried once before) was caviar – Bleck! Too salty! When we were in Bangkok, Thailand, people were roasting big ugly bugs on braisers on the street, and passerbys were munching out on them. No way could I make myself try one! 

Cindy’s “Off the Cuff” Responses ~

Tea or Coffee  —  tea, hot with milk
Chick flick or Mystery – mystery, preferably with a nice juicy murder
Beach or Mountains – beach, I am a California girl, after all
Porsche or Silverado – Porsche, I had one once, got it in the divorce!
Dog or Cat – dogs, I currently have two
Star Wars or Star Trek – Star Trek, I watched the original series as a kid
Summer or Winter – summer, don’t like cold weather
Paperback or Kindle – Kindle, love my Kindle!
Facebook or Twitter – Facebook
Salad or French FriesSeriously?!?! French fries (from In N Out Burger!)
Apartment or House – house
Beer or Wine – wine, though I prefer soda
Forgive or Get Even – Are you kidding? I write suspense so get even!
Cake or Pie – cake, chocolate with chocolate frosting
Hobbit or Elf —  elf, but nix the pointy ears
Sunlight or Rain — sunshine
Waffles or Pancakes – pancakes with lots of maple syrup

MozartMurders

 

Loucinda’s latest novel is The Mozart Murders

A serial killer is stalking the donors of the San Francisco Philharmonic and it is up to police detective Phillipa ‘Flip’ Morland to stop him. With her partner in the hospital, Flip must team up with classical musician Professor Jeremy Burke to catch the madman they’ve dubbed ‘Amadeus’ for his penchant of playing Mozart while he commits his brutal crimes.

 

The Interview with “Loucinda” ~ 

Q – Your new book is set in San Francisco, a city I happen to be familiar with. You live in California, so did you choose San Francisco over another major CA city for a specific reason?
A – I live a couple of hours away from San Francisco and have had a long time love for the City by the Bay. I find it both beautiful and fascinating, which was one reason I chose it as a setting. San Francisco has a lot of very familiar landmarks that I thought readers would enjoy “seeing” through my characters. I also like to set my stories in exotic locales and I happen to think San Francisco is pretty exotic.

Q – Could you have set this story in, say, Los Angeles or Fresno and made it work?
A – I’m not as familiar with LA or Fresno, so I would have needed to do a lot more research. I’m also not sure the story would have been so interesting because I try really hard to make my setting another character in the story and accentuate unique elements about each place. I visit San Francisco several times a year so I had a lot of experiences to draw from.

Q – Is there a particular San Francisco landmark or location that figures into the novel?
A – Several, and I had a lot of fun working them in. The hero drives over the Golden Gate Bridge to get to work. The heroine lives on the edge of Chinatown. Plus, I couldn’t resist throwing in a scene at Fisherman’s Wharf.


Q – Music figures prominently in this novel, as it did in one of mine. I have a long ago musical background, but basically had to crash-course and call upon a pianist friend to write correctly. How was it for you? Do you have knowledge of music? Or was this a new area for you?
A – When I was a kid, I played the flute for five years, so that’s why my hero is a flautist. I’ve always loved classical music and Mozart is one of my favorite composers, but I did spend a lot of time on YouTube finding just the perfect pieces for different scenes in the story. I hope readers will be equally interested and search out some of the music for themselves. Here’s the famous Aria by the Queen of the Night from “The Magic Flute.”

Q – Why Mozart for the villain’s favorite music? Why not Bach or Beethoven?
A – I believe Mozart’s music is more recognizable, except for maybe the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony (which I joke about in the story). Plus, I’ve always loved the film “Amadeus” since it was first released in 1984 (It won the Best Picture Oscar that year). I actually saw a stage production of “Amadeus” about fifteen years ago, and that memorable story inspired me to create my villain who, like the character Antonio Salieri, is obsessed with Mozart and his music.

Q – Your novels, in general, are contemporary but also have historical aspects in some cases, such as The Treasures of Venice. Do you find that getting facts correct is more difficult for the contemporary or historical portions? Or does each have its challenges?
A – They both definitely are challenging! I have to laugh when I hear someone say, “I’ll just write contemporary so I don’t have to do any research.” Boy, are they gonna be in for a rude surprise! If you get details wrong, readers will tell you about it. I’ll never forget the novel by a multi-published author that had the hero taking a long motorcycle ride west of Los Angeles. I hope that bike had water-wings, but I don’t know because I stopped reading after that egregious error.

In Mozart Murders, I chose to call my heroine “detective” even though I discovered in my research that the San Francisco Police Department uses “inspector” for their officers who investigate major crimes. However, I consulted with several law enforcement professionals before I made my decision, and I made sure I noted my “mistake” in the front matter of my book.    

Q – When did you begin writing?
A – When I was in third grade. Before that, I printed.

Q – Who are your writing inspirations? Which authors influence your story choices or literary style?
A – In my teens and early twenties, I loved the great gothic romances like those by Victoria Holt, Phyllis A.Whitney, and especially Mary Stewart. One of the greatest compliments I’ve received was when a reader said the opening of “The Treasures of Venice” reminded her of a Mary Stewart novel.

Q – What was your first published novel?
A – A romantic suspense with paranormal elements called “The Wild Sight” in Oct. 2008.

Q – Are you traditionally published, independent, or a hybrid? Why have you made these publishing choices?
A – My first three books are traditionally published, but I decided to try Indie publishing in 2011 and I’m so glad I did. I love the control I have as an Indie author! I get to decide what to write, when to release it, what title and cover I use, and what price to charge. I also love that I no longer have a “middle man” between me and my readers. 

Q – Was the first book you wrote published, or is it still lying in forgotten shame under your bed?
A – I played around with writing for many years before I finally decided to get serious at the end of 2003. The very first book I wrote after I started to seriously pursue publication was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest in 2006 and was eventually published as “The Treasures of Venice” in Sept. 2009.

Mcgary novels

Q – Do you have beta readers and/or critique partners? Or are you a lone wolf writer?
A – I’ve always had critique partners and beta readers, and depended on them to keep me on the right track. I met my current CP Jo Robertson in 2006 when we were both finalists in the RWA Golden Heart contest in the romantic suspense category. (Jo went on to win with her book “The Watcher.”) Turned out we only lived about 12 miles apart, and we have been critique partners ever since. I think we mesh well with our strengths and weaknesses, and I can’t imagine doing this very difficult work without her.

As for beta readers, I had a very dear friend I’d known for over thirty years who used to read all my work even though the racy parts embarrassed her, and the paranormal elements annoyed her. J  She passed away in March, 2012 only two weeks after her husband of over 50 years. The last book of mine she read was “High Seas Deception” and she loved it. Currently I have two beta readers: my best friend who is a voracious reader, and another friend who is an aspiring romance writer.

Q – How greatly do your life experiences and the people you have known influence your novels? Do you write characters based on people you have known? Have you ever killed off a character based on a real person?
A – I believe all writers use their life experiences to bring authenticity to their work. I draw on my own emotions and feelings when I create my characters and write their stories, and yes, I base characters on people I know. Usually my characters will have traits from several different people, and sometimes I will name minor characters after people I know. So far, everyone has been flattered, even the husband of one of my nieces. He jokingly asked “put me in your next book, Aunt Cindy,” so he became the murder victim in the prologue of “The Wild Irish Sea.” Luckily, he has a good sense of humor and thought it was hilarious that I killed him off.  

Q – Tell us what is next on your writer’s agenda.
A – My current work-in-progress is another “Dead Girl…” story. This one is set on Maui and is called “Dead Girl in Paradise.” The hero is Sloan Madison, the younger brother of Tate Madison, the hero of my 2013 novel “Dead Girl in a Green Dress.”  I also purposely gave my heroine Flip Morland two single brothers so will eventually have their own books. Finally, I have not completely ruled out another romantic suspense story with Flip and Jeremy. 

giveaway-1Thank you so much, Sharon, for hosting me on your blog today! I love sharing info about my books and my travels. I’d like to ask readers: Is there a setting you haven’t read but you’d like to? I’ll give free downloads of “The Mozart Murders” to two random commenters.

 

 

 

 

29 Comments for Loucinda McGarcy: A true “Romance Diva”

  1. Thanks again, Beth! I listened to several performances of the aria but really liked this one by Diana Damrau.

    What I didn’t mention in my previous post is that my Venetian set story was originally titled “Jewels of the Madonna” (the publisher changed the title) and was inspired by the opera of the same name! How’s that for coincidence?!?!

    I’m happy to contribute to your TBR pile/mountain. I thought when I let my day job that I’d finally get mine whittled down… WRONG! I have more time now to find great new (to me) authors, so I have more stories “to be read” than ever. 😉

    • google tells me it’s Wolf-Ferrari. I don’t know it. Now if it had been a baroque opera, I just might. I’m looking forward to reading your Venice book. (And the Mozart.)

  2. Wow, this is weird. I’m writing a novel about a Venetian named Serafina (the modern part of my book takes place in Baltimore and Philadelphia). My Serafina is 18th century, and is the fictional daughter of an historical opera singer I’ve been studying. I’ll have to check out your book! The name just came to me last year out of the blue, and she’s always remained Serafina for me. I should say that I do archival research in Venice, and have never come across the name Serafina there (at least in the 17th and 18th centuries), so it is a name to be treasured. I’m glad to have found this interview through Sharon Lathan.

    • Hi Beth,
      Truth is stranger than fiction! My characters usually appear in my imagination with their full names in place. That was the case with Serafina Lombardo and her sister Simonetta. I’ll be anxious to read your story about another Venetian Serafina. 🙂 Do let me know when you finish and publish it. And hope you enjoyed the clip from The Magic Flute.

      • Loucinda, you’ve picked a good Youtube clip of this aria. I spent way too much time this semester wading through Youtube and spotify to pick just the right things to play in my opera lit class. I’ll have to check out your Mozart! My Serafina’s husband’s name is Frederick Bishop, so her name is Serafina Bishop once she’s married. As you say, it just seemed right. I’m building up too many novels to read. I suppose it’s good, as it’s causing me to read something other than Darcy fan fiction, which has become an obsession of mine.

  3. Loucinda your books sound fascinating! I am going to have to read one now .I am sorry to say I have never read them.
    Thank you for such great information about yourself and all the places you have been!!

    • Hi Seli!
      I appreciate you stopping by, reading my interview and leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy my stories. I try hard to fill them with lots of action and interesting details about the settings.Please let me know what you think after you read them. 🙂 I LOVE hearing from readers!

      • Hi Aunty Cindy!! What a great post. I am STILL laughing about Linda Howard’s pork chop story. My Mom was so great about that sort of purse-thing too. As to a bag-of-tricks, my usual soltoiun for being stuck at a point in the plot is to blow something up. Grins. Our fellow Bandita and I joke, When in doubt, light a fuse Back to the purse thing, my sons think mine is a magic bag, b/c I usually DO have something in there they need, from a pair of tweezers (Swiss Army Knife) to scissors (same), to tape. (I have one of those little biz kits) So the tradition continues!

  4. You’re ambidextrous and you owned a Porsche. I learn more about you through these blogs. 🙂 I’ll have to sign up for the Starz Channel in order to watch Outlander. I’ve only read through book 6.

    • Hi Jen!
      Appreciate you stopping by today! Actually, I only do two things right-handed — knit and cut with scissors. Everything else is with my left-hand. 😉 And the ex “forged” my name to finance the Porsche so it was the best kind of pay-back for me to get it in the divorce settlement. I drove it exactly one time and sold it within two weeks.

      I’m actually thinking of getting Starz just to watch Outlander too!

  5. Hi CJ!
    YES! Another Outlander fan! I have wanted to see this story on film since I first read it in 1992. I’m keeping everything crossed that the people involved do this wonderful story justice.

    Good luck with your search for the perfect CP. I had many different CPs before Jo and I met up, and I’m sooo grateful for her insights and awesome knowledge of grammar, syntax, and diction.

  6. Wonderful interviews! I’d love to read a Loucinda novel! From her favorite past reads, and affinity for historicals, she sounds like a kindred soul. I also LOVE Diana Gabaldon and can’t wait for the STARZ Outlander series to begin this summer. Maybe that will elevate multi-genre novels that run to 1000 pages!!? We can only hope. (I have got to get a CP like her!)

  7. Great interview, Sharon and Cindy!

    I haven’t traveled nearly as much as Cindy, and most of mine was when I was much younger. But I’d love to see a book set in post-war Berlin,. I imagine there’d be a lot of intrigue and mystery, disappearances and the like because of the not-so-neat division of the country and city after WWII.

    • Greetings Jo!
      Thank you for stopping by and can’t thank you enough for all your wonderful critiques and editing of Mozart Murders!

      OOOO! Post-war Berlin sounds fascinating! Plus, I’ve been to other parts of Germany, but I’ve never been to Berlin.This is going on the top of my list of places to explore.

  8. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by and welcoming Cindy. She is on the west coast, and it is still early there, but she will be checking in later. Plus, the dear moved into a new house this past week! I well know how crazy that is, and yet she still answered my interview questions. Wow!

    I have known Loucinda for a long while now, and still learned some new stuff in her interview. Very cool. I certainly enjoyed reading it, and hope everyone else does too.

    • Morning Sharon and Everyone!
      Yes, it is still morning here on Nor Cal and promises to be a hot one! 🙁

      Thank you again for hosting me today Sharon and for asking such interesting interview questions!

      Yes, I’m still in the midst of trying to move and am not quite out of one house but halfway in the other. UGH! My hat is off to you, Sharon, for your long move to another state. Just moving across town has been a traumatic experience for me! LOL!

      • I probably should not mention that it is 66 degrees in KY with rain and thunder storms. In fact we are on a tornado watch! Very different weather.

    • Great suggestion. And since it is in Loucinda’s backyard, as it were, the research would be a piece of cake. Of course, as gorgeous as Yosemite it, I suppose not as exotic as Egypt or the lengthy get-away of Canada. LOL!

      • I agree, GREAT suggestion Leslie! I haven’t been to Yosemite since the devastating wild fire last year, but it is easily accessible for “research.” Thank you for dropping in and mentioning such a beautiful setting.

  9. Fascinating insights into a great author! Cindy, you mentioned you’d like to visit Egypt. That would be a cool setting for another Dead Girl book–and a business write-off too! Belize or another east coast Central America country. And I second the Canada suggestion. Quebec City would be a wonderful “character!”

    Thanks, Sharon, for hosting such an informative blog!

    • Hi Madeline,
      Thanks so much for stopping by today and thank you for your wonderful review of Mozart Murders! I really hope to get to Egypt someday soon, and I’m sure it would be a great setting, though I don’t know if I could compete with the Amelia Peabody mysteries which are set there.

      Funny you should mention Belize, because my novella New Year’s Endeavor is set on a cruise to eastern Central America and has some pivotal scenes in Belize.;-)

  10. I haven’t read a romance that takes place in Canada. I would love to read one with this setting. I enjoyed your interview so much. It’s amazing how much you have traveled. Feel like I would like to read all of your books. Thanks for giving me the chance to win and read The Mozart Murders.

    • Morning Tea!
      I appreciate you dropping by and reading my interview. Canada is a great suggestion! I absolutely loved Nova Scotia. We went whale watching there and also saw the Bay of Fundy and Cape Breton National Park. On the same trip, we visited Prince Edward Island for a day. If you haven’t been there you MUST go! (Sharon, I know you would love it!) Now that I’m thinking of PEI, it would be the perfect setting for another “Dead Girl…” book. 😉

  11. I loved the Mozart Murders…it was a great read, no spoilers, and I can’t wait for more….I think I enjoyed this one the most!

      • Awww! Thanks a BUNCH, Sharon! I know you read very little contemporary fiction and I’m very complimented that you enjoy my stories. Just be forewarned that this one is darker than anything I’ve written to date. 😉 I really had a blast writing such an evil villain!

    • Hi Deb! Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I’m thrilled that you loved Mozart Murders! It was a fun story for me to write and I’m happy that readers are being entertained by reading it!

I love to hear from you!