Thursday, January 01, 2009

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Margay Leah Justice

Everyone please welcome debut author Margay Leah Justice to the blog today, whose novel Nora's Soul was released by Second Wind Publishing this past November!

J.K.: Hi Margay, welcome to the blog. Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Nora’s Soul?

MARGAY: At its core, Nora’s Soul is a story about one woman’s journey to rediscover her faith – in herself, in her beliefs, but along the way, she is challenged by two angels, one light and one dark. The light angel, Peter, wants to help her reconnect, but the dark angel, Dante, wants something entirely different. He wants her soul.

J.K.: This was your first book. How do you feel about it? Nervous?

MARGAY: This is my first book and it was released mid-November. I am nervous to some extent because I worked for many years on this book and it’s just one of the ones that wouldn’t let me go, so I’m nervous about how it will be received by the public. But I’m more excited that it’s time has finally come.

J.K.: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create the particular characters that appear in Nora’s Soul?

MARGAY: I have been writing since I could first pick up a pen. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Nora’s Soul was actually inspired by a set of linked dreams I had one night during a troubled time in my marriage. I’d never had such vivid dreams before where the participants came out so fully developed and wanting to tell me a story. So I started writing it. In the beginning, it was pretty accurate as to what happened in the dreams, but I’ve since expanded on it and developed it beyond the dream. You see, I realized upon reflection, that the dream – which I conveyed on the page exactly as I saw it – was a metaphor for what was happening in my life at the time. If I continued down the one path with my husband in the current circumstances, I would lose my soul – or me. But if I chose another path, I would rediscover my soul, rediscover who I was. I chose another path.

J.K.: What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know as they start to submit their work?

MARGAY: If you truly believe in your work and yourself, you will keep putting it out there until you find someone else who believes in it, too. Don’t let one person’s rejection deter you. It just wasn’t for them. Go on to the next, and the next, until you find the one who wants to publish you. And if you’re lucky enough to get some advice from the agent/editor in your rejection letter, heed it. What better learning toll is there than advice from someone in the business?

J.K.: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

MARGAY: I hope to get all of the books out of my head and into print – it’s getting pretty crowded in there! I really want to connect with a steady readership and keep delivering stories they want to read. And I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay. I think that would be fantastic, since I see my stories in my head like a filmstrip, anyway, as I write them.

J.K.: Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

MARGAY: Cleaned out the kitty litter box. Oh, and today, I get to take out the trash.

J.K.: Do you have a pesky day job?

MARGAY: Currently, no. But caring for a child with special needs has become a full-time occupation.

J.K.: If you had to write yourself as a superhero, what kind of superhero would you be? What would you be named?

MARGAY: That one is tough. Probably, the Balancer, because I have to balance so many different aspects of my life – my daughter’s disabilities, my own disabilities, running errands with my mother, preparing my older daughter for college, everyday life and, oh yeah, writing.

J.K.: If you were a world ruler and you were given a choice of 3 laws to enact, what would they be?

MARGAY: Law #1: No fighting. Sit down at a table and work out your problems. Law #2: Everyone should be treated as an equal, despite gender, ethnicity, social standing or lifestyle preference. There should be no discrimination in any aspect of their lives, whether it’s in the work force, the political arena, or even in their private lives. We are all equal. Law #3: Show some respect. Whether it’s to your fellow man, woman, parent, elder, whatever, we need to show one another respect. Rudeness should be penalized. Life would be so much better if we were all just a little kinder to one another.

J.K.: Margay, thank you so much for being here, and before we go, let us know what’s next for you.

MARGAY: I am actually working on the next volume in what I like to call the Dante Chronicles (the dark angel in Nora’s Soul) and I have another series in the works about shapeshifters and empaths, and I am always working on several other ideas simultaneously. I have a couple of mainstream novels (no paranormal elements in them) in the works, as well.

Margay Leah Justice is a debut novelist who was born to write, as her claim to fame is a family connection to the Lowells – James Russell, Amy and Robert. When she’s not writing, she’s raising two beautiful teenage daughters, her hope for shaping the future of our country. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her two daughters and their two cats.

Excerpt:

“I don’t want there to be any misconceptions or hurt feelings between us, Nora.”

The sound of his harsh voice snapped her attention back to him. “Misconceptions?” she repeated, confused. “About what?”

“About what you and my sister expect is going to happen here.”

“I don’t – “ Her protest died on her lips when he placed a fingertip over them, silencing her. She nearly choked on a shallow breath at the fireball of sensation that roared down to the pit of her stomach at that minute touch. Thankfully, he withdrew the finger before she could do anything really damaging to her pride – like suck it into her mouth – but the fiery sensation lingered in her stomach, quietly banking a fire of old sensations into full life.

“I don’t need a social secretary,” he said, seemingly unaware of her reaction to him. “If I did need a secretary, I’d find one through a headhunter, not my sister.”

“Okay.”

“And I certainly wouldn’t take one whose background is in social services.”

“Well, then, it’s a good thing I’m not here to be your secretary.”

“Good. Now that we’ve got that established, let’s move on.”

“Please do.”

Kyle ignored that last comment as he launched into his speech. As he spoke, he made a leisurely circle about Nora, pausing to lean toward her in punctuation of each sentence.

“I’m not looking for a wife or a new mother for my children – “

“I’m not – “

“ – so if that’s the little scheme you’ve got going with my sister, you can just forget about it now.”

“I don’t have any ‘little scheme’ going with Joelle - or anyone else, for that matter!”

“Glad to hear it,” Kyle said, his tone belying his words. “Let’s move on, shall we?”

“Oh, please do.”

“I live alone. I like that.”

His breath skimmed her right ear as he leaned in close to her, front to front. She tried not to shudder at the pleasurable sensation it sent shimmering down her neck and into her stomach, where it joined the fire still banked there. She feared that she failed miserably. She almost didn’t hear his next words in the aftermath of the sensations he aroused in her.

“I throw my clothes on the floor when I undress.” He slipped around her right shoulder, but circled close to it – too close. “I leave the toilet seat up. I squeeze toothpaste from the middle. I sleep in the nude.” He leaned over her shoulder. His lips pressed to her ear, his breath searing a path down the left side of her neck now that, oddly enough, brought chills to her spine. “I like that.”

As the chills rippled through her, Nora swayed, slightly off-balance. Kyle righted her equilibrium with a quick, painless jab of his knees to the backs of hers. Then he pulled back, abruptly, completed his circle as he drilled home his point. “I don’t want anyone picking up my clothes. I don’t want anyone putting down the toilet seat or telling me where to squeeze my toothpaste.” He paused to quirk his lips in what could almost pass for a smile at the suggestive statement. “And I don’t want anyone buying me silk pajamas. I don’t want to be reformed.” He leaned his face so close to Nora’s then that his features filled her entire realm of vision. “Got that?”
Well, of all the arrogant, insufferable – !

Nora was trembling with rage by the conclusion of Kyle’s little speech. Just who the hell did he think he was, anyway, making demands like that?

“That’s what I missed about you all these years, Kyle,” she said with hard-won calm. “That charming personality.”

Kyle smiled then, but it was just a flexing of the muscles; there was no warmth to it. He leaned nearer to Nora, the tip of his nose in a position to touch hers should either of them make the slightest movement. It was an oddly intimate pose; a slight twist to the left, or a slight twist to the right, and their lips would be touching, even if no other parts of their bodies were. But the heat of his body – emanating from his skin in a wonderfully male scent that reminded her of warm summer days at the beach – did touch her; like a brand, searing another impression of him on her heart. The urge to melt into him wasn’t as hard as the urge to pull away; it took all of her strength to resist it. Oh, no, she wouldn’t give him that.

“Oh, I can be very charming.” He dropped the smile. “Or not.” Withdrawing, he stared down his nose at her, pointed a finger toward her collarbone. “Your choice. Just remember this – I don’t want to be seduced.”

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” Nora said, her voice so thick with sarcasm she nearly choked on it. She thought she detected a flicker of something – admiration, perhaps – in his eyes when she stated, “I’m here to take care of your children’s needs, not yours.” But whatever she thought she saw in his eyes was gone before she could name it. Must be my imagination, she decided.

“See that you remember that.”

“Oh, I will.”

They faced off for an eternal moment, two battle-scarred warriors at an emotional impasse. Each waiting for the other to flinch first. When that didn’t happen, they simultaneously relaxed their stances, as if by some silent agreement.
Kyle took a wary step backward. His eyes never left her face. “Good. Then there’s nothing left to discuss. Is there?”

“Just one thing,” she said when he would’ve turned away. She ignored the annoyed look he cast over his shoulder as he paused on his flight up the stairs. She started down the hall toward the sounds of merriment emanating from the kitchen, but paused when she came abreast of Kyle on the stairs. “I take my responsibilities very seriously.” She hesitated, for effect, then drove the statement home with, “All of them.” And then she was gone, leaving Kyle to stare after her in wonder.

Now available from Second Wind Publishing

Links: http://margayleahjustice.com/,
http://www.myspace.com/margay1122,
http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/.

14 comments:

Margay said...

I just want to thank J.K. for interviewing me on her blog today. It was a blast!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, JK and Margay! Great interview! Margay, congratulations on the release of Nora's Soul. I always find the dream aspect of your story fascinating! Oh, and I DO wish you ruled the world, my friend!

J.K. Coi said...

Hi Margay, thanks for starting off the new year here with me!

J.K. Coi said...

Anna! Welcome to the blog and happy new year to you!

I love that "queen of the world" question, although I think when someone asked me that once, I said that I'd have to abdicate the throne because I lack diplomacy and wouldn't want to get myself killed.

Margay said...

Anna, thanks for visiting! You are so kind. And congratulations on your success, too, it's well deserved.

Margay said...

J.K., it was great fun - and I love your comment about the queen thing! But for some reason, I got the Cowardly Lion in my head, singing "If I were the king of the forrrest..."

Shelley Munro said...

Hi JK and Margay. Happy New Year to both of you. All the best with your release, Margay. I really enjoyed your excerpt.

Margay said...

Thank you, Shelley, I'm glad you stopped by!

Renee said...

Hi, J.K. and Margay. As usual I'm late for the party.

First, congratulations on your debut. I love the concept and the excerpt was very fascinating. I will definitely have to put it on my TBR list.

Renee

Margay said...

Renee, you are too kind. And it doesn't matter how late you come as long as you make an appearance! Thanks for stopping by.

Christine Husom said...

What a great story, Margay--will be a great read. J.K., wonderful questions and thanks for your interest in new authors!

Margay said...

Thank you, Christine, I appreciate the feedback. And I have to add my kudos to yours - J.K. is wonderful!

Stephanie J said...

Margay, your book sounds fantastic. I love that it came from a dream...I always thought that was a neat concept but I don't have many vivid dreams like that. I'd imagine that it might've been cathartic to write about it when everything else was going on.

Margay said...

Stephanie, that is so true, especially when you consider that I was going through a rough period in my life (like Dante, my then husband was charming to your face and a devil when your back was turned). I've thought about the dream a lot since then and have come to realize that it was a metaphor for what was happening in my life then. funny thing is, Dante is still trying to control my life now. Good thing I love him!