About Me

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I love being a mom and a wife. I've married to a man I would do anything for, and we have three beautiful children. I see so much of myself in both of them that it sometimes brings me to tears (happy ones).

I also love writing. Romance to be specific. I love the happily ever after that I believe everyone deserves. My stories aren't 'stop and smell the roses' type romances. While I believe everyone deserves happiness and true love, I know that sometimes you have to walk a hard road to find it. Those are the types of stories I like to write. The happily ever after that wasn't found, but earned. I work to earn mine on a daily basis and so do my characters. 

I am also working on a children's picture book series. Inspired (of course) by my kiddos. :)

On the non-writing front, I play acoustic guitar, sing, read like I get paid for it, ride horses, hike, paint rocks, and support a rather obsessive addiction to Pinterest.

I love to cook, which combined with my pinning addiction, leads to many experiments foisted on my unsuspecting husband and kids, mostly with good results. But sometimes, the dogs gets what the family refuses to eat. And they never complain. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekend Review - The Place We Went To Yesterday - Lisa Mauro

Weekend Review is a brand new series of posts that I am starting up. Each weekend, I will post a new review of a book I've just read, with some Q&A with the author. 

I have sporadically reviewed for my fellow authors before but wanting to do more (partially in hopes that someone would return the favor), I decided to post on Facebook that I was looking to do some reviews to post on my blog. I had over 50 responses in about an hour, before I started informing people that I could no longer take requests. 50 books is A LOT of reading!

The thing about my post is that I didn't make it specific on genre, style, length, etc. I wanted to read everything, even those that were out of my 'comfort zone'. I didn't interview any of the authors for spots on my list, it was a first come, first serve basis. Some of them are brand new authors, some are seasoned veterans, some are self-published, some traditionally, some have representation, editors, marketers, cover designers, some are doing everything all by themselves. 

I have no idea if what I am about to read is even going to be good. For the most part, I haven't read the blurbs and/or reviews on any of the books. I just open them up and start reading, with as open of a mind as I can muster. I tend to review as I read. A private one for the author, with more details. Things I think they could have fixed/done differently, mistakes I found, formatting issues, things I loved etc. Then when I've finished the book, I write the 'public review' which you will see below. That review gets posted to Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

For this debut series post, I will be sharing my review of The Place We Went To Yesterday, the debut novel of author Lisa Mauro.

First off, a little about Lisa:

Lisa Mauro is a novelist, blogger, and pharmaceutical consultant. She is the Secretary of the Board of The Women Fiction Writers Association. The Place We Went to Yesterday is her first novel, published by Heartless Press. She lives in Boston, MA with her better half, Brian, and an obnoxiously cute kitten, Harper.

And here's my review of The Place We Went To Yesterday:

4 out of 5 stars

The Place We Went To Yesterday is a powerful story that brings the traumatic affects of abuse, neglect, low self-esteem, and poverty to the spotlight.

As seen through the eyes of young Ella, the reader begins a journey that starts in the Baruch Houses of New York City and follows get through the foster care system, life in a group home, and the struggle to pull herself from the cycle if poverty.

The Place We Went To Yesterday is a great read, appropriate for teens and adults. The perseverance and survival of the main character when all odds are literally stacked against her, makes a great inspirational read. It is also a great illustration that you can be better than the situation you were born into. I would recommend this title for ages 16 & up due to the small amount of mature language and situations.

I give this debut novel from Lisa Mauro a solid 4 out of 5 stars. She is definitely an author to watch out for , and I expect to see more great books from her. I do not know this author personally, and was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

And now, to get to know Lisa a little better:

What books have most influenced your life?

I’m a big fan of Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood. I take a lot of inspiration from their strong, female-driven stories. I think Plath’s voice, in particular, is exceptional. I also get inspiration from memoirs and non-fiction. Writers like Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle), Azadeh Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad) and Nancy Venable Raine (After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back) have been influential in my life in both a general way but also as I’ve developed my own writing style.

What do you think is more important: Characters or Plot?

Characters.  Definitely characters.  If you can create deep characters, it really doesn’t matter what the story line is.  Your readers will connect and will lose themselves in whatever the plot is.  I’ve seen authors that put so much effort into the plot but completely forget to develop the characters and it’s always noticeable.

What book do you wish you had written?

Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted.  Not only was it a wonderful read with relatable characters, the movie was well-cast.

If you could cast your main character(s) in a Hollywood adaption of your book, who would land the roles?

I think America Ferrera would make an amazing Ella, although she’d probably turn it down for being typecast.  But when I think of strong Latina women, she always makes my short list.  And since we are dreaming, I think Selena Gomez would make a great Lara.  It would be strange to see, though, because she’s such an A-lister.  I think seeing her in a small, but powerful role, would be interesting.

What is your least favorite part of the writing/publishing/marketing process?

I am absolutely terrible at self-promotion.  I’m naturally a very extroverted person and I’m supremely proud of my work, but ask me to talk about it and I suddenly clam up.  I realize that it’s necessary, though, so I force myself to do it.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing? 

When I’m not writing, I’m either reading or practicing vocals for the band Love Songs for Arsonists. I have a lengthy read/review list chock-full of indie authors.  If I’m not doing either of those two things, I’m probably watching 30 Rock on repeat or, when the weather is more cooperative than it has been lately, out shooting photographs.

Is there a message in your novel that you want the reader to grasp?

If I had to summarize it in one sentence, it would be: Education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle.  Of course it’s no guarantee of future success, but I do honestly believe that education provides a broader world-view and can spark the kind of change people need to turn their lives around.

What is one tip you'd give to up & coming authors?

Hire an editor.  Seriously.  Spend the money. I can’t tell you how many novels I read that have such potential and are completely ruined by a lack of editing.  You can have a wonderful plot and well-developed characters, but it means nothing if a reader has to stumble over poor grammar.

If you could spend the day with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My mother.  She passed away a few years ago from breast cancer and I miss her every single day. Despite having spent much of my teenage years being angry and rebellious, we managed to fix our relationship before she passed away and I’m so grateful for that. But, I’d love to have a chance to sit down with her and talk about my work and how far I’ve come.  I like to think that she would be proud.  Writing has always been something I was passionate about, but it took me a long time to produce something I felt was worth sharing. 

What's next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to The Place We Went to Yesterday.  I wrote it as a stand-alone book, but when it was done, I realized that it had so much more potential.  And the fan base I’ve built is really insistent on knowing what happens to her.  I’m also working on an as-yet-unnamed novel that is very different.  It’s women’s fiction and deals with some sensitive issues around assault and the unraveling of a marriage.  And somewhere in there, I’m working with Love Songs for Arsonists on re-recording and releasing our album as an acoustic version.

Here are some great ways to connect with Lisa:

Lisa Mauro Website
The Place We Went To Yesterday Facebook

Get The Place We Went To Yesterday HERE

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Stay tuned next weekend for the next installment of Weekend Review!