Interview with Misa Ramirez, author of Hasta la Vista, Lola!

Misa Ramirez is the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola (January ’09) and Hasta la Vista, Lola! (2010) from St. Martin’s Minotaur. A former middle and high school teacher, and current CEO and CFO for La Familia Ramirez, this blonde-haired, green-eyed, proud to be Latina-by-Marriage girl loves following Lola on her many adventures. Whether it’s contemplating belly button piercings or visiting nudist resorts, she’s always up for the challenge. Misa is hard at work on a new women’s fiction novel, is published in Woman’s World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and has a children’s book published. You can visit her website at www.misaramirez.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Misa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

First let me start by saying that I’m so happy to be here with The Writer’s Life. Thanks for having me!

Okay, onto the question. I one of those Jill-of-all-trades. I write, read, sew, quilt, craft, mother, cook, fix things, hostess, teach and SO much more. I’m a busy person, but my love is definitely writing. Our family moved from California to Texas about a year and a half ago which afforded me the opportunity to stop teaching and write full time. I thoroughly enjoy going to work each morning (which lately means grabbing my coffee and braving the 20 degree weather as I walk across the backyard to the office).

I’ve been writing seriously for about seven years now. I have a children’s book which was published years ago (out of print, alas), and I write stories and articles (most recently an article about writing a killer marketing plan for Romance Writers Report, January 2010).

Living the Vida Lola, the first Lola Cruz Mystery (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was released last January, but it was five years in the making. When I started, I had a new baby (and four other kids), started teaching again, and squeezed writing in whenever I could. Now, as I said, I’m fortunate to be able to write full time and I couldn’t be happier. Hasta la Vista, Lola!, the second Lola Cruz Mystery, will be released on February 2, 2010. I’m so proud of this book, and thrilled to be doing what I love.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The Lola Cruz Mystery Series is very character driven. Dolores (Lola for short) Cruz came to me and she wouldn’t leave me alone. I had to write about her, and I did. Slowly, she developed. Then came her family. Finally, I developed a plot, and Voila!, the series was born.

Lola really speaks to me on many levels. She’s Latina, which I am not, and I love how her culture is infused in her life, despite the fact that she is American. I’ve been married for 19 years now, and my husband is Mexican-American. We have 5 children. We work hard to make sure our children embody, understand, and respect the Mexican culture that is part of them. When I think of Lola, I think of my husband and children and how they balance their culture with being American. It’s a beautiful culture that I really wanted to represent through Lola and her family, friends, and coworkers. It’s a culture I’m very proud to be part of through my husband and my children.

Hasta la Vista, Lola! is the second book in the series and deals with one of the most prevalent crimes in America: identity theft. The themes in the book have serious undertones, but the book itself is light and funny, romantic and quirky.


Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

I think the biggest challenge in writing this series is to always show respect to the Mexican culture, and to represent Lola and her family authentically. I never want to create stereotypes, and so I work very hard to develop each character as an individual rather than a bit player.


Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

My press kit is available on my web site at the following links:

http://misaramirez.com/press-kit/
http://misaramirez.com/press-kit/questions-and-answers/
http://misaramirez.com/press-kit/buzz-and-reviews/

My press kit includes reviews, black and white and color author photo, bio, and a Q&A.


Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

I have many events coming up, as well as things I’ve already participated in. In October, I was part of the International Book Fair with the Dallas Public Libraries.

I will be doing author events with the Houston Public Library and the Fort Worth Public Library in February. I’m also presenting workshops at DFW Writers Conference in April, and Highland Park Literary Festival in February.

An online radio interview is scheduled for February 22nd with Introducing Writers!, a radio show with Kim Smith at www.blogtalkradio.com. There are plans for interviews with both the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record Chronicle, and hopefully other radio spots will be scheduled soon. As for television, I’ve not gone there yet, but maybe soon!


Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

My fantastic agent is Holly Root from Waxman Literary Agency. She is really a joy to work with, is so smart and savvy about the publishing industry, and I’m thrilled to be one of her clients.


Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books has provided a publicist for me to work with for each book. They’ve sent out massive numbers of ARCs, as well as review copies (when the ARCs ran out!). My current publicist is doing everything she can to generate buzz about Hasta la Vista, Lola!, including working on those coveted radio and TV spots.


Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Absolutely! Book three in the series is Bare Naked Lola (nudist resort, anyone?!). I’m not under contract with it yet, but we’ll get there.

I’ve also developed a middle grade series for girls called Quiz Girl. It’s being shopped now. And at the moment I’m working on a women’s fiction novel with magical realism elements. It’s challenging, a big change from the Lola Cruz Mysteries, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

My first love will always be Lola, though, and I hope the series continues for a long time to come.


Q: Thank you for your interview, Misa. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Of course! Thanks so much for having me. I can be found all over the web. My books are most readily available through online booksellers (though many stores have them in stock--you can always request them!).

Check for Living the Vida Lola and Hasta la Vista, Lola! at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite independent bookseller.

Look for me at my web site: http://misaramirez.com

My other online home is Chasing Heroes. It’s a fantastic site that centers on heroes, archetypes, and is for readers and writers alike.

My twitter address is http://twitter.com/misaramirez and http://twitter.com/chasingheroes

Facebook: http://facebook.com/misaramirez and a fanpage for Lola at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lola-Cruz-Mystery-Series/
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