I'm so excited for today's Sunday Spotlight! We have something really special for you!
So, a few weeks ago, Lindsay and Alyssa read a really amazing book (Kulti)! Both just devoured it. If you're interested in seeing their reviews, you can click on the names below and you'll be taken to their reviews:
Co2BL: We want to give a warm welcome to the fabulous author Mariana Zapata. Mariana, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us at Confessions of 2 Book lovers.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mariana: Thank you two for having me! I’m originally from Houston, Texas, but I now live in a small town in Colorado called Pagosa Springs with my new husband (but headache for the last ten years) and my two Great Dane children. I enjoy making fun of my family members, a cold Mexican Coca Cola in a glass bottle, and if there’s such a thing as eating too much kale, I’m guilty of it.
Tell us about your work. What are you writing now?
I’m going back to my romance-comedy roots with my fourth release to give my brain a little break from the last two massive books I wrote. Under Locke took a year and a half to get from first draft to the final fiftieth draft, and Kulti took about eight months, so I need to cleanse my palate a little before starting my fifth book. I love writing rom-com novels, and I’m pretty excited to tackle this next project. It’s a rewrite from another story I wrote a few years ago about a girl that goes on tour with her brother for three months, only I’m redoing it to better fit my style now instead of how I wrote back then.
I loved Under Locke and Kulti, where did you draw your inspiration from?
All of my ideas have always come from watching television! I was binging on Sons of Anarchy when I thought to myself, “I want to write a story about a biker that doesn’t cheat on the love of his life,” and from there, Under Locke was born. The idea for Kulti honestly just came from seeing attractive men during the World Cup, haha. With Lingus, my first book, I watched a documentary about a porn convention one night and started the book the next day.
I loved seeing a little bit of Dex and Iris in Kulti. Are there any plans to do books for the secondary characters of Under Locke or Kulti? Maybe a crossover with one of Sal’s friends and one of Dex’s guys from the shop? ;)
You know, that’s not a bad idea! :P At this point, I don’t have any plans for any novels with secondary characters from either novel. My problem is that writing male characters is a really tricky process. It’s easy to fall into a formula for heroes that people love, like with their speech, mannerisms, the way they think and act, etc., and I don’t want to do that. With my male characters in Under Locke, I haven’t come up with something that would make them different from Dex while also making them shine as their own person. But if I ever come up with an idea that I love, I would definitely do it!
Kulti is a slow build romance. I totally loved how they became friends and got to know each other, but it’s not traditional in romance novels. Was that always intentional?
It was 100% on purpose. I love a slow burn and that long process of friends-to-lovers has always, even back in my teens, felt like my calling. For me, it’s the journey not the destination that matters. As a reader, it’s something that I always strive to find in books, and I remember back when I first started reading romance novels as an adult, wondering “How do these people fall in love so fast?” I wanted to see it happen not just be told that it did.
Are there any parts of your stories that are inspired from parts of your life?
There are bits and pieces that I take from the people or relationships I have in my life. There’s a character in my first book Lingus that I wrote with my sister in mind. When I first started writing Under Locke, I had quit my job about a year before and I was at this point where I didn’t know whether to keep writing or quit. Iris’ character at the beginning of the book is at this point where she’s kind of lost with what she wants to do with her life, and I can look back on it now and see that I subconsciously adapted that from my own situation. The friendship and fierce love Sal and her dad share in Kulti is somewhat inspired with my own relationship with my dad, though he’s a toned down version of Mr. Casillas.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing on and off my entire life. My mom has stories I wrote when I was four years old saved somewhere, but it wasn’t until 2011 while at a job that I felt was killing my soul slowly, that my now-husband said “Why don’t you quit and write full-time?”
What do you do while you write? Do you listen to music, watch TV, eat snacks, etc.?
Writing with the television on is my favorite way to get work done. If there’s barbecue chips around while I’m doing it, it’s even better.
Can you tell us 3 surprising things about yourself?
I had a website dedicated to NSYNC fanfiction that I wrote when I was fourteen (let me go hide now), I love reading cheesy romance novels with heroes who have way too much hair on their chests, and though I can’t handle high levels of angst or cheating in novels, at all. It’ll ruin my day.
What’s the last movie you watched and loved?
Dracula Untold; Luke Evans as a vampire… be still my heart.
How about books…what’s the last book you read and loved?
Radiance by Grace Draven
When you’re writing, are you a planner or do you prefer to wing it?
I wing it 95% of the time. I usually just have an idea for who I want my characters to be. I might daydream some scenes I want to write, and then I fill it in as I go along… then rework it over and over until I can live with it.
How did you decide on your characters' names?
If I told you how many hours I spend looking at baby name websites or Wikipedia for surnames from certain countries, you’d think there was something wrong with me. There are Post-It notes with lists of names I’m considering scattered around my house constantly.
How would you sum up the type of books you write? Like a tag-line if you will…
What about… “Love stories for those who have patience and can laugh at a good fart.”
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Every first draft I’ve ever written has given me nightmares. “This is the worst shit ever written ever” has come out of my mouth every time I go over that first manuscript.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
You are never going to make everyone happy. Ever. Taste is one hundred percent subjective, so write what you want to write and let it be something that makes you happy and proud.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. We really appreciate it. We can’t wait to read more from you in the future!
Thank you guys so much!
We're definitely huge fans of this author. To be honest, she can't write fast enough for us. You can't go wrong with one of her books, and she currently has three out:
Lingus by Mariana Zapata
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."
When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.
Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly... even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.
And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.
… she should have chosen the strip club.
Kulti by Mariana Zapata
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”
When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.
It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.
Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.
Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.
Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.
“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”
This was going to be the longest season of her life.
My name is Mariana Zapata.
I'm in my mid-twenties now and I may or may not be gagging as I write that. For some strange reason, life has recently started going into hyper-speed. I've been writing since I was very young and the people who know me best aren't at all surprised to hear about my passion for it.
I obsess over water globes, dogs, soy milk, and a good story—whether that's in a book format or a movie, I don't care.
Simply put, I love life.
And just because we love her so much and we want to share that love with our readers (or one lucky one), we're giving away a copy of Mariana's first book Lingus!
So, all you need to do to enter is comment on this post (any comment will do) and include your email address so we know where to send the book to.*
*Book will be coming from Amazon :)
So, thank you all for joining us today and don't forget to enter the giveaway! You won't want to miss the book!
We also want to give a most sincere thanks to Mariana Zapata for doing an interview with us. She's beyond amazing!