Paperback Writer introduces the Candice Coffee, author of the literary fiction novel, Mariposa and she joins us for a look at her talks about her book on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.
About the Book:
A spiritual, intellectual, brave young woman creates the life of her dreams, only to be deeply disappointed by its inability to sustain her.The setting of Mariposa is 1920s and 1930s West Texas, Los Angeles, and Mexico. The theme is that of a spiritual quest – a young woman’s desire to feel the magic she believes exists in connections to nature, to people. Deep down, she feels that fulfillment of spiritual longing, the ultimate mystical experience, is found within a connection to the “other.” The other for Annarose – an Anglo woman from rural 1920s Texas – is a Mexican man. Along the way, the story illuminates the perils of prejudice as well as the intimate, yet treacherous bond that exists between Anglo and Mexican people who live side by side near the border.
Welcome to Paperback Writer
Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?
I spent my childhood summers and holidays with my grandparents, in an old, isolated home on a bluff overlooking the Concho River in West Texas. I knew as a child that I would someday want to write about this house and the wilderness surrounding it. Later, after I’d lived in Los Angeles for many years, I began to yearn for magic, and I felt that time spent in Mexico would give it to me. After that trip and a relationship with a Mexican artist I met there, I found that I really wanted to combine the story of the house in West Texas with my feelings about the treacherous yet intimate bond that exists between Anglos and Mexicans in that part of the world. Most of all I wished to explore the need to connect that we all have and what that means for our lives and our happiness.
Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
I write an outline that is made up of chapters and any ideas, images or words that may fit into the chapter. Then I glance at the outline every now and then as I write, and I allow the story to tell itself to me. Part of the story will stay true to the outline, and new people and experiences appear as well.
Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?
Yes, I do always know the end of the story at the beginning.
Do you have a process for developing your characters?
I feel them out, within myself, first. I literally sense their character and personality. Then I discern what they look like. Finally, I discover what their work is, who their family and friends are. I use words like “feel, sense, discern, and discover” because I believe that stories already exist somewhere, and all I have to do is listen for the information being given to me.
It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?
My favorite word in the English language and favorite activity in the world is to explore. My characters are explorers, one way or another, both in the inner and outer realms of life.
What is your most favorite part about this book?
The romantic, mysterious, magical mood of the book. It was written with a motive. The idea is for the reader to enter the world of Mariposa in such a way as to lose awareness of the mundane world. To be taken away.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
I began to look for an agent after the first re-write.
What struggles have you had on the road to being published?
I spent 2-3 years each with three big NYC agents, who professed great love for my book and promised to represent me if I would just “tweak” parts of it. In each case, after several re-writes, the book was dropped. It always amazed me because in the beginning the agent would tell me that the book was near perfect. I now believe that it is wise to do one re-write for an agent, and if they aren’t happy, then walk away. When they haven’t paid for the project, they will endlessly continue to find flaws.
What has been the best part about being published?
It is wonderful to hold my book in my hands.
What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel? Spiritual principles are subtly interspersed throughout the story. One principle is that genuine acceptance of life, “as it is,” will open the door to spiritual expansiveness. Thirteen principles in all are placed in the book, and I would like readers to find them and ponder their meaning.
Do you have plans to write another book?
I have begun to write a children’s book about animals. I would like to write more about animals, both domestic and wild.
Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?
My experience has been quite positive. Ms. Thompson is professional, responsive, and successful in her efforts to promote books online.
Where can readers find a copy of your book?
My book is listed at Amazon.com and many other online booksellers. It can also be found at www.behlerpublications.com.
Do you have a website for readers to go to?
My website is www.candiscoffee.com.
Thank you, Candis, for sharing your book and characters with us today. It has been a pleasure and I hope you have had a successful virtual book tour.
MARIPOSA VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on June 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Candis’ tour in progress, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in June. Leave a comment on their blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of their tour! One lucky winner will be announced on June 30!