Friday, April 25, 2008

Guest Author: Megan DiMaria

Megan DiMaria's debut novel is fantastic!! I finished it quickly, devouring every yummy word. I highly recommend it. I loved her voice, that she wrote in first person, and her topic. But just when you think this book is about simple things, you dive headfirst into life's deeper issues. Great job, Megan!

On Monday night, I'll have a drawing for a free copy of the book. Leave a message and your name will be entered! Check back on Tuesday morning for the winner's name.

I've chosen the winner's name---check the comments to learn who won!!

Tell us a little about your book.

Searching for Spice, my debut novel, tells the story of Linda Revere, a married woman who wants to have an affair—with her husband of nearly 25 years. Of course life isn’t scripted, and nothing goes according to plan.

How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific 'what if' moment?

Searching for Spice was written as a response to a running joke I had with some girlfriends. You know, despite being long married, women still want romance in their lives. God hard wired us to crave closeness and a special connection with the men we love. Unfortunately, some times we need to remind them of that. - grin -

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel?

Life is hard, and that’s a reality that must be accepted. We shouldn’t be caught off guard when we hit a bump in the road. The message I hope readers gain from Searching for Spice is to know you can trust God despite what your circumstances look like. That was a lesson I had to learn during a difficult valley I walked through. At the time it looked like nothing good could come of that situation, but now I see the hand of God guided me. Equally important to me is the message that marriage is valuable and precious and should not be lightly regarded. Another message I hope readers grasp is that friendship is priceless, and we should cherish the people in our lives.

How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

My observations influenced my characters more than my own experiences. However, as far as the setting of Searching for Spice, anyone familiar with suburban Denver will recognize certain areas and establishments. My favorite local restaurant is in the book, but it’s called the Gray Pony Inn. I’ve worked in two different photo studios and trained in a handful more. Dream Photography is 100% a figment of my imagination, and the references within the studio are industry-generic. In some ways I think we’re all a little like my character Linda. In our hearts we truly want to trust the Lord, but when difficulties arise we sometimes run ahead of our faith and try to “fix” things on our own. I’ve been told by some close friends that they believe my internal dialogue is similar to some of the things Linda thinks, although I’ve been told by many women my age that Linda’s internal dialogue is similar to the way they think as well.

What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I think the hardest parts to write were the ones that traveled toward deep emotions. I am too sympathetic toward the pain of others, and even though my characters are fictional, I felt sorry for the pain and trials they faced. My favorite parts of the story to write were the moments when Linda and Jerry really connected with one another.

What one bit of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write regularly, read regularly, join a writers group or two, hang out with writers, have your work critiqued and attend conferences if you can. I confess, many times in my writing journey I was tempted to throw in the towel. But the moral of the story is, don’t give up. Hold on to your dreams. Press on. Trust God.

Where do you write?

I write on a laptop, so I can pretty much go wherever I want. If the weather’s nice, 90% of the time I’m sitting outside on my shady patio. Inside, I bounce between the kitchen, living room, dining room and my bed. I’ve been known to write in a local tea cafĂ©, Panera Bread and my all-time favorite quirky place, Grease Monkey.

What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

I wish I would have joined the community of writers sooner. I wrote for a few years before I even met another author. I think part of the problem was that I was timid about publicly acknowledging that I was a writer. I was afraid people would laugh or ask, “Who do you think you are?” It almost seemed too lofty a goal for me. But after I started hanging out with other aspiring writers, I began to believe that I could reach my goal of being a published author. I think it really helps your career to spend time with other writers. They are a tremendous source of encouragement, education and support.

Tell us what we have to look forward to in the future. What new projects are you working on?

My next book, Out of Her Hands, is scheduled to release this October. Out of Her Hands has the same characters as Searching for Spice, but the focus is more on the relationships Linda and Jerry have with their children. Like many parents of young adults, the Reveres want their children to be careful about making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. As usual, there is always more than one situation clamouring for Linda’s attention. They’re helping Jerry’s father get on with life after he’s widowed, Linda’s best friend is moving out of state, and then their son decides he’s falling in love, but the object of his affection doesn’t share his Christian values.

Ooh, I'm looking forward to reading your next book! Readers, just an FYI--Megan's name is pronounced with a long "e" sound.

Here's a bit more about her:

Megan DiMaria received her B.A. degree in Communications, with a specialization in Mass Media from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She has been a radio and television reporter, a Web content editor, a contributing writer for local newspapers and has worked for a weekly newspaper. Megan has sold magazine articles locally and nationally. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since January 2001, is a member of HIS Writers (Denver branch of ACFW) and is assistant director of Words for the Journey Rocky Mountain Region, a Denver-area writers group. She is an alumnus of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and the Glen Eyrie Writers Conference.

In her day job, she works in the marketing department of an upscale Denver portrait photography studio. She is also a freelance writer, crafting magazine articles and advertising copy. Her second novel, Out of Her Hands, will release from Tyndale in October 2008.

Megan and her husband Carl currently live in suburban Denver near their three adult children. They often travel back to their roots in Long Island, NY to visit family and get their fill of delicious Italian food.

To learn more about Megan and her books, visit her website at or for more interactive information, stop by her blog at

Thank you, Megan, for visiting today! It's been a pleasure hosting you.

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Searching for Spice her wonderful new book.


ChristyJan said...

Wonderful interview.
This sounds like such a fun book ~ please enter me to win a copy.

ChristyJan said...

Meagan's debut novel sounds like a great read!

Jan Parrish said...

Annette, what a wonderful review and warm interview. I'm linking you to my site as well. Have a fab weekend. :)

Annette M. Irby said...

Hi readers, thanks for stopping by. I was away from the computer all weekend. ChristyJan, I'll enter you once into the contest, but I published both your comments. :) Thanks, Jan, for linking us. I hope you both had a great weekend!


Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks for the kind words. I hope you'll all enjoy reading Searching for Spice as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thanks for hosting me, Annette.

A prisoner of hope,

Annette M. Irby said...

I've chosen the winner! It's... drum roll please... Jan Parrish!

Jan, please contact me at

annette [at] annetteirby [dot] com

with your mail info and I'll pass it along to Megan for your free copy!

Congratulations and thanks for reading!

All the best, Annette

Annette M. Irby said...

Megan, thanks so much for visiting and sharing about your book! God bless you in your future endeavors for Him.

:) Annette