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, a middle grade series, is published in Woman’s World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and has a children’s book published. You can visit her website at http://misaramirez.com and her blog at www.chasingheroes.com. Connect with her at Twitter at http://twitter.com/misaramirez and http://twitter.com/chasingheroes or Facebook at http://facebook.com/misaramirez.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Misa. Can you tell us what your latest book, Hasta la Vista, Lola!, is all about?
Hasta la Vista, Lola! is the 2nd book in the Lola Cruz Mystery Series. The first, Living the Vida Lola, came out last January. I’m working on the third book, Bare Naked Lola. The series follows Dolores (Lola for short) Cruz as she solves crimes and struggles to balance life and her culture as an American woman.
Hasta la Vista, Lola! deals with one of America’s most prevalent crimes: identity theft. It’s Lola’s identity that’s been stolen, and when the woman who stole it turns up dead, Lola has to discover which one of them was the intended victim.
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
This is the second book in the series. Hasta la Vista, Lola! came much faster than Living the Vida Lola. My children were older, and though I was still teaching, not having an infant made it a lot easier to write! Plus I know the characters so much better now that I understand them, know how they’ll react and what they’ll do in certain situations. That definitely makes the writing a more fluid process.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
I have so much fun writing the Lola books that I barely consider it work! That’s not to say there aren’t challenges; there are. But I wouldn’t say they’re ever overwhelming or difficult beyond reason.
I don’t usually get ‘writer’s block’, but if I do I spend a lot of tiem mulling things over. I just think and think and think! I used to walk, but just had knee surgery, so no more walking! I’m going to start bike riding after my recovery, so that will be my outlet and thinking time. The writing process is different for everyone. For me it does not come quickly. I have to really work through problems, and often end up changing key elements along the way as I discover new or better plot points.
The wonderful thing about Lola Cruz Mysteries is that I now know Lola so well that she comes quite easily. I like to say that she’s my alter ego (if I were a sexy, sassy, Latina private eye!).
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
When I received my first fan email, it was such a thrill! To know that someone (who I don’t know) loved my book enough to email me and tell me so was astounding. The response to Living the Vida Lola has been wonderful, though it takes time to build a series. I anticipate that fans of the first book will absolutely love Hasta la Vista, Lola!
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
Once my kids are off to school, I make my own version of a mocha and head through the backyard to the office. That’s where the magic happens! I waste too much time with emails and such, but when I get into the zone, it comes quickly and I just love it!
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
Of course I love to read. Go out with my friends, the Margarita Mamas, to unwind with our favorite drink. Spend time with my kids and husband. Watch Project Runway. And Supernatural. Yoga. LOVE yoga, though I’m waiting for my knee to heal right now.
Q: What book changed your life?
Probably Gone With the Wind. That’s the first book that I got so wrapped up in that everything else went by the wayside. I was in high school and read every waking moment until I’d devoured it.
As an adult, I felt that way about The Joy Luck Club. The relationships in the book struck a chord with me that I still treasure.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
Ha! Some Kind of Ordinary. My life is nothing thrilling! Though my mother would call it Pioneer Woman of the 21st Century because I’m a go-getter and a doer. I’ll tackle almost anything (with the possible exception of dealing with snakes).
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
Oh, wow, that’s tough! I don’t think I have many bits of myself hidden away. What you see is what you get, so I think people pretty much understand me.
I guess, if I absolutely MUST answer, I’d say that I wish people would understand that my motivation is usually centered around my convictions, what I believe to be right and best for whoever or whatever is at stake. I’ve learned over the years that I have to be willing to stand up for what I believe. It’s been a hard lesson at times, but one that is worth learning and putting into practice.
Thank you for this interview Misa. I wish you much success on your latest release, Hasta la Vista, Lola!