Author Interview: Margarita Montimore, Author Of “Acts Of Violet” and “Oona Out Of Order”

Hello Readers!

Today I am coming at you with a VERY special post… and probably one of my favorite posts I’ll ever write! I’ve been working with Flatiron Books for the last year and was offered an ARC of Margarita Montimore’s new book, Acts of Violet. I quite literally jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on this release early. For those of you who don’t know, I adored her last book, Oona Out Of Order, and named it one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a captivating tale of Oona Lockhart who begins to live her life, one year at a time, out of order. On each birthday, she randomly jumps to a new age, going from 36 to 25 to 68 and so on. The only memories she has are those that she lived through and it left to fill in the gaps as so goes. It’s charming, filled with heart and so much personality – it’s impossible to not fall in love with the characters! Montimore is back with a new release, Acts of Violet, about a famous magician who performs the greatest trick of all time, making herself disappear.

I had the chance to chat with the lovely Margarita Montimore about her life, her books and everything in between! Without further ado, onto the interview!

Mr Geek: Margarita, thank you SO much for sitting down to chat with me – I’m excited to feature you on my blog! I can’t wait to talk to you about Oona and Acts of Violet but first, let’s start off with these crazy last 2 years. The pandemic was a life-changing event for all of us.  What did you do to help keep yourself occupied and sane during the lockdown?

Montimore: I took the dog on lots of hikes, hung out with my husband, watched a ton of TV and listened to many podcasts, crocheted, played video games, and kept in touch with friends via phone and occasional video chats. Reading was a challenge during that time, but I still made an effort to get lost in books as much as possible. But what helped keep me busy and sane most of all was researching and writing a new novel, one about a famous magician…

Mr Geek: I also had a bit of a hard time reading during the pandemic, it really was an ebb and flow. There were times I barely read and others that I couldn’t stop! I’m excited to talk more about your new novel, Acts of Violet, and this famous magician but let’s chit-chat a little longer, shall we? You mentioned watching a lot of TV during the pandemic, any TV show or movie recommendations?

Montimore: Movie-wise, I recently saw Everything Everywhere All At Once and was utterly blown away—it’s the best movie I’ve seen in at least a decade. I don’t think I’ve been affected this deeply by a film since I first saw Amelie. As for TV, Severance is hands down the best show I’ve seen all year. I’m also a big fan of Euphoria and Succession, and rewatching The OA, one of my all-time faves, always inspires me. And I have to have occasional Dateline binges from time to time – for me, that’s the true crime gold standard, and Keith Morrison’s fabulous narration is unlike anything else.

Mr Geek: A friend of mine wanted to see Everything Everywhere All At Once and we couldn’t find it in a local theater. I also actually just started Euphoria, I’m only a couple episodes in so far but Zendaya is quite the actress!

Montimore: Isn’t she incredible? My husband and I have a running bet of who we think will win an Oscar first, her or Julia Garner – they’re both phenomenal actresses, but I think Zendaya has the edge, only because she’s been doing more film work.

Mr Geek: Ironically enough, a friend of mine just recommended I started Severance this past weekend – that has officially been added to my to-watch list as well! Speaking of the big and small screen, I love when books are adapted into either TV shows or movies. Would you ever want to see that for Oona Out Of Order or Acts Of Violet?

Montimore: I would love to see it adapted for television, and fortunately Amazon Studios is in the midst of doing just that. It’s been fascinating getting a peek into the development process and to interact with talented people who have brought high quality projects to the screen.

Mr Geek: This is INCREDIBLE news! I will absolutely be keeping my eyes peeled for more release details and will most likely be bingeing the entire season the weekend it comes out! Staying on the theme of your books, I’ll never forget the day I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw it sitting on the shelf – the cover immediately caught my attention and as soon as I read the synopsis, I was sold. I absolutely adored that book and it was one of my favorite reads of 2020!

Montimore: Thank you, that means a lot to me.

Mr Geek: I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true! Oona is filled with so many anecdotes, life lessons and meaningful quotes.  One of my personal favorites was “All good things end, always. The trick is to enjoy them while they last.”  Talk to me a little bit about what this quote means to you.

Montimore: The biggest lesson I learned while writing Oona was the importance of living in the moment. I’m a very nostalgic person, so it’s easy for me to slip into memories of the past, or to become preoccupied in planning for the future, but I’ve been making a more concerted effort to be present and appreciate each day for what it is. It’s such a simple thing, but it makes a significant positive impact on my sense of well-being.

Mr Geek: Hearing your explanation of that quote makes me love it even more – probably because I also tend to be a bit on the nostalgic side! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in past, or even the future, that you lose sight of what’s happening right in front of you. The present is where the magic happens and magic is the perfect segue for us to start discussing Acts Of Violet! I just finished reading Acts Of Violet and I absolutely loved it!  Acts of Violet is your upcoming release about the Volkov sisters, Sasha and Violet.  Violet is a famous magician who disappears during one of her stage performances and is never seen from again while Sasha is left behind to pick up the pieces.  The characters were fun, well developed and relatable.  Would you say that you’re more like Sasha or Violet?

Montimore: I think there’s a part of myself in every character I write, but I also strive to make sure my characters don’t resemble me too closely, so that they can develop in interesting ways. The quality in Violet I relate to most is her desire to inspire and uplift people through her creative work. I also share Violet’s embrace of synchronicities and penchant for magical thinking. When I was growing up, I did dream about having a big glamorous life like Violet’s, but now such an existence strikes me as exhausting and lonely. Which makes me lean more toward Sasha in some ways. I can relate to her devotion to her husband and child—though in my case, it’s husband and dog—and her contentment at living a low-key suburban life.

Mr Geek: I love that you incorporate bits and pieces of yourself into your characters but also give them room to be their own unique individuals! Plus, this give your readers a chance to also see themselves reflected back in the characters too – what an awesome approach! I’ve always loved reading from multiple perspectives and Acts Of Violet is told using several different writing formats: Podcast Interviews, Newspaper / Magazine Articles, Emails and Hand-Written Letters in addition to your classic chapter format.  This was such an interesting mechanic and each format had a unique voice.  What made you want to tell Violet’s story this way?

Montimore: Violet was always going to be this intriguing, unknowable persona, where the only way you could get a sense of who she was would be by collecting all these different accounts from people who knew her, whether in a personal or professional capacity. Plus, after listening to tons of podcasts, I thought that specific format would lend itself well to unfolding parts of the mystery, of who she was and what may have happened to her. Personally, I love stories that use a variety of narrative techniques, which offer a way to show multiple perspectives while creating an immersive reading experience. I hoped writing Acts of Violet would offer readers the same sort of experience. At the same time, I wanted to include narrative chapters from Sasha’s point of view to give the story more cohesion and reflect her more grounded character.

Mr Geek: To be honest, I had a tough time picking out which style I liked the best! I loved Sasha’s chapters, hearing what was happening in present day and how everything was unfolding but I also really liked the Podcast chapters which helped build out Violet’s backstory! Your writing flowed so effortlessly and I want to talk a little more about the multiple writing formats for another minute.  Each style was used to convey a very specific part of the story – how did you go about plotting out when to use each writing style?  Did you have to go back and rearrange those different parts to help the story flow?

Montimore: My plotting happens more instinctually, so while Sasha’s chapters flowed, for the most part, chronologically, I wrote some of the other media elements as they came to me. There was definitely some rearranging of articles and podcast episodes. I even had a giant “crazy wall” in my office to inspire me and help me keep track of the different sections and timelines as I went along. Here’s a peek at part of it!

Mr Geek: This vision board is INCREDIBLE! Having read the book, I can see several elements that you had mapped out and included in Acts Of Violets. It’s really awesome to see things all come together the way they did! The picture towards the bottom, Vanish, actually inspired my next question. Oona Out Of Order and Acts Of Violet are very different and unique stories that both include a little sci-fi magic!  How would you say these books are similar and how would you say they are different?

Montimore: Great question! I do like to play around with magical/surreal elements in my stories. I would say with Oona Out of Order, you know pretty much from the start that the story contains time travel, whereas with Acts of Violet, there’s more ambiguity about the strange forces at play. Both books are similar in that they feature protagonists dealing with loss and complicated family dynamics. They’re also similar in that they ask the reader to accept a world that is a bit off-kilter without reason—the cause for Oona’s time travel “sickness” is intentionally undisclosed and some of the magic in Acts of Violet remains shrouded in mystery, also intentionally. While I like to provide a satisfying overall story experience, I think it’s important to leave some question marks hanging for the readers to puzzle out. I like to think that helps keep the story and characters alive in their minds, wondering about certain aspects instead of knowing everything conclusively.

Mr Geek: I think that’s what I love the most about your stories – you are able to seamlessly incorporate these magical moments into mundane, everyday life! It really makes me look for the spark in my day to day! Margarita, thank you SO much for taking the time to hang out and chat with me!  Any parting words for my readers?

Montimore: Thank you for having me! I wrote Acts of Violet during lockdown, and it helped bring a little more magic into my life. I hope it has the same effect on readers.

This was such an incredible experience for me and I hope you also enjoyed reading along! Margarita is such an awesome person and I’d like to thank her again for taking the time to do this interview. Her new book, Acts of Violet, is available for preorder and will be released on July 5, 2022 everywhere books are sold (like here). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it definitely added a little magic to my life!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Once Upon A Broken Heart Author Q & A with Stephanie Garber!

Hello readers!

I am coming at you today with a VERY special blog post. A little over a month ago, I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a Blog Tour to support Stephanie Garber’s upcoming release, Once Upon A Broken Heart. After taking a few minutes to contain my excitement, I quickly replied to the email from Flatiron that I would love to participate! In addition to receiving an ARC of Once Upon A Broken Heart, which I just finished moments before writing this post and freaking loved, several participating bloggers (including yours truly) were asked to submit questions for a Q & A with Stephanie.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Once Upon A Broken Heart, here’s a quick synopsis to catch you up:

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another. 

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

So, without further ado, lets dive into the questions (I’ve also linked to the other blogs down below in case you’d like to check them out as well)!

We know the Prince of Hearts, Jacks, plays a leading role in Once Upon A Broken Heart. Can readers expect any other familiar faces from the Caraval series? 

www.TreatYoShelf.blog

Stephanie: I usually try not to answer this question — I like it when people don’t know what to expect. So, I won’t say if there will be any other familiar faces in Once Upon A Broken Heart. But I will say that readers might meet one or two characters who were mentioned in the Caraval series but didn’t actually get any page time. 

Why do you love Evangeline and the Prince of Hearts and why should readers root for them?

www.ElevenThirteenPM.com

Stephanie: This is such a funny question, and I feel as if I shouldn’t confess the answer to this because I actually wrote Once Upon A Broken Heart with the hope that readers would feel as if Evangeline should run far away from Jacks, but at the same time really want them to kiss each other. 

I love Jacks because he’s pretty much the worst. He says terrible things and he does terrible things—which is why Evangeline should stay away from him. However, I love Evangeline because she’s such an optimist—I love that she believes in love at first sight and happily ever after, and even though she should probably run away from Jacks, I think she’s just the type of girl he needs in his life. 

Your books always read like fairytales (at least for me)! What are your favorite fairytales?

www.AlexaLovesBooks.com

Stephanie: Thank you so much! I love fairytales and I have so many favorites. My very favorite is anything that’s Beauty and the Beast inspired. I love stories that involve truly unlikeable beast-like characters changing as they fall in love, and I’m always sucker for the kidnapped/captive girl trope. 

If you could be transported into the world of ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART, what kind of character do you think you would be and would you be easily swayed to make a deal with a Fate?

www.ACourtofCoffeeandBooks.com

Stephanie: Ooh, this is such a fun question. I want to say that I’d make a deal with a Fate because I think it would be interesting and exciting. But, I probably wouldn’t actually make a deal with a Fate because I know it never ends well. I’d most likely stay away from all things Fate and spend time seeing the wonders of the Magnificent North. I’d eat dragon roasted apples, hunt for enchanted books, look for mermaids in the ocean, and hopefully get in a little magical trouble, but not the kind that involves Fates.

Which one of your characters do you relate to the most and why? Are there pieces of yourself in both Evangeline and Jacks?

www.MermaidReadsBookBlog.wordpress.com

Stephanie: There are always pieces of me in my heroines. I think Evangeline has a lot of my positivity and my optimism. I’m hopefully not like Jacks, but I will admit that I do relate to his character. I tend to hold onto things from the past, especially heartbreak, which is something that I have in common with the Prince of Hearts. 

Well there you have it friends! Hopefully this Q & A helped satisfy your excitement (or maybe it just fanned the flame) for Once Upon A Broken Heart! I want to give a HUGE shoutout and thank you to Flatiron Books for including me in this Blog Tour and to Stephanie Garber for taking the time to answer the questions user in this Q & A. Stay tuned for my full, spoiler-free, review coming to Treat Yo Shelf later this week!

As a reminder, Once Upon A Broken Heart is out September 28th, 2021 and is currently available for preorder!

Until We Meet Again,
Mr Geek

Author Spotlight: Christopher Moore

I have been an avid Christopher Moore fan for years! Back when I was in college, I had a friend who worked at Borders (RIP) and stumbled upon one of Moore’s books, Lamb, during her shift. After she read the book, she immediately recommended it to me. The plot sounded interesting, so I ran out and picked up a copy. From the first few pages, I loved the witty, zany, engaging writing style and knew this wasn’t going to be my last Christopher Moore book.

After I finished Lamb, I started to branch out into Moore’s other works. His writing style is effortless and so easy to connect with. The tales are lighthearted and will have you laughing out loud as you ravenously consume each book. If you’re looking for a nice distraction to help lighten you up (especially given the current state of the world), his books are the comical oasis you’re looking for! To this day, I haven’t read one of his books that I didn’t like (and I’ve read almost all of them). Have a liked some more than others? Of course, but that’s only to be expected!

Personally, I love reading a story that’s told from multiple perspectives and Moore has nearly perfected this writing mechanic (in a couple different ways). In his “Pine Cove” “series” (I say “series” because the books aren’t really connected but do take place in the same location; These books are: Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and The Stupidest Angel), the perspective continuously alternates between characters. I love how each character has their own distinct/unique voice and you can clearly tell who’s perspective you’re reading from. Additionally, while almost all of Moore’s books are standalone, sometimes characters will make cameos in other stories. I love these little “easter eggs” and am always on the look out while reading!

Hopefully by this point, I’ve piqued your interest and you’re looking to pick up one of Moore’s books but, with so many options, where do you begin? Have no fear, I’m here to help! Like I previously mentioned, most of Moore’s books are standalone, so you can go into each book fresh and the story resolves by the end. Below are a few short Amazon summaries for some of my favorites and I’ve also included a link to his Amazon author page here, if you’d like to check out all of his works:

Blood Sucking Fiends

Jody never asked to become a vampire. But when she wakes up under an alley Dumpster with a badly burned arm, an aching back, superhuman strength, and a distinctly Nosferatuan thirst, she realizes the decision has been made for her.

Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that’s where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night-clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door…and proceeds to rock Tommy’s life—and afterlife—in ways he never thought possible.

**Bloodsucking Fiends is probably my favorite and also has a couple of sequels (You Suck #2 / Bite Me #3); This is one of the few series Moore has written

Island of the Sequenced Love Nun

Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Practical Demonkeeping

In Christopher Moore’s ingenious debut novel, we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old ex-seminarian and “roads” scholar Travis O’Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the fake Tudor façade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of his toothy traveling companion. The winos, neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose.

I hope this post inspires you to give one of Christopher Moore’s books a try! If you do, please consider using the affiliate links in this post, I’ll get a small commission (to keep my blog running) and the prices match going to Amazon directly! If you have any questions about the books, are also a big Christopher Moore fan or just want to say hello – leave me a comment! I’m always up for some book talk!

Until Next Time,
Mr Geek