Wednesday, December 03, 2008

GCC Presents: Malena Lott (plus something for you to do)

Today is my birthday, and I can think of no better way than to celebrate with GCC Author Malena Lott, whose new novel Dating da Vinci was recently released (from Publishers Weekly: "Written smartly...satisfying and uplifting"). I met Malena in San Francisco this summer, and she is such a doll. She kindly invited me to guest blog at Athena's Bookshelf last month, and I'm happy to return the favor by featuring her here today.

About the book: Ramona Elise is in a rut—a 36-year-old widowed mother of two, she can’t seem to find what makes her truly happy in life. Making sure her kids are happy isn’t the hard part; Ramona’s looking for the passion she lost two years ago when she lost her husband and her world turned upside down. When a handsome Italian immigrant walks into her English class, Ramona never expects to find la dolce vita (the sweet life) in a younger man—or in her self.

Word Candy describes Dating da Vinci as "a Texas-based hybrid of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Under the Tuscan Sun." Which is a pretty irresistible description. To learn more, visit her website at:

You can also learn a little bit more right here:
1) Now that you are published, what (if anything) have you changed about your writing routine?
I definitely treat my writing as a job. I’m either marketing, writing or editing every day. It’s a commitment I make to myself and my future, but yet I love it so even on the tough days, it’s still better than any other job I can think of!
2) Do you listen to music while you write?
Sometimes. For Dating da Vinci, I was really inspired by the Italian Café CD. The tunes were just so catchy even though I had no idea what they were saying. On the manuscript I just finished writing, I listened to a lot of jazz like Ella Fitzgerald because I wanted a 1940s vibe in the story. But I can write well without anything at all, and sometimes silence (which I rarely get around my house with three kids), truly is bliss.
3) Have you found that as you've developed your writing and story telling skills, you watch movies or read books 'differently?'
Being an author definitely makes me read and watch with a more critical eye, I suppose, but I never let that get in the way of just being the watcher/reader and enjoying the story. Thing is, you know it’s great when you just get swept away in the story and you don’t think at all. Then you reflect on it, and you’re like, “yeah, this and this and this is really what made everything click.”
4) What vacation would be most inspiring to you as a writer?
I can really write anywhere and I’m pretty “tied” to home since I have three young kids, but any new experience adds to your brain file that you can retrieve later for a story. For my fourth novel my characters are traveling, so I’d love to go where they are going. Right now I have them in Mexico visiting the pyramids and the cathedrals and I’m pretty jealous of them.
5) What is one of your strangest / most quirky author experiences?
I really enjoy getting to meet readers so I love author events. I’ve had six events for Dating da Vinci, with one more scheduled for January. One such event was in Woodward, OK where I graduated from high school. My middle sister lives there and after about the third “exuberant/excited” reader had come and gone, my sister looks at me with the strangest look on her face and says, “I don’t get it. Why are they so excited to meet you?” I just had to laugh. To your family, you’re just “you,” you know? The whole author thing is like a different persona, I guess. And it felt a little surreal having to explain to her that some people are thrilled to meet authors, even her own big sis.
Thanks for the interview, Malena! Congrats on the book release; here's to "la dolce vita."
Something for you to do: Tomorrow (Thursday Dec. 4) I will be at my alma mater, UW-Oshkosh, at the University Bookstore at 748 Algoma Blvd in Reeve Union from 5-6:30. It's my last public book signing this year, so if you want a personalized, signed copy of Driving Sideways to give as a gift for the holidays, stop on down!
I'll be back on Friday with a new post, kiddos.


  1. Thanks, Jess. A real joy to be on your site today.

  2. Happy Birthday!

    Wish I lived closer so I could come to the signing!

  3. I sign autographs all the time (ok, their bills, but I am allowed a certain degree of artistic license...sheesh). Good interview.

    And now Jess, I'm calling upon you to help VE in his time of need. You must proceed to his Tue Dec 2nd blog post and fulfill your destiny. The gnomes are waiting...

  4. As my grandpa used to say, "Haaaaaapppyyyyyy Birfffffffff-dayyyy to youuuuuuuu!"

  5. Anonymous6:30 AM


  6. thanks everyone!! :)

  7. Happy Belated Birthday! :)

    That book sounds fun. I've been reading a lot of sad books lately, so this might be right up my alley.