Clare Davidson

Writing without compromise

Broken Bargain pre-release tour - Spotlight on Monica La Porta

tour_banner_v2To kick off the tour, I’m welcoming Monica La Porta to my blog. Monica is the author of the Ginecean Chronicles and children’s illustrated book, The Prince’s Day Out. As well as being a talented and evocative writer, Monica is also a wonderful artist. Yes, I’m jealous.

Thank you so much for having me and for the great compliments, Clare! You just made me blush.

1. Monica, congratulations on the release of Marie’s Journey. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Marie’s Journey is the fourth title in the Ginecean Chronicles, but it can be read by itself. Chronologically, the events depicted in the story take place between The Priest and Pax in the Land of Women. My original intention was to explain what happens between the last two chapters in The Priest. Several readers asked me to write about the war ensuing in the City of Men during those two chapters, and I decided to have Marie—a fathered woman who first appears in Pax in the Land of Women—narrating that story. As it often happens with my writing, my characters take the reins of the narration, and Marie didn’t want to follow the direction I had envisioned. The book that was supposed to be named The City of Men soon became Journey to the City of Men, and finally Marie’s Journey.

2. Marie’s Journey is the first of the Ginecean Chronicles to be pitched at a young adult audience. What made you decide to write for a teen audience?

Again, the character decided for me. Marie is one of the women who help Pax the most, in Pax in the Land of Women and Prince at War. She is strong and because of her inner strength emanates calm. I liked the idea of exploring how she had become the adult Pax meets and respects. At the end of the Ginecean series, she has the right age to be a teenager when the City of Men is battling a social upheaval, and this is how I ended writing a YA novel. In Marie’s Journey, Marie is fifteen and she has all her life ahead. As a fathered woman, she already knows her life will be one of servitude, and she doesn’t expect to have her small world destroyed in the blink of an eye. Writing YA is fun because it allows the author to see a character mature through hardship and become a more interesting and rounded individual.

3. How did you come up with the setting for the Ginecean Chronicles?

When I first started writing Pax in the Land of Women—which although is the second in the series, it is the first I wrote—I wanted to talk about social injustices and the power of love that conquers all, but from a different point of view. The Ginecean Chronicles’ setting is a mirror image of our society. On Ginecea, women rule over a race of enslaved men, and heterosexual affection is deemed as sinful and perverted.

4. Will there be more books set in this world?

The Ginecean Chronicles series was meant as a trilogy. Now there is a fourth book… and I still have to write what happens during the last two chapters in The Priest. I am working on a different project now, but never say never.

5. The cover art for all of the Ginecean Chronicles is very striking. Who does your covers? How much input do you get into the design process?

All the covers for The Ginecean Chronicles’ published books are Alessandro Fiorini’s. He is a talented artist I am lucky enough to count among my closest friends. He lives in Italy and, thanks to Skype, we could work together on the covers. He shared his desktop with me and I could see what he was doing and give my input. A fun experience.

6. Did you ever consider designing your own covers for the Ginecean Chronicles?

I never thought I had the necessary skills to create them on my own. Although, just recently, Alessandro has started a new and exciting career and he doesn’t have time to work on my covers anymore. So, I have been studying Expression Design 4 and Gimp to create my own covers from now on, and I did remake from scratch the covers for Elios and Gaia because there were a few problems with the overall art composition. I posted some of my most recent “homework” on my blog. And this is the cover my husband made for The Ginecean Chronicles omnibus. I chose the art and worked on the images, and I think he did a great job in matching the typeface and composition with the other covers in the series.

7. Who are your favourite authors? Why?

I have so many favorite authors it is difficult to name just a few, but Ray Bradbury, Allan Poe, Isaac Asimov, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sharon Shinn are among the ones I like the most. All of them have in common an elegant style and the power to build evocative new worlds, even when they write about our own.

8. Please tell us a little bit about your paintings and where we can see them online. Oh, and tell us about the pumpkins, which were amazing.

Painting relaxes me. When I was a kid, I used to fill pages with sketching, then I discovered watercolors, acrylics, and nowadays I mostly do digital painting. When I am stressed or I need a break from writing and editing, I paint. I discovered that the darkest my writing is, the lightest my painting becomes. I like to work on colorful and whimsical landscapes full of nonsensical details. I also like to paint three-dimensional objects and I have a few of them around the house. Those are real eggs Christmas ornaments I make with a homemade clay (cold porcelain) which I paint with acrylics.

zucche-2013My painted pumpkins are a tradition that started soon after I moved to the USA, fourteen years ago. It was Halloween and we went with the kids to a harvest event where we were given real pumpkins and acrylic colors to do some craft. I spent more than an hour painting a big one I later brought home only to see it rot before my eyes. Next Halloween, I bought several foam pumpkins in different shapes and sizes and a whole set of acrylic colors. I have been painting foam pumpkins ever since. This year’s batch was quite colorful.

Thank you so much for joining in the Broken Bargain pre-release tour, Monica.

Pensosa seppiaConnect with Monica:
Facebook - The Ginecean Chronicles
Facebook - The Prince's Day Out

Monica is kindly giving away an ebook copy of Marie's Journey. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Monica will reveal the winner tomorrow, on her blog, where she'll be hosting debut novelist Jennette Mbewe.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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