Hi everyone! I'm pleased to welcome author Mitzi Penzes to my blog today for an interview! Mirzi has graciously allowed me to ask her all sorts of questions regarding her writing career and her book - Perfectly Crazy. Let's get started!
RM: Hi Mitzi - I'm so glad you could join us today! My first question is: how has your background, growing up in Hungary and moving to the US, influenced your writing? Did your background as a neurologist influence Perfectly Crazy character Nell?
Mitzi: It had to in several ways. She is obviously someone very similar to me in the respect that she was a medical doctor and became an entrepreneur. I did that, I got criticized in one review that who in their right mind would do that? It is completely unrealistic and in a sense it might be if you went through medical school here and you had to spend hundreds of thousands on your education. I did not, just had to pass an exam to prove my ability to learn the necessary science, but my education was free otherwise in Hungary. Also I love being a business person, despite my love for medicine which is probably obvious on my pages, I loved owning a business which I did for many years. If it had been fashion, even better. I work in labs, not in the fashion business and love it, too. I love writing as well, I think I am just a person who does things with zeal.
RM: Do you model your characters after anyone in particular - perhaps even yourself - or is each character their own person entirely?
Mitzi: Nell's love of Mustangs, fashion and shoes are from me and the medical info in the book comes from my background and my experience when practicing. I also love the locales shown here, I visited them or lived in them and I enjoyed it.
Nell's starting relationship with David is very similar to the circumstances of my mother's. Her second marriage was comfortable yet not too exciting when my dashing and determined dad showed up on the scene and made her chose him. It was unusual, sudden and surprising just like the one in the story. Despite the strange start, their marriage was very happy and lasting.
RM: What got you started on writing - and why romance?
Mitzi: My main character popped into my mind and it just went from there. It flowed and gave me a story to write down. I am very romantic and like loves stories, one of my favorite story is Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. I love happy ending, too so in that sense I am rather like any romance writer.
RM: What do you like most about your writing? What makes your novel unique from other romance novels?
Mitzi: In my stories it will be a lots of love, action and intrigue, some twists and unexpected turns. These are the things I enjoy in life the most and I hope my readers would feel I can portray them the way they just want to see what would be in the next chapter. When I go through my story I see these scenes like a movie, I am a very visual person. Maybe that is why I write about locales I have seen before, it makes it fell more real. On the other hand books are better than movies in a sense that everyone is allowed to picture their own faces for a character whatever they feel would fit the story or their ideals.
RM: If you had one word to describe your 'voice' what would it be?
RM: Can you tell me about the process of writing and publishing your debut novel, Perfectly Crazy?
Mitzi: It was so much fun! I loved to write it and enjoyed working with all the people who published it, it was an amazing experience. The website is not up yet. Hopefully it will be very soon.
I just had Nell as my leading character and she made the story unfold. It was unusual, but very interesting, I had expected the story to be there first, but it was not that way for me.
RM: If you were stuck on an island (yes, I know, the old cliche) what book would you pack and what romance hero would you bring with you?
Mitzi: My favorite book is also a romantic one, written some time ago by the French writer Alexandre Dumas. It is the Count of Monte Cristo, his story of human achievement and winning against all odds is just amazing. Through education he discovers that knowledge is such power it can forge anyone's fate and from the deepest despair he transforms himself to be a very powerful and successful individual ready to take on the world. He does take on the world and serves justice to the deserving and revenge to the ones who harmed him.
My other favorite book is the Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell for obvious reasons. Scarlett O'Hara is a heroine most woman thought emulating with her quick wit, good business sense, her inner strength and infallible instincts except when it comes to her love life. I felt so desperate and disappointed, that she did not return Rhett's love I wanted to shout to her or shake her to realize what a man she is missing. The book is a masterpiece both when it comes to portraying a war and giving an account of a heart wrenching love story ending badly.
So the above two books shaped my life immensely. I wanted to be so powerful as the Count of Monte Cristo and as strong as Scarlett or as resourceful and capable as Rhett Butler. All these characters shaped me in a way maybe a very close friend could have, I related to them, tried to learn their ways and become a little bit like them. I felt they pushed me do things I might not have done otherwise, like emigrating to another country. It is not easy, but I just felt if this is how I feel, I will have to act on my desire. I was fortunate and I am happy with my decision and some of the courage came from these characters from books.
RM: What have your characters, Nell and David, in Perfectly Crazy taught you about life?
Mitzi: That there is more than one way to happiness. I think this story touches upon issues like motherhood, relationships, fertility, illnesses and its effect on families. I just want everyone to muse about these subjects and draw their own conclusions maybe different ones than my characters and still a good one for themselves. Not everyone is the same we all have our personalities, me and Nell were going through one story line maybe some of my readers would go on a different one, but the fact that they speculated about these issues are the real asset of the book, I hope.
RM: Are you planning on writing, or currently in the process of writing, any more books? Will they be connected to Nell and David's story?
Mitzi: I have another story half written titled Perfectly Accidental and despite it is not about Nell and David, the main character could be a sister of Nell's, she is very similar in her background, likes dislikes etc. In other words if someone liked my first book, they will like the second one, too. Some others did not think Nell was a likable character, so for them it won't be a good book to read. I loved Nell and her struggling and moving with life's challenges. She is a strong and very educated woman, very independent and successful so I relate to her. My new heroine is just like her, loves to be a business woman and knows what she wants as long as it does not come to love and emotions that are so hard to rationalize sometimes. Even in that she realizes what the right choice would be, but there are circumstances she had to fight. If I will get great success from my first novel, maybe I will write a sequel to Nell's story. Maybe Chelsea has to find a man fitting to her great spirit. I do know a lot about the infertility issues in this book, some first hand, so that was "easy" to me to give a glimpse of. The one thing everyone commented on was the "quickness"of the book, so maybe next time I will give more details of the things in the story.
RM:The Favorites Questionnaire (pick one or the other!)
a) Alpha or Beta hero? Alpha
b) Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Beatles
c) Boxers or Briefs? Briefs
d) Best-friends-to-lovers or Tycoon's-secret-baby? Best-friend-to-lovers
e) Writing or reading? I can't pick!!! Both
f) Roses or Wildflowers? Roses or poppies, again it is impossible to choose...
g) Winter, Summer, Spring, or Fall? Summer
h) Dresses or Sweats/PJs? Dresses!!!
i) Werewolf or Vampire? Neither
j) Smart, but plain, heroine or knock-out ditz? Knock-out for sure!!
I'd like to thank Mitzi once again for stopping by today to share a little bit of her experiences with us! Don't forget to check out Mitzi's debut novel: Perfectly Crazy!