Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#MMBBR #Showcase From A to Zoe: A Chick lit Mystery by Marie-Jo Fortis


Zoe Zimmerman wants a new start. So she does the logical thing: she moves to New York City. But when a man from her past finds her—and a lump in her breast—Zoe realizes that troubles can follow you no matter where you go and that you have to roll with the punches. 

Thankfully, Zoe knows how to do just that. When she finds a rat in her new apartment, she doesn’t freak out—she figures out that he prefers Swiss cheese to mozzarella. And when the woman who offered her a job dies suddenly and Zoe finds herself a suspect in the murder investigation, she vows to frame whoever is trying to frame her. 

With humor and spunk, "From A to Zoe" chronicles the adventures of one woman just trying to make it in New York. Whether she’s taking a taxi-driving lover from Guadeloupe, battling cancer, or solving the murder she’s being blamed for, Zoe doesn’t back down from the opportunities or challenges of modern life. 

Take the mystery-solving pluckiness of Janet Evanovich’s characters, add a good dose of David-Sedaris-style humor, and you get Zoe Zimmerman, one of the most memorable personalities out there.


Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  It varies. With Chainsaw Jane (first of a series)it was a woman I knew who used a chainsaw. So the title was the starting point. WithFrom A to Zoe, anger was the trigger. Living in small town after studying in Paris, feeling there was no way out, brought deep frustrations. I have overcome these, but Zoe came out of all that. She seeks liberation. But, on the way, she falls on her butt quite a few times. So comedy intervenes, to transcend that anger.
          About Emily, the novel I am revising now, came to me in a dream. That was quite a gift. So I followed the dictates of that dream, so to speak. And in Making Your Bones, the new Chainsaw Jane, I was inspired by a bone collector, and a childhood obsession. For a long time, I was convinced I had a sister that my parents were hiding from me in some clinic. So there is a bone collector and a strange woman obsessed with a real or imaginary sister in this mystery in progress.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A.   The freedom to create, the exploring of one’s imagination. There is nothing like it. It beats any type of hallucinogen.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  The practical part is the toughest. Marketing. Finding readership. Actually getting in touch with that practical self when a writer/artist is, by nature, more of an idealist.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. Well, that would mean no more oxygen for me. Writing=breathing for me. But seriously, I also paint. So were I not a writer, I would be a starving artist somewhere. I am also getting better at the guitar, playing flamenco. So, although this seems pretty farfetched, should some dictator prevent me from writing or painting, I would spend my days exploring the world of music.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Actually this is something I am thinking of writing as well. A memoir. On the Ledge is a title I am considering. Why? Because, when I was about four/five years old, I sat on the ledge of a second floor window, legs hanging in the air, and decided to observe the world from that end. That window was either in my family’s living room or in a bedroom, I can’t recall. But the whole neighborhood started to panic and to tell me to get back inside. I just didn’t know why. I thought I had a wonderful perspective of the street. I remember it was a sunny day. But what followed was much darker.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  My favorite author is Balzac. But the greatest book that was ever written is, in my view, La Condition Humaine (Man and his Fate) by Andre Malraux. My other favorite is Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackkroyd.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.   That’s a tough one. The first one that came to my mind was Hercule Poirot, for some reason. I identify with the fact that he likes every little thing in its place. That he is annoyed when his sense of harmony is disturbed somewhat. He can be a pain in the ass, in other words, and so can I.

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. My friends will tell you I am like Zoe. Some reviewers thought From A to Zoe was autobiographical. It is not, even if I am partially like Zoe, at least now and then. If you ask me, I think I am like Zoe’s pet rat. Like the rat, I won’t touch mozzarella.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. A good Michelin travel book.

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Fall. Indian summer. Something I may not experience for much longer since I am selling my PA home to go to Florida---because of health problems.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. On Chainsaw Jane, my satirical thriller, I wanted dark colors, high contrast, with the suggestion of brutal, cold blooded murder, as well as the indication that the main detective is a medium. So to a rather morbid scene a tarot card (The Fool) was added. For From A to Zoe, I wanted something lighter. NYC in the background but in yellow, to indicate sassiness and energy, with Zoe hanging to dear life on the letter “Z” of the title, and Ziegfried the rat watching on top from the letter “O” from “FROM.”

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.  As mentioned, I am working on About Emily, a psychological thriller and on Making Your Bones, the second book of the Chainsaw Jane series.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. First, bonjour! Since I am a native of France. Then, many thanks for reading this interview. And lastly, please, please, should you decide to read my books, or any other books by any other author, give some feedback. Readers are very important to us. I cannot emphasize that enough. So when you’re done reading, drop a few lines on amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com, or goodreads. Or all of them. All you need to do is copy and paste these lines from one site to the other. The role of the reader is essential to the life of the book. Readers and authors depend on each other. And, please, pay me a little visit at www.mariejofortis.com. Merci again!

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