Thursday, January 10, 2013

Showcase: Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer

Thanks so much for having me here today, Emily! 
My new novel, Unmasking Maya, takes place in the beautiful city of San Francisco. It’s such a fantastic place to live. If you’re planning a trip – or you think you might want to visit sometime in the future, 
read on for my tips on visiting the city.


Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced...

Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?

Not so much.

She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.

As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?


·        1.  The weather is insane. I know people probably check the weather before planning a visit, but I suspect it doesn’t really register. Vendors in the touristy areas make a killing selling warm sweatshirts to shivering tourists. If you come during the summer, bring plenty of sweaters and a jacket. October is our hottest month and it rains a lot in the wintertime.

·        2.  There’s a huge homeless population in San Francisco. I know the sight of so many people living on the street can be jarring for those who aren’t used to it, but for the most part, the homeless are harmless. No need to be afraid.

·       3.   Having said that, avoid the Tenderloin. Although it’s gotten some good press recently for its emerging nightlife scene, the neighborhood is still the most dismal and dangerous in the city. Forming a rough triangle if you look at it on the map, the Tenderloin is bordered by Geary St., Van Ness Ave. and Market St.

I hope you’re not all calling up the airlines, madly trying to rebook your flight to a different, more hospitable city! I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I want people to enjoy themselves in my lovely city. Which is not easy to do when you’re shivering with cold or fright. Okay. One more cautionary bit of advice and then I’ll lighten the mood, I promise.

·        4.  Avoid the Haight if the idea of being approached by a pot dealer on the street freaks you out. As your average, thirty-something gal whose style is pretty unremarkable (I can’t image that I particularly look like a stoner) every time I’m in the Haight someone asks if I’d like to buy some weed. Even during the day.

·        5.  Alcatraz is one of our most popular attractions, but if you’d like to see it, definitely book your tickets in advance. Book them way in advance if you’re visiting during peak tourist season.

·        6.  Be sure not to refer to San Francisco as “Frisco” or “San Fran” unless you want to annoy the locals and brand yourself as a tourist.

·        7.  There’s always something going on here, including lots of free, outdoor events. Depending on when you come, you might get the chance to go to an open-air concert, a craft expo or a dance festival. Each neighborhood has its own street fair or festival once a year, so your visit could very well coincide with the Union Street Fair, the Castro Street Fair or the Noe Valley Harvest Festival.

·        8.  The hills in this city are serious. Proper footwear is essential if you stray from the water’s edge (Fisherman’s Wharf, Marina, etc.) You’ll probably get a decent workout just from wandering around the city, which will do an excellent job in counteracting the extra calories you’ll be consuming. Which brings me to…

·        9.  San Francisco is one of the best cities for food in the entire world. Avoid Union Square and other touristy areas because they’re full of chain restaurants, and usually they’re packed. The residential areas (Laurel Heights, Nob Hill and Hayes Valley, to name just a few) are filled with fantastic little restaurants. But these delectable meals don’t come cheap. Dining in San Francisco is crazy expensive.

·        10.  We’re friendly people. If you need to ask for directions or something, don’t even hesitate because San Francisco is a laid-back kind of place with a relaxed, West Coast kind of flavor.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t done so already, I hope you get a chance to visit the City on the Bay!!

 San Francisco in PICTURES:
In the park
Golden Gate Bridge
Street fair



Author bio:

My PhotoBorn and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. Usually it’s my situation or my surroundings. I do draw a lot of things from real life to incorporate in my books. San Francisco features heavily because that’s where I live right now. It’s a wacky and wonderful place that I’m sure will continue to inspire me.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. I’ve been a writer forever, but being a newly published author, I have to say my favorite thing is getting great feedback from readers and reviewers. My heart soars every time.  

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A. Finding time for anything else in life. At the moment I’m single, don’t have kids and don’t have a job (apart from the writing/marketing) so for the past three months, I’ve been pulling eighteen hour days, seven days a week. Not good, I know. In a month or so, things should calm down and I’ll be able to get some balance.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. I would most likely go back to fashion journalism, or maybe I’d look for a more stable position in marketing.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. I Think I Can, I Think I Can. That little engine and I both dream big and work hard.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. That would have to be Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. Haha, I think I’d have to go with the Little Engine.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. Definitely Chloe Lane from one of my untitled chick lit novels. She’s a hopeless workaholic, a bit of a dork and she owns and operates a small boutique in New York, like I did for a few years. Of course Chloe is younger, thinner, more successful and better looking than I am! I will probably release her story late in 2013 under my real name, Anna Garner. Need to do a bit of rebranding as I move from chick lit/romance hybrids to straight up chick lit, so this will take some time to plan everything out.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. Depends on where I am in the world, but in San Francisco, it’s fall.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A. The Fashioning cover was created by Kelly Shorten of Musa Publishing, and I think she captured the chick lit/romance hybrid feel beautifully. Maya’s cover was a high-octane-adrenaline-charged experience! I’d booked a cover designer months before I needed it, but it all fell through at the 11th hour, so I had three days to come up a title before my blog tour commenced. I dove in and created several different options (thank heavens I know how to use graphic design software) and ran all the versions past my online author friends. They gave me their feedback and I ended up with a cover I’m really proud of and one that I believe represents the book well.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. Actually just yesterday I had an amusing revelation: it’s impossible for me to turn off. I was on the phone with Amazon Kindle support because I couldn’t figure out how to change the font sizes on my device. The woman I spoke with was so friendly and funny. I couldn’t help but wonder if she might be a potential reader. And so I mentioned that I have two books on Amazon, chatted about the genre, mentioned the good reviews, etc. She was so excited for me and promised to check out the books.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. I’m trying. I’m afraid I’ve got a case of writer’s block at the moment. I’ve been so focused on releasing and promoting Maya, and I find it difficult to switch gears and go straight from marketing mode to writing mode. But I’ll get back to it hopefully soon. I’m halfway through writing another chick lit/romance hybrid about a rancher from Texas and a vegetarian sustainable farming expert from Northern California.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Thanks for reading! We indie authors are so grateful that folks are interested in reading our blog posts and our books. Really. It’s all about the readers. And thank you, Emily, for having me on your fabulous blog!


  1. Great interview. I have an on-going love affair with San Francisco! Reading your tips- I concur with all of them and feel very proud of myself, for knowing all that, as a frequent tourist. Dead on about the Haight. I walked through in November and was actually a bit scared! And....I think I caught a buz, just from passing though all the clouds of pot smoke, the hippie movement is alive and well:).

    Reading Unmasking Maya now & I'm really enjoying it.


  2. Thanks for your comment, Allie! (And I'm really sorry about the delay in responding.) Well done you for knowing all of these things already! I've heard they're going to try to stamp down on the marijuana trade in the Haight. Some folks are very upset about this. I'm so thrilled that you're enjoying Maya!!


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Emily, AKA Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

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