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Blog Tour: First Born: Tricia Zoeller


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When twenty-six-year-old graphic designer Lily Moore shapeshifts for the first time, Atlanta police detectives consult wildlife experts to sort through the bizarre forensic evidence she leaves in her wake. Her traumatic transformation coincides with murder and Lily finds herself the center of a mad vortex of area crimes.

On the run, Lily turns to her younger brother to help unravel the secrets surrounding her boyfriend’s death as well as unlock the mysteries of their Chinese heritage. When a loved one goes missing, Lily finds herself scrambling to find purchase in this new world where there hasn’t been balance for a century.

As she learns to master her new preternatural abilities, she must cut through the lies of those around her. With the police and a killer hot on her trail, can she solve the mystery of being First Born or will family secrets prove deadly?

“First Born” by Tricia Zoeller
Author Interview questions for Reviews by Tammy and Kim

1. Could you tell us a little about your main character Lily and how she came to you?
Lily Moore is a twenty-six-year-old woman who is strong but vulnerable, intense but silly, and frustrating but loveable (I hope). Some horrible events destroy her whole blueprint for life and she is tested time and time again. During these struggles she is coping with a schoolgirl crush on the Atlanta homicide detective investigating her and battling with her new 13-year-old boy appetite that includes a strong penchant for Coca-cola. 

After reading the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series, I woke up one morning with a shapeshifter idea in my head. I liked the idea of shapeshifters, but wanted one who was different. I have a very silly side and I thought what if my character turned into something not so magnificent? I allowed her shapeshifter form to guide me. It inspired her Asian heritage and her name Lily, short for Liling. Initially, my character reminded me of a cartoon, but when I switched to focus on the girl, Lily herself, the story grew into something more serious.

I’ve always enjoyed urban fantasies that have mystery as a key element. The title came to me right away and then the mystery unraveled for me. I knew how I wanted it to end.

2. Is this book a stand alone, or a part of a series? If it's part of a series, how many books do you think may be in it?
First Born is Book 1 in the Lily Moore Series. Book two, Red Moon Curse, is already written. I still need to do a bit more research, send to my beta readers and edit, but overall the plot is there as well as the characters. Oh, and the ending…! I see this series as a trilogy, but don’t hold me to that. Book 3 ideas are still marinating in my brain while I work on some other fun projects. 

3. What are your plans for marketing this book?
I’m learning about social media. As an Indie author, I want to take advantage of the opportunities social media offers. The blog tour to me sounded like such a fun and great way to spread the word. However, I plan to have a paperback version and stage two of my marketing will entail face-to-face signings at some interesting venues. 

4. Your book cover is amazing, do you love it & did you always know what feel you wanted it to have?
I love my book cover. Once it was finished, I pulled it up on my Kindle and every time the light dimmed, I’d hit the button to light it up again. I knew I wanted Lily on the cover. I wanted it to be a strong image of a young woman caught between a rock and a hard place. The setting is Georgia so I picked a mountain landscape. Claudia will tell you that initially I kept bringing her back to a very realistic image that looked like a great cover to a travel guide. Thankfully, she is a patient woman, and we revisited it. She listened and created. When I finally let go, she rocked it out and did her amazing Phatpuppy Art thing.

5. What are your must-haves for when you're writing? Drinks? Music or quiet?
I have become a ridiculous, ritualistic creature. Every morning I can’t wait to stand in front of the Keurig machine and worship it like a terrible heathen while it brews my caramel drizzle Folgers coffee. Depending on where I am in the writing process, I have a flipchart to map things out, a bulletin board for images, and binders open full of notes and research. My office sometimes looks like a post-apocalyptic scene. When “in the zone,” I will listen to music and write until my fingers cramp and my husband threatens to hide my laptop (sometimes I bring it into bed).

6. When do you prefer to write?
I got this idea from author, Karen White and it works well for me. I stumble out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, while I’m still in a dream state, and do my best writing basically in zombie form. During this hour, nothing else distracts me and ideas flow fresh from my dreams.

7. Do you research the areas where scenes in your book take place?
If I can get there, I will. I worked over a decade as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I take a multisensory approach to writing just as I took a multisensory approach to therapy with kids on the Autism Spectrum. Being there, helps. If I can’t be there personally with my camera and a buddy, then I cruise blogs, travel logs, and YouTube videos to visit the setting virtually. What does it feel like, smell like, sound like, look like…

8. How did your characters come to you? Did they come completely as they are now, or did they grow as you wrote them?
My main characters come to me in my sleep. I often wake up with someone other than my husband. J Sometimes they’re polite and introduce themselves slowly throughout a course of time, but often they are obnoxious and just barge into every thought and waking moment until I’ve written 50,000 words down about them. My secondary characters often filter in slowly weaving into my main character’s existence. I pray my characters grow and develop to keep readers interested.

9. Did you know the way your book would end from the beginning, or did it form as you were writing it?
For this book, I had a strong sense of the climax. That didn’t sound quite right, but anyway. Yes, I would say 95 percent of the time I know the ending. I’m quirky; often it’s the beginning that fluxes.

10. What did you enjoy best about writing this book?
I loved researching different areas of Atlanta and imagining my character in these places. I also loved that at the end, I not only had a book, but a writing process in place.

11. What inspires you?
Art, music, people. I’m a sensory girl. All I have to do is turn on some Hans Zimmer score and I see a character with a bloody sword with freakish ghouls hunting her. Or, I explore photos, artwork, places in nature and I get a vibe going about a character.

12. Who are your favorite authors? 
I hate to narrow it down. J.K. Rowling changed my life. Really, I’m not ashamed to say that. As far as the fantasy genre—Robin Hobb, Jana Oliver, Kim Harrison, HP Mallory, JR Ward, Stephen King, Nalini Singh, Anya Bast.
13. Why did you decide to self publish? 
It has been over three years since I started First Born. I’m not one of those people who submitted over two hundred times. I submitted to a select few who took unsolicited manuscripts and I queried several agents. Immediately, I hit a wall. My urban fantasy is a genre-bender—it’s a murder mystery and an urban fantasy. Many publishers who would have been a good fit only take agented submissions. Many agents only take published authors. See the catch? I have other stories to tell. I needed to launch this one from the nest. 

14. What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Be open. Test the waters. Persevere. Read, listen, and learn. Don’t give up.

15. Do you have other books that you've written or would like to write? Shall we watch for more from Tricia Zoeller?
The second book in this series has a tentative launch of December—that is if life doesn’t get in the way. I have a full draft of Into the Wind, a fantasy about a seventeen-year-old named Violet. I can’t wait to get back to it. That one just came out of nowhere and took me hostage until I finished. I also have a series of shorts called The Darkling Chronicles. I’m trying to pace myself as far as publishing. It’s hard to balance the business side with writing, but it’s also very exciting to do both.


Tricia Zoeller 
Website/Facebook/Goodreads/Twitter
Tricia lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Lou, her little yappy dog, Lola Belle, and her big orange mutant cat, George. Her two stepsons, Joseph and Robert, make stopovers as well, making sure to keep life an adventure.Tricia earned a B.A. in Journalism and Anthropology from Indiana University in Bloomington. After moving to Atlanta in 1992, she obtained her Masters of Education in Communication Disorders from Georgia State University and spent a decade working as a Speech-Language Pathologist, most recently in the pediatric field treating children on the Autism Spectrum.
Writing has always been a part of her life–like breathing and chocolate.




GIVEAWAYS: 

1. There will be an ongoing contest during the blog tour on Literary Mania Reviews Facebook page for the chance to win a Lily Locket Necklace, the contest will include having readers casting character pics of Lily Moore & Detective Simms and posting them to my page.


www.facebook.com/LiteraryManiaReviews

2. This rafflecopter grand prize giveaway will include the following:
* 4 winners will each win 1 eCopy of "First Born" and 1 signed bookmark

* 3 winners will each win 1 "First Born" keychain and 1 signed bookmark

* 1 winner will win 1 Fenghuang bracelet and 1 signed bookmark

* 1 winner will win 1 Lily locket necklace and 1 signed bookmark


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