Thursday, August 25, 2016

Maria Grazia Swan - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Maria Grazia Swan. Maria is a Suspense and Mystery writer. She is the author of the Mina's Adventures and the Lella York series.

Author Genre: Suspense, Nonfiction, Mystery

Website: Maria Grazia Swan
Author's Blog: Maria Grazia Swan
Maria Grazia Swan Newsletter
Twitter: @scrittrice
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona--but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for--ooh-la-la--haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people find happiness.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco--but then, who doesn't?

Maria has written short stories for anthologies, articles for high profile magazines and numerous blogs tackling love and life. She engaged her editorial and non-fiction skills for Mating Dance: Rituals for Singles Who Weren't Born Yesterday. Her romantic suspense novels Love Thy Sister and Bosom Bodies are available at

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Best In Show. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you James, I am relaunching my Lella's series. Waiting for new covers and we will have new titles also. The series so far has 3 books, #1 is Gemini Moon, #2 is Venetian Moon, and #3 is Desert Moon.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Oh, how I wish that was the case. I'm a social media virgin. No joke. My twitter account grows only because I tend to retweet things I find cute or sweet or interesting. I'm not sure how it works but it does. Some days I open my email to find that I have 10 new followers..again, I'm thankful. I post a blog on alternate Tuesdays and I try to talk about stories from my childhood. Growing up in Italy in a very catholic household has a way of making you--stronger? Yes, that's a good word and my grandmother would approve, so yes, that's good. As a matter of fact, I have a very short collection titled Stories My Grandfather Told Me and Other tales. Just to make sure you know that's all based on real life events, I even have lots of old pics, including the3 story house I was born in. The one Mina tells about in some of the books, especially Italian Summer. That whole mystery takes place in my little home town. The point I'm trying to make is that people like to read about life in Italy and how my Italian born characters grow and thrive in the United States. We call it America.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I don't have anything scheduled at the moment, but here are a few places on the Internet where i can be found. My readers can keep track of my schedule by watching my Webpage, my Blog, my Newsletter or my social media sites. (See links above.)

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Ah, the only took me four years, but I finally 'got it'. Up to a short time ago I would decide on the covers according to my moods. After listening to top selling authors who care about my work, repeating over and over that I need new covers, covers that carry the theme like you so well put it, I decided it was time to listen to the experts. The new covers of the Mina's series are designed by an old friend of mine, she really works as a creative genius for a big company and I asked her to do my covers. This is the way it works...we go to happy hours together, we have a few special joints we like. Then we go back to her place and we work for about 2 hours. She works, I critique. Once we have the main idea together, she works out the details on her own. So while this process may be slower, it is also a lot of fun. And you never know who you may bump into at happy hours. P.S. we are both single…

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

I only have one short story tied to my books. It's Cats, Gondolas and Valentines, it ties in with the Mina+Diego romance. The rest I only write because I feel like? I know it sound lame, but it's the truth. As a matter of fact, most of my stories/novels come straight from my heart.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do you sort of play it by ear?

Life dictates my schedule. I work as a Real Estate agent so some months I'm busy, other I'm not. And I got sort of stuck with this ferret, she's way past her shelf life, but I've grown attached to the little fuzz ball to the point that i get up before 7 AM to walk her during the Summer. Ferrets don't withstand the heat well and we live in Phoenix and may I add I'm NOT a morning person? I do my writing at night, not sure why, that's the way it works out.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Obstacles? No, not really. The only thing I find...infuriating is when people don't even read the book, instead they turn around and sell it. I had to buy one of my own out of print paperbacks from a dealer and guess what? It was signed by the author. That would be me...

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I have a newsletter I send out four or five times a year, it's brief and brings gifts. Seriously, free books from myself and other authors, Starbucks gift cards for the first one who opens the newsletter..that sort of things. And then there is my author's page on Facebook. I also have blog subscribers and my wonderful Arcs readers, they read my books before release day.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

My blog is about a lot of things, but it's not about writing. I belong to many author's groups and that's a great comfort especially when you're new. I have hired help for anything technical, so while i write the blog, my web maven takes care of posting it and keeping my website running smooth. I do my own tweeting and Facebook posting. As for my goal? To know that my books and characters are loved and that in some small way, they help some unknown person to make it through another day.

Author's Book List
Desert Moon - Death Under the Desert Moon - Lella York Mysteries Book 3
When her cat hitched a ride without her, she had no choice but to tail the furry creature...

From award winning author Maria Grazia Swan comes a story of suspense, romance, and one mischievous cat… How does a domestic black cat from Southern California become a stowaway and end up in Phoenix Arizona? That’s what Lella York wants to know as she crosses the desert, pedal to the metal, to bring her cat, Flash, back home. But something about a full desert moon bewitches Lella into staying in Arizona longer than she planned and playing house with the sexy Detective Lawrence Devin who is in Arizona as a special witness for an old murder case. The desert is a land of extremes so it’s no surprise that Lella and Larry brave the heat to chase after a cold case. Throw in a hint of Russian mafia, some attractive flight attendants, and a ferret named Lucy, and Lella realizes what a dangerous place the desert can be under a full moon

Order the Book From:

Venetian Moon - Death Under the Venice Moon - Lella York Mysteries Book 2
When she felt her new life falling apart, she fled to Venice, and watched her life go to pieces...

An Italian in California, Lella York proves that you can take the woman out of Italy, but you can't take Italy out of the woman. Convinced her lover is cheating on her with his ex-wife, Lella is hiding out in Venice, Italy, where her son Kyle is wrapping up a film. Passionate, impulsive, and menopausal, she sees her romance hiatus cut short when the papers name her the femme fatale lover of an iconic Italian actor who disappears without a trace. Lella and Kyle criss-cross European borders to escape the rabid Italian paparazzi, but her complications grow thanks to her son's seemingly serious relationship with a spicy little Italian dish, and the hurt feelings of her lover who's shown up half way around the world facing his own crisis as well as Lella's rejection. Never one to lose her sense of humor despite the flare up of danger and hot flashes, Lella must once again face down evil with her illimitable Italian flair.

Order the Book From:

Gemini Moon - Murder under The Italian Moon - Lella York Mysteries Book 1
When her eyes were finally opened to the truth, she couldn't recognize her own life...

Italian-born Lella York is trying to figure out who she is. Her husband has died. Her son is grown and, for the most part, gone. And now, her best friend is missing. Upon returning to Southern California after a visit to her beloved Italy, Lella is shocked to learn the mysterious circumstances of Ruby's disappearance as well as the death of Ruby's husband. And Lella's son is the prime suspect. Her cat is not so happy about it all either!

Now, someone's stalking Lella. Caught in the middle of it all, Lella stumbles across the perfect topper--namely, a sexy police detective who keeps secrets from her while he's setting her pants on fire. Nothing like a little romance to distract a girl while she's trying to locate a missing person, solve a possible homicide, get her son out of jail and stay two steps ahead of the firing line.

Order the Book From:

Best In Show - Mina's Adventures Book 6
Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has. Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for her-self, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.

When a seemingly innocent night out with friends lands Mina in a hospital bed and Diego undercover, and not the covers Mina wants him to be under, Mina has to draw on all her new-found maturity, and all her supportive friends for strength.

Meanwhile, a Best in Show cat takes up residence at the Ritzy Cats B&B, Mina’s other venture, setting Mina on the trail of a suspicious character who might not have the cat's best interests at heart.

Add a Matchmaker to the Stars, a temperamental Italian chef and the usual menagerie of people and pets, stir it all up and you have an entertaining, hard to put down romantic tale of suspense.

Order the Book From:

A Cat to Die For - Mina's Adventures Book 5
Mina Calvi's new Furry Friends Foundation is a dream come true for the formerly footloose young woman. Her no-kill shelter rescues and places dogs and cats into new forever homes, and it gives Mina a purpose in life.

But changes are looming on a perfect Sunday afternoon at the Dana Point Marina where she is minding the adoption booth.

A Greek heiress, young, petite and beautiful, shows up on the arm of the love of Mina's life, Diego Moran. And worse, she wants to adopt Mina's calico cat, Houdini. The spoiled woman will not take no for an answer. Why is she so insistent on getting Houdini when she already owns a look-alike cat?

When Houdini is cat-napped, the cat-sitter murdered, and the ransom demand sent to the heiress, Mina has to keep her wits about her to get her beloved cat home safely, and to keep her heart from getting broken again by Diego, who inexplicably pops up at every turn of the unfolding drama.

Order the Book From:

Ashes of Autumn - Mina's Adventures Book 4
On the eve of the final sale of her mother’s business, Italian import Mina Calvi faces a crossroads. The road she dreams of foretells a life of rosy bliss in a quaint Laguna Canyon cottage, sipping cappuccino with her lover, Diego. When a chance detour brings her face to face with the love of her life caught in the wrong place, with the wrong crowd, that road to paradise takes a turn onto a rocky trail dotted by death, betrayal and loneliness. Mina’s friends, old and newly found, rally to keep her safe while she navigates through intense drama and self doubt to finally find redemption. Ashes of Autumn is possibly the most poignant sequence of Mina and Diego’s intensely obsessive love story.

Order the Book From:

Italian Summer - Mina's Adventures Book 3
When they say, “you can’t go home again,” they’re talking about Mina Calvi, twenty-something Italian transplant to California. Still, nursing a broken heart, desperate to discover her place in the world, Mina arrives in the town of her birth in Veneto, Italy. In the decade she’s been gone, the village nestled at the foot of the Dolomites has changed much, yet remained oddly the same. Friends have moved on, family members passed away. Mina feels even more alone in her motherland than in America, and there seem to be too many bizarre deaths for such a tiny, serene village. Then a fresh chance at true love and a welcome bonding with a dear new friend give her hope. But the deadly secrets moldering in the centuries-old cemetery could rip it all from her and leave Mina emptier than before. Will she find herself or lose her heart again? Can Mina survive her Italian Summer?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Bosom Bodies - Mina's Adventures Book 2
Italian-born Mina Calvi has a way of finding trouble, but when she offers to help a friend by moonlighting at Bosom Bodies restaurant, it’s trouble that finds her. The body of the restaurant manager is discovered on the beach, a hit and run victim, and Mina’s VW Bug is impounded as the vehicle used in the crime. Stunned beyond belief, Mina is suddenly up to her ears in assault, betrayal, smuggling and murder. Now the police are watching her. The mob is targeting her. And who comes riding to her rescue on a metal steed—none other than the cook at Bosom Bodies, the mysterious Diego. Is he more than a bad cook and a good lover? Is he protecting her, or setting her up? Scared, clueless and on her own, Mina struggles to reclaim her life and stay two steps ahead of those stalking her, but it’s a treacherous path and she’s losing ground fast.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Love Thy Sister - Mina's Adventures Book 1
Italian-born Mina Calvi lives in a mansion in idyllic Orange County, California with her protective older sister, Paola. Unemployed again and aimless, Mina can’t seem to find her niche in her adopted country, but confusion and restlessness soon become the least of her problems. Someone is stealing from the software business owned by Paola and her husband, losses so great the business is sinking like the Titanic. And the strange death of a company employee turns out to be murder. Then, while, facing a loss so terrible she can’t bear it, Mina discovers an old family secret that turns her world upside down. There’s some solace in the arms of her blue-eyed lover, amateur sleuth Brian Starr, but danger still stalks her at every turn, edging closer and closer as Mina tries to untangle the web of lies, adultery and treachery, and put her life back together.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Mating Dance - Rituals For Singles Who Weren't Born Yesterday
Mating Dance is not a step-by-step manual on how to disco or merengue. It’s a chronicle filled with tales of love in unexpected places, stories of women with secret pasts, and yarns about men who don't know what’s good for them or even what they want. Add to that a bit of tantalizing celebrity trivia and Cosmo-esque quizzes, and you will agree Mating Dance is the perfect read for lying by the pool, while peering over the top of the page, scoping out your next partner—the perfect inspiration to kick-start your own Mating Dance.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment: