Friday, September 14, 2012

M.C.V. Egan Answers Eight With Amy

Today, A Blue Million Books is host to M.C.V. Egan, the author of The Bridge of Deaths. I’m anxious to talk to her about her book, which currently has sixty-five reviews and one hundred fifty-four likes on Amazon. How does she do that? We’ll talk, but first, meet M.C.V. Egan:

M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Egan, the author of The Bridge of Deaths. She was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, and from an early age became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo, principally the story of how he died.
Catalina has lived in several countries and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.
Maria Catalina Egan is married and has one son.  Although she would not call herself an Astrologer, she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in Astrology. This is one of her many past times when she is not writing or researching.
Peace is her ultimate passion.
And a few words about her book:
With the Second World War a mere two weeks away, the crash of an airplane in Danish waters near a bridge called Storstromsbroen did not get the attention it would have had today or in times of peace. While Bill is looking for psychological answers to his recurring nightmares, he meets Maggie who is very familiar with the bridge in his dreams. She urges him to look for these answers through past life regression therapy. They join forces with Catalina whose grandfather also died in the same accident that haunts Bill's dreams.

Hello, Catalina, and welcome to A Blue Million Books.
Hi, Amy. I am so honored and glad that you invited me to A Blue Million Books. 

Happy to have you here. The title of your book is The Bridge Of Deaths. How did you come up with that title?

It is almost as if the title chose itself.  When I was researching the 1939 plane crash that the book documents, the bridge Storstomsbroen was an inevitable presence, as the plane crashed very close to that bridge and went in the water in between two police jurisdictions.

I was able to visit the area several times, and I became aware of two things: That after the plane crash of the G-AESY in the summer of 1939, as the Second World War unfolded, the bridge became a marker for allied troops on their way to bomb Berlin, and the Germans mounted anti-aircraft guns to shoot down the allied planes. The bridge was surrounded by death on both sides.

I also found out that it had become a rather popular bridge to jump off for people who chose to commit suicide. It was inevitable to name it The Bridge Of Deaths.

Absolutely. How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)

Cross The Bridge Of Deaths into 1939 uncover secrets a well-documented historical Journey with a fictional twist & a touch of the paranormal

You had to leave out a period to make the 140 characters exactly, but I'm impressed, and it still counts! I leave out punctuation a lot on Twitter so I can fit it all in. Excellent job! How did you create the plot for this book?

My original intention was a well-documented true story.  There were two problems with this. Inasmuch as the research was from traditional resources; archives, history books, newspaper microfilm, interviews with people related to those in the story, engineering reports, real autopsies. The research was also based on two very un-orthodox sources; documented and recorded past life regressions and psychometry; psychics holding two watches that came from the crash.

On the one hand, the subject of the past life regressions requested anonymity; something I promised to honor, and I had personally become too involved. I created three main fictional characters that helped the reader navigate through the historical data as well as experience the esoteric, if you will:

One character is named Catalina, and the only thing she and I have in common is that we are the granddaughter of the first body retrieved from the plane. I am a married mother and have a very full life. I have never been torn in my philosophical beliefs, I was raised a Catholic and slowly, naturally, and quite painlessly I found my truths. 

The second character is Bill, who represents the actual subject who underwent the four past-life regressions. 

And finally, my favorite character--Maggie--helps the story flow with a fun narrative.

Your book sounds fascinating. Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I write with a combination of both methods. As I explained above, I have a full, wonderful life. I almost always carry a small tape-recorder; I have been known to record very long-winded sessions during a school carpool line that became full chapters. I sometimes just record a thought. I do create basic outlines and lists; I feel I have to know where I am heading, otherwise how do you foreshadow and help the reader feel like they are peeling layers in a story?  I do lean very much on lists and my outlines grow and change.

Do you have imaginary friends? When do they talk to you? Do they tell you what to write or do you poke them with a Q-tip?

Again I do both, especially with my work in progress. Which is a far more character-oriented vs. story-oriented book, as is TBOD. Just a few nights ago I was pondering on a scene from the book I am writing now, and there were things that did not feel coherent, and I started to doze off, and I realized that the way to make it work was to tweak a secondary character. I had a pen and note-pad by my bed, and I wrote a few notes. I went to sleep, and I woke up around 3:00 a.m. (thank God my husband is a sound sleeper,) and I added something that I am very excited about to that character idea.

When I checked my messages, I got an e-mail from a woman I had never heard from before, and her name was the name of the character I had chosen! I got chills.

Whoa! That gives me chills.

So I guess you could say they talk to me, I can tell you with Maggie I cooked and visited and felt a very real presence; and yes I miss her!  I do however have to ‘poke them with a Q-Tip’ if they are dormant, as of course there is no such a thing as writer’s block, and it is their entire fault! I am so lucky to be a writer I have fictional characters to blame my woes. ;)

I think that’s one of the perks of having imaginary friends—you can blame them! How do you develop your characters?

This is very pertinent to my WIP. I do not use the same technique every time, and I like to explore and play. I can perhaps choose to interview my character and ask anything from their age to their passions. If I am struggling, I will make it as mundane as a job interview.

I try to imagine them and ask them questions about happy, sad, exciting and boring things. I make sure they are reacting as who they are and not who I am; although to some extent, since I do not work with fantasy or aliens, I do believe a bit of me must go into the characters.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?

Not at all! I worked so hard with just two principal characters for TBOD, and in an author’s note I explain how Maggie came to be, and she solved so many issues. After that, I can guarantee that I will always be flexible and open-minded about adding and deleting characters from a story.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

How I wish I could write about my work in progress! The characters there are a BLAST! This is an answer that has recently changed from other interviews, so please, if you find one that says Maggie, I was not lying--I answered what at the time I believed to be the truth.

I gave Catalina fears that I do not possess, and I also gave her certain attributes that are not mine. The truth is, it was such fun to give her doubts about psychics and contradictory feelings about her faith. Alone and lonely, I gave her the space for a HUGE obsession, which with me always had to be a part-time one. 

Well, Catalina, that’s eight questions, but I’m going to cheat a little and ask one more. I’d like to know how you find names for your characters.

I am fluent in four languages and familiar to varying degrees of communication in several others, so when I am struggling with a name, I do think of the adjectives that describe a character and try to find a name in any language that means just that. A quick example is Todd; it means fox, so if I had a male character that is sly like a fox, foxy handsome, any attributes to said animal, the name Todd would help me develop the character.
Catalina, thank you so much for talking about your work with us. 
Amy, I have to say this was one of the most interesting and fun interviews I have had.
Why thank you! Thank you so much! I hope you'll come back when your next book is published. 

Catalina is currently working on a novel with a co-author, Jolie DeMarco, called 4COVERT2OVERT IN 33 DAYS. She says it is very different from both of their previous works, but they hope people will find it entertaining as much as they may find it eye-opening. It has a paranormal and historical slant. Catalina says it’s very different working in tandem with someone else and very fun.
Find Catalina: