M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. At a young age she moved to the Washington D.C. area with her entire family.
She has lived and studied in various parts of the U.S.A., Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.
Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject M.C.V. Egan's new series DEFINING WAYS uses Astrology and other Metaphysical tools.
Defined by Others
Brief synopsis of your book:
A word, a single word defines a moment for Anne. She needs to find a new one when her spouse leaves her at the age of 47, coming out of the closet literally in a closet. She finds herself back in her hometown amongst her high school friends which she left behind in her past.
An inheritance from a friend leaves her with the means to meddle and spy on the lives of some of their mutual acquaintances. In an attempt to run from her reality Anne gets engrossed in a game of "fun" and "flirtation" with her friend and fellow sufferer Connie at her side. Anne however did not read all the files and what to her is fun games turns into a deadly reality. It is no longer a game.
Life, death and not even a defining word can stop the reality of manipulation.
Defined by Others Character Sketches
© M.C.V. Egan
The characters in Defined by Others are predominantly women. They are all flawed and for the most part very superficial. Some of their flaws are surprising and others are logical.
I chose women born in the year 1965, I did this to work with a play on Chinese Astrology. I made them 47 years old as the book takes place in 2012, one of the characteristics of female snakes according to Chinese Astrology is that they are all very beautiful.
I wanted characters that were superficial and very worried about their physique and how others see them; thus being defined by the opinions of others.
The women have a connection as teens from growing up in the same affluent town in the American Northeast. The story is fueled by who they are at 47 and who they were at 17.
ANNE is one of the main characters and the story is told from her point of view, in her voice. She is fluent in many languages and loves words. She likes to define every moment with just one word. Her husband recently left her, and he left her broken and confused. Divorce is hard at any age, but divorce because the man you shared almost two decades with realizes he is gay must be brutal
Anne has a nice side, she is forgiving of her husband, she tries to get into his skin and appreciate that his confusion, she is still however so confused and vulnerable that when life presents her with a way to make other’s suffer as she has, she is pretty quick to grab it.
She has adolescent twins, she is however a very detached parent, as the story evolves she identifies that she continued the family pattern with which she was raised.
In the course of the story she has to make numerous life changing decisions. Anne is in a journey of self-discovery and she has likable and dark traits.
CONNIE is also a main character, she is curiously linked to Anne because her respective husbands have fallen for each other and left them. Connie has been carrying the pain and confusion longer than Anne. She is broken and lonely and in Anne she sees the possibility of a friend, ally or at the very least fellow sufferer.
Like Anne she does not blame the man who left her, and respects that as the father of her children, she needs to wish him nothing but the very best.
She loves to nurture and to cook. She goes completely against her nurturing nature as the story evolves, because she is so hurt, confused and unbalanced.
As much as Connie chooses to also manipulate those she sees as her foes, there is a very tender and likable side to Connie. She loves her children very deeply and is very lost when the main focus of her life changes; she was born to be the quintessential mom.
AMANDA is dead, during the entire story-line she manipulates with her legacy from the very grave. She was ravaged by an illness that magnified her negative traits, and if the other characters are to be believed there was nothing positive about Amanda.
As the story progresses I do give Amanda a background a reason to be so dark, I did so because otherwise the character would be too flat or cartoon like as an image of pure evil.
During her illness she devices away to be cruel and most involved with the women in her past and present. Upon her death (not a spoiler this is the opening of the book) she leaves her “game” to Anne, it is a game of manipulation and deceit through social media.
ALLISON is mean, she identified as Amanda’s mean girl side-kick but she too is a victim of the manipulation game. I have had readers contact me, and it is indeed Allison they seem to dislike the most, I did not feel a need to give her as much depth or an excuse for her nastiness, as she is a secondary character. I just wanted to show that although she is vulnerable, she is also a natural leader.
She is clever and assumes she is far cleverer than she really is. As I wrote Defined by Others I did want Allison to be a sort of live walking continuum to Amanda’s nasty side.
PETER is the only male in the story who is very present, the husbands are in the sidelines. Peter is a lawyer, he connects with Anne at the beginning of the book as Amanda’s lawyer.
He is kind and understanding, he falls for Anne and he falls hard, he is also divorced and as such looking for a new way to fit in. He is not privy to Anne and Connie’s machinations, but he does suspect they are up to no good.
I wanted Peter to be a very easy man to love, intelligent, successful, and vulnerable. I had to make him vulnerable by having his ex drop him in a cruel and hurtful way. I made him Amanda’s reluctant lawyer so that he would be aware that Anne had inherited something odd and questionable from Amanda, I did not want to turn him into a detective, he needed some level of awareness to make him believable.
I also had him fall in love with Anne, but fall in love with Connie’s cooking and thus forming a strong bond with both women.
MRS. G. (Anne’s mother) is a character that is as much represented by her dialogue and appearances throughout the story as she is by her “secret room”. Mrs. G. was a liberal adventuresome lady who is also defined by others, and as such she pretends to be as conservative as those who surround her world.
She has a special room, full of New Age Books and other secrets, she is as such very present throughout the story.
Current book or project you’re working on:
Climbing Up The Family Tree; Defined by Pedigree
What moment or event sparked the inspiration for your novel?
Defined by Others has a combination of ideas, the core of toying with people through false personas in social media was sparked over a fun dinner with friends. We were discussing odd messages we received from people on Facebook.
Discussing who would fall for that, if anyone would start a friendship with a stranger, driving home I thought of the Catfish movie and it spun from there, I needed an idea for NaNoWriMo.
So a bit like necessity being the mother of invention.
Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
1) Anne defines the important moments in her life with just one word.
2) Amanda controls everyone and she’s dead; not paranormal vampire dead.
3) Connie is a fantastic cook.
Which if any characters in your current novel are based on someone you know?
The characters have lose traits of people around me, or people I have observed, they are truly fictional.
Are there any characters in your book that remind you of yourself?
I love to cook, so that part of Connie is there, I love languages so I have that in common with Anne. Arguably there has to be something of the writer in every character we create.
If you could pick any famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Nick Hornby, with much trepidation and fear I might add.
What genre and age group does your book fall into?
It is Women’s Contemporary Fiction.
Have you read any books that have inspired you to improve or change yourself in any way?
Too many to list, from great novels that have made me dig into myself from outright self-help books, many have inspired and helped me.
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) W. Somerset Maugham, I love all his books, storylines, the way his characters act and react.
2) John Irving; I like his earlier works, I love the way he writes.
3) Nick Hornby; clever fun fascinating writing.
How many books have you written?
Out in the public two books, one in two versions; The Bridge of Deaths.
Which book is your favorite and why?
I cannot choose, because I work very hard and give my writing my all, I heard John Irving years ago in an interview say, can you choose a favourite child?
What parts of a story help make a good mystery?
Any part when a writer can surprise a reader, when they do not see it coming gives the element of a mystery, in my humble opinion.
Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
1) Knowing your character, and knowing them very well, if a character is flat the reader will know.
2) Even writing the most despicable character you have to give it something. Honing into that they have a mother that loved them, even the most evil character has to have something that will attract and not lose the reader.
3) To me, a big trait in writing a character is the meaning of their name, in my book The Bridge of Deaths Maggie was supposed to be Olivia, as a pacifist, but I just could not get it to work, she had to be Maggie, when I researched the real life woman she was in a past life, the name was Margaret, imagine my shock!
What helps you tie the story together?
Consistency and continuity are key that is why Beta readers are so important!
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to ‘overcome’?
I really don’t, I can write anytime anywhere.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
Make sure you explore all your options very carefully, and vanity publishers are not the right option for me.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
When a scene comes together perfectly and I re-read and just want to tap myself on the back, that would be in a word success.
Does anything inspire you when you are trying to write?
I write with silence or music, I am blessed with a great view.
Do you know the solution to a mystery or drama before you begin writing or does it come to later?
I am a combination of both, I create a point of direction, but I am flexible, sometimes a story flows and takes the writer for a ride.
Do you have any ideas for your book and Hollywood? Actors, directors, music.
DREAMS… many but of course if I ever succeed to that level, I would be so honoured for anyone interested in my projects and stories.
Which book to movie conversion is your favorite?
I do not have a favorite I find that they are very different venues, I am not one to walk out and say, oh the book was so much better. I think some books can translate very well to movies, other books are more intimate and personal.
If I must pick one, I think John Irving’s Cider House Rules was very successful at conveying the story both as a movie and a book.
What is your favorite non-fiction book?
I have read many historical diaries and I like all of them. On the self-help side, A Road Less Travelled.
If you could change anything about book marketing, what would it be?
I write, I try to market as best I can but I do not have an answer to this.
Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
I do, but I am flexible and the ending can change as the book progresses.
How do you think reading has benefited your writing?
I think they go hand in hand, reading is a huge part of the process.
Do you study science, the planets, history, or anything special to help you with your writing?
I do, I like to research and sound authentic, it is also great fun to learn new things. In Defined by others I learned a lot about snakes.
What, who, and when, first inspired you to write?
I come from a very large family and writing was my best way to communicate, try being one of the “little ones” and having your voice heard.
Drink – Tequila
Food – Salads
Vacation – London
TV show – The Good Wife
Movie – Cannot pick just one!
Animal – My dog, Taco
Sport – Football (Soccer)
Song – I cannot pick one
Comedy – Big Bang Theory
Struggle – Parenting hardest and best thing I do.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Where can readers find your book?
(Authorpage on Amazon is great)
How can people connect with you?
DEFINING WAYS @ http://mariacatalinaegan.com/