02 December 2012

Guest Blog: Tara Chevrestt

This week, we’re welcoming author Tara Chevrestt whose title MAIDEN BEHIND THE MASK occurs in the 19th century, with the strong heroine Catalina as a crusader for justice.  Tara is here to talk about the novel and offer a copy of the book to a lucky winner. Here's the blurb:

When Catalina Rodriguez is attacked by a would-be rapist and rescued by the dashing Ricardo Garcia, she not only becomes more aware of the handsome man, but also vows that she’ll never be a damsel in distress again. Using the timeless method of blackmail, she convinces her uncle to teach her to fight and becomes a masked crusader in the night, saving other damsels from robbers and rough handling.

However, scandalous rumors and dwindling funds force Ricardo and Catalina to marry. Not immune to each other’s charms, their marriage starts fiery, but when one of Catalina’s nightly escapades results in dire consequences, she is forced to spurn her husband’s amorous advances…or reveal a secret that could turn him away from her forever.

Ricardo’s not a man to be cuckolded or left in the dark. Is his wife having an affair with El Capitan, the masked savior? If so…they will both pay.

**Q&A with Tara Chevrestt**

Why historical?
I love historicals. I’ve always said I was born in the wrong time. When I was a kid in school, I was actually excited when we had to write a report or essay on a person in the past. If we were given a topic like “civil war” I was all over the book featuring women spies. I did reports on Joan of Arc and Helen Keller. As an adult, I devour historical fiction books and watch TCM. I am not into modern day stories so much. So I love writing historical

Are the characters inspired by anyone?
The character of Catalina is, obviously, inspired by Zorro, only instead of being a man, it’s a woman. But her name was taken from my great-grandmother, Catalina. My uncle is named Julio and though he’s not a sword-fighting ladies’ man, I thought of him as I wrote his scenes. I imagine he would have been quite debonair had he lived in those days. My father is Catalina’s papa: strong, in control, cool during turmoil.

What does your “Zorro” have in common with the Zorros of popular culture?
The original actually came from a book published in 1919. Throughout the years, Zorro was featured in numerous movies, always a dashing nobleman defending the people from an evil and corrupt government. Catalina is a noblewoman, but instead of defending the people from the government, she’s merely doing the government’s job and protecting the fair maidens from ruthless rapists and robbers.

Your focus is strong women. How much of yourself is in Catalina?
I hesitate to compare myself with a sword-fighting fearless woman. I’m not without fear and I would probably fall on my own sword. I mean, I fall down my own stairs! LOL. But I believe every woman has her own inner strengths. It’s not just physical, strength. I’ve faced many demons, stood up for myself and others, and spoke up when wronged. That’s my strength.

What year does this story take place?
Los Angeles did not achieve independence from Spanish rule until 1820, so I estimated the story to take place before then, 1819ish. As they were all fretting over the king’s high taxes.

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, writer, and an editor. She is most passionate about planes, motorcycles, dogs, and above all, reading. That led to her love of writing. Between her writing and her editing, which allows her to be home with her little canine kids, she believes she has the greatest job in the world. She is very happily married.
Tara also writes as Sonia Hightower. Sonia writes the racy stuff and argues that she was here first. She just wasn't allowed to be unleashed until the last year.
While Tara and Sonia continue to fight over the laptop and debate who writes the next book, you can find buy links, blurbs, and other fun bits on their website or their Facebook page.