Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What Really Happened To Cinderella?





HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: How do you choose your next book? Do you ever look at the tag line on the cover? I just read: "The serial killer is not on trial—he’s on the jury." SOLD, right?

Lisa Scottoline’s new book is: "Not guilty doesn’t always mean innocent."

We all get what that’s going to be about, right?

And The Murder List is : A high stakes game of cat and mouse... and cat.

You know that’s some kind of a triangle.

But Ann Aguirre’s new book THE THIRD MRS. DURST has a great one, too:

"Some people just need killing."

And not to mention the perfect line in the description:

"But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince."

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ann Aguirre knows her suspense stuff, and romance, too. She’s written—wait for it--forty-two novels and novellas with Penguin, Macmillan, Harlequin and others.

And now (look at that fabulous cover!) THE THIRD MRS. DURST. It's dark and dangerous and edgy and daring--not for the faint of heart! But whoa.


The setting? The place that turned out to be the author’s favorite place.

MAGIC CITY


by Ann Aguirre
One awesome thing about being a writer is combining a work/ research trip with a vacation. A few years ago, I was about to start writing The Third Mrs. Durst and I knew I wanted to feature a variety of locales in the book. Coincidentally, I had been invited to Germany to attend Love Letter convention for romance writers that year as well.

I decided to take advantage of that offer and plan a longer trip around that weekend booklovers conference. We flew from Mexico City (where I live) to Frankfurt and I made notes about everything I saw while I was in the city. Then we continued on to Berlin, where the convention was held. There, we did a bit of sightseeing and I made more mental notes, imagining my heroine living in that city, living alone for the first time. I envisioned how she would feel about being there and took pictures to remind myself later of the setting. I experienced sheer awe when I beheld the remains of the Berlin Wall for the first time.





From Berlin, we took the train to Prague. It was loud and disorganized; I recorded those details as well, because I planned to have my heroine follow in my footsteps. My first glimpse of Prague was magical. The architecture is so romantic and the city is incredibly clean. Even the air smelled sweet and balmy, unlike most urban environments.




I loved walking along the bridges with my husband; I took photos of the padlocks left by lovers in a traditional that has spread around the world.

Even the buildings were covered in little stories. On a random one, I found a stone engraving of a man offering a bouquet of flowers to a bear.






Of all places in the world that I've ever visited, Prague is my favorite.


Without spoilers from the story, I'll say that I wish I could have spent longer describing the city in The Third Mrs. Durst, but it didn't make sense in the scope of the plot.

And that's the point of my post. It's so funny how we can do reams of research and have all this great information ready to go, but when we actually start writing, we only need a glimmer of it, like glitter sprinkled on top of a child's painting.

I know I struggle with the desire to show off. "Look how much I learned about this! Seriously, I know what I'm talking about!" and include a lot of details that slow down the action, an absolute no-no in a pacy thriller.


That means I was constantly paring back, asking myself, does it make sense that Marlena would notice that when she's got all this other stuff on her mind? Usually the answer was no, but it was cool to have such a wealth of personal experience about the places I was writing about.

In the end, I hope I managed to balance verisimilitude with a cracking good read, although I wasn't entirely shooting for realism. Primarily, I wanted this book to be a plausible revenge story--and for readers to get a sense of vicarious satisfaction from the villain's downfall.


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Cinderella gets her revenge—in Prague! So let’s see. Have you ever been to Prague? Did you love it as much as Ann? Or: what’s the best tag line you’ve ever heard? (May the odds be ever in your favor? Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water?) 

 And a copy of THE THIRD MRS. DURST to one lucky commenter!


THE THIRD MRS. DURST

Marlena Altizer Durst lives in her husband's shadow. He controls her every move―what she wears, the food she eats, and the friends she's allowed to make. If she disobeys, there are...consequences. And he has all the power.

To outsiders, it seems that she leads a fairy-tale life. But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince. Marlena has traded freedom and safety for luxurious imprisonment, and most days, that seems like a bad bargain. Death may be the only exit she's allowed. Just like his first wife. And his second. Unless she flips the script.

Some people just need killing.



Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, and has published forty-two novels and novellas with Penguin, Macmillan, Harlequin and others.
Before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies.

CONNECT WITH ANN AGUIRRE ONLINE
Web: AnnAguirre.com
Facebook: /ann.aguirre
Goodreads: /Ann-Aguirre
Tumblr: MsAnnAguirre.tumblr.com Twitter: @MsAnnAguirre 



79 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing, Ann. I can't wait to read your book! [And you've made me want to visit Prague.]

    One of my favorite tag lines: "Even good people are drawn to do evil things." [Lisa Unger's "The Stranger Inside."]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, love that one! I'm reading that right now, in fact...xoxo

      Delete
  2. I have not visited Prague or Germany, for that matter, but I have taken trains across Europe. I know exactly what you mean about not including all that detail, Ann - one of the series I write is historical, and there's so much I COULD put in...

    "But nobody ever wonders if Cinderella was happy after she married the prince" - that's one good line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would imagine it's even harder for a historical writer not to include all the information they acquire.

      Delete
  3. The Third Mrs. Durst sounds wonderful, Ann! I have never been to Prague. I don't think I've even read any books set in Prague. Sounds like it's time to change that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a perfect place to set a book--exotic and gorgeous and historic.

      Delete
    2. I want to clarify--the whole book isn't set in Prague, just one part. The book's locale moves around a bit.

      Delete
  4. I have never taken a trip to Prague or anywhere out of the country for that matter.

    As for taglines, the ones that most stick with me are usually from movies. I do like that "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water".

    I also like the tagline for the first Alien movie: "In space, no one can hear you scream".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, right, I forgot about that one! Terrific. And SO scary.

      Delete
  5. Good morning Ann, such smart advice to remind writers we only need a glimmer of what they know on the page. And I love the question you ask: would your character notice this??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Yes, that line stuck with me, too. Very very useful...:-)

      Delete
    3. Yes, it's a helpful question, but sometimes frustrating too. I was writing my urban fantasy and I was so frustrated because I couldn't figure out the name of a flowering purple tree here (it's jacaranda btw), and suddenly I realized that my heroine wasn't a botanist or particularly interested in gardening, so I just wrote 'flowering purple tree' and moved on. Sometimes I make things overly complicated!

      Delete
  6. Good point about things characters notice. I've wondered about this myself. I recently read a book where the main character was male and from what we had already learned about him it seems odd that he can describe a female character's hairstyle (other than color) or the type of shoes she is wearing.
    No, I've never been to Prague but it sounds like a place I would enjoy, just as I
    m pretty sure I would enjoy your book, Ann.
    Can't think of any tag lines although I'm pretty sure several hours from now they will come pouring out of my delayed memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so true. A man may see a white dress, a woman may see an eggshell tulle Vera Wang.

      Delete
    2. Great point! But if he COULD identify the eggshell tulle Vera Wang, I think it would be an interesting character point as to why. Speaking as a woman, I don't know designers, so if someone was writing in my POV, I'd get the color, but not who designed the dress.

      Delete
  7. Ann, you had me at "Some people just need killing." I'm really looking forward to reading your book!

    I've heard other writers talk about the research behind their mysteries. It must be frustrating to know so much about a time or place and include only the tip of the iceberg in the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm...yeah.. I'd love to hear from others about this.. for me, it makes it a better picture in my head, and makes it easier to write. Hmm.

      Delete
    2. Basically, I just have to resist my urge to show off. Because readers always know when a writer is doing that. "Yes, yes, you spent two months reading about World War I, we get that, now move the story along, please!"

      Delete
    3. I recently had exactly that experience with a book I was reading. I had read others that I liked by the same author, but in this case I just felt like she fell a little too much in love with her own research. There was a tie-in to a true historical mystic, and by the end of the book I knew w-a-a-y too much about her.

      Delete
    4. SO funny! Yup yup, you know about medieval armor--STOP already!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations, Anne! I've never been to Prague - or indeed any European city. But I'm always entranced by the pictures.

    And yes, it's amazing how much research we do and how comparatively little ends up in the story.

    I think "Some people just need killing" vaulted to the top of my favorite tag lines list. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. We were in Prague before the Velvet Revolution... it was a tough place to be a tourist (lines for everything... restaurants that actually had only a few of the things that were on the menu. A language that eschews vowels. But one of THE most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to.
    congratulations Anne - the book sounds fantastic 🥳

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But that is so exotic, right? Part of the experience.

      Delete
    2. Oh wow, it sounds difficult but memorable.

      Delete
  10. Nope, never been to Prague. Not exactly sure if it's a tag line, but Rhett's line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" at the end of Gone with the Wind ranks pretty high up there. Congratulations on your book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOUldn;t that be a great tag line for something? Hmm.. very thought-provoking!.

      Delete
  11. Some people DO need killing, just saying. And reading about a satisfactory result therein is a good catharsis!

    I was in Prague by myself, only for three days, and I did not notice the same things you did, Ann. Partly because it was high tourist season and the people watching was so entertaining that I probably missed a lot of true local color. For instance, I only crossed two of the bridges, the Charles, and the one close to the foot of the castle, and did not even realize there were locks. But it is a wonderful city, charming, and full of life and music. And a big draw for bachelor party participants, because of its reputation for good, cheap beer. Very drunk Europeans distracted me from architectural details, I'm afraid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just burst out laughing. That'll happen..xoxo

      Delete
    2. That's exactly what I was hoping would happen--that readers would be grimly ecstatic by the end and would be like, "That SOB got exactly what he deserved."

      Delete
    3. I'm quickly reading responses during my break and come across "That SOB got exactly what he deserved." ..... SOB is shortness of breath in my office, .... Had to stop and re-read that one....

      Delete
  12. And by the way, I've always been suspicious of that whole "happily ever after" thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? I mean--no way. Plus, she talks to mice.

      Delete
    2. LOL! A sign of dementia, for sure!

      Delete
    3. I've always thought the Cinderella story is creepy AF. That prince is a serious stalker. You know he didn't let her keep her pets, either (the mice and lizards). I talk to my cats and dog all the time, so I can relate.

      Delete
    4. And walking around with that shoe, trying it on everyone? Eeew.

      Delete
  13. I have never traveled to Eastern Europe and look forward to visiting Prague which I have read about. Your novel sounds captivating and intriguing. Your trip there certainly was a wonderful experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, sounds like a very different world, doesn't it?

      Delete
  14. I can tell when an author has done the research as just bits and pieces of it come in and flavor the book. But yes, I can also definitely tell when the author feels the need to share everything they learned about a subject, whether it advances the plot or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Tess Gerritsen says "Your research slip is showing."

      Delete
  15. I've been a big fan of Ann Aguirre's science fiction for years; I had no idea she was branching out into thriller territory. I love what I suppose you could call "reverse Bluebeard" stories; THE THIRD MRS. DURST looks utterly seductive. And that cover - my goodness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, small world! And SO agree..best cover ever.

      Delete
    2. I'm so happy to hear this! And yes, the cover is gorgeous, so elegant and sinister.

      Delete
  16. I've never been to Europe except in books. I don't think I've read a book set in Prague, so I'm looking forward to this one. I must have read tag lines, but I honestly can't recall a single one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will as soon as you hit publish, right? And that's a great way to go to Europe!

      Delete
    2. “I’ve never been to Europe except in books.” That needs to be a tag line! It would make me look further into a book for sure

      Delete
    3. I love exploring new places, but I hate getting there. Once I'm there, it's glorious but planes are so scary.

      Delete
  17. Prague is a fascinating and historic destination for a thriller. I haven't visited Prague but many other European cities. This book would be a memorable story. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ann, congratulations on the book, and the cover is killer! You must be over the moon!

    I have not been to Prague, although it's definitely on my must-visit list. (When is the best time to avoid the drunken Europeans, I wonder?) I'm also wondering how long you've lived in Mexico City, which I love, and if you've set any of your books there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, avoiding them is clearly a priority! :-)
      And yes, Mexico City--talk about complicated.

      Delete
    2. We were there in late May and it was lovely.

      I've lived in Mexico for fourteen years. I don't live in the city proper, but in the northwest suburbs, mountains rather than valley, and it is gorgeous. We have all the serenity yet city culture is about half an hour away. I love it here.

      Delete
  19. What a great tag line! "Some people just need killing." The Third Mrs. Durst will have to go on my TBR list. And, since I haven't read much about Prague or been there, that will be an exciting new setting for me.

    I never thought much about how hard it was for authors to limit their use of knowledge about a place or subject in their writing of a story. I know it would be hard for me to keep from sharing everything I know. Hahaha! And, thinking of it from a character's perspective, what they would actually notice is quite an important consideration. Do much that authors have to keep in mind while writing a thrilling story. I am constantly in awe of all you authors juggle.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "The Third Mrs. Durst" sounds amazing! I have never been to Prague, but I would enjoy reading a book set in Prague.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm on the road still,enjoying Virginia. A line I love is from Jane Steele. Reader, I murdered him. Who can resist that?
    Pat Dupuy

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have never been to Prague, but a friend who stopped there during his recent visit to Europe also waxed on about it. Prague clearly made a big impression on him.

    I agree with all those before me, by the way: the cover of "The Third Mrs. Durst" is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you! It's one of my favorite covers of all time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO agree! Thank you so much for being here today! xxx

      Delete
  24. I loved Georgette Heyer's romances and mysteries but the one she wrote that included the Battle of Waterloo was too much battle and not enough romance. I read in her biography that historians thought it was the best description of the battle. Fine for them. Since I like history, I enjoy many of the historic details but not battles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So intersting! And I bet she was tempted by the research, right?

      Delete
  25. Prague is on my short list of places to see! Thanks for such a fascinating post! I love the premise of your book and the cover...fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have done some traveling but I have never visited Prague!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ah, I need to plan a trip to Europe - my high school trip was, shall we say, a few years ago.

    My most memorable tagline was pointed out by Jon Land last year at Thrillerfest: Could you murder your wife to save your daughter? (from Her Last Tomorrow, by Adam Croft)

    ReplyDelete