Interview with Gloria Piper-Manjarrez

Hello Everyone!

We are delighted to have author Gloria Piper-Manjarrez amongst us today at Musikdiv India Online Magazine at our Special ‘Authors Festival’ interview series to tell us about her new book Finnegan’s Quest!
Please read on …

Who will be Finnegan’s most perfect guru? Someone big, mysterious, and scary? It’s what the young fox believes. His quest leads him into Squiggly Wood, only to find no welcome from its critters, except for Crookshank, an elder crow reputed to have an evil foot. Finnegan, if he is to have any help in his search, accepts her offer of friendship. Shortly after, the woods erupt with guides and misguides vying to mentor him and separate him from Crookshank. Why should anyone care? The two friends investigate the cause of this attack and find it tied to a scheme by a secret force to take over Squiggly Wood. Finnegan’s Quest is a fantastical allegory that pokes fun at life’s foibles, political, religious, and social. Young and adult readers will find a quick and amusing read that invites them to look at life in new ways.

So Gloria, we’ll start your Interview with the very first question

1.Please introduce and tell the readers something about yourself.

I’m Gloria Piper-Manjarrez. I live in Northern California with my hubby of late years, and I’m a fool for nature and the spiritual. I have a masters degree in biology and in art. Some of my writing has been published in magazines and newspapers.

2. What brought you to writing?

You might ask, what brought me to take my writing seriously. I went through a period when I suffered from multiple chemical sensitivities. I could no longer work in biology or art, my previous areas of expertise because of exposure to chemicals. I was so poisoned from the environment, that for a time I couldn’t even enter stores to shop. What was left? Then it dawned on me with the strength of an epiphany. I could write. And with that revelation, a sense of comfort eased through me.
Also much as I loved biology and art, if I worked at one, I had little time for the other. And I felt that my other interests were shoved aside so that I overstuffed myself on one pursuit. Consequently another reason I felt comfortable with the decision to take my writing seriously was that I could indulge all my interests, and I could do it in a safe place.

3. How long have you been writing?

In elementary school, I wrote silly poems. In college and beyond, I wrote silly novels. They were worth nothing more than an exercise, a means toward building my skills.

4. Which was your first literary project? Tell us something about it.

I suppose you mean more than the term paper or thesis required in school.
Let’s see. I won’t count the silly novels. The first non silly novel I wrote was a fantasy, part of a trilogy, which I want to revisit. DelRey expressed an interest in it, but I didn’t realize I could have pursued that interest. That was many years ago.

5. Is this your new/latest project?

In terms of writing, my latest project is a fantasy novel about a guy who steals a magic pearl. In terms of promotion, I’m using Finnegan’s Quest to build my writing platform.

6. Traditional books or e-books? How do you prefer to see your works published? Have you tried ever publishing the traditional way?

Presently I prefer e-books. I have the satisfaction of getting my books before readers, and I hope to capture their interest. I do hope eventually to have my books published the traditional way, to reach those who prefer to hold a paper product in their hands. I’ve tried, off and on, to get published the traditional way. Usually I received rejection slips that say it’s not right for them or there’s no market for my book. Besides, trying to get published that way is a slow, painful process. I’m no longer young enough to be patient with it, and I have a lot of books to get out there.

7. Can you give a chapter sample preview of your book here for our readers to know more about it?

With pleasure.
( Please look at the bottom of the interview for book excerpts )

8. What are your hobbies? Things that you enjoy doing besides books of course.

My hubby and I go for walks in nature. We’re into wildlife. I play the piano, simply for self entertainment. We also volunteer-drive patients to their medical appointments.
I used to have more hobbies, but life has become simpler with every minute just as full.

9. Who is your favorite author?

Hmm. There are too many great authors for me to choose favorites. Sometimes I read someone and marvel at their style, wishing I could write as well. I’ll just have to say that the latest author I relished was Suzanne Collins. Well, come to think of it, I do enjoy a good Dean Koontz novel.

10. What is your favorite genre to read and also to write?

I like to write fantasy and soft science fiction. I love to read the same, but I don’t confine myself to them.

ll. Do you have a role model that you get inspiration from?

I get inspiration from NovelPro, the writer’s group I belong to.

12. Where do you get your ideas from? Do you take your story ideas from real life situations?

My ideas come from a mix of who I am and the experiences I’ve had. Some come from dreams. Finnegan’s Quest parodies the ridiculous in politics, religions, and social interactions. It might be something as simple as buying a bag of potato chips and finding it contains more air than chips. It might be something more serious as the false blame-and-acclaim game politicians play.

13. Do you have a pseudonym?

Gloria Piper. My maiden name.

14. What’s your experience been like in the publishing industry? Positive or negative? Please share your experience with our readers.

Mostly negative. For example: Long waits from agents or publishers who eventually send a rejection slip. My rejecting a publishing company that would take my novel if I worked to promote their list of books, some of which were riddled with errors, or sold coffee they were pushing. My making the mistake of paying an agent to represent one of my books and later learning she was submitting it to the wrong markets. An editor of a major publishing company expresses an interest in my book and then dies.

15. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I hope to see myself as a beloved author with a wide readership.

16. What motivates you to write?

My need to create. My need to express myself. My hope that I can provide others with the enjoyment of a mini vacation and a new perspective.

17. How important is a good cover art for your books?

A good cover is a good selling point. I designed my covers, for better or worse. It’s hard for me to judge their worth, just as I found it hard to compare my painting quality with other students’ when I majored in art.

18. Do you have a price strategy for your books?

Make them affordable.

19. How does it make you feel when you read a bestselling book that you don’t feel is as good as yours?

Capable. As least in terms of quality.

20. Why do you think readers should buy your book? What can you offer them through your book?

I offer them enjoyment and maybe a new way of looking at life.

21. Where is your book available? Any Buy Link for our readers?

Amazon >>

Smashwords >>

22. Do you have a website or a blog that you’d like to share here?

I’m working on it, just getting started.

23. What advice would you give to other writers?

Pay attention to grammar. Continue to hone your craft. Join a writer’s group.

24. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers.

  • Thank you Gloria Piper-Manjarrez for gracing us with your presence.It was a sheer pleasure.Good luck with your book.We conclude the interview here

    Thanks again from Team MusikDIV

    Book Exerpts – Sample Chapter

    Finnegan’s Quest By Gloria Piper-Manjarrez

    The first chapter of Finnegan’s Quest.

    Finnegan padded through a field of queen anne’s lace, sunflowers, and chicory, catching their moisture on his fur and feeling he was the handsomest of red foxes, every bit as impressive as these flowers. The warmth of Mama’s farewell kiss had long faded from his cheek. But her advice lingered, tucked into a corner of his mind.

    He’d eagerly awaited the day when she would deem him mature enough to strike out on his own. During the last week, she had crammed his waking moments with advice. Do this, don’t do that. Her efforts made as much impression as the breeze batting his ears. After all, he was already grown and restless. At their parting, she told him he wasted time searching far afield for what was under his nose. She was his crone, his fool, his mentor. The crone is wise, the fool is wily, the mentor is a guide. Maybe so, but an itch in his blood chased him into the world to seek another guru. Spirit, he told her, was leading him to search for more sophisticated lessons than Sit up straight, Don’t hit, and Clean up your own messes.

    “The dark spirit could be leading you,” she said.

    He didn’t think so. Leaving home was normal when a fox reached a certain age.

    Begrudgingly Mama saw him off by shoving into his grip a list of all she had taught. He shuddered to think someone should see him on the trail and ask him what he was carrying. His face would be as red as his fur. Smile, Pay attention, Don’t talk to strangers. All her rules were ingrained in his fiber. Rules for a kit. Trash for an adult.

    As soon as he was out of sight, he had buried the list under a rock. Perhaps some uninitiated would find the list and consider it a treasure. Fine. His goals were loftier. He sought the esoteric, the extraordinary.

    When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear. And Finnegan felt ready. The secrets of the universe awaited his discovery. What would his teacher be like? An Ancient of Days inhabiting a mountain top? A temple-bound hermit in a tree or a cave? A mighty hero who fights for truth and justice? In any case the mentor definitely would be wise and mysterious, stronger and bigger then he, perhaps even a bit frightening. Finnegan felt so ready, he expected the teacher to pop up anywhere. Even now the guru might be watching.

    Finnegan hurdled wild oats, foxtail, and wild mustard to show what an energetic apprentice he would be. He dropped down and nosed his way through wild radish and goosefoot to display his stealth. His coat flared in the sun, making a fire that did not consume the elderberry bush he shimmied through. Fox fire!

    A path wound among cottonwood and oak trees. He leaped onto it in a brief dance; four feet leap, three feet bounce, two feet hop, and one foot skip. The chatter and click of critters in the foliage ceased. He sensed the eyes of birds, insects, and squirrels upon him. Admiring eyes, no doubt.

    Beyond a screen of reeds and willows a stream chuckled to the cadence of his trotting. It sang a song too beautiful to ignore, so he broke through the reeds and lapped up transparent water, cold and delicious. Lips dripping, he scanned the opposite shore and noticed a path on the far side, appearing and disappearing among wild grapevines and hinting that it was a prettier path than the one he was on. The obscuring vines gave the path an air of mystery. Surely his mentor lived in that direction. Finnegan poked ahead until he found a broad gravely place that promised a shallow crossing. Here the water flowed without singing. Here, also, directly in the way stood a monster bear, knee-deep, sifting the current with its claws.

    Was this his guru? Finnegan couldn’t ask directly. Though he’d buried Mama’s list, her teachings clung like leeches. One in particular mounted the podium of his mind: Don’t talk to strangers.

    No problem. After all, the teacher should pick the pupil. He’d make to pass, and the bear would let him know.

    He stood by the water’s edge. Cleared his throat. The mountainous critter seemed too engrossed slapping at fish. Perhaps Finnegan should speak. Surely Mama’s advice wouldn’t apply where everyone he met would be a stranger. How could he make friends if he snubbed the new country’s denizens? He donned his best grin. “Howdy, Bear. I’m Finnegan, and I’m on a quest. At the moment, I’m fixing to cross. May I ask who you are?”

    The bear raised its face and rumbled something that sounded like, “Duh Fuz.” Its red eyes settled on him, as if he were a gadfly, and it tilted its head upstream. “Take the bridge.”

    Finnegan giggled. “Thank you kindly.”

    He trotted upstream, glad to get away from those hot eyes, that humorless mug.

    Soon he came upon a log that spanned the river. The log’s end nearest Finnegan was sheltered by a surround of willows, wild plum, and sycamores. From their shade a white wiry critter rose at his approach and met him at eye level, hand extended.

    “Howdy, Weasel,” he said, reaching to shake hands. “Name’s Finnegan, and I’m on a quest.”

    “Squeeze, here.” The weasel eluded his hand.

    “Squeeze where?”

    “That’s my name. Dame Squeeze, to be exact. What’s your quest?”

    Finnegan hadn’t realized he was addressing nobility. She certainly had a lovely white coat with a black-tipped tail. A bit slinky for his taste. And haughty. According to Mama good manners won the haughty over, so he bowed. “I’m seeking a guru.”

    “I see.” Squeeze held out her hand again. Finnegan reached to take it in a friendly shake when she again eluded his grasp and said, “Toll, please.”


    “You aim to cross this bridge?”


    “Then you pay toll.”

    “I never heard of such a thing.” Finnegan started to go around, but the weasel blocked his way.

    “I have nothing to give you,” he said.

    “In that case you must wait to make an appointment. Wait over there.” She pointed at the edge of the willow surround.

    Finnegan slouched into the shade. Above his head a quartet of jays gossiped and quarreled. Their exchange seemed meaningless, so he sat and glumly ignored them. A rabbit hopped into view and dropped something into the weasel’s hand before crossing. She dropped the payment into a straw pouch at her feet. Then Squeeze groomed, combing her white coat from nose to tail. After awhile a raccoon waddled up, paid, and crossed. Squeeze yawned and groomed some more, brushing from crown to toe. Finnegan became restless. Had she forgotten him? He cleared his throat to get her attention.

    “To simplify this,” she said, without glancing at him, “I’ll sell you a season’s ticket.”

    “I only want to cross once.”

    “A one-way ticket, then.” She calculated on her fingers. “Let’s see. There’s the toll, plus dues, plus–”

    “Dues for what?”

    “The worker is worthy of its dues. Plus donation.”

    “Donation for what?”

    “To a worthy cause. Plus initiation fee for first time use. Plus insurance.”


    At Finnegan’s appalled tone, the quartet of jays fell silent.

    “In case you stub a toenail crossing, or a hurricane strikes before you’re over, or a flash flood hits. Plus waiting-space rental.”


    “That will be twenty grubs.”

    Finnegan eyed Squeeze’s extended hand. He whirled away. “I’ll wade across.”

    “You can’t do that. You must use the bridge. Duh Fuz says.”

    “Who’s Duh Fuz?”

    “The bear.”

    “What bear?”

    “The one nobody dares to betray.”

    The monster in the river leaped to his mind. “Big? With red eyes and a sour look?”

    “That’s the one. Obey him, or else.”

    “You work for him?”

    “Not particularly. We just all pay him protection.”

    Finnegan frowned at Squeeze’s bossy tone. He frowned at the bridge. He swept his gaze up and down the river. Why should he be forced to use one little bridge when the entire river must have several crossings? Duh Fuz may be big and scary, but he occupied himself elsewhere. He was no threat. Neither was this weasel. Finnegan stalked off.

    “Thief!” Squeeze shrilled.

    “Thief,” the jays squawked.

    “Stop,” Squeeze yelled. “You owe me for waiting-area rental.”

    Finnegan continued on as stately as possible. That weasel could sure scream. The jays didn’t help.

    Soon he felt a thumping vibration. It mounted, trembling the ground beneath his feet and rocking through his belly. When the landscape shook against his eyeballs, he looked back at something the size of a boulder bearing down on him. It advanced with the power of an avalanche. He could hear the huff of Duh Fuz’s breath, could smell fish on it. The spatter of foam from Duh Fuz’s lips convinced Finnegan the bear wasn’t in any mood to negotiate.

    Finnegan blanked out. Next thing he knew, his legs took it upon themselves to tear out of there, hauling the rest of him along. The behemoth’s breath syncopated against his neck in rhythm to thudding feet.

    His eyes took inventory: Meadow to the left of him, stream to the right.

    Finnegan leaped right, hitting with a ploosh among reeds and cattails. Before he had time to plumb the depths, Duh Fuz’s belly flop caught him in a wave that landed him, along with a couple of fish, a dragonfly naiad, and clumps of algae, into a stream-side bush.

    Finnegan lay among stabbing twigs and listened to thrashing in the stream and bellowing. “Where’s the fox? Tell me or I’ll bite your head off.” Duh Fuz throttled a carp.

    “Glub, glub, glub.” It was all the carp could say, so Duh Fuz bit its head off. He snagged another fish. “Where’s the fox?”

    Finnegan slipped from the bush and eased below the water’s surface as another fish lost its head. Cold pried against the thickness of his coat, but wetness touched only his nose and paws. He drifted with the current, ears battened against moisture while listening through the whisper of water. He drifted away from the massacre. Drifted beneath the bridge. Drifted until he found the shallow spot where he’d wanted to cross in the first place. He dithered over graveled bottom, pulled himself from the stream, shook himself dry, and ran.

    Buy Finnegan’s Quest by Gloria Piper-Manjarrez On Amazon Kindle >>

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