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Spotlight on Susan McKinney De Ortega

By Novelreads @NovelReads

Spotlight on Susan McKinney de Ortega

Susan McKinney de Ortega

Flirting in Spanish is Susan McKinney de Ortega’s Mexican Memoir. It tells the extraordinary true love story between the 33-year old daughter of a former Los Angeles Lakers coach and a poor Mexican teenager.  When Susan McKinney moves into Carlos Ortega´s house in San Miguel de Allende, she finds herself not only sharing a room with her boyfriend, his brother and his sister but struggling to find her place in another macho world – exactly what she had come to Mexico to escape.   Today I have the opportunity to share some of Susan’s insights on writing, the world of publishing, and (surprisingly) spirit guides with you.
Sofia: How important do you think book titles and covers are? And did you have a say in yours?Susan: I think both elements are very important. Both, in my case, were a collaborative effort with my publisher Jayne Navarre at Antaeus Books. I thought of the title; she came up with the subtitle, which I immediately loved. Her kick-ass designer Amy McAdams came up with two hot cover designs. I posted them both on Facebook and on my blog and asked for feedback. The red chili cover won so we went with it and I’m so grateful we did.  It pops!
Sofia: What are you working on at the moment?Susan: I’m working on a memoir (I’m a serial memoirist!) about living with a teenaged psychic.That’s my daughter, Carla, who is prescient and sees auras and has spirit guides and the whole works. Actually, the bigger story is about receiving spirit visits myself and trying to figure out what message I am supposed to be getting.  I write about these visits from spirits and angels (a form or notetaking) at -  My husband has some abilities too. Thus, the work is tentatively titled Don Carlos’ Guide to the Other Side. Sofia: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?Susan: I am not a plotter nor an organizer. My friend, French historical writer uses post-its galore, and cards and other organizational tools, which puts me in awe of her.  I’ve tried it. I bought several sheets of poster board once. I just can’t do it. I start with a sentence or an idea and run with it.  I do keep a computer archive and a lined notebook of ideas.  But starting and seeing where the story is taking me is one of the thrills of writing for me.   Sofia: How do you deal with rejection from agents?Susan: I’m an expert at agent rejection!  I found my publisher when she came into my spa in San Miguel de Allende for a pedicure.  I deal with rejection with indifference.  Sofia: What do you enjoy most about writing?Susan: I love getting lost in the story, being in another world, then coming out of the zone, blinking and realizing hours have passed. Sofia: What advice would you give aspiring writers?Susan: Edit, edit, edit.  For more on the subject, see my article in the San Francisco Book Review:
Sofia: If you could invite anyone from any era for a cup of coffee in your living room, who would you choose?Susan: My favorite writer, Lorrie Moore. Sofia: Do you have a favorite quote?Susan: “May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young.”  Bob Dylan
Spotlight on Susan McKinney de Ortega
Sofia: What do you do when you’re not writing?Susan: I’m one of those fools going for belts in Tae Kwon Do.  Right now I have Yellow (the first one)!Sofia: What do you think the future holds for you as a writer?  Susan: Sudden viral sales of Flirting in Spanish, followed by a movie deal and then unlimited success for Don Carlos’ Guide to the Other Side.    The law of attraction, you know....And on that note “Flirting in Spanish” is available at at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!To learn more about Susan, visit her Website

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