I always love chatting with authors to find out more about them and the books that they write. Today, we’re having a conversation with B.T. Polcari, author of Against My Better Judgment, which I am looking forward to reading. He’s telling us a bit more about the story, plus reveals some interesting factoids about himself!
On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Against My Better Judgment
(Mauzzy and Me Mystery, #1)
By B.T. Polcari
New Adult Contemporary Mystery, Romantic Comedy
Paperback & ebook, 298 Pages
September 16th 2020 by The Wild Rose Press
When freshman year at the University of Alabama draws to a close, Sara Donovan finds herself grappling with the same old question—listen to her head or follow her heart. What she ends up doing is purchasing an Egyptian souvenir funerary mask, and after a mysterious phone call, she’s certain a ring of antiquities smugglers are operating in Tuscaloosa.
With finals never far from her mind and her return to ‘Bama hanging in the balance, she should be studying. Instead she launches her own investigation to prove her mask is indeed a stolen artifact, and not a cheap trinket. When it comes time to snoop, Sara is more than ready, or at least she was until a hot new teaching assistant moves in next door.
Suddenly she learns things are never as they seem. Ever.
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1.) What was the inspiration behind this book?
The simple answer is my wife and daughter. During a long drive to Washington, D.C. for our son’s graduation, my wife and I started talking about some of the antics and funny stories our daughter’s miniature dachshund, Mauzzy, would get himself and her into. At some point, my wife says something like, “You need to write a book about an inquisitive college girl and her mischievous dog.” Throughout our week stay in D.C., the evenings at the hotel were often spent with our daughter sitting in the hotel room and hanging out with us, continuing to discuss this crazy idea of me writing a book. As my wife and daughter talked, they threw ideas all over the place, and their excitement grew with each pitch. I mainly just sat and listened. It was quite entertaining. The rest of our stay in D.C. was filled with conversations on plot ideas, Mauzzyisms, and possible characters.
After driving back home, and as more and more ideas and stories from my wife and daughter POURED in, it dawned on me: I was really going to be writing a book for them. And I was okay with that thought because I was about to retire, so why not. It would keep me out of my wife’s hair. For all I know, with my retirement pending, she was planning ahead and suggested the idea of a book—to keep me out of her hair!
So, the short answer, my wife and daughter inspired me to write the book, and I wanted to write it—for them. And I couldn’t be happier for them. And Mauzzy. 😉
2.) To which character did you relate the most?
It might seem cliché to say it, but Sara, the main character. Although I must clarify, I relate to her independence and dogged determination. I most certainly do not relate to her clumsy physical awkwardness and penchant for talking. Incessantly. Sara is all about perseverance and believing in herself despite the odds, even when the easier course of action might be to “go along with the crowd.” Throughout my life I have always been very independent, always preferring to do everything for myself. I believe in setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals, even if it takes years or decades. Like getting published. Although Sara is not at the point in her development where she is into goal setting, as she matures she will be and her fierce determination will drive her to achieving those goals.
3.) What makes you stand out in this competitive genre?
Competitive genre is right. Young Adult and New Adult fiction is a MASSIVE portion of fiction writing, and it certainly felt daunting when I arrived at the querying stage of publication. What my wife and daughter continued to remind me of, however, is that the book’s voice and characters are what make it stand out. In addition, quite a few editors have commented that they “love the voice,” which was narrated in the first person to better share with the reader the depth of Sara’s character as she dealt with one situation after another. One such editor noted, “The main character’s voice and tone come through so clearly that it feels as though most of the text is direct dialogue between her and the audience.”
I have noticed that in a lot of Young Adult/New Adult fiction, romance plays a fairly large part. Yes, there is some romance in my book (and plenty in Sara’s head), but to me the book’s true romance plays a secondary role. The most important element to me while writing Against My Better Judgment was to create a flawed female protagonist with inner strength and grit who learns to embrace her flaws and to always trust her intuition. I made it a point to ensure she isn’t the typical protagonist. She doesn’t look perfect, her house is a mess, she lets her 12-pound dachshund practically run her life, and she barely puts on airs as to the real reason why she goes to the gym. She is someone who my own daughter could read and find a connection with, and that was really important to me. So how do I stand out in this competitive genre? By writing with a voice that draws the reader into a direct conversation with Sara and creating characters that are funny, flawed, and true.
4.) What can we expect in upcoming installments of this series?
You’re going to see a lot more of Zoe (and her hair’s ever-changing colored streaks), the continued growth of Sara’s inner belief (and where her “intuition” takes her), and definitely more of Mauzzy. There might even be a sister in Mauzzy’s future. 😉 I’ve been saving up book ideas for decades, so at this point I can almost close my eyes and pull a sheaf of paper out of my bursting filing cabinet for a new Sara and Mauzzy Adventure. ROTC boys might be replaced with Naval Academy midshipmen; stolen antiquities with possible heists and suspicious deaths; and Marty the Mall Cop with Serg the Air Marshal. And I have some ideas to allow for Mrs. Majelski to make an appearance or two. Have I said too much?
5.) If you could live in any of your fictional worlds, where would you go and why?
I would love to be a fly on the wall in Mrs. Majelski’s life in Against My Better Judgment. You’ll learn more about her when you read the book, but let’s just say that I want to know why a retired octogenarian is consistently taking month-long vacations. I’m pretty sure there is more to her walker’s little flower basket than meets the eye.
6.) What’s something readers may be surprised to find out about you?
I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for seven years, and my professional career spanned well over 35 countries, many of which were not the “garden spots” of the world. During my career, I was president and CEO of a company with over 1,000 employees throughout the world. As a bonus factoid, I have bowled nine sanctioned 300 games and my high 3-game set is 826.
About the Author
Ever wonder what retired business executives do after they have put in years of effort for society and decide it is time to hang up their hat? Perhaps strolling along the country club’s fairway, or lounging on a 50-foot yacht?
Alas, B. T. Polcari is unlike your typical retired executive. Empty nester and Scarlett Knights alum, Polcari is still learning the meaning of “retired” while feverishly typing away on the next new book idea, smashing the fuzz off the little green tennis ball, or blasting bowling pins for a perfect game. Yes there is a boat, but not one that comes with its own crew; this retiree prefers to bustle along a serene lake in a quaint single seat Sunfish sailboat.
Perhaps the only time BTP can be found in a quiet moment is while enjoying the morning company of two family dachshunds over a newspaper and cup of coffee. B. T. Polcari currently resides in Chattanooga, TN and is thrilled to be fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a published author.
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