What would you do if you met someone who defied all of your stereotypes?
Outspoken and abrasive, law student Isabel enjoys arguing with just about everyone, including her friends. It's 2010, and her strained relationship with her mother, less-than-stellar job prospects and frustrations with the conformist political culture of Washington, DC have left her resentful and unfulfilled. Only her sisters and a few good friends are able to keep her semi-grounded. When she meets a new fellow student who dares to challenge her, she is intrigued but skeptical. While Isabel is risk-averse where her feelings are concerned, she is also becoming increasingly curious. She's afraid to get close, because being vulnerable always lead to being hurt, doesn't it?
Where you can find Miscalculated Risks:
Where you can find Maria:
Google+ Maria Riegger
Interview with Maria:
1. What prompted you to write your book?
The storyline came to me all at once. I had some ideas for scenes, and then everything coalesced one day. I wanted to write a book with Washington, DC, my hometown, as a setting, and also wanted to write about what it was like to go to law school there as a young professional.
I also wanted to experiment with characters who didn't act the way people expect. The main character, Isabel, doesn't always act as you would expect a woman to act; however, there are reasons for that. Isabel also applies her own stereotypes to people, which end up turning out to be untrue. This novel was a lot of fun to write.
2. What is your favorite genre-to read and write?
I love to read thrillers. When I was younger, I read a ton of Agatha Christie. Ken Follett is my favorite author. Eye of the Needle is a classic spy novel, and Pillars of the Earth is an epic. Follett writes a fast-paced thriller, but also has the ability to write in different genres. His novels always include strong female leads. I also enjoy reading Neil Gaiman; he is a great storyteller. His novel American Gods is incredible.
I enjoy writing women's fiction with a brash, independent edge. I really enjoy getting into the characters’ heads. I prefer characters who have a mix of positive and negative traits, who have some redeeming qualities but also (sometimes major) flaws. I also enjoy writing witty, sarcastic exchanges between characters.
3. Do you have any works in progress? If so, what are they?
I'm working on Acceptable Misconduct, the sequel to Miscalculated Risks; and I'm working on a political fiction novel. You can't get away from politics in the Washington, DC area.
4. What do you hope to accomplish as an author?
I write because I have something to say. If my books make people think about things, then I consider my job done. Writing is also cathartic for me, since I draw on some of my own experiences and feelings.
5. What are your favorites-food, color, place, activity?
Hmmm, it's difficult to narrow it down. Coming from an Argentine family, I love pasta. My favorite color is deep red. My favorite place depends on my mood, but right now that would be Toledo, Spain, a medieval walled city that is packed with tourists during the day but silent at night (perfect for writing in solitude!). My favorite activity is spending time with my young son. As the child of an attorney, he is always giving me a piece of his mind.
6. What would you like your readers to know about you?
I work full-time, write, volunteer and take care of my family. People ask me how I have the time. I make time for the things that matter to me. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it.
7. If you could give one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
Do your own thing, and don't let other people's words of discouragement affect you. You are the master of your own destiny.