Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview with Minnie Lahongrais-AKA The Original Nerd

Minnie Lahongrais--The Original Nerd

Thank you, Minnie, for being a guest here at Romance In Flight, and congratulations on your new release.
I try to introduce my guest bloggers as everyday people with incredible imaginations, giving my readers a hint into the lives and minds of those who have the patience to sit down and write. There aren’t many questions I can come up with to point out how “normal” you are, because, let’s face it, “normal is overrated and you are far from “normal.”  Going through your website and your blog, the following statements and questions dominated my brain.
First off, in your bio you says, and I quote, “I'm probably the original nerd!” I had to laugh, because you just don’t seem like a nerd to me or maybe I’m one as well and I’m in denial. So, for me, and all my readers out there, what makes you the original nerd and how do we sign up?
Second, in your blog you have an article about how you came up with the idea for Divergent Lives and that original quote jumped from the page and slapped me in the face.
"The baby died in utero; choked by its umbilical cord when its twin, in a hurry to be born, climbed over it and killed it."
That’s a powerful memory to have, and that thought had me wondering just how much real life events and memories influence your writing.
Finally, I hear you’re having a Birthday party for Adina, the main character in Divergent Lives. How did you come up with that idea, and can I steal it from you?

Thank you for having me visit with you today, Jeanne.
You speak of being in denial of nerdiness and that, my friend, made me laugh! The truth of the matter is that nerds rule, right? Anybody remember a little nerdy guy named Steve Jobs?? Enough said!
But seriously, I am a nerd. There’s no denying it. The truth of the matter is that I’m happiest when I’m immersed in the written word. I’m good around people and I am happy during exchanges with other human beings, but words excite me. Words supply me with information and I crave information. I also love taking things apart and putting them back together even if I end up with extra pieces.
Most people enjoy the outdoors and are active on beaches, trails and the like. I enjoy trail tours and walking along the shore. I enjoy people watching – seeing how people interact with one another. In the past, I would do those things and then go through my day in bed right before I go to sleep and I always ask “Why?”
And I would dream up reasons for strangers’ actions. Or, I’d be riding along a road and see an interesting rock formation and wonder, “How did that happen?” After my parents retired, they moved back to Puerto Rico. Whenever I visited, we would take these long drives around the island. We’d ride along the coast or mountainside and I would pester my Dad for information about the island’s history. There is a tree in Puerto Rico he called “El Flamboyan” that has these really bright orange-red flowers. He would always say that you can only find that tree in Puerto Rico and I’d respond by asking how it got there and he always said he didn’t know. I would ask that question every single time and always got the same answer. Sometimes the joy is in the asking, in the journey.
So, is that normal? Is normal overrated? Yes, and normal is definitely overrated!
I have always been curious. That is the reason why I overheard that conversation that later in life became the impetus for my writing Divergent Lives.
I must have been about seven or eight. My older brother, his then-live-in girlfriend – I’ll call her Eve – and my mom were in the living room talking. I loved that woman! I wanted to sit in her lap. I’m telling you, I loved her!
I should have been asleep but I was eavesdropping. Eve asked my mother about something that my brother had told her. She wanted to know if it was true and my mother uttered the words, in all her drama: “The baby died in utero; choked by its umbilical cord when its twin, in a hurry to be born, climbed over it and killed it.”
For 45 years, that sentence echoed in my head. I knew who they were talking about; I knew who the surviving twin was. I’m won’t say who it is, but I know who it was. I can’t say what prompted me to incorporate that memory into this story, but I did and once I decided to do that, my inner, dark curiosities got the better of me. I also knew that I would be pushing the envelope with this story and I had to be careful telling it. This story is DARK!
When I sat down to write Divergent Lives, I had in my head a much different story. The story always had a serial killer in it. The story was always going to be about the female child of immigrant parents growing up during the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s, and she was always going to die. The devil was in the details.
Once the story was written, I had to decide on a release date, which I didn’t have when I initially wrote the second chapter and indicated the date of birth of the twins, but I wanted to make the launch interesting.
The number 12 is all over this story. We are in the year 2012. December is the twelfth month. I was born on the twelfth day of February in a year whose last two numbers add up to 12.
I didn’t celebrate my 50th birthday with a big party because I was scheduled for surgery. So I decided that I would have a 50th birthday party for my characters to celebrate the launch because I didn’t have one. In addition, if the world was going to end on 12/21/12, then I just HAD to get my story out!
I don’t think the world is going to end. In fact, I know the world won’t end … the nerd in me did her research!

Divergent Lives is the story of fraternal twins - one male; one female -- born to immigrant parents in New York City on December 12, 1962. They are separated at birth by the attending physician. One is sold on the black market to a couple living in rural Pennsylvania. The other remains with the biological parents.  Neither twin knows the other exists. Each shows signs of sociopathic tendencies as young teenagers. One becomes a serial killer and we learn of an unexpected secret. Each murder that is committed by this twin is more gruesome than the last.
For more about Minnie Lahongrais, follow one or more of the links below.
Twitter: @Lahongrais
Divergent Lives is available now on Amazon in the US and in the UK.  Worldwide purchase links can be found either on my website or on the Divergent Lives blog.


  1. This was one of the most fun interviews I've ever done! Thank you so much for allowing me to visit!!

  2. Great interview ladies! This book sounds like it's right up my alley! And it's on my TBR list for sure.

    And yes...normal is way overrated!

  3. Great interview. :) You know I'm big fans of you both. I just bought Dragon Within and can't wait to get started. Jeanne, can you change Minnie's last link under her twitter account and change/link it to "Minnie's Website:"?


  4. Greetings all!

    It has been brought to my attention that the link to my website is not working. I recently changed web hosting companies and this interview was done while with the other company. Copy this: and paste into your url and it will take you to my website.

    I would be frustrated if a link didn't go where I thought it would go. I apologize for any inconvenience.

    Thank you for reading my interview!


  5. I recently changed webhosting companies so the link in this article is broken. To visit my website, please copy and paste into your browser.