Wednesday, August 18, 2010

English Author Maya Blake Interviewed and Great Giveaway Prizes

Please welcome fellow The Wild Rose Press author, Maya Blake. Maya, please introduce yourself to readers.

Hi, I’m Maya Blake, I’m a thirty-something romance writer whose life-long dream of writing finally came to true last year when my debut novel HOSTAGE TO LOVE was published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m the fourth of five siblings and I live in Kent, England with my husband and two adorable (in my opinion, lol) kids.

CC: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

MB: Since romance is my first love when it comes to reading, most of my favorite authors are romance writers. Michelle Reid, Lucy Monroe, Penny Jordan are a few of my Harlequin Presents favorites, but last year I discovered Anna Campbell, a historical romance writer, who blew me completely away and is now a firm favorite. I also enjoy reading crime thrillers, so authors like Deaver, Baldacci and Grisham are on my auto-buy list.

CC: Good choices. How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

MB: Since becoming a “serious” writer, my reading has taken an enormous hit. Where I used to read about six books a month, I’ve had to cut down to two or three, which is a shame since reading is a passion of mine. Just like my writing to tend to flit from book to book, which means I could be reading about three books at the same time, so to answer your question, right now I’m reading The Brunelli Baby Bargain by Kim Lawrence, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride by Caitlin Crews and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, lol!

CC: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

MB: Reading is my go-to hobby. I always have books stashed in various parts of the house just in case I get a minute, but for the ultimate relaxation, it’s my hammock, a book and a glass of wine. A very close second is watching movies with my husband. I love my kids immeasurably, but I wouldn’t call them a hobby, no way!

CC: Kids are definitely a full-time job, aren’t they? Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

MB: Oh dear, my muse is as flighty as I am, unfortunately! One day it could be music, other days it could be chocolate or complete silence. She arrives, makes demands and I simply have to accommodate her!

CC: My muse always responds to chocolate. LOL  How long have you been writing?

MB: I started writing when I was thirteen, but the usual angst-ridden teenage life got in the way, followed by “real life”, I guess. It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave with my second child five years ago that I picked up the pen again. My first manuscript was completed a month after I went back to work.

CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

MB: I can write pretty much anywhere and I don’t really mind background noise as long as it’s IN the background. My preferred place to write, though, is in bed, laptop on my lapdesk and my iPod and a cold drink close by; writing is thirsty work!

CC: Yes, it is. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

MB: When I started writing I was a complete pantzer, but I’ve had to learn to plot for the sake of contests and proposals. My crit partners and I now have awesome Skype sessions where we get together to plot stories. That said, sometimes I will deviate from a plot just to see where the characters and the muse take me.

CC: A plot is really just a road map, and it’s nice to take detours along the way. Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

MB: Not really. I may have used a name or an observation in the past in a story, for example, I saw girl with a spider tattoo on her foot and it sparked the idea of writing a story with an arachnophobic heroine.

CC: Great! Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

MB: Once the story is fully formed in my head or sketched roughly on paper, I just tend to run with it and research later. I think most writers come to a point when the words don’t quite flow as rapidly as we’d like and I use times like those to do my research. Often, it helps the story unfold quicker.

CC: Research does spark ideas. Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

MB: I’d love to say I set goals and keep to them or that I write daily. Unfortunately, holding down a full time job and the demands of family means that I can only write when I have or make the time. My husband is very good at taking the kids off my hands when he knows I have a self-imposed deadline and that helps a lot. Generally I try and write after my kids are in bed and the home settled down for the night.

CC: With a full-time job away from home plus children and a husband, I think you must be very efficient to find time for writing books. What is your day job?

MB: I hold down a full-time job at a law firm in the City of London.

CC: Sigh, I love visiting the City of London. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

MB: My aim is bring to readers what I myself look for in books – heartfelt warmth, affinity with three-dimensional characters and a hard-fought-for but very well deserved happy ending. If there’s a neat twist thrown in there somewhere, even better!

CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?

MB: Never give up. A rejection letter from another publisher only fuelled my desire to be published and led to HOSTAGE TO LOVE being accepted by The Wild Rose Press six weeks later.

CC: Perseverance is the key. Tell us about your latest release.

MB: Here’s a blurb:

Crushed by betrayal, Belle Winkworth-Jones flees the shambles of her short-lived marriage, only to be kidnapped by a vicious rebel soldier determined to keep her for himself. Nick Andreakos mounts a ruthless rescue to save the wife who walked away from him, even though he's resentful Belle could dismiss their marriage so easily

MB: And here’s an excerpt: (PG)

Belle jerked awake as a loud blast ripped through the cave, her eyes unprepared for the blinding, strobe flashes of light that lit up the dark cavern a second later. Squinting, she saw the flashes continue intermittently for several seconds, then stop. She lurched from her position propped up against the wall and wondered for a moment if she was still dreaming.

The screams from a few feet away told her she wasn’t.

She’d stayed awake long after the rebel leader retired behind his curtain, unable to sleep for fear he might vent his anger on Father Tom.

She’d also contemplated what she would do after nature ran its course. She’d bought them three days, four at the most. What would happen after that? Could she willingly let the loathsome man touch her for the sake of keeping one or all of them alive? And what guarantee did she have that he wouldn’t harm Father Tom?

The idea that perhaps they could overpower two of the soldiers, steal their weapons and make a run for it, she immediately discarded as foolish, and dangerous. She’d slumped, dejected, against the wall of the cave. That’s when she must’ve fallen asleep.

Dizzy and momentarily blinded by the flashes, she jumped as Edda screamed again. What was happening? Had the rebel leader decided they weren’t worth keeping and blasted the cave, burying them alive? Curiously though, the walls of the cave remained intact. She blinked a few times to dispel the blindness. Nothing happened.

A staccato burst of muffled gunfire sounded close by. But the gunfire was inside the cave, not outside. Which meant the rebels were still inside. Something brushed against her and she bit back a scream.

‘It’s all right lass, it’s me,’ Father Tom whispered close to her. ‘I told yer we’d be rescued today.’

Rescued! Why hadn’t she thought of that? Her spirits soared. Then plummeted.

CC: Wow, I’m intrigued. Where can readers find your books?

MB: My books are available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Amazon Kindle, All Romance ebooks, Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise and MbaM, to name a few.

CC: How can readers learn more about you?

MB: Readers can stay in touch with me in various ways:

Buy Hostage To Love here

CC: Thank you, Maya, for sharing your life and your writing with us today.

MB: Thank you so much for having me here today, Caroline. Your blog is beautiful and I feel at home already!

Readers! Remember to post today and next Wednesday to be entered in the big Gift Basked Drawing on the 30th.

Comments today also will be entered in my weekly prize drawing for a PDF file of one of my books.
This is a win-win situation!


Sally Clements said...

Great interview Maya, and lovely site, Caroline! I love Deaver's writing too, its so powerful. Having read 'Hostage to Love' I can thoroughly recommend it as a really powerful story with great characters and lots of passion (fans herself)

Maya said...

Ooh, thank you so much, Sally! I loved writing Hostage, especially the passionate bits, lol! Deaver's amazing, isn't he?

Mary Ricksen said...

Nice to hear all about you Maya.
Gotta get your great sounding book!
The excerpt grabbed me, I have to read it.
Good luck and great sales to you!

Lilly Gayle said...

Great interview.

Catherine Bybee said...

Love, love, love your cover, Maya. I'll bet you gushed when you first saw it. And of course your children are adorable. Great interview, ladies. Best of luck with your book.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

I liked the interesting insights. You sound very busy! I wish you well with your writing. -laura

Margaret Tanner said...

Wonderful interview Maya. Your story sounds fantastic, another one to load on to my TBR pile. Anna Campbell is an Australian writer and I have met her several times at conferences. She is a really lovely friendly lady as well as being so talented.



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Maya said...

Oh thanks much, Mary. I so hope you enjoy the book when you read it!

Maya said...

Thanks, Lilly :)

Maya said...

Thanks, Catherine. Yes, I thought my cover was awesome, lol. It's very powerful, isn't it. Nice to see you here.

Maya said...

Thanks Laura :) Life certainly gets a mad in my house, but every now and then I get the time to do what I love most - which is write, so it's all good :)

Maya said...

Hi Margaret, thanks for stopping by and for your comments. So jealous that you got to meet Anna. I think the reason I started reader her books was because I learnt her good friend and CP partner is Anne West, a writer for Harlequin. Since I also happen to love Anne's books, it was an easy transition from there :)