Author Spotlight

 

I recently had the chance to chat with a talented author.  So, without further delay letís hear from the talented

Maya Banks

Did you always know that you would one day be a writer?  Was writing something you always enjoyed?
I always knew Iíd write, just not that Iíd choose to make a career of it or actually get paid to do it. Iíve loved writing since I was a child.  I started writing full length novels around ten or eleven and would write them long hand in my notebooks.  It wasnít until after the birth of my third child, though, that I decided to write for more than just my own enjoyment.

Are you able to write full-time or do you have to balance a pesky ďday job,Ē also?
Writing is definitely my full time job.  No way I could juggle a day job with the writing commitments I have.  Currently, I have nine contracted books with Berkley HEAT, Berkley Sensation, Silhouette Desire and Samhain Publishing and I have no shortage of story ideas so Iíll be busy for a good long while!

Tell us what makes Maya tick?
Lol!  Thatís a trick question.  And Iím not sure of the answer to be honest.  Iím pretty easy going and laid back. I donít get worked up over much.  I love what I do and the freedom that it gives me in other areas of my life.  My husband and I are very spur of the moment, and weíre fortunate that both our jobs allow us to feed that need to ďget up and go.Ē  Iím pretty adventurous and at times I get extremely restless.  Itís really bad when both me and my husband are restless at the same time because then there is no stopping us ;)

You have two writing personas, Maya Banks and Sharon Long, do you find it difficult to balance the two?  What are the main differences between the two?
I do have a few Sharon Long books, but sheís sorta fading away and Maya is taking over.  That sounds so evil!  In the beginning, Maya was the name I chose for my erotic romances and Sharon would write anything else.  The only differences, besides genre, is mainly sexual content, because I think otherwise, the stories are very similar.  Voice, emotion etc.

Maya sort of took off, though, and when I sold to Berkley Sensation we kept the Maya name instead of going with Sharon even though the books arenít erotic, and then the final nail in Sharonís coffin came when I sold to Silhouette Desire. I felt certain that theyíd want me to use Sharon since Maya is a pen name for erotic romances, but they were quite happy for me to write as Maya.  Soooo now everything is written under Maya Banks :)

What was the best piece of advice you received when starting out?  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Iím trying really hard to remember advice I may have been given.  I didnít really have any published mentors coming up.  Instead, it was interesting because I came up with a group of unpublished authors, sort of like a graduating class or something.  Interestingly enough, we sold very close together

As for advice for aspiring writers.  Hmmm, this is my biggest thing and itís about protecting my voice.  Iím extremely protective of it to the extent that Iíve never had a lot of critique partners or ďfingers in the potĒ as I call it.  Itís not that I donít think I need help but at the end of the day, my books are uniquely my own and I want them to fail or succeed BECAUSE theyíre my books, not a story written by a dozen critique partners.  So I guess I would say to be careful not to lose, in the processing of editing and critiquing, the unique spark that makes that book yours.

Tell us some of your favoritesÖfoods, movies, authors, books, television, music, colors, and any others you would like to share.
FoodsÖanything barbeque. Southern comfort foods.  As for movies, I love action flicks with lots of violence and blood shed and blowing shit up.  The worst punishment you could inflict is to make me watch a chick flick or some family drama.  I love big movies with lots of special effects.  The Mummy movies are like the best evah.  Television?  I donít watch it much at all.  Couldnít even tell you what the current shows are.  HATE sitcoms *shudder*  Iíve been watching CSI on DVDs but Iím only up to season six and itíll take me years to get through them all.  Favorite color. Orange, hands down.  You canít look at orange without it making you happy!

Elizabeth Lowell and Julie Garwood are two of my favorite authors.  Sharon Sala.  Omg I love her.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers?  What is the best way to contact you?
I do. I keep every single reader email I receive and I answer all of them (so if you sent me something and I didnít respond, itís because I didnít get it!)  Best way to contact me is via email at maya@mayabanks.com but you can find me at the Writeminded Blog http://www.writemindedblog.com  and also at the Writeminded Readers Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/writeminded_readers

What is the most unique/unusual thing about you?
Uhmm hmmm Iím pretty average and boring.  Of course if you ask Joy, the most unusual thing about me is that A. I love deer hunting and B. I spent my honeymoon in a tree stand. 

A tree stand on your honeymoon?  I am sure there has to be a great story behind that J!

I read that you are a true southern ladyÖdo you incorporate your southern upbringing into your characters and their stories?  What is your favorite thing about being from the south?
Lady?  Oh dear.  I doubt Iíd ever be considered a lady. I curse too much for that. I do love living in the south and I love bringing that influence into my books. As for my favorite thingÖI canít really pinpoint ONE thing and say thatís my favorite. Itís everything.  The people, the slower pace.  We often have a different way of looking at things down here.  Iíve lived all over the south, and every time I venture above the Mason Dixon, I swear I wonít do it again lol.

Do you have a perfect writing environment or can you write anywhere?  Do you have a writing schedule that you follow and what does it involve?
Amy Knupp would laugh her fool head off at the notion that I had ANY sort of a schedule.  Organization gives me hives.  As for perfect writing environment, no, I have a big, fat, fluffy chair in the living room that I like to write in. (Itís where Iím sitting to answer these interview questions) I also have office space in my bedroom with a desk and comfy chair, but I donít use my desktop nearly as much as my poor, overworked laptop.

I still write in notebooks for every story at some point.  I take them with me when I pick up the kids in the afternoons and scribble several pages in the car line.  Anytime Iím stuck or am feeling cranky with the computer, Iíll write in my notebook. Itís very comforting.  It was the way I wrote for many, many years.

How do your story ideas develop? With a scene, a character, a piece of dialogue, or in some other way?
All of the above. It changes from story to story and I never come up with two stories the same way. Sometimes itís a dream.  Sometimes itís a snippet of a scene, just one that sticks in my head and Iíll build an entire story around it.  Sometimes a character will be born in my head and will stay until their story comes to me.

How would you spend a perfect day if you could do anything that you wanted?
This changes depending on my mood *g*  Some days Iíd love nothing more than to be camping in the Rockies or fishing a perfect trout stream. Other days Iíd rather be in the beach surf fishing with my feet in the water and endless blue skies.

In the fall, it could be a terrific day hunting.  In the winter, it could be sitting in the living room in front of the fireplace.  In the spring it might be watching my kids play baseball and softball and in the summer a perfect day is wherever adventure takes us :)

Writing romance, do you believe in happily ever after and have you found yours?  Was it love at first sight?
Oh absolutely.  I donít feel I could write believable love and emotion if I didnít believe in it myself.  I wouldnít say that it was love at first sight with me and my husband.  We were friends first which is why I have such an affection for friends to lovers stories. Heís truly my best pal on earth.  We do everything together.

You write in several genres, do you have a favorite?  Is there something that you would like to try that you havenít?
Hmm Iíd have to say contemporaries are my favorite, which is pretty funny when I consider that a few years ago, the mere thought of writing a contemporary ANYTHING filled me with panic. I was so used to writing historicals that I didnít feel as though I COULD write a contemporary. Now I canít imagine writing anything else.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?  Current or upcoming releases?
I have a May release from Samhain called Stay With Me and also a June Samhain release called Reckless, which is a stand alone sequel to Brazen.  This fall, the second book in the Falcon Mercenary Group series will release (Into the Lair) and in November, my third Berkley HEAT story airs (Be With Me) and Iím very, very excited about this book.

In January, my debut with Silhouette Desires will be on shelves.  Itís been a long time dream of mine to write for Harlequin so I could not be more thrilled!

In 2009 Iíll debut a new series with Berkley Sensation which is all about the Kelly brothers and the trouble they get into.

 

     

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