Interview with Maya Banks plus giveaway
A few years ago, while searching online for an “amazing contemporary romance read”, I came across a little book called Sweet Persuasion . Holy cr*p that book was H.O.T! And the characters…stellar. I adored it and picked up and read the other books in the series that were already available at that time in two days – quite the feat for me. Sweet Persuasion easily landed on my Favorites list, I contacted the author to have her sign my copy and it is now one of those books I pick up a few times a year to re-read when I need a good comfort read. Who is the author of this amazing book? Maya Banks. And she is here today to chat about her new H. O. T. series.
Welcome to Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks Maya!
You have a new series starting. Tell us about Breathless.
The Breathless trilogy came about because of my love of my Sweet Series and my love of my Harlequin Desires and I blended elements from both series and the Breathless trilogy was born!
Rush, the first book, tells Gabe’s story. What can readers expect from his book?
Gabe is a hardass. He comes across as cold. He’s been burned in a consensual relationship when his wife went public with accusations of abuse. As a result, he only enters relationships with a contract detailing exactly his expectations and has his partner sign it. When his attraction to Mia reaches a boiling point, he makes his move and offers her the contract. But she has a few demands of her own and from the start, there is a difference in how Gabe feels for her. How he reacts to her. He’s more out of control when before he’s always held a very tight rein. He fights his feelings even knowing he’s losing the battle and as a result he makes some poor choices in an effort to prove that he doesn’t love Mia, that it’s just lust. But of course he realizes that isn’t the case at all 😉 But Mia makes him grovel and I do love a good grovel 🙂
Breathless is a trilogy. Why did you decide to make it a three dude series? Why not four? Heck, why not ten! Isn’t “the more sexy men the better”?
Actually, when I first envisioned the “series” I only had two books in mind. But as I thought about the story lines, it developed into three books. I already have a long running series with the KGI series and I have what will be a six book series with my historicals and I just finished up the Sweet Series and am doing a spin off to the Sweet Series so I wanted something shorter with a finite “end” to it because I have other things I’d like to write and if I commit to so many series, then I’ll only ever be writing those series.
Did you always know you would start with Gabe? He’s such a serious guy. Were you ever concerned that his more headstrong personality would rub people the wrong way?
Gabe was the natural starting point. His story came to me first and it was only in writing his story that Jace and Ash’s characters really came alive for me. I intended Gabe to be a colder guy who thawed over time as he fell hard for Mia. It’s who he is. As I said above, he was burned and he never wanted to put himself in that position again. He’s a business man, and business is what he knows so he took the emotion out of his relationships and treated them like business arrangements.
I adored Jace and Ash. Did the guys’ personalities and kinks come easily to you or did it take some time to figure everyone out?
No, I knew who and what Jace and Ash were from the very start. I had actually planned to do a second book with Jace and Ash both as the heroes (a menage story lol) but when the storyline came to me (Bethany) I knew that Jace was going to be harder. In some ways harder than Gabe but not as cold, if that makes sense. When he meets Bethany, it’s a total game changer for him and he’s instantly obsessed with her and has no intention of sharing her with Ash, which causes some friction between two very long time, close friends.
Gabe is what I call an absolute Dom (a Dom that controls most every part of his Sub’s life). Damon, your character in Sweet Persuasion (one of my all-time favorite books) is also an absolute Dom. Is it difficult to write a character like that? To find that perfect balance of alpha plus likeability plus relatability minus the a**hole?
Yes, it is hard and sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not. And depending on who you ask, I’m successful and sometimes I’m not 😉 There have been mixed reactions to Gabe just as there were mixed reactions to Damon. There’s not much in between. Readers either REALLY love them or they REALLY hate them.
It is so easy to write a Dom/sub relationship badly. What do you think makes it work well? Is there a line you try not to cross?
For ME, a Dom/sub relationship, in order for it to work for ME as a reader and as an author, there has to be absolute care from the hero. He cherishes, worships, adores and takes care of the heroine and sees to her every need even as he’s in control. For me, I don’t want to cross a line of non consent from the heroine. I don’t want the hero to push her too hard or to ignore her fears. But again, that’s a subjective thing and readers’ opinions vary widely. But that’s the way I as an author see my heroes and how I write them and how I think of them. That’s not to say that they don’t screw up or they don’t make mistakes. But at the heart, they love and cherish and honor the heroine’s trust, and when they DO make mistakes, they work damn hard to gain back that trust and forgiveness.
Speaking of lines, there is one scene in Rush that have people talking. It involves Mia, bound, and a hotel room with Gabe and three strangers. It is a pivotal scene in the book but it is making some people squirm. Did you realize when you wrote it that it would have that affect on readers?
I knew there would be mixed reactions, and I intended it NOT to be a “good” scene. It wasn’t supposed to be sexy, erotic or titillating in the least. It was intended to be a very dark moment, not only for Mia, but for Gabe because he’s attempting to prove to himself that he doesn’t love Mia, he doesn’t NEED her desperately and that he’s in control of his emotions, but as soon as the scene begins, he KNOWS he’s made a huge mistake and he steps in to put a halt a little too late and the damage was done. He’s devastated by what he did. And he KNOWS he screwed up in a big, big way. And he’s undone by the knowledge that he could lose Mia forever because of his mistake.
You have written about 726 books by now. Okay, maybe not that many but close. Erotic fiction, historical romance, romantic suspense… How do you keep track of all your stories and your characters?
I reread my books often and since I never write two back to back books in a series, I always start by rereading books in the series before I sit down to write the next just to get my head back into those characters and that “world”.
Of all the heroes you have written, do you have a favorite?
Hmmm, I probably have a few. Damon for one. I really love Connor in Sweet Possession. I loved Mac and Ryder from For Her Pleasure (yum!) and the Colters. All of them lol. And Jace. I really adore Jace 🙂
Next up in your Breathless series is Fever. This is going to be Jace’s book (Woot!) and it’s due out April 2nd 2013. What can readers expect from this installment?
It’s a lot more gritty and angsty and emotional than RUSH. It’s also more romantic (I think). It’s also longer by 10 thousand words and RUSH wasn’t a short book! It was 120k. FEVER hit 130k lol. It’s very different from RUSH, which is good, because I don’t like to ever think I’m writing the same book over and over.
Okay, Flash Four time
Flash Four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Rush”?
If you were made to write a book but you couldn’t write a romance book, what genre would you write?
Wouldn’t do it. I’d bore myself to death trying to write something that wasn’t romance. I don’t have any desire to write anything other than romance. It’s all I read so of course it’s all I write.
In what room of your house do you write from?
I rotate spots lol. I’ll use my office for a while and then get tired of it and I’ll move to my bedroom and write in my nest of pillows on my bed. When the weather is good I’ll write outside on my deck. Sometimes I write on the couch in the living room. I can’t stay in one spot all the time. I get burned out on it.
Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?
There have been a few times when I’ve come up with a title before writing the book, but it’s hard for me, because I like the titles to some way reflect the book, although that has been an epic fail when some of my suggestions were shot down and then my publisher came up with titles that had nothing to do with the story lol.
Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
Both at the same time! Love the combination.
What color is your toothbrush?
It’s pink, purple and aqua mixed.
Your high school experience: good or bad?
What do you like on your pizza?
Pepperoni only. Extra cheese, light sauce. Yes, I’m picky.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today, Maya. I have no idea how you manage to write and release so many books in one year. You are definitely a busy woman and I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions today.
Giveaway time! You can win a copy of Rush! To enter just leave a comment below and voilà, you’re in. Giveaway open Canada / US and you have to leave you comment by Monday March 4th 11:59pm EST. Good luck everyone!!!