Our very own Jonetta sat down with one of her favorite authors, Maya Banks for an interview. Take a look at what they had to talk about...
Hello, Maya and welcome to The Book Nympho! As you're one of our favorite authors, we are thrilled to have you here. Before we talk about your upcoming novella, we'd like to know a little more about you.
Jonetta: You began your writing career in erotica before delving into other romance genres. What was your inspiration for those books and what did you want your audience to experience or gain from the stories?
Jonetta: How has your skill in writing erotic romance impacted your stories in other genres? Any difficulties in maintaining balance?
Maya: No, I don’t find it difficult because no matter whether I’m writing erotic romance, romantic suspense or historical romance, the focus is always the same. The romance comes first. The emotional integrity of all my stories, regardless of genre, is the same, and at the end of the day, my goal is always to give readers a really emotionally compelling ROMANCE.
Jonetta: You have a unique storytelling ability, no matter the genre. Where does this come from? When did you recognize you had a talent for weaving an interesting tale?
Maya: I’m not sure, actually. I’m never certain how I get to the end of a story and I’m always a little amazed that I was able to craft a compelling story and then I fear I’ll never be able to do it again.
Jonetta: What was/is your greatest challenge as a writer? What's yet for you to explore?
Maya: My greatest challenge is always the next book. I never believe I can do it again. Starting from scratch with each story is always overwhelming and extremely daunting.
Jonetta: Now we'd like to focus on some of your specific work. Your McCabe trilogy is extremely popular and is a favorite of many fans of the medieval/historical romance genre and Scottish Highlanders. Where did this fascinating story come from? Any plans to write a follow up?
Maya: Stories tend to pop into my head. Usually it starts with a single scene and for the first book in the trilogy, the scene that stuck in my head was this woman in hiding with a highly desirable inheritance. I pictured a holding that legends were based on. An almost mythical place that would be sought after by every warrior in Scotland, which of course would cause all sorts of problems for my heroine. I then built a story around those circumstances. As for a follow up, I ended the trilogy involving the McCabes and now I’m moving on to two new families, the Montgomerys and the Armstrongs and will kick off that new series this September.
Jonetta: How does The Montgomerys and The Armstrongs compare to your McCabes trilogy?
Jonetta: Your Kelly Group International (KGI) series features a family of very delectable military veterans. What was your inspiration for this series? Where are you getting your material for their ops and how are you doing the research?
Maya: The idea for the first book in the series came to me seven full years before it was ever published. At one point I honest didn’t think I’d ever be able to write and publish it even though I’d already written chapters for it. Basically it was the epitome of the question, “If you could write anything in the world and sell it, what would it be?” That series, for me, was my dream series.
Jonetta: Your upcoming novella, Softly at Sunrise, focuses on Rachel and Ethan, the subjects of the first book in the KGI series. Why did you decide to revisit these characters? Rachel has had a pretty rough going; are we going to find a brighter outlook for her?
Maya: I hope so. I won’t say that things are ever just so picture perfect that she breaks into song and dance at the drop of a hat, but what readers will come away with is a sense that she has absolutely triumphed over adversity and that her quiet strength is tangible from page to page.
Jonetta: The third book in this series, Hidden Away, is a 2012 RITA Award finalist in the Romantic Suspense category. What does this achievement mean to you and for the book's exposure?
Maya: I was really surprised and very honored to receive a nomination for a second year in a row in the same category with a book in the same series. The Darkest Hour was nominated in 2011, so to have another book in another year nominated again was unexpected but extremely exciting.
Jonetta: There are quite a few characters in this series that your readers may be interested in seeing in the spotlight. Can you tell us who's next after P. J. and Cole in Shades of Gray? Have you already set the horizon for this series (please say no)?
Maya: I haven’t yet announced whose book is after Shades of Gray, but I’ll be releasing that news soon :) And no, I don’t have a set horizon or ending point for the series. I’m taking it one book at a time and telling the stories of the series in the order that is most organic for the characters.
Jonetta: Speaking of Shades of Gray, was this title selection made in light of all the frenzy around that other book with the alternate spelling?
Maya: Actually, this title was settled on a year before the 50 Shades hoopla, which is why I didn’t change the title. It’s perfect for the story. If I had been trying to think of a title after the furor over the 50 Shades trilogy, obviously I wouldn’t have named the book Shades of Gray, but hey, I had it first and it’s perfect for my story and characters. I don’t think it will give any of my readers any problems.
Jonetta: Speaking of covers, your books always have very appealing images that fit the characters. How much influence do you have on the development phase and the final product?
Maya: My editor and I work closely on concept and “ideas” Sometimes those pan out and work out perfectly. Other times I have absolutely no control over what I end up with. It really just depends, which sounds lame, but it’s absolutely the truth.
Jonetta: We wouldn't ask you to identify a favorite in your body of work but is there a book or a series that was more creatively satisfying to write? If so, why?
Maya: I do have favorites. I know most authors don’t, but for me, it’s only natural to have stories that are more satisfying than others. The Darkest Hour has always been a favorite. Shades of Gray, definitely a firm favorite. Sweet Addiction. Never Seduce a Scot. Stay with Me and Amber Eyes are two old favorites of mine as well.
Jonetta: What would you want our followers to know about you and/or your work that you never get asked?
Maya: Hmm I think I’ve just about been asked it all lol
Jonetta: What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2013?
Maya: More KGI, more Scottish historicals. The last book in the Colters’ Legacy series. In January, Shades of Gray (KGI #6) will release and then in July, KGI #7 will release. In February 2013, the second book in the Montgomerys and Armstrongs Scottish Historical series will release and then in Sept 2013, the third in that series will release. In April, Colters’ Gift releases and I also plan to have books 2 and 3 in the Tangled Hearts Trilogy out hopefully in early 2013 (The first in the Tangled Hearts Trilogy releases in October 2012).
Jonetta: It's been a real pleasure having you join us today. Thanks for being with us and sharing insights about you and your wonderful stories.
Softly at Sunrise
by Maya BanksBook #5.5 in the KGI series
Purchase the book HERE
Rachel Kelly has traveled a long, hard road in her journey back to her husband, Ethan, and the Kelly family. Now, as she and Ethan are poised to move into their new home, safe behind the walls of the Kelly compound, Rachel wonders if she’ll finally be free of the ghosts that have haunted her for so long and if she’ll step into the sun after a past steeped in darkness.
Find out more about Maya and her other books over at her WEBSITE.
Go over to TWITTER and tell us what your favorite KGI Series scene is in 140 characters or less and tweet the answer with #SoftlyatSunrise? Two winners will get a free ebook each.
Winners will be announced tomorrow (Sunday, August 19th)