This podcast transcript was handmade of finest symbols and letters by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.
Here are the books we discuss:
Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to another DBSA podcast.
I am Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books; with me is Jane Litte from
Dear Author and, today, Maya Banks! Yay! We talk about what new books Maya
has on her considerable list of books published, and we also talk about the
books that she’s reading that might contain crack, because she likes a good
crack-tastic read as much as anyone else.
I do need to warn you, from about 20 minutes 30 seconds to
24 minutes 34 seconds, so between 20:30 and 24:34 on your MP3 player, however
you’re listening to this, we do discuss the ending of Kristen Ashley’s The
Will. Well, Jane does; she spoils the hell out of it, so if you don’t want
to know how it ends or what the big twist is, between 20:30 and between 24:34,
you want to skip that part. If you want to find out, then just listen; it’s
awesome. Anyway, that’s the most important thing that I need to tell you.
The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy
Outwater, and I will have information at the end of the podcast as to who this
And speaking of crack-tastic reads, don’t miss J. R. Ward’s The
King from New American Library, the highly anticipated new book in the #1
New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
And now, on with the podcast!
Jane Litte: One of my most memorable moments with Maya
Banks was, I want to say it was, like, three years ago; we had coffee or tea or
something at, like, an RWA convention.
Maya Banks: Yep.
Jane: It was right about the time that digital publishers
were, like, being defrocked from RWA –
Jane: – and I remember, sh-, Maya had this gorgeous tennis
bracelet, and it was so sparkly, I, like, I think I grabbed her wrist, and I’m
like, oh, my God, and she was like, yeah, that’s what digital books can buy
you. [Laughs] Do you remember that, Maya?
Maya: Yeah, and, well, and did I go on to tell you that it
was all of $68, ‘cause it wasn’t real? [Laughs]
Jane: Oh, no!
Jane: It looked real.
Maya: Yeah, that was the inside joke at the time, because I
don’t wear real jewelry, ‘cause I’m terrible about losing it. [Laughs]
Jane: Well, it was beautiful, but the fact of the matter
is, at that time you were so successful, you could have bought about a dozen of
those bracelets for real.
Maya: Yeah, yeah, maybe. [Laughs] I don’t know, I’ve never
priced one out, I’ve been too afraid to.
Jane: But the, the fact of the matter is, Maya, you’ve been
publishing for a long time. When was your first book published?
Maya: Actually, 2006. June of 2006 was my first, like, ever novel published. That was in digital publishing, and then it just, it worked out that I sold to Samhain and Berkley within, like, two months of each other, but New York publishing being what it was, and they’ve, they’ve gotten a little better or speedier about it, you know, about getting releases out quicker than, like, 18 months. You know, back in the day, you had to turn in a book, like, 18 months before it was published, or you would contract it, and you work from 18 months to 2 years, and I actually sold to Berkley within two months of contracting that first Samhain, but my first release wasn’t scheduled with Berkley for 18 months, and it actually worked out that I turned in my book so early – that, that’s a novelty these days – but I turned in a book so early that they actually, I stole another author’s publishing spot who didn’t turn in her book on time, and so they moved me from a December release, which would have been exactly 18 months from the time that I contracted it, and they bumped it up to September, so it was, like, maybe a year and three months, but I sold to the two publishers at the same time, but publishing being soooo much faster from contract to publication, I was able to build a decent backlist by the time that that first Berkley book came out, and that was really kind of my whole plan. That’s what I wanted to do was to knuckle down and publish as many stories as I could with Samhain before that first Berkley book hit the shelves so that, you know, anybody who wasn’t in tune with digital publishing and it being so immediate on the web, if they went to a Barnes & Noble or a Borders, back when they were open, and found this Maya Banks book from Berkley, if they went to my website, they would be like, oh, how cool, she’s got five or six books out. You know, she has a backlist, and I was hoping, you know, then the reader would find those other books, and vice versa as well. You know, I was hoping that later on, when I had more Berkley books under my belt that, you know, someone finding me online or through Samhain or one of my digital stories would then go to my website and find all of these Berkley books. So it was a very, you know, symbiotic relationship, you know, between the two, or at least, that was the way it worked for me. You know, I wanted my cake and eat it too. I, I didn’t want to do one or the other exclusively; I wanted, you know, my toes in both ponds, so to speak.
Jane: So your first books, were they the Colter books?
Maya: No, actually, the, and I call this my guinea pig book because – I know Jane is very well acquainted with my love of crack-tastic, category, over-the-top romances, and I had written a book a few years before that for no other reason than I wanted to write the story, but it didn’t fit, like, anywhere. It didn’t, it was too short to be a single title. It was, it didn’t fit any of the Harlequin or Silhouette category lines, and it was Seducing Simon, and the book was already written, and I was planning to write the Colter book, but I wanted to use Seducing Simon as my guinea pig to see if, like, Samhain was batshit crazy or if they were somebody I wanted to work with or how they were to work with or if they tried to steal my firstborn child, you know, or anything like that. So that was my test book that I sent them, and then they contracted it, and that was, you know, kind of, you know, I just did my test to see how it worked out with, with them and how well the process went, and so after that book released in June, then I released the first Colter book the following October, and that was a book that was never supposed to be a series. It was just supposed to be one book, and I didn’t actually write sequels for four years.
Jane: So I’m at your website, and [laughs] the difference between the original Simon, Seducing Simon cover and the one right now is hilarious.
Maya: Oh, my God. Does he not look like he has a corncob stuck up his ass?
Jane and Sarah: [Laughter]
Maya: He has that pinched, goosed look, like somebody walked up behind him and, like, goosed him. I’ve always hated that cover.
Sarah: I remember when you placed an ad with me years ago, years and years and years ago, and [laughs] you sent me the cover, and it was this guy had, had pecs, they were the biggest, roundest, most juicy pectorals, and I had to shade them out because when I zoomed in on them it looked like he was at least a B cup. Like, they looked like breasts! [Laughs]
Maya: Ohhh, was it, was that the one with the chest hair, like, the actual chest hair, like, my only cover ever to have a hero with chest hair, and he had the big abs, and you could actually see the chest hair, or is that the one you had to do the nipple camouflage on?
Sarah: Oh, it was the one I had to do the nipple, nipple camouflage. I’m looking for it.
Jane: The Darkest Hour? ‘Cause The Darkest Hour has the really big man-boobs.
Maya: Yeah, the real smooth, the baby, baby-soft man-boobs.
Sarah: Yes, baby-soft man-boobs all the way.
Jane: Although as I’m looking at your covers, Unbroken, the guy on Unbroken has really plump – I think he’s more chesty than I am.
Maya: Yeah, he’s probably chestier than a, a lot of women out there –
Maya: – which is kind of frightening.
Jane: I have to tell you, in your KGI series you have twins –
Jane: – and I always thought that they should be in a threesome.
Maya: I, yeah, I knew Jane, I knew Jane was going to bring this up –
Sarah and Jane: [Laughter]
Maya: – because, like, from the very first time she read the book, she emailed me and was like, I have to tell you, I was so disappointed because I was waiting for, you know, I was waiting for them to break out with a ménage, you know. You have Nathan, Joe, and then the heroine, you know, Shea, and I’m like –
Jane: Because they all spoke to each other telepathically!
Maya: I know. I’m like, Jane, really, I’m like, you know, I get that, you know, you’re a sick, twisted individual and this is really, you know –
Maya: – really your secret desire here, but I’m like, you know, that’s for the Colter series.
Sarah: [Laughs more]
Jane: I think you, the problem is, Maya, is that I had read other Maya Banks books –
Jane: – and so those that –
Maya: So you were expecting the worst, naturally.
Jane: [Laughs] So – well, and I have to admit, one of my favorite stories by Maya is Pillow Talk, which is, what would you, what’s the name for that?
Maya: Well, you know, it’s funny, and, you know, I’m not, like, trying to, you know, take credit that isn’t mine, but I swear to you, if I could find the term before I coined it, I, I haven’t seen it, okay, but way back when, when I published Colters’ Woman, I came up with the tag for Samhain to use, ménage à quatre, and nobody else was using it at the time, and now, now you have, like, whatever the French name for a dozen is. I mean –
Maya: What were we, what was it on Twitter last week? We were talking about the, the oxen or, it was, I don’t know, it was like some ranch with cow shifters, and there was, like, eight of them or something.
Jane: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember that one. That was, that was a Siren book, and –
Sarah: Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait. That’s a real book?
Maya: Yes! Yes, yes, yes –
Sarah: Oh, sweet holy Moses.
Maya: – it’s a book, ‘cause I remember reader Lillie was traumatized on Twitter.
Maya: I mean, I don’t think we could coax her out for, like, three days or so –
Sarah: [Laughs more]
Maya: – because @JenniferRNN, Jennifer Porter on Twitter, she’s, I mean, she’s like me, she’s a crack addict, and she, you know, the more over-the-top ridiculous, the better, and so anytime you need a crack recommendation, you go to Jennifer.
Maya: She’s, like, the Internet supplier of crack.
Maya: She can, I mean, she can come up with the most – and, and half the times I answer her tweets as, huh? Are you serious? There’s really a book, you know, for that? And she’s like, yeah, I’m not joking, and then she’ll, she’ll send me a quote, and then I have to spend the next hour bleaching my eyeballs.
Sarah: [Laughs] So have you considered writing barnyard ménage?
Somebody: [Tsk tsk tsk noises]
Maya: That’s probably one of the few things I haven’t considered writing at this point, but I can honestly say inspiration just hasn’t struck yet, and so, so here I await.
Jane: Well, this book, if it’s the same one, now it could be, I think that this author has gone on to write other books, so @JenniferRNN could have read a different one than I did, but this one I remember, the heroine gets amnesia, which is another one of your favorites, Maya –
Maya: Oh, absolutely!
Jane: – and so, she’s on a cliff, and she walks on this cliff to the edge of the bullshifter property where she sees them, and they see her, and it’s –
Maya: So, wait, are they grazing? Are they grazing?
Jane: Some of them are grazing, some of them aren’t.
Maya: Ah, okay.
Jane: ‘Cause some of them are – I remember that, like, in their real life, they are, in their non-shifter life, they handle other anima-, like, animals that are like bulls but that don’t shift.
Maya: Oh, okay, okay, so wait a minute. Do they, do they own, like, the stud farm where they sell the semen, and do they collect the specimens themselves?
Jane: I, no, I don’t remember that.
Maya: ‘Cause that’s, that’s the only way to make it more perfect.
Jane: But they did, they did ride them, which I thought was a little odd –
Maya: Ahhh, okay.
Jane: – and sometimes, you know, they’re in their bullshifter – ‘cause they shift into actual bulls, and then they talk to each other – like, one of them is supposed to be, like, herding the herd –
Maya: [Laughs] Oh, my God! I’m, I’m, I’m picturing, like, this adult cartoon with little bubbles above the, the, you know, cattle out, you know, hey, isn’t she a hot babe? Who gets her tonight? You know. Okay.
Jane: Well, I, the, the head of the family, is the one who decides who gets her, the –
Maya: Ohhh, okay.
Jane: He divvies up the time.
Maya: Okay. Well, I guess that’s fair.
Jane: I wish I remembered that book. It’s not, it’s –
Maya: I really would know. If you, when we get off the phone, just tweet Lillie; she’ll know it. This, this is really sad, but I think I remember, I think the heroine’s name is Scarlett.
Jane: Yes! It’s the same book, then.
Maya: Yeah, I haven’t actually read the book, but I feel like I have because –
Maya: – Jennifer and Lillie talked about it so much on Twitter. I got the whole synopsis, you know, on Twitter feed.
Jane: I wish I remembered the name of it now. I’m, I’m on Siren, ‘cause I’m positive it’s a Siren-published book.
Maya: Maybe if you do a search for Scarlett, ‘cause I’m almost positive that’s the heroine’s name.
Jane: Yeah, ‘cause there’s some joke about her wearing red, and I said in my review of this book that I saw on MythBusters –
Maya: Oh, so you actually reviewed it.
Jane: – that bulls are not, are not excited by the color red.
Maya: Oh, okay. So apparently, you were getting all scientific with this review.
Jane: [Laughs] I don’t know – yes.
Maya: Think of the community service you’re doing, Jane.
Jane: I know, I’m feeling –
Maya: You’re, you’re educating us on, you know, mythical bull facts.
Jane: But, you know, I think that @JenniferRNN has really taken up that, that mantle that I have left behind.
Maya: Oh, I look forward – every day, she’s, she’s tweeting something that has at least 15 people on her Twitter feed going, what the fuck?
Jane and Sarah: [Laughter]
Jane: And then when, you know, when she doesn’t like it, it’s a bad sign.
Maya: Oh, yeah, ‘cause she, I mean, she’s kind of like me. She’ll read anything once.
Jane: [Laughs] So, have you read something crack-tastic that you’d recommend?
Maya: Oh, not lately, you know, ‘cause the last really crack-tastic things that I read were the, the Kristen Ashley books way back in the day. I mean, I say way back in the day, but, I mean, it’s like a year or two ago, I guess, that I read those, but – and I’ve been wanting, like, every once in a while, I’ll get on Twitter and I’ll say, okay, come on, guys, I want something totally crack-tastic. You know, the more over-the-top, unrealistic, unbelievable, the better, and see, I’m also a big fan of Mary Sue heroines – I love to read them, you know, where she goes out by a creek and calls the birds to her and is singing “The Sound of Music” and, you know –
Jane: [Laughs] You must have loved –
Maya: – and they’re hard to find!
Jane: You must have loved the Kristen Ashley Golden Dynasty, then.
Maya: I, you know, that’s actually one series of hers I have not read. I just, I don’t know, it’s something about the blurb, the blurbs that just, I haven’t wanted to read them.
Jane: Maya, there is no more Mary Sue character than the heroine in Golden Dynasty. She literally shits flowers.
Maya: Ohhhh! Okay, well, I’ll have to, I’ll take your word for it. I’ll have to check it out, okay, I, I –
Maya: That’s one thing Lillie and I, you know, we swear we share a brain because we’ve only had one book – and I, I can’t remember the title, so don’t ask me for it – we’ve only had one book that we ever disagreed on ever, and we both love Mary Sue heroines.
Jane: Well, I mean, I, I don’t think it gets more Mary Sue than that. Right? That she –
Maya: Right, yes. I’m making a mental note now.
Jane: [Laughs] But I’m surprised you don’t read more New Adult, because I find that to be pretty crack-tastic.
Maya: Well, you know why, and it’s, and I actually only overcame this prejudice for Kristen Ashley, only because I didn’t realize it going in until I was already there, but I, I just don’t like first person books –
Maya: – and I know that sounds stupid, but I just can’t get into them, and I really don’t like first person sex scenes. That’s just, like, too grossly involved. I, I like a little distance, you know, for, especially, like, in erotic romance, I really don’t want to hear a first person account of gushing and fluids and stuff that sounds like, you know, sexually transmitted diseases and stuff.
Maya: I think I can handle it from a narrator’s, you know, perspective, but not so much I, I, I.
Jane: Well, then that would eliminate, like, 99.9% of New Adult books.
Maya: Exactly. That’s why I haven’t, I don’t think I’ve read a single New Adult book. A couple years ago, before New Adult became the thing and it was still called YA, I can’t even remember her name –
Maya: – or the title –
Maya: – but I read a book, and it was, I think, the hero was maybe 19 or 20, and the heroine was, like, a bad girl, you know, kind of a rebel. That was before they became, like, all the In thing, and like I said, I can’t even remember the name of that book, but it’s probably –
Jane: Was that Jennifer Echols book –
Maya: Yes, yes, yes!
Jane: – and the hero was a –
Maya: Yes, yes! It was Jennifer Echols. I read –
Jane: And the hero was a police officer.
Maya: Yes! That’s the one! How did you, how did you pull that from telling me it was a YA –
Jane: [Laughs] I don’t know.
Maya: Good God.
Jane: ‘Cause –
Maya: That’s scary. Yes, that was the one that I read, and that’s probably, I think that’s the only YA or NA book I’ve read in my entire life.
Jane: Really, so, like, you haven’t read The Hunger Games or anything like that?
Jane: ‘Cause of first person.
Maya: Well, I didn’t even know if the, if The Hunger Games were first person or not, but I just, I’m a, I’m a literary snob; I only read romance. I mean, it literally has to be, like, over-the-top, swoon-worthy romance. I, I don’t read anything else. I don’t broaden my horizons beyond that.
Jane: You read and enjoyed Kristen Ashley.
Maya: Yes. Some more than others. You know, it’s, it’s, I’d say I’m probably 50/50 on hers. It was like I would flop. I’d read one that I really loved and then one that I didn’t hate, but it wasn’t as good as the last one, then I’d pick up and read another good one, and, you know, back and forth that way.
Jane: I really like The Will that’s coming out, and the heroine is quite a bit of a Mary Sue.
Maya: Oh, awesome. I’ll have to, I’ll have to email her editor, ‘cause, you know, I’m not above, you know, emailing an editor out of the blue and, and saying, hey, you know, can I have an ARC of this? [Laughs]
Jane: [Laughs] Well, it comes, it’s self published, so you’ll have to email her. It’s coming out next Monday or Tuesday –
Jane: – and it features an older couple – they’re in their 40s – and it’s very, I don’t know, I just, like, everything that I love about Kristen Ashley was in that book, and it’s very long. I felt very satisfied at the end of it. I was trying to sell some readers on it. There’s a little problem with the hero, and I think some readers might have an issue with it.
Maya: Well, you know you have to give me spoilers.
Jane: I know! [Laughs]
Maya: Just go ahead and announce your spoiler alert and how everybody who’s going to listen to the podcast, hit the mute button now, proceed for 15 seconds, and then you, you’ve got to tell me. You can’t hold out on me.
Sarah: Spoiler alert, spoiler alert! The next 30 to 45 seconds are a spoiler. You’ve been warned! Mute now! MUTE NOW! All right. And now, spoilers.
Jane: All right, so the hero has been married three times.
Maya: Oh, wow.
Jane: I know this is going to be a trigger for some people, but it made a lot of sense to me because he got married really young, ‘cause his girlfriend got pregnant, so he thought that was the right thing to do, and he had two kids with them. Then he had another woman in between, and that was a very short marriage, and then he had a third marriage ‘cause he got another woman pregnant. I can’t remember if he got preg-, they got pregnant before they got married or after they got married, but he’s got three kids, two of them from one mom and one of them from another.
Maya: Well, you know, and that’s a, that’s kind of like, I, I won’t say hallmark, ‘cause it’s not in every single one of Kris-, but a recurring theme in Kristen Ashley’s books is the incorporation of the hero having children. Not so much the heroine. Remember, who, was it Mystery Man?
Jane: Yeah, Tack has two kids.
Maya: No, no, no, no, no, that was Motorcycle Man.
Maya: The one who was, was using her to get information on her ex-husband, and, you know, he has the, the evil ex-wife who neglects their two children, and she ends up being the Mary Sue mom and, and cooks them pancakes for breakfast and makes them cupcakes –
Maya: – you know, she owns a bakery, and she’s like, you know, she was kind of a Mary Sue, but she was a, in-her-40s heroine, and the hero had children. In several of her books, the hero has children, and they’re incorporated into the story.
Jane: I don’t remember that, but that heroine reminds me a lot of the heroine in The Will [laughs] ‘cause she’s –
Maya: Oh, really? [Laughs]
Jane: Yeah, ‘cause she makes them food and stuff like that, but the hero is, like, this former boxer. He still boxes, so there’s some boxing scenes, pretty hot, after boxing, the locker room scene. The heroine is this personal assistant to a world-famous photographer, and, so, she’s met hundreds of famous people and has quite a few friends who are famous, and there’s quite a few men in her life that have, would have liked to have pursued something more deeper, or deeper with her, but she’s always been kind of oblivious. That’s kind of where I think –
Jane: – the Mary Sue issue comes in.
Maya: Yeah, yeah.
Jane: But I really liked it, and I, I like how it plays out, and so here’s the big spoiler for you, Maya.
Maya: Oh, awesome.
Jane: The big spoiler is, so, the will part comes in because her grandmother, who’s kind of raised her, leaves her the house, this beautiful house, and then in the will, she says, I’m leaving you to Jake, and she, she doesn’t underst-, the heroine doesn’t understand this, but she tries to get to know Jake and his family, because that was what his, her grandmother would have wanted, and she also doesn’t understand why she’s never met him before, ‘cause her grandmother has known this family for, like, seven years. So, finally you learn at the end that the reason that they never met was because Jake didn’t want to meet her because she was always looking so polished and, you know, all of her pictures were with famous people, and she looked, she had a very extravagant, fancy life, and he was just a, you know –
Maya: So he felt unworthy?
Jane: Yeah! He felt unworthy, and he was embarrassed. He was, had three marriages, three kids, he wasn’t super well off, owns a strip club, and just felt like he would never be good enough for her, and he had fallen in love with a picture of her and felt like, you know, it didn’t, just wanted to hold on to that fantasy instead of being turned down by her.
Maya: Ohhhh! Sounds like there’s, like, little bits and glimpses of several of her books, you know. All he needed, all I need to do to have part of Knight in it is just for him to, like, offer a little prostitution on the side with the strip club.
Jane: [Laughs] There’s none of that. He doesn’t run a prostitution ring. He’s, he doesn’t approve of that.
Maya: Oh, okay. Discerning tastes, then.
Jane: Yeah, so, but I, but I –
Maya: A peddler of women but not of sex, or not a smut purveyor.
Jane: Right, right. And he takes care of his girls, just like the –
Maya: Of course.
Jane: Of course.
Maya: Of course!
Jane: But I thought that was kind of a different kind of ending and made it a little more poignant.
Maya: Well, you know what’s funny about Kristen Ashley is she, she has a lot of the clichés that supposedly drive romance land crazy, but you don’t care because they’re still so fun anyway, ‘cause I mean, look at her Rock Chick series. That, you know, was the epitome of the sex, the sassy gay friend, because there were several sassy gay friends, but she still made them, you know, you didn’t feel like you were reading a cliché; it was fun.
Jane: Let’s talk about your books, [laughs] so I don’t, ‘cause I feel like every podcast is a Kristen Ashley podcast.
Maya: Uh, oops.
Jane: You have, you’re on your second set of trilogies since that book came out.
Maya: Ah, yes. We followed up with Sweet series, which is actually six books, and then we did the Breathless trilogy and then just released the first book in the Surrender trilogy in February, and the second one actually comes out, I think, a month from today. So it will be the first Tuesday of May.
Jane: And you’re very much of the Nora Roberts school of writing, which is, you view it as your job, and so you write every day, regardless of what you feel like doing?
Maya: Yeah. I mean, I mean, it is a job. I, you know, if I sat around waiting for artistic inspiration, I mean, I’d still be sitting here. I mean, I’m kind of fond of saying I am my own damn muse, and I always say that if I’m not working or producing, it’s one of two reasons. One, I’m just being lazy, or two, there’s something wrong with the story, and in the case of B, if I know I’m not being lazy and unmotivated, then I go back and figure out where I kind of veered off the track, and then once I fix that, smooth sailing after that.
Jane: So is it a, do you have a writing goal of how many minutes you’re going to write every day or how many words you’re going to write every day?
Maya: Yeah, I do it by word count. I try to get at least 5,000 words a day, and I know that that has to be the average, ‘cause it’s not possible seven days a week with, you know, ‘cause my daughter’s very active in travel ball, and we’re usually at a tournament every weekend. She gets, like, two months off December and January, and then the rest of the year she’s pretty much playing, and then I have an older son in, in college, and I have, my middle son is in high school, and, you know, he’s, we’re always going in 14 different directions, so I try to average, knowing that some days I’ll only get 2,000 to 3,000, while other days I might get 7,000 or 8,000. But, and people, and I actually get this more from other authors rather than readers, ‘cause readers don’t give a shit about how you do it, they just want the end result, they want a book. And authors tend to be more highbrow about it and say, well, you can’t possibly write a quality book in, you know, four weeks. Well, if you’re writing 5,000 words a day, and let’s say you write a 100,000-word manuscript, guess what, that only takes you 20 days. I mean, it’s not undoable.
Sarah: I once heard an author put down her own book because she’d written it in six weeks, and there was no way it could be any good, and I was like, but a whole lot of readers thought it was awesome, so listen to that!
Maya: Yeah, and, well, and here’s the thing: you know, I edit as I go. I, you know, I know a lot of authors who don't, and it works for them, but I would melt the fuck down if I got to the end of the book or 100 and, you know 100,000+ words and then had to face a complete rewrite of the entire book, I would slit my wrists, so I edit as I go, and every single day, I start my writing session by reading whatever I wrote the previous day, and I do not continue on until I have edited, fixed any issues, rewritten a scene here or there, and it’s much more manageable for me to do it on a couple of chapters basis rather than just puking up garbage onto a page and then fixing it in the end. And so the result is, when I do get to the end of the book, I’m pretty much a one-draft writer, because I’ve already edited this thing to death as I go along, so when I reach the end, you know, I do go back over it. I read it over again, I smooth it out, you know, I make tweaks here and there, change this, change that, but it’s not, I’m not rewriting, you know, 20 chapters or half of a book because I, I fix it as I go, and that’s the only way I can keep my sanity, because, you know, like I said, if I had to, if I had to face a complete overhaul of a book once I finished it, I would be in a fetal position under my desk –
Maya: – and you’d never find me again.
Sarah: Plus, the more you use those muscles in your brain, so to speak, the stronger they get.
Maya: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, and the thing is, I don’t care how many books you’ve written, writing is a habit –
Maya: – and even when I finish a book, I cannot, you know, I like to take a few well-deserved days off, but if I take any more than that, I get out of the habit of writing, and it’s that much harder for me to start a new book, because the other thing is, every time I finish a book and I read back through it, I am never quite sure how I managed to do that. I’m like, holy shit, this isn’t half bad. How did I do that? And then I’m sitting here facing page 1, chapter 1, word 1 of a brand-new, 100,000-word manuscript, and I’m like, I’ll never do it again. I’ll never be able to duplicate, you know, the last book. And so I have this, you know, procrastination war with myself, where I don’t want to start on it because it’s so overwhelming, and I just have to make myself sit down and write. I mean, that’s the only way I know to do it is just to stay in the habit of doing it so that I – You know, ‘cause if I ever took two weeks off, it, it would probably take me six weeks after that just to, to drag myself kicking and screaming back into the habit of writing again.
Sarah: It’s like working out.
Jane: So, do you have a favorite book? Is it the book you just finished or the book you’re working on, or is there –
Maya: No, nonono, and I know authors who will tell you, if you ask them what their favorite book is, they’re like, oh, they’re all, I couldn’t possibly choose. And some of my books depend on my mood, like, you know, ‘cause every once in a while, if you have two interviews that were done a year apart, I may say different books are my favorite, but it’s just because at that time that was what I was in the mood for, but, like, my favorite book of the KGI series, I have three that I love more than the others. I love them all, but I really love these three books, but if I had to pick one favorite, it would be the fourth one, Whispers in the Dark, and then the second favorite is tied between the very first one, The Darkest Hour, and then Shades of Gray. I love Shades of Gray because I love, you know, P. J.’s character in, in that series, and I just literally couldn’t wait to write her story, and I, I love, you know, her story, and then some of my other favorites are actually some of my more obscure, shorter, older, you know, titles, like, I love my Falcon Mercenary Group series, and I only wrote two books in it because that was an old Samhain series, and I’m no longer writing for them, but I loved that series. It was very, it, it was a different kind of book because my characters were almost like anti-heroes or anti-heroines in the sense that they were, you know, pot-smoking, alcohol-drinking, you know, basically mercenaries for hire. They weren’t like the Captain Americas that the KGI series. These people would literally, their loyalties lined up along whoever was paying them to do, to do the job, and they left the judging and morality to whoever was hiring them. And I, I, I don’t know, I love anti-heroes, though. I, I love anti-heroes and Mary Sue heroines. Don’t you think that makes an awesome combination?
Jane: So are you going to write more of those?
Maya: Probably not. I can’t see me ever having time to with just my current, like, right now I’m scheduled out to, like, 2016, and I just don’t ever see me having time to go back to a series that was started years ago and then picking back up where it left off.
Jane: Well, what about those archetypes? Do you foresee yourself writing, ‘cause I think that’s kind of popular right now, the ambivalent hero, the –
Maya: Actually, well, I have one in my KGI series. He’s, with the release of the next one in June, he will have made three appearances in the series, and he’s one of these very nebulous characters. You don’t really know. He’s not all bad, but he’s not all good. Anyway, his name is Hancock, and he first made his appearance in Echoes at Dawn, and then he made another appearance in After the, oh, no, no, no, Forged in Steele, and then he’s going to make another, kind of a, a different appearance in Swanny’s book, which releases in June. It’s kind of a readers didn’t see this coming type of twist, and from the very first book – now, I always knew that I wanted to write a story for him, but even from the very first book, I had readers emailing me going, oh, my gosh, I know I’m probably not supposed to like Hancock, but I’m really intrigued. Is there any way you would consider doing a story for him? And I’m like, well, actually, I do have plans to write a story for him, because I love anti-heroes, and the storyline that I have in mind for him doesn’t exactly shed him in the most positive light in the beginning. I mean, he’s, he’s not, like, an outright, just caricature of a villain, but neither is he obviously a good guy, either. He’s definitely got some, you know, gray areas there, and so I’m really kind of looking forward to just kind of allowing myself free rein with that story, ‘cause I think it’s going to be a ton of fun.
Jane: So what do you think readers, why do you think readers are intrigued by Hancock and, and those types of characters?
Maya: Well, I think it’s because, well, look at, look at the spate of, you know, you were talking about, you were talking about New Adult, and even though I don’t read New Adult, I am familiar enough with, like, the conversation going on around me to know that a lot of these heroes are apparently, like, borderline bad guys, and, you know, I think there’s something about a redeemable character that, that makes them appealing to readers, because even, I would say, Hancock knows, the role he played probably that cast him in the worst light, was in the first book, but even then, toward the end, you got the impression that there was more to him and that it wasn’t quite all as bad as, you know, and I kind of left that as a question mark in that book, and then when he made another appearance in Forged in Steele, you got to see a little more depth to him that time, too, and you really saw that he wasn’t completely evil either and that he did some things to protect the heroine, even though you weren’t necessarily expecting that out of him, and then, like I said, in the next story, you know, it’s really going to be interesting, the, the connection or the relationship he has to that story, and you really get to see him on a more human level in that story, so I think by the time I get to his story, readers will have a pretty good idea that he’s not completely bad, but he’s not Captain America, either. I’m not going to, like, I’m not going to do a 180 in his character and suddenly have him see the light, you know, and be saved and, you know, be nice, I guess, you know, or have, like, this 100% I must do the right thing, because the right thing to him is what he considers the right thing, not necessarily what anybody else would consider the right thing. He kind of has his own, you know, moral code that he follows, and it’s not necessarily what everybody else would think is moral.
Jane: You just have a book coming, you just had a book released called Let It Go, which I –
Jane: – which I called the Frozen book, because of the title.
Jane: And, but no, it’s not Disney fan fiction, and then Giving In comes out in May 2014 –
Jane: – and I think you said that these books were more emotional than your – not more emotional, but more –
Maya: They’re relationship books.
Maya: They’re not – Usually, and I’ll be the first to say that I prefer writing books with, that is heavier on external conflict than internal conflict, because I like to have the hero and heroine working together, and I like, I like to see them on the page together and being together and falling in love and working together against a common obstacle, but in these books, I kind of venture into new territory for me in that there’s not a lot of external conflict. It, they’re relationship books, and in all three instances they’re relationship books, and they’re focused more on internal conflict, and they focus more on the emotional aspects of the whole dominance and submissive, you know, submission thing instead of, like, the more physical aspects of let me tie you up and spank you and, you know, that sort of thing. It’s just, it, it explores a different facet of that relationship that I haven’t found explored so much in other books.
Jane: And then the last one of that trilogy comes out in August?
Jane: And then what do you have on –
Maya: First Tuesday in August.
Jane: Then what do you have going on after that?
Maya: I have a new series with Avon that’s releasing, the first one is in October, and then the second one is in January, and the third one is in March, and that’s, like, a brand-new contemporary. It’s not erotic romance, it’s, like, contemporary romance with, like, psychic elements, like the heroines have different, you know, abilities, but it’s very real world. It’s not like paranormal. It’s set today, real world, but what if a person had this ability.
Jane: So there’s some supernormal activity? [Laughs] I mean, what –
Maya: Yes. Yeah, like in the first book, you know, the woman is, she has a history of helping locate kidnap victims or missing, you know, missing persons because she, you know, she has a psychic ability that enables her to, I guess, find this person through an object that belonged to them, and then each book, you know, it’ll be contained within this series, but the heroines, I, I’m obsessed with, like, instead of a tortured hero, I like a tortured heroine. I’ve written, like, maybe two shifter books ever, but in my books, the females are the shifters instead of, you know, this stereotypical way is for the male to be the alpha shifter, and I prefer to go with the, the focus to be on the heroines, and that’s the same way with this series. I’m focusing, you know, the psychic ability on the heroine, and the heroes are, like, the completely normal, you know, all-American guy or protector or cop or, you know, whatever, you know, he happens to be.
Sarah: And that’s all for this week’s podcast. I hope you enjoyed our interview with Maya, and I want to thank her for her time and all of the things that she told us about, ‘cause I thought that was really cool.
I hope the spoiler did not make you irate and angry and that you were able to tune out and tune back in at the right time. And if that totally sucked and you don’t ever want us to do that again, you can tell us about it. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can call us at 201-371-DBSA – don’t forget to give us your name and where you’re calling from, so we can include your message in an upcoming podcast – or you can talk to us on Facebook at Facebook.com/DBSAPodcast, and depending on what Facebook’s algorithm is doing, maybe other human beings will see what we write! It’s all an experiment at Facebook at this point.
The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. This is Duncan Chisholm. This song is called “Running The Cross,” and it is available on his album Affric. You can find this album online in various places, including Amazon and iTunes, and I will have links to all of the locations where you can buy this song and others in the entry that accompanies the podcast.
And now, a word from our sponsor! Don’t miss J. R. Ward’s The King from New American Library. This is the highly anticipated new book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and this book returns to Wrath and Beth, the hero and heroine from book 1.
Future podcasts that we have in the planning stages include more interviews, I am developing one mother of a quiz for Jane, and we’re also getting ready to go to RT, and I’m going to try to hogtie and interview authors as long as I can run in heels and catch them. Actually, Jane is way better at running in heels, so she can do the running and the capturing, and I will do the sitting and the interviewing, and it will be totally awesome for everyone involved, we promise. If there’s an author listening to this, they’re going to be like, I’m not going near her during RT! If you have any ideas of someone you’d really like us to track down, hogtie, and interview, or just interview without the hogtying, email us and let us know. We have many, many suggestions, but we would like to know who you’d like to hear from, too.
Wherever you are this weekend, if you’re celebrating Easter, Happy Easter. If you’re celebrating Passover, I raise my matzo to you, and if you’re not celebrating any particular holiday but it’s an awesome weekend, I hope you enjoy your time, and wherever you are, Jane and I and Maya wish you the very best of reading. Thank you for listening.