Archive for March 12th, 2008

Joan Johnston Contest


Recently I was on a group where a reader came on and slammed Joan Johnston’s newest book. I didn’t much care that the reader didn’t like the book, we all have different tastes in books, what made me mad is that she flat out says in her email that we shouldn’t buy the book. That we should wait until it goes to paperback before we get it. Who is she to tell someone what to buy and not buy? Here’s the thing. In the email the reader says that it’s not a book she’s used to, that usually Johnston revisits characters from previous books and that this one didn’t have that. Didn’t have the “simple plot line” she was expecting since she’s read and loved all of Johnston’s books before this and we shouldn’t buy it. When I called her out on what she said, it conveniently got changed to being a “grammar error” on her part and she in no way was saying that readers shouldn’t buy the hardcover. So then I put the question to her about the “simple plot line” comment she made. Was she saying we (the readers) were too dumb to understand all that was going on in the book or was she saying it was too complicated for her to understand what was going on in the book. Again, I got no answer. The only answers I got were from her “followers” who came back saying they understood perfectly what she had said and why do I have such a problem with it? I understand everyone has different tastes…just because this book didn’t work for her doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. So, despite what Brainless and her Ninnies had in mind, and how she had the power to shut down a list instead of manning up to what she really said, I’m holding a little contest. I have here three copies of A STRANGER’S GAME by Joan Johnston that I picked up from BAM earlier today. Just leave a comment to be in the running to win one. Winners will be announced next Wednesday, March 19th. Good luck! 🙂

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NT: Hi Maya! Thank you for interviewing with RRAH. Can you tell us a little about yourself?



MB: I love orange. I love hunting. I love fishing. Anal people make me crazy *cough* Amy *cough* I’m an introverted extrovert (yeah, figure that one out heh) But basically it means in crowds I’m useless. You’ll find me cowering in a corner or running far, far away. In smaller more intimate settings where I feel at ease and am with people I trust, I’m very outgoing.

NT: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take for you to make your first sale?


MB: I’ve always *been* a writer. Even as a kid I loved making shit up. I just never tried to make money at it until after I had my third child and the idea of going back to a job where someone else was my boss gave me hives ;)

NT: Is writing a full-time job for you or do you juggle another job?


MB: Yep, writing is it for me. I could entertain you with the whole motherhood spiel, but let’s face it, all mothers juggle multiple jobs. That isn’t news.

NT: You have two books coming out soon. Tell us about SWEET SURRENDER and GOLDEN EYES.


MB: Hoo boy, well, Sweet Surrender is my second release from Berkley. I love writing for them and recently turned in my third completed novel to them and am starting on my fourth. Sweet Surrender is all about a young woman who knows precisely what she wants. The story isn’t about her discovery of this. It’s about her journey to ATTAIN what it is she wants. She’s strong and confident even while she has vulnerabilities. For a more succinct delivery of a plot summary and an excerpt, you can go to this link http://www.mayabanks.com/surrenderexcerpt.php


Sometimes the first step in taking control is surrendering.

Under Faith Malone’s deceptively soft exterior lies a woman who knows exactly what she wants. A strong man who’ll take without asking—because she’s willing to give him everything…

Dallas cop Gray Montgomery is on a mission: find the guy who killed his partner—and bring him to justice. So far, he’s found a link between the killer and Faith—and if Gray has to get close to her to catch the killer, so be it.

Faith is sweet and feminine, everything Gray wants and desires in a woman, but he suspects she’s playing games. No way she would allow a man to call the shots in their relationship. Or would she?

Faith sees in Gray the strong, dominant man she needs, but he seems determined to keep her at a distance. So she takes matters into her own hands to prove to him it’s no game she’s playing. She’s willing to surrender to the right man. Gray would like to be that man. But catching his partner’s killer has to be his first priority. Until Faith is threatened and Gray realizes he will do anything to protect her.



Golden Eyes was fun to write. I love cat shifters and so many of the books I read with this theme have the hero as the cat shifter. Which is cool, I mean who doesn’t love a hot cat shifter? Yum! But I’m fascinated with the idea of the heroine being the cat shifter. So I took a cheetah shifter who was captured in the “wild” and imported to the states for the purposes of staged hunts. Exotic trophy kills. The heroine escapes and is rescued by a hunky sheriff, and well, that’s when it gets fun! You can read more about it at this link http://www.mayabanks.com/goldeneyesexcerpt.php


When Sheriff Duncan Kennedy finds an injured cheetah in his mountains, he brings it home, determined to find out how she got there and stop the poachers who were hunting her. When he later checks on the cheetah and instead finds a gorgeous, naked woman with an arrow in her leg, he’s completely flabbergasted.

For six months, Aliyah Carver has been trapped in cheetah form. Taken by poachers who import exotic animals to illegally hunt, she stayed in animal form to avoid detection. She escapes the hunters, but now she faces another problem. A devastatingly sexy sheriff who now knows her secret.


NT: What inspired the idea for these stories?

MB: I’m useless with this question. It’s a question I get asked a lot, and I wish I had a better answer *sigh* But the truth of the matter is, most of my ideas come to me in little bursts. Like one scene. Sometimes just a flash of an image. Once there, it grows and expands. I put it to a test. If I can immediately expand beyond that one little burst I get and build beyond that one scene then I’ll give it serious thought. If I can’ mull it over for af ew hours and come up with a lengthy scenario with characters and more plot to support it then you can bet I’m going to write it *g* But I don’t ever sit down and say “I think I want to write about a cat shifter today.” Man, I wish I could summon ideas like that by command. Unfortunately for me, I’m completely at the mercy of my scattered brain.

NT: Which of your characters’ story was the hardest to write? Which was the easiest?


MB: Hardest was Undenied, Wes’s story. Hands down. I changed his story so many times because nothing worked. I fretted and cursed and wasted a lot more time than I would have liked on that story. Two of the easiest stories I ever wrote was the second novella in For Her Pleasure which is actually part two of the first novella (What She Needs). The other easy one to write was Be With Me, which I just turned in Feb 1. It’s Berkley book number 3 and releases this November. Man, I love both of those stories. Sometimes an entire story will come to me and almost write itself. It whispers in my ear and I just type as fast as I can to keep up lol. I wish all my stories would do that….

NT: Do you have a writing routine? What is your average writing day like?


MB: No routine. Routines make me crazy. An Average day for me is taking the kids to school then I come home and check email, answer emails, procrastinate for an hour or so because I don’t want to work…and then I have to start writing.


NT: Is there any plot/setting/character that you’re dying to write but haven’t yet?


MB: No because honestly, if I was dying to write something, I would have already done it. That’s not to say that there won’t be something that I decide I’m dying to write in the future that I’m not currently tuned into, but I’m too much into instant gratification to delay something I really want to do )


NT: What aspects of your life have you found creeping into your stories?


MB: Honestly, not a thing. My goal is not to bore my readers to death and if any part of my life inserted itself into my stories, I’m afraid my books would be one big yawn fest.

NT: Is there anyone you use as a sounding board when you’re stuck on a scene?


MB: Hmm good question. It’s hard because I actually love to bounce stuff off someone else when I’m stuck but I don’t always have someone I can do that with. I’m a talker and if I can just talk out my problem I can usually solve it pretty quickly.

NT: Who are some of the authors who inspired you when you were still working towards becoming published? Who are some of your favorite authors to read?


MB: I don’t think I was inspired by a particular author because honestly, before I sold, I was so in awe of authors and so star struck that they were on a whole different plane than me. To me it was the height of presumption to ever think I’d be on their playing field.


As for authors I love to read, some of my all time favorites are Julie Garwood, Elizabeth Lowell, Sharon Sala (God I love her) Hannah Howell and Kinley MacGregor.


NT: What was the most interesting thing you had to research and what was the hardest thing to research?


MB: Tech research makes me crazy because Im just so NOT technical. It’s hard for me to grasp and understand because just reading about something doesn’t do it for me. I have to do it, SEE it. I’m one of those people who can’t read instructions to save my life.


As for interesting, historical Morocco I think.


NT: What was the most memorable reader reaction you’ve received about your books?

MB: Oh gosh, I can still remember the very first time someone emailed me. It was on the day that Seducing Simon released and I was shocked that A. someone had actually bought my book B. that they’d read it so fast and C. they actually LIKED it. I mean wow.


Every single email I receive is memorable. I save every one of them and put them in a separate folder. When I have a bad writing day or if I’m beating myself up and calling myself a useless hack, I pull out those emails and read with wonder that there are actually people out there who ENJOY what I do and really, how absolutely cool is that?

NT: When not busy writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? (If there is such a thing *G*)


MB: Hunting, fishing, reading, playing poker

NT: What are the latest additions to your TBR? What are you most eager to read?


MB: I just did my monthly shopping trip to eharlequin but only bought 20 this month ;) That’s uhm about half what I bought last month. I don’t really have time to read the right now, but that didn’t stop me from buying them lol

NT: Any advice to aspiring authors? What craft books helped you that you would recommend to aspiring writers?


MB: Oh gosh, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to dispensing advice. I mean seriously, I don’t know anything more now than when I wasn’t published. No one flips a switch and you suddenly gain the knowledge of the universe when you become published. All that changes is that now someone is paying you and you have a serious committment to finishing that book. I learn something new every single day and still am no where close to knowing half of what I need to know.


As for craft books, again, I can’t read something and apply it. Just doesn’t work for me. Reading how other people do it doesn’t help me because I’m stubborn. I want to and have to do it my way. If I fail, I’m okay with but I want to succeed on my own merits and create a book the way I see it in my head.

NT: What can your fans look forward to from you in the near future? What are you working on now?


MB: I’m currently working on Into the Lair which is book two in my Falcon Mercenary Group series from Samhain. As soon as I finish it, I’ll be diving into my fourth Berkley book, Sweet Persuasion. After that I have to write The Cowboys’ Mistress (is that not the most spectacularly, cheesy, fun title ever? lolol) I have Stay With Me releasing in May from Samhain, Reckless in June (this is a sequel to Brazen and features J.T. Summers) and then Into the Lair releases in August.


NT: How can readers contact you?


MB: They can find me at the Writeminded Blog, the Writeminded Readers yahoo group, or they can email me anytime at maya@mayabanks.com.


Editor’s Note: We’re giving away three copies of Maya’s books today. A copy of SWEET SURRENDER, a copy of GOLDEN EYES and a copy of THE PERFECT GIFT anthology with LOVE ME, STILL by Maya in it so make sure to leave a comment and feel free to leave Maya any questions you may have for her. She’ll be popping in throughout the day.

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