....by Olivia Kelly
Today we have USA Today best selling author Maisey Yates with us! She is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter, being funny, irreverent and always interesting, and one of the Harlequin authors I read the most. Since she has something like five million books coming out this year, I asked her to drop by and tell us about it!
Hi Maisey! Welcome to Lady Scribes!
How did you decide to be a writer? Was it a deliberate choice, or more like a calling? How did you break into publishing?
I've always enjoyed writing, but I was really directionless in terms of what I wanted to write. But then I picked up a Harlequin Presents and I read about…ten of them and I thought, this is it. This is what I want. I probably read 300 Presents in that first year (no joke) and then I discovered Harlequin was doing a writing contest via their iheartpresents website. I entered, but I didn't final. Still, after that I decided I had to submit to them. So I sent a partial manuscript to their slush pile, and after 20 months and three rounds of revisions, I sold to them!
A little birdie told me that you have several books coming out this year. Can you tell us what's on the schedule? What's up first?
Oh boy, the little birdie did not lie. First in 2013 is At His Majesty's Request. Followed by Heir to a Desert Legacy in April, Heir to a Dark Inheritance in May, in June a novella in an anthology for HQN with Lori Foster, Heidi Betts and Jules Bennet, and my first silver book, Unbuttoned (also novella length) in July, another Presents, The Couple Who Fooled the World and in August my first full length Silver Creek book Unexpected. There are more, but I'll stop there! LOL.
Can you give us a quick rundown on At His Majesty's Request?
How about a sneak peek?
“Come in,” he said.
She shot him a look and walked into the room, wiping her hand on the tulle skirt of her gown, trying to get rid of the heated feeling that his touch had left behind. She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, pushed her cleavage up into prominence, then thought better of it when she realized just how prominent it was.
She put her hands on her hips. “What’s up?”
“None of them were acceptable,” he said.
“But...but...” she sputtered. “What about Dominique? You touched her arm.”
He shrugged. “I know how to flirt.”
“Well, yeah, I know, I yelled at you for it the other day. But why flirt if you aren’t going to follow up?”
He frowned. “Did you just imply that I am a...tease?”
“Yeah. A marriage tease. Why feign interest if you don’t feel any?”
“I’m not seeking to hurt anyone’s feelings,” he said dryly. “I could hardly stand there and act bored. And anyway, that begs the question why you would send me such dull women.”
“Dull? Dominique is a beauty queen, Corinthia is a doctor for heaven’s sake and Samantha...”
“Had the most annoying laugh.”
“All right. Yes, her laugh is kind of annoying. But it’s sort of endearing.”
“No. It’s not.”
“You’re being unkind.”
“Maybe. But I don’t have forever to find a wife, and you were supposed to be the best.”
“I am,” she said. “I can find you a wife. Anyway, I didn’t think your personal preferences came into it.”
“I don’t want to be...irritated into an early grave by a woman who laughs at all my jokes, even when they aren’t funny, or by one who can’t seem to make conversation about anything other than the weather.”
“That’s called small talk. It’s how people get to know each other,” she said.
“Boring.” He waved a hand as if dismissing the concept. “Talk about world events. Something other than the ‘balmy evening’.”
“So marriage is more to you than you said. Glad to hear it.”
“I am not glad that you presented me with unacceptable candidates. This is not about...meaning, or emotions. This is about...I have to be able to stand the woman I marry.”
“You really are being ridiculous. They weren’t unacceptable. What’s the problem? You didn’t find them attractive?”
“They were attractive. But I was not attracted to any of them.”
“You say that like it’s my fault.”
“It is,” he said, whirling around to face her. His dark gaze slid down to her breasts and her own followed.
She looked back up at him. “Elaborate,” she said, teeth gritted.
“You expect that you can show up in that dress, and I can focus on other women?”
“What’s wrong with my dress?” She gripped the full, tulle skirt reflexively.
“Other than the fact that you’re showing off much more of your breasts than any straight man could be expected to ignore? It also shows your legs. This was a formal wedding. Every other woman, including the ones I was speaking to, had on long gowns. You...you...”
“This dress comes to my knees. And I didn’t realize you were a fourteen-year-old boy masquerading as a prince.”
Ha! What was your favorite part about writing this book? Your least favorite part?
My favorite part was the banter between Stavros and Jessica. She was more than capable of holding her own with them. In terms of least favorite…her conflict was hard. It was sad. But at the end of it all, it's one of the things I'm happiest with. Painful to write, but worth it.
Out of all your novels so far, do you have a favorite one? Why or why not?
I have books that are favorites for different reasons. The Highest Price to Pay because Blaise was a hero I felt needed to be written. I thought it was past time for there to be a black Presents hero, and I was proud to get to be the one to write him. A Royal World Apart because I loved the virgin hero aspect. Actually, I could probably come up with a reason to say they were all a favorite for some reason, either because of a subject I got to explore or because I felt they improved my writing. :)
Can you tell us something about the hero and heroine that we won't know by reading the book? Maybe a secret fear or passion, weird talent or funny childhood moment?
Jessica was always organized. Always. I think to the point of being a bit annoying and odd as a child! And Stavros…I touch on it in the book but I don't go into it. I think he was very hard on his older brother for a mistake he made. Enough that he drove him away. I think Stavros expects a lot from himself and others, and he doesn't forgive easily.
How do you come up with your story ideas? Do you find that writing for the two different publishing houses, with two very different types of books, has drastically changed your approach to storytelling? Or has it stayed the same?
I think every book is different, but the process for me, regardless of story length is mainly the same. For me, the focus begins on character and conflict, regardless of publisher or book type. The big thing is slipping into the right tone. My Presents heroes, being royalty or men who often speak English as a second language, don't sound the same as my cowboys. So I listen to specific music that gets me in the feel for each book.
Do you have any funny, scary, exciting or just plain bizarre stories (that you can share in public) that happened to you since you published your first book?
I did have someone scream at me in a store. She had no idea who I was, or what my books were, but I was buying things for a gift basket for a reader event, and I told her I wrote romance for Harlequin when she asked. And she SCREAMED. And said "Oh my gosh! You're FAMOUS." I didn't know what to say!
That is so funny! Since I follow you on Twitter, I know your dad recently commissioned a promotion video for your novels. Would you share that with our readers, pretty please? It's hilarious!
Yes! And please do enjoy!
Now for some of Olivia's Super Speed Questions. Be honest...<evil laugh>
1) Mountains or Beach? TOO HARD. I'm an Oregonian, I can have both at the same time #scenerywhore
2) France or Italy? France
3) Sugar or Salt? Sugar
4) Vikings or Knights? Vikings
5) Chocolate or Coffee? Coffee
6) Virgin Widow or Secret Baby? Virgin widow (I've written a virgin widower…)
7) Blue or Green? Blue
8) Roses or Violets? Roses
9) Teenagers or Toddlers? Toddlers (I can pick them up and put them in their room)10) Sexy Businessman Billionaire or Sexy Rakish Duke? <--- this is unfair. I write sexy businessman billionaires, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But what do I read? Dukes, baby.