Monday, August 8, 2011

Best-Selling Author Maisey Yates Interview
Prolific is Her Middle Name

This is the UK cover for
Marriage Made on Paper
Actually, I don't know what her middle name is, and I forgot to ask.  But I did find out that her first name is pronounced "Macy" like the department store, not like "Driving Miss Daisy."  And although she's a USA Today best-selling author, she was still sweet enough to stop by Writing in Flow to answer these ten not-so-deadly questions.

1) Do I understand correctly, you got a contract first, then an agent? ‘Splain, please.

Sure! With category romance, which is what I write, you don't really need an agent. Contracts are pretty simple and set and any negotiation is fairly simple. I do have an agent now, but she doesn't handle my category. She's representing me for different projects.

2) You’re such a Twitter fiend, (@maiseyyates) how do you find time to write?  Blog?  What’s your writing schedule like?  Are there days you don’t write or Tweet at all?

I do like twitter! But for me, twitter is social. I enjoy it and don't see it as a drain on my time. Ditto for blogging. I blog when I feel like it, which is usually a couple of times a week. It doesn't take me very much time to maintain either. I don't have a very great schedule. I write on weekends, Mondays and Tuesdays during the day, and on other days I take care of business at night, after the hubby is done with work.

3) I refuse to admit how many years ago I read my first Harlequin, but on picking up your latest,  I was (pleasantly) surprised by how sexy and filled with erotic tension these stories are.  You write for Harlequin Presents, Mills & Boon, and???  Is there still a line or two that is not so explicit, or would all the Harlequin lines give my grandmother palpitations? 

Harlequin and Mills and Boon are one in the same, and they're the only publisher I'm with at the moment. And yes, the Romance line is still 'Sweet.'  (Note: Harlequin puts out different lines of books for different markets, of which the sexual content ranges from sweet to scorcher.  Mills & Boon is their UK imprint.  Maisey's line, "Presents," is in their Classic Romance genre, and includes rather steamy and explicit, if still romantic, passages.)

4) When do you get your reading in?  What do you read - how much do you allow yourself to read for pure fun, and how much is Official Research?

I read books I love. Period. And a lot of times that's research, because I write what I love too! I read whenever I can, but this is Big Bad TV season for me. (So You Think You Can Dance! Project Runway!) So that means a bit less than I should. I mainly read category romance and single title Historicals.

5)   You write many books in a short period of time, but the ones I’ve read have been all high quality.  How?  Is there any particular area (outlining, first chapters, the middle - aka the muddle, editing, etc.) you struggle with? 

First of all...thank you re: the quality. I write at a rate that is comfortable for me. I take the revisions my editor gives me, and if that means rewriting the whole book to bring it up where it should be, I'm willing to do that. As for process/outlining and a specific speed, that's heavily dependent on each book. Generally though, I know the character and the goal, motivation and conflict. I don't plot specific scenes.

6) USA Today Bestselling Author.  How did that feel, the first time?  Do you feel any pressure that your next book(s) must reach the same status or better?

I think pressure is the right word. I think pressure was my reaction the first time. I was happy, of course, but my next thought was, what if I never do it again? What if I peaked with my second book? And then I told myself to chill out!! As a writer there are things I can control, and things I can't. The biggest thing in my power is to write the best book I can each and every time. I can't force people to buy it, but I can put something out there I'm proud of, and that hopefully people will enjoy, so that they'll want to buy the books that come after it.

The cover that stirred some buzz.
The US cover will be different -
simply because they do different
covers for different markets.
See varying covers for
Marriage Made on Paper
on this post.
7) I followed a little brouhaha on Twitter about one of your UK book covers, and I’ve heard some say that it’s unfair for white writers to profit from the exotification/fetishism of interracial romance.  That for centuries white people physically exploited the bodies of non-white people for profit, and now it’s being done again in a figurative sense.  There’s a valid point there.

That said, I’ve dated outside “my own kind” (whatever that means in this day and age) and also believe it’s neither in poor taste nor exploitative to write about interracial romance, depending on how it’s done.  IMO, no subject should be considered morally off-limits to a writer based on his/her skin color, gender, or sexual orientation.  Your take?

This is an interesting one! For me in particular, yes, I am white, but my husband is black. But I don't think that gives me special license to write IR and excludes others. I think there's a difference between writing interracial romance and fetishizing it. If you handle the relationship and characters with respect, make them people and not caricatures, then I don't see why someone would be excluded from writing it.

With my book specifically, the hero is black and the heroine is white, but that isn't their conflict. So it is interracial and yet that's never a factor in the story. He's a man, she's a woman, they fall in love. And that anyone would think skin color should stop that from happening is beyond me! (I could go on, but I won't!)

8) Is there any genre beyond category romance, that you’d really love to write?  Sci-fi, mystery, urban fantasy...? 

No matter what I write, it would be a romance at the center. I know that for a fact. I am a romantic, it's what interests me, it's what captures my imagination.

This is the US cover for
Marriage Made on Paper
9) You actually have a countdown timer on your blog for your (many) upcoming releases.  The next one coming out, if I’m reading the thing correctly, is MARRIAGE MADE ON PAPER.  What is the reader going to love about this story, and its main characters?

I had so much fun writing MARRIAGE MADE ON PAPER! The heroine, Lily is so strong and driven and she's not afraid to snark the hero, Gage. I loved the dynamic between them. He's her boss, but as she's his public relations consultant, he's essentially hired her to tell him what to do. This means he has to respect her decisions and her business savvy one hundred percent, and I loved writing that relationship. Also, Lily has a collection of wonderful shoes!

10) What question have you not yet been asked by anybody that you are just dying to answer - and what’s your answer?

That's a tough one! Okay...Maisey, what's your favorite theme and why? Oh, I love marriages of convenience! The Princess by Lori Wick was my gateway drug into mainstream romance and the idea of someone marrying a man they didn't know, for the sake of duty, captured my imagination completely. I think it's so romantic to write a couple who fall in love after the wedding!

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Bev!
Thank you, Maisey, for making the time in a tremendously crowded scheduled to stop by.

Maisey Yates started writing stories from the moment she first learned how to form words with a pen. But she never had any idea what to write, and most stories sat started, half formed and half finished, but never completed.

During her high school and college years, she spent a lot of time dreaming about holding a book in her hands that had her name emblazoned across the front, but she did a lot more dreaming than actual writing.

At her very first job she was fortunate enough to meet her very own tall, dark and handsome hero, who happened to be her boss, and she promptly married him and started a family. It wasn't until she was pregnant with her second child that she found her very first Harlequin Presents book in a local thrift store. She'd never read a Harlequin romance before, and by the time she'd reached the happily ever after she had fallen in love. She devoured as many as she could get her hands on after that, and she knew that these were the books she wanted to write!

Soon after that she saw that Harlequin was running a competition to win an editor for a year. She decided that was her sign to get in gear and start writing again. So she wrote her chapter and synopsis and hit send with trembling hands. She didn't get any feedback from the contest, but it was the boost she needed to get her first full manuscript finished and submitted to Harlequin Presents.  (Her story continues here)

Maisey has promised to stop back and become your new besties answer questions and comments.
Please leave her some, and join me in thanking her for sharing her time and wisdom.

P.S. Coming later this month, Lauren Dane stops by on her blog tour to talk about Once and Again, the latest in her Chase brothers series.