How excited am I? I get to virtually hang out today with my fellow New Yorker and JCrew addict, Maya Rodale. I came to her books early on in my romance reading and was hooked right away on her “Negligent Chaperones” series. Seriously good reading. Then of course, I moved on to her “Writing Girls”. My favorite, being The Tattooed Duke.
Enough about my fan girl squeeing, let’s welcome Maya!
Nancy: You’ve stated that your mother was your first influence in reading romance novels. What book did you read? What was your initial reaction at her suggestion, and was it different after you finished the book?
Maya: It’s true: I started reading romance novels because my mother insisted. Being an academic snob at the time, I requested a reading list. I started with Jane Austen then moved onto Forever Amber. After The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, I never looked back.
Nancy: Your thesis was on the lack of respect for the romance genre. How did your professors handle your subject discussion-do you think you changed their point of view?
Maya: My college and graduate work was all about women in fiction, specifically in romance novels. While my professors hadn’t studied romance, they were remarkably tolerant about me including it in my studies. I even got one teacher to read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. She loved it, of course!
Nancy: I loved your Negligent Chaperones series; they were the first of your books I devoured. What was your inspiration for your first novel?
Maya: Thank you! The whole series began with the idea for a scene—a rogue breaking into the heroine’s bedchamber in the dead of the night. She thinks it’s her betrothed, but it’s his twin. That scene never made it into either novel in the series, but it totally did its job by sparking my imagination.
Nancy: You have just concluded The Writing Girls Series with the excellent “Seducing Mr. Knightly.” Please tell us about this book.
Maya: Here’s what you need to know about Seducing Mr. Knightly: Annabelle has loved Derek FOREVER ( which shall be defined as “since book 1 in the series”). Derek has loved his newspaper and nothing else since FOREVER. I made myself LOL as I wrote her increasingly outrageous antics to get his attentions. Spoiler: they totally fall in love.
Nancy: You also released a novella in the series Three Schemes and a Scandal, which I absolutely loved! (Charlotte is a great character) Why a novella; was it harder to write? Tell us about the story.
Maya: Ever since Charlotte’s appearance as the sister who keeps faking faints in A Groom of One’s Own, readers have been asking for her story. Finally I came up with a story and a hero that I thought would showcase Charlotte’s intelligence and penchant for troublemaking. It’s all about series of plans going awry… until they go right….with a rogue involved every step of the way.
Nancy: I see your adorable dog Penelope was the inspiration for her fox, btw. What a gorgeous puppy Not a question, just an observation .
Maya: She TOTALLY was. Penelope is appreciative that some one is giving her the credit and recognition she deserves. Thank you!
Nancy: What are you working on now?
Maya: Something bootylicious! Seducing The Single Lady is a sexy historical romance novella based on Beyonce songs. For more details about the story and order links visit www.mayarodale.com/coming-soon
Nancy: You are one of the co-founders of Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC. Please tell us about this group.
Maya: Three romance novelists and a publishing guy were out at a bar for networking drinks and two months later we were launching Manhattan’s one and only reading series devoted to romantic fiction! In the four years since Hope Tarr, Leanna Renee Heiber and Ron Hogan and I launched Lady Jane’s Salon, it has expanded nationally and has fostered a really lovely community of romance lovers.
Nancy: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Maya: Depends on the book! I have plotted so hard that it resulted in color coordinated spread sheets. I have let pina coladas do the plotting (which is really pantsing at it’s finest). Just the other day, suggestions from my pals on twitter totally sparked some serious plotting. THANK YOU, Twitter friends!
Nancy: Maybe I need to try those pina coladas for editing! Do you have a specific writing schedule and space or do you sit at the kitchen/dining room table and just go! Or can we find you at a Starbucks, tapping away!
Maya: D) All of the above! I keep regular business hours with my writing (Mon-Fri, 9 to 6-ish, excluding dog walks). Sometimes my “office” wanders from the living room, to bed, to cafes in my neighborhood.
Thank you so much for fun interview questions, Nancy! For more info about my books, visit www.mayarodale.com.
Question for readers! What was the first romance novel you ever read?