Wednesday, 22 March 2017

My Interview with Author Maria Luis

When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?

I can recall the moment quite vividly – I was thirteen years old, was undergoing what would be a seven-month “house arrest” after I had broken my back in gymnastics and wasn’t allowed to be active, and was subsequently binge-watching Montel, Dr. Phil and then Oprah – in that order. My mom told me that I needed to “pull myself together,” and find something to do. So, I decided to write. My first romance was inspired by none other than the Pirates of the Caribbean.  

Where do you get your ideas for your book?

Anywhere, really. In my upcoming release, Say You’ll Be Mine, a random TV show on Reelz sparked an idea for the heroine. Power Play, my debut, was inspired by the song Powerful by Major Lazer, before I tore that version of the book to shreds and started over. 

What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?

If we take reading out of the equation, then I spend most of my time outdoors, either taking my dogs for adventures, kayaking in Louisiana’s waterways or just ambling about New Orleans, where I live. Oh, and I like to tinker with my website, because I’m a total nerd like that.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Oh, wow – are we talking books that have been seen by the public? Books which are gathering cobwebs on my desktop? If it’s the former, I’ve completed five novels, four of which are or will be in line for publication this year. If we’re talking the cobweb-type novels…that number is probably closer to fifteen or twenty. I joke around that I’ll release those oldies as part of a new segment I’m tossing around, The Ultimate Deleted Scenes. They’d be free, and honestly, what else will I do with those books that I never plan to publish? At least this way we can all get a good laugh at them!

Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?

Absolutely! My most heartfelt suggestion is this: write the story you want to read. There are so many readers out there – I myself read about 5-7 books a week when I’m not in Deadline mode. All you need to do is find your tribe. Not every book will work for everyone, and that’s totally okay. But find the people who love what you write, and stick with them. Also, practice makes perfect. Never think you’re above a good editor. Editors are gems, and they will make your work shine.

What do you think makes a great story?

My dad always told me that a plot will get you far, but characters that are beloved by readers will get you even further. That’s a motto I keep close to my heart. I don’t like to write perfect characters – what’s the fun in that? A character that infuriates you, makes you laugh, cry, and shake your head, all in the span of 300 or so pages, are the characters we remember long after we’ve closed a book. Or, you know, turned our e-readers off.

Which Writer/Authors inspire you?

So many I’m not even sure I can count! The first adult romance I read was written by Sherrilyn Kenyon, who authors the Dark-Hunter series. Her drive to write, especially when agent after agent rejected her, really lit a fire under my butt when I was younger. Lisa Kleypas, Rachel Gibson (love her old stuff), SEP (of course), and Sabrina Jeffries, are all authors I’ve tried to emulate in one way or another.

What are you working on at the moment?(optional)

Aside from touching up edits for my upcoming book, Say You’ll Be Mine, and some revisions for Book 2, I’m in the beginning stages of a completely new series, which should release this fall. Think The Bachelorette meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding. As I’m half-Greek, this is a book I’ve been dying to write for so long now! I think it’ll be fun and flirty.

What genre are your books?

The first book I queried to literary agents was actually a historical romance. Currently, though, I write sexy contemporary romances that are quite flirty. Actually, sassy might be a better word. 

What drew you to the genre you write?

I love contemporary romance simply because I can let my weird humor shine. While I can do the same for historicals, I find that contemporary romance fits my natural voice better, at least it does right now. 

Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)

This is so tough! You know, I think that maybe Jamie King or Hilary Duff would work, if we could give them curly, curly hair and fuller figures. Wow, this is hard! Now I’m second-guessing myself * returns to IMDB to scour the internet for more blonde actresses *

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Currently I write part-time, but am inching toward the day when I can claim full-time status and make my dream a reality! And then, in turn, give readers more books.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The middle of a book. I know, it sounds crazy, but when I write, the first half the book sails from my fingers. The last few chapters do, too. But those middle chapters…yeah, they’re tough. It’s generally about the time that I second guess all of my life decisions, and break out the Oreos.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?

I think it’s a bit different for everyone, but if I’m dealing with Writer’s block there are two ways out of it. The first is the easiest – I let it marinate for a day or two, and work on something else. The second is harder, because it involves me jogging until I figure it out. The times in my life that I have been the most athletic (post-gymnastics years) are when I can’t figure out how to solve a hole in my work in progress.

Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?

Oh, I read all the time. Currently, I’m digging Jill Shalvis, Lauren Layne, Whitney G., Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas (she’s a goddess), Sabrina Jeffries, SEP, and so many others. I will read pretty much any subgenre of romance, and once I find a new author that I love, I will buy their entire backlist or stalk them down at my local library.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

This is a total random bit, but if you enjoy writing and it’s your dream to be an author, pursue it. Seriously. Don’t let people tell you that you’ll never make a living or that you aren’t writing the next great ‘literary breakout novel.’ Put all the negativity aside, and do you. 

How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)

Readers can come and hang out with me at the following places:

Amazon Author Page:

(Don’t judge me, y’all, but I don’t update Goodreads all too much. My website, Facebook, and Insta are where it’s at  )

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview 😊

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