10 Questions with Maggie Shayne
My guest today is Ms. Maggie Shayne, New York Times Bestselling Author. Her newest thriller, DEADLY OBSESSION, came out yesterday. Please scroll down to enjoy the interview, where we talk, among others, how DEADLY OBSESSION is different from other thrillers in the genre, and about Ms. Shayne’s views on self-publishing.
1. Ms. Shayne, thank you for stopping by on my blog. Your newest thriller, DEADLY OBSESSION, came out yesterday. Tell us a bit more about this book.
DEADLY OBSESSION is Book 4 of my series of romantic thrillers known as the Brown and de Luca Novels. All four have been named RT Book Reviews Top Picks for their respective months. Self help writer Rachel de Luca was blind for most of her life before receiving a cornea transplant via a new method less prone to rejection. The donor was a serial killer though, and in Book 1, SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON, Rachel began having visions of his crimes…crimes that are happening now, despite that her donor is dead. She partners, reluctantly, with a decorated homicide detective, Mason Brown to solve the crimes. The book are mystery/suspense, and the relationship between Rachel and Mason builds slowly over all four books. There’s also a FREE ebook novella if you want a sample of the voice in these stories, DREAM OF DANGER. I say they are, unequivocally, my best writing ever.
2. Who are Rachel de Luca and Mason Brown and how did you come up with these characters?
Rachel is very much my own “Inner Bitch.” She can be hilarious and snarky and she’s learning spiritual lessons. (She’s behind me in that area though, thinking the bullshit she writes is just that. Bullshit. Oh, and she has a potty mouth.) Mason is more like my husband Lance than anyone else I know. Maybe that’s why I love these stories so much.
3. You’ve written over 50 novels and almost 30 novellas. What’s your secret of keeping the plots always fresh and intriguing for your readers?
61 Novels now, actually. (Need to update my bio, right?) I don’t know how to answer that question. I have ideas and characters running around in my head like mice in a cheese factory, all of them clamouring for their turn to be born into novels. The ones that shout the loudest are the ones I write first. (Shh, don’t tell them or I’ll never have any peace!)
4. How is DEADLY OBSESSION different from other thrillers in the genre?
Rachel makes it different. She’s an unforgettable, highly likeable, funny as hell character, and very real to me. The cornea transplant and subsequent visions from beyond seem to open up something in her. She knows things, gets things, reads people. Since she doesn’t believe in ESP, she’s decided to call it NFP. For “Not effing psychic.” I just love her. Oh, and have I mentioned her blind bulldog, Myrtle, who steals the story every time?
5. When did you decide you wanted to write, and how did you go about accomplishing it?
I used to write stories on construction paper, with Crayola illustrations, tables of contents, and stapled binding, and I would take those “books” to school and read them to my teachers. I was born a storyteller. I couldn’t not do it. I submitted stories to publishers on my own for years, and then landed an agent and submitted through her for a few more years before finally, after 8 years of submitting and collecting rejections, selling to Harlequin on August 24th 1992. From there, I just kept writing. I’ve published with Avon (Harper-Collins,) and Berkley (Penguin Putnam,) and St. Martin’s and Pocket and MIRA and even wrote for daytime soaps for a year or so. I write. I can’t not write. It’s just what I do.
6. What are your favorite pastimes?
I am an avid student and teacher of both natural magic and the Law of Attraction. I love reading and I am a TV junkie. I love reading tarot cards and I’m kind of a philosopher, or a mystic, interpreting signs and omens and channeling messages from beyond.
7. How do you write? Outlines or not?
I hate them. But I do them. First, because when I was writing for traditional publishers, I had no choice. Part of my paycheck only came upon acceptance of a complete synopsis. When that’s not the case, when I’m writing just for me, I use big dry erase boards and storyboard my stories instead of outlining them. It works a lot better for me.
8. What are your thoughts on the latest publishing industry developments, mainly the rise of the self-publishing?
Early this year, I left my publisher after 22 years to venture into Indie-land myself, and I’m making more than I ever did in my BEST year of writing for anyone else. So I would say I’m for it. 🙂 This is the greatest time in history to be a writer. We are empowered like never before. We can write what we want, how we want, to the length we want, with the titles and the covers we want. We can pay for formatting and cover art and editing and proofreading and advertising, and STILL make more money than the big companies could ever pay us. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? If my little book isn’t paying the salaries and overhead of a multinational mega corporate giant, naturally there’s more for me and the handful of fellow entrepreneurs I hire to help me. Lots more.
9. What is your greatest satisfaction as a writer? What is your greatest disappointment?
Every time I’ve had a disappointment–my line folding, my editor leaving, my advance shrinking, my publisher making it impossible for me to stay with them any longer–it has turned out not to be a disappointment at all, but rather, a gift. Every. Single. Time.
Nothing happens TO me. Everything happens FOR me.
My greatest satisfaction, greater than winning the RITA Award or hitting the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists, is getting up every morning and being able to tell stories for a living. That is the greatest gift I can even imagine.
10. What is your next book going to be about?
I’m continuing my vampire romances, Wings in the Night: Reborn. This August, DEAD BY TWILIGHT, a “Wings” novella will appear in Berkley anthology which will also have stories by Christine Feehan, whose Carpathians were inspired by my Wings in the Night Series, and Lori Herter, who wrote the very first vampire romances and inspired mine. The title of the anthology is EDGE OF DARKNESS and it comes out in August, and will be followed by another full length, independently published Wings in the Night novel, title to be announced.
For the holidays, I’m re-releasing my very Christmassy Oklahoma Brands Series of western contemporary romances, with THE BRANDS WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, followed by five more novels. All will be on sale by Thanksgiving.