Please Welcome Harlequin Presents Debut author Maya Blake to HJ!
Maya Congrats on your debut release…
Maya could you please introduce yourself to the readers here
MB: Hi Everyone! I’m Maya Blake, an avid reader and now a Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern writer. I live in South East England with my husband, two kids and a LOT of books! When I’m not writing or reading, I’m watching movies, swimming, cycling or (most likely) on Twitter!
MB: Oh my goodness – THE CALL. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. To summarise, I started writing with a view to publication seven years ago after the birth of my second child. Harlequin Presents/Modern were my absolute passion so it was inevitable that I’d ultimately write those books. My first attempts received form rejections, not surprising because I had yet to learn my craft. After a few more tries, I finally caught editors’ attention.
Eventually, I was asked for revisions on a full manuscript I was working with an editor, which was unfortunately rejected in June 2011. But the editor was great and was willing to work with me on another story. I was really excited about this latest story, and thankfully so was she! After one set of (huge) revisions, she emailed and asked if she could call to discuss the manuscript. I’m happy to say on April 12 2012, she did call, with a two-book contract, which I, of course, happily accepted.
What was the first romance novel you read that made an impression on you?
MB: Unfortunately I’m absolutely hopeless with titles! But it was an Anne Mather book my sister lent me when I was in my early teens. Anne’s alpha heroes are something to behold and I remember reading thinking, wow, I ADORE this book. I subsequently devoured every other M&B my sister had in her stash. That was when love affair with the alpha hero was born.
Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
MB: I am one of those writers who absolutely adore writing love scenes – the hotter the better. So I’d say I find them “fan-myself-worthy”. I’d happily write love scenes all day, lol.
What are you currently working on? What can we expect from you in the future ?
MB: At the moment, I’m working on revisions for Book 3. Once those are done, I can get back to writing Book 4, which is about Rafael de Cervantes, Marco’s brother from The Price of Success. I’m really enjoying writing his story as he’s a very irreverent alpha who’s enjoying giving my heroine a very, very tough time, lol. After Rafael, I’m going to be writing my first linked books – two stories about two brothers and the women they fall in love with. The first is an interesting twist on a popular blockbuster franchise and I can’t wait to get started on it!
Let’s talk about your debut new release ‘The Price of Success’
If you had to sum up ‘The Price of Success’
MB: I’d say the story is about fast cars and an even faster-talking heroine, who takes no prisoners!
What sparked the idea for the book The Price of Success’ are you a Formula 1 fan?
MB: I’m a die-hard Formula 1 fan. My older brothers introduced me to the sport many years ago. And while I love ogling hot guys with Hollywood looks and drool-worthy bodies, it struck me that I’d never seen a female Formula 1 driver literally in a number 1 driver’s seat. The Price of Success is my way of redressing the issue.
If you had to pick your favorite scene in ‘The Price of Success’
MB: Goodness, it’s so hard to choose! I’m going to cheat and pick two – the Awards Ceremony where Sasha gives the speech before presenting the award to Toby always makes me tear up. And the scene in Marcus’s vintage car garage where he finally tells Sasha about his past turmoil also breaks my heart.
Who would play Sasha Fleming and Marco de Cervantes in the movie version of your book? And why?
MB: On my Pinterest board, I have a picture of Leighton Meester as one of my The Price Of Success heroine pictures, but I quite like the idea of Daniella Ruah from NCIS Los Angeles as Sasha simply for the kick-ass factor. For Marco, I’d love a younger Benjamin Bratt.
Giveaway: Maya will be giving away a signed copy of The Price of Success
To Enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form below and Post a Comment telling Maya why you would like to win a copy of this book. 🙂
Excerpt from The Price of Success’:
“I regret a lot that’s happened in the past twenty-four hours, not least of them watching my brother mangle himself and his car on the racetrack because he believed himself to be heartbroken. One more thing doesn’t make a difference.”
“Your emotions are overwhelming you right now. All I’m saying is don’t let it overrule your better judgement.”
A cold smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “My emotions? I didn’t know you side-practiced as the team’s psychologist. I thought you rode down with me to beg for your job back, not to practise the elevator pitch version of pop psychology. You had me as your captive audience for a full thirty seconds. Shame you chose to waste it.”
“Mock me all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that right now you’re acting like…” She bit her lip, common sense momentarily overriding her anger.
“Go on,” he encouraged softly. Tauntingly. “Acting like what?”
She shrugged. “Like…well, like an ass.”
His eyes narrowed until they were mere icy slits. “Excuse me?”
“Sorry. You asked.”
Anger flared in his eyes, radiated off his body. Sasha held her breath, readying herself for the explosion about to rain on her head. Instead he gave a grim smile. “I’ve been called worse.” He nodded to his bodyguard, who took a step towards them. “Romano will escort you off the premises. Be warned – my very generous donation to this hospital is contingent on you being arrested if you set foot anywhere near my brother. I’m sure the Administrator would relish that challenge.”
Despair rose to mingle with her anger. “You can’t do this. If you don’t listen to me, I’ll…I’ll talk to the press again. I’ll spill everything!”
“Ah, I’m glad to finally meet the real you, Miss Fleming.”
“Ten minutes. That’s all I want. Let me convince you to keep me on.”
“Trust me, blackmail isn’t a great place to start.”
She bit her lip. “That was just a bluff. I won’t talk to the press. But I do want to drive for you. And I’m the best mid-season replacement you’ll find for Rafael.”
“You do place a high premium on yourself, don’t you?”
Unflinching, she nodded. “Yes, I do. And I can back it up. Just let me prove it.”
His gaze narrowed on her face, then conducted a lazy sweep over her body. Suddenly, the clothes that had served as perfect camouflage against the intrusive press felt inadequate, exposing. Beneath the thin material of her T-shirt, her heart hammered, her skin tingling with an alien awareness that made her muscles tense.
As a female racer driver in a predominantly male sport, she was used to being the cynosure of male eyes. There were those who searched for signs of failure as a driver, ready to use any shortcomings against her. Then there were the predators who searched for weaknesses simply because she was a woman and therefore deemed incapable. The most vicious lot were those who bided their time, ready to rip her apart because she was Jack Fleming’s daughter. Those were the ones she feared the most. And the ones she’d sworn to prove wrong.
Marco de Cervantes’s gaze held an intensity that combined all of those qualities, multiplied by a thousand. And then there was something else.
Something that made her breath grow shallow in her lungs. Made her palms clammy and the hairs bristle on her nape.
Recalling the sheer intensity of the look he’d directed into the camera earlier, her heartbeat accelerated.
“Get in the car,” he bit out, his tone bone-chilling.
About the Book:
“Owner of the Espiritu racing team, tycoon Marco de Cervantes thinks he knows exactly what’s going on inside Sasha Fleming’s pretty little head… She’s clearly not above using her wide-eyed beauty and tempting curves to become Espiritu’s first female racing driver. The infuriating thing is – she’s the best driver around!
Marco’s willing to reap any rewards…on and off the track…but he couldn’t be more wrong about Sasha. Unlike the socialites that flock round him she has no interest in being a billionaire’s trophy wife – and she wills her body to prove this to him. But success always comes at a price!