October 10, 2014


I am SO thrilled to feature #1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maya Banks on my blog today! Her Slow Burn series kicked off this week, and it sounds like we readers are going to be in for an exciting and suspenseful ride.  I had the incredible opportunity to ask her a few burning questions – Maya, thank you so much for indulging me!

You’re quite welcome, Krista! And thank you for having me. It’s no secret I love to dish books! Whether they’re MY books or any author’s books, I just love talking romance :)

Your new romantic suspense series, the Slow Burn series, kicked off with the release of KEEP ME SAFE on October 7. Using only five words, describe this new series.

Angsty, Intense, Passionate, Emotional, Alpha-males-and-heroines-who-have-psychic-abilities. 

LOL ok so I cheated a LITTLE by making the last “word” a long hyphenated word but TECHNICALLY it counts as one word! *g*

But honestly when thinking of this series and when asked about particularly the first book, the one word that I always come back to is “intense” Perhaps volatile would have been a BETTER word choice, but all of the books ARE really intense. Everything about them. The characters, the situations, the emotions, the romance between the heroes and heroines. INTENSE really fits them all! And well, ANYTHING I write is going to fall under “angsty and emotional.”

I need to stop using them when asked to use single words to describe by stories because by now, after me having used them so much, it’s kind of understood that the majority of my stories are going to be heavy on the angst and emotion factor. I just LOVE stories that are fraught with both and I really don’t know HOW to write any other way.

I’ve written a FEW stories I’d consider “light” or perhaps “sweet” but even then, the heavy “emotional” factor creeps in for at least PART of the book.

The heroine in KEEP ME SAFE is Ramie, a woman with a unique ability. What type of woman is she – tough-as-nails or soft and sensitive? Will she be a damsel in distress or will she do the saving?

Yes, yes, yes and yes! Haha! She’s a little of all of the above combined. In the beginning of the story, she’s definitely worn down and “broken” and very vulnerable and with good reason. She’s very sensitive and fragile because of all she’s been through and experienced. And in the beginning she is a damsel in distress and seeks out the hero for help. She feels he owes her because a year earlier he forced her into helping locate his kidnapped sister, not knowing how her “abilities” worked. He was horrified and contrite when he realized just what he’d unleashed on Ramie,  but at the same time how could he truly say he’d never have done it had he known when it meant his sister being saved?

But as with all my story ARCs for my heroines, I typically start with a heroine who might be considered “weak” or fragile/vulnerable in the beginning but she comes into her own over the course of the story. It’s my favorite heroine to write because for ME if a heroine starts kickass, stays kickass and FINISHES kickass, you have yourself one boring, one-dimensional character who never “changes” or has a story ARC, or at least a true one. Now this is certainly only MY opinion. Other authors and readers feel differently. But for ME, I want to see a heroine GROW and become stronger, facing adversity and OVERCOMING.

So, again, to answer your question, she is, in fact, a little of everything you mentioned, and that’s what makes her such an interesting character. If a character isn’t interesting to ME as it’s creator, I can’t write it because it would bore me to tears and if it bores ME to tears then I can’t expect my readers to be interested or invested in my characters!

Caleb sounds like a great alpha male hero. How do you ensure your male characters get the right blend of naughty and nice so that they’re not so domineering that they border on abusive, but they’re not complete marshmallows either?

Caleb is one of my more “intense” heroes. (See, there’s that word again!) He’s very passionate about everything. He is extremely loyal to his family and once Ramie re-enters his life, his loyalty then extends to her as well and Caleb doesn’t do anything in half measures.

And I’ll be honest. Some of my heroes ARE domineering, arrogant and “dominant” but NEVER abusive. That’s my hard line. I don’t mind pushing the envelope in a LOT of areas, but an abusive hero is NOT remotely appealing to ME as an author OR a reader.

Now, opinions differ widely on what constitutes abuse, and no doubt, some readers feel some of my heroes ARE abusive. They aren’t wrong, but neither are they RIGHT. They are absolutely entitled to their opinion, but I know what my INTENTIONS are when I write a character. I know what’s in the heart of my heroes and in their minds so I would absolutely say with 100% conviction that NONE of my heroes in ANY of my books are abusive, verbally or physically.

In my erotic romances, particularly stories with Dominance and submission as a theme, I make sure that it’s clear that my heroines are not only WILLING but they also WANT and DESIRE whatever the hero does in and out of the bedroom. This is where the sticky line between abuse and consent can turn off some readers because they can’t simply comprehend a woman who would want or ACCEPT a BDSM relationship. Or that they would enjoy “pain” or the more physical components of such a relationship. But as I said, it always goes back to it being a clear CHOICE and a DESIRE for my heroines, and I believe strongly in women being able to make whatever choices they wish and never feel shame or embarrassment for what they “need” or simply “want.” And I equally support women who DON’T want what others do. Basically I’m very pro-positive for women to choose whatever makes them happy, even if it to “submit” which some would view as “weak” or not the epitome of feminism. But in reality, supporting women’s choices should mean absolute support of whatever makes them happy. And that’s what I like to represent or reflect in my stories and in my heroines. Even though most of my heroines make choices that I wouldn’t make. It’s fun to explore the flip side of the coin, so to speak, and fiction allows me to do just that. :)

Will all three books in the Slow Burn series follow Ramie and Caleb, or will we see different couples’ stories in each of the three planned books?

Each book will feature a different couple and a heroine with a different psychic ability. While this series is considered romantic suspense (and it is) the “backbone” or rather the theme of the series is every book featuring a heroine with a unique ability. I’m hoping not to repeat any of the “powers” but if the series goes long at all then I’ll have to as there is only so many psychic abilities that I can write somewhat believable.

Because this ISN’T a “paranormal” series at all. It’s not set in an alternative world. It doesn’t feature other supernatural “beings”, no shape shifters, vampires, etc. It’s very “real world” and merely propose the idea of “what if…” and basically having the world as it is right now and having a character with a special psychic ability and the issues someone living in there here and now, present time, would possibly face IF they did possess such an ability.

And as for why only the HEROINES, this is just me and my writing preferences. I’ve always preferred to go against the grain. For instance in a lot of PNR romances, if only one of the hero/heroines are for example a shape shifter, vampire or werewolf and are paired with a “human” hero/heroine, nearly ALL feature the HERO as the supernatural being with the heroine being the human.

I wrote a few “shape shifter” books several years ago and made the heroine’s the shape shifters. (Golden Eyes and Amber Eyes) Stories featuring sisters who were a cheetah and cougar shifter respectively. I just love the idea of the FEMALE being the unique “being” while the hero is the regular person because it opens up so many possibilities for the heroine to be vulnerable and for the alpha hero to be uber protective!

You’re such a versatile writer! You have written romantic paranormal, historical, suspense, military, contemporary… the list goes on. How do you never run out of unique ideas? Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Any genre you haven’t tackled yet that has been nagging at you?

I’ve had no shortage of story ideas (thank goodness!) and in fact, this series was a source of “frustrated writer syndrome” ha! I’ve had the idea for this story, the ENTIRE story from start to finish and all parts in between, for YEARS. But my writing schedule is quite full and there are specific things I write for my current publishers and this series didn’t fit with my current regimen and so I wasn’t certain I’d ever get to write it. I’m so excited (and grateful!) that May Chen has long been a fan of my writing and when this idea came up in a conversation that had nothing to do with me potentially writing for her (a completely NEW publisher to me) she LOVED the premise and said, “You HAVE to write this for me!”

As for a genre I haven’t yet tackled or have a hankering to write in that I haven’t, as you pointed out, I’ve written in MANY different genres, and at this point I can’t think of any type of romance that I haven’t already written that I have a strong desire to.

When you find time to read, do you read romance/erotica books? Or, do you go with something completely different?

I actually don’t read much erotic romance at all. I think if I read it a lot it would diminish my excitement when it comes to writing my own and could potentially stifle my creativity. I don’t want to know what’s “being done” or NOT being done out there in the genre. I want the freedom to go my own way without concern or hindrance of what other authors are writing.

Do you prefer books that give you a good cry or a big laugh?

Not a fan of “comedy” because my sense of humor is different than most I think. I tend to have a rather morbid sense of humor and as a result, you’ll find a lot of one liners or quick flashes of humor in really tense situations in my books. You see this a LOT in my KGI series. Bullets flying, explosions etc and the characters in this series tend to have my type of sense of humor so at least one of them will usually have some quirky remark at an otherwise serious moment.

We have seen characters in your books go on lots of dates. What is your idea of a great time with your leading man?

Well for me personally, I’m pretty boring, as is my idea of a good time! I’m not a go out and light the town on fire type of person at ALL. My idea of a really GREAT evening with my husband is going to bed early, watching some TV or browsing the internet together or just having a quiet, private conversation with no interruptions.

I’m not a TV watcher at ALL but I do enjoy HGTV and the history channel so being in my comfy pajamas in my REALLY comfy bed with my mountain of pillows and having snuggle time while catching an episode or two of a show I enjoy is about as perfect as it gets for me.

Thank you again Maya for giving us some insight into your inner cerebral workings. These answers were fantastic!

To celebrate the release of Maya's new Slow Burn series, I'm giving away a paperback copy of KEEP ME SAFE (Slow Burn #1) to one lucky US winner! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below. And, then, keep reading for my review of KEEP ME SAFE.

About the Author

My name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets. When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoors and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. Maya Banks is a #1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.


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Unknown said...

I love Maya, and I haven't read a book of hers that I haven't enjoyed. Great interview!

Anonymous said...

I love love love Maya! Her books are super intense! I have not read a book yet that I have not enjoyed immensely! Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview with an amazing author!