Conversations & Guests

Interviewing RITA Finalist – Maggie Shayne

Hi Maggie!
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions!  I’ve been a long time fan and was so happy to see you as a finalist for a RITA award maggieShayne_photoagain this year this year!
How many times have you been a finalist in the Paranormal category?MaggieShayne-Markofthewitch
A:  “MARK OF THE WITCH” is my fifth nomination for Best Paranormal. I’ve also had 4 RITA Nods for Best Romantic Suspense, 4 for Best Romance Novella, 2 for Best Long Contemporary Romance, and 1 for Best First Book for a total of 16 nominations. And thanks for asking, because the question made me go back and verify all this. I’ve been extremely blessed.
You’ve also got a RITA statue already, right?
A: Yes, I won the 2005 Best Novella for HER BEST ENEMY.
Can you tell us what it’s like to get that call from RWA to let you know you’re a finalist?  
A: I wept this year. It was wonderful that I wept. I was as happy to know it still meant that much to me as I was to know I had finaled again.  It’s always wonderful to be nominated because it is a hug from your peers. I feel like it’s my fellow authors saying, “Well done.”  I look forward to Finalist Announcement Day like a kid looks forward to Christmas. I never leave the computer as I watch for my friends and colleagues to post that they’ve finaled. I’m as thrilled for them as for my own, sometimes more. And I play my lucky song, Raining in Baltimore by Counting Crows, over and over each year on Finalist Announcement Day, because it was playing one year when I got the call, and has become tradition.  The line, “I need a phone call” might have something to do with it. 🙂
And how amazing was it to claim that RITA for your own? 
A: It was the first time I was nominated and didn’t attend the awards ceremony. My mom was terminally ill and I couldn’t leave her. In fact, I forgot the RWA convention was even going on that week. I was completely surprised when I got the call that night telling me I had won. I didn’t celebrate it the way I would have liked, but I SO cherish it now. It’s right on my desk where I can admire it daily.
I fell in love with Prince of Twilight years ago… (Love that book!) Are there any of your books that still hold a really special place in your heart?
A: Thank you.  And yes, I have faves. I think we all have our favorites, and I have several that just felt more special, more inspired. TWILIGHT PHANTASIES, of course, the book that started my long running vamp series, Wings in the Night all the way back in 1993, and ETERNITY, one of the best books I’ve ever written or ever will, are probably my two favorites, but MARK OF THE WITCH is right up there with them, and my upcoming thriller SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON (Sept 24th) is probably going to top them all. I’m very excited about where my writing is going these days.
Being writers here, we’re always curious about the process. Do you plot out your book first or just jump in and see where the characters take you?
A: My editors still insist on a synopsis. I write it only because they force me to and I rarely follow it, which is very bad, because they usually base the back cover blurb on the synopsis. Fortunately, they also let me re-write the blurb for every single book, so it’s not that big a problem. I write best when I just dive in. In a perfect world, I could write the first hundred pages, THEN write the synopsis. But I’m usually needing the synopsis payment and so I have to do the synopsis sooner. I will argue with my dying breath that synopsis writing is harmful to the creative process, and should be banned.
Amen! I’m with you on that! Synopsis = Evil…  *ahem* 🙂 Back to the questions…
I got my start selling horror short stories, and love a good dark paranormal romance. Where do you find your inspiration for a passionate, dark tale?
A: Stephen King, always and still.
Will you be attending the RWA Conference in Atlanta this year for the RITA ceremony? 
A: Yes! Can’t wait.
I saw that your daughter just published her first novel. How exciting was that for you as her Mom?
A: I’m over the moon. And it’s an Inspirational Romance, which I find just hilarious since I write paranormal. We need to push the dark vs. light author angle in our PR efforts, I think. 🙂  I am so proud of her. She’s a fabulous writer and so are two of her sisters, Jessica and Lisa. I hope to see them in print one day too, when they can find the time to devote to it.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on now and what’s up next for you?
A: I’ve discovered a new character, Rachel de Luca. She’s a self help author who was blind since the age of 12, and she writes books about all the things I, in real life, believe in. Creating your own reality, experiencing the life you expect, positive thinking and all that.  But Rachel privately thinks it’s all bull. She knows how to sell it, because she grew up on the stuff, everyone pushing that sort of thing at her because she was blind and they thought it would help. She always thought it was a load of crap, but eventually realized it was also a goldmine, so now she regurgitates it all, putting her own spin on it, and she’s become a mega star and a regular on the talk show circuit.  In truth she’s sarcastic, has a potty mouth, but is pretty well adjusted. She gets her eyesight back early in the story, through a new procedure that finally circumvents her body’s usual rejection of donor tissue, but her cornea donor was a serial killer, and now she’s having visions of brutal murders–murders he’s apparently still committing from beyond the grave. SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON and WAKE TO DARKNESS are the first two books in this series, and my editor says it’s a whole new level of writing for me. So much so, that she’s asked me to keep going with it, though I had only planned on those two. I’m plotting book 3 right now.  (Writing its evil synopsis as we speak, in fact, when I’d prefer to just dive in.) SLEEP releases on September 24th of this year, and WAKE two months later, both from MIRA.
Thanks again for all your time!!!
And congratulations on all your successes!!!
A: Thank YOU!
You can find out more about Maggie on her website here:
And we’d love to hear from you…  Have you read Mark of the Witch yet?  What’s your favorite Maggie Shayne novel?
Thanks for coming by!
Lisa Kessler 🙂

13 thoughts on “Interviewing RITA Finalist – Maggie Shayne

  1. Wonderful interview! Congrats to Maggie on the RITA final! I’m with you on dreading writing the synopsis (for the earlier payment) and then having to change the back cover blurb later. Once, I had even changed the name of the heroine, so when I saw the first draft of the back cover, I was like…oops. We need to edit that a bit. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the fun interview, and congrats on the nomination Maggie! My favourite book is an oldie, Fairytale.

  3. Super interview! I’ve read a number of Maggie’s books and the ultimate is Eternity. It’s the only one of her’s that I’ve kept (has a special place on my bookshelf) because of the emotional heart-wrenching ties between her hero and heroine. Congratulations on your nomination, Maggie. Keep up the awesome work!!

  4. Awesome interview! Maggie, I second your hatred of the evil synopsis. I write them because I have to, but I never stick with them. Too much changes once I get the characters on the page. Congrats on your RITA nomination!

  5. Pingback: It’s RITA month on ParaUn–Open Thread | Paranormal Unbound

  6. Pingback: Focus on Contemporary: Rita Finalist Covers and Buy Links | Flash of Romance

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