Q: What should a reader expect from a Maya DeLeina book?
A: They can expect an indulgence on their senses. I love books that can transport me to a fantasy that is filled with mystic enchantment and sinful illusion. So, when I write, I remember what excites me. I don’t just want to read a story, I want to experience it. I spend a lot of time on the imagery. If I have a scene that descends the depths of a natural cave, I want the reader to know how the air tastes on their tongue; how the air tickles their skin in a way to make the slightest hairs stand on end. And when I write about intense passion, I want the reader to feel weak in the knees, breathless and longing to be kissed until their lips are raw with excitement.
Q: What is your source of inspiration for story lines and scenes?
A: Music. I have ethereal instrumental pieces playing in my writing room, something with a middle-eastern flavor, to transport me into the story. With the right music, the imagery trickles into my mind, frame by frame. I close my eyes and absorb the surroundings that seem to jut from the earth to the sky, encasing me. Then I write. This allows me to take the reader on a journey that stimulates emotion and heightens every sense: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. In scenes of suspense, chaos and conflict, I turn to Symphonic Goth Rock. The dark drive of the strings, guitar, bass, drums and angelic or trance-like voices conjures up mystic and eerie imagery perfect for the story. Music from Lacuna Coil, Sully Erna, Within Temptation and Apocalyptica seem to do the trick. I am thrilled when I receive recommendations for music, so keep them coming!
Q: Do you have a recurring design template for your heroine?
A: She always displays a degree of strength and confidence. And when I say strength, I mean a woman that speaks her mind, but knows when to voice it and delivers it with grace, simplicity and effectiveness. I also think this exudes from a woman that takes advantage of all this life has to offer; she laughs out loud with a contagious fire, kisses with raw passion and loves without boundaries even after experiencing heartache. Strength and confidence, with a touch of vulnerability—this is what sexy in a woman.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: I typically like to write at dusk or late at night. I write straight through, from beginning to ending without edits since I want to capture all of my thoughts as they are created. I go into edit mode when I am done creating. I have the book printed and bound—this is the exciting part since I get to experience a brand new story in a way. With a glass of red wine, I read through and make notations of edits all the while having my three dogs lounge next to me. I know of authors having a cigar or champagne, but for me, when I call the project done, I celebrate by getting the same tattoo or piercing I dawned on one of the characters.
Q: What is your writing room like?
A: There are splashes of crimson, gold, rust, brown and olive green in the decor that lends to the cozy atmosphere. A painting of a golden Buddha watches over me as I sit on my overstuffed leather sofa, my laptop resting perfectly on my legs. Tribal coconut and Tahitian Vanilla incense swirls through the air to the ethereal music playing softly in the room. The room is flanked by windows, making for a beautiful view of Pikes Peak from the recesses of my sofa. My writing room is on the second floor of my house, so during winter, the snow covered pine trees is a pretty sight—one that I did not get to see much of growing up in Hawaii! On my windows, I have various bird feeders. Watching the humming birds and finches come and go is mesmerizing in itself.
Q: How are your characters created?
A: For appearances, I draw inspiration from photos of gorgeous men. I save images here and there when I am on the internet and when I am in a new character development stage, I open the string of photos and narrow it down three of my favorite looks and mold the character. From a persona level, a lot of it is from life. I have met so many people; some very influential and some that left me speechless. I believe that there is a purpose for each encounter—something that primed us to be at the right place and right time to meet. Whether they are meant to enhance my life with their love and friendship, a test on my patience, to bring forth a revelation I couldn’t see on my own or teach me a lesson, each person has something unique that they unknowingly give to me. I use hints and mixtures of these gifts of experience in the character’s make-up.
Q: When you are not writing, what are you doing?
A: Living life—even the mundane stuff can be exciting since it means you are here, taking a breath. But if I was to narrow down my passion: it is music and traveling. I studied piano for many years then played keyboards and sang in an all-girl-band when I was growing up. I still love to sing and dabble in playing, even if it’s for an audience of one. I am from Hawaii , so I try to get home at least once a year. My favorite beach is Lanikai. That is heaven on earth for me. I have never made it out of the US, so I would love to plan for trips to Europe , the Mediterranean and Asia and discover new places I can dub as heaven on earth.
Q: Who is Maya DeLeina?
A: I am a person that loves to laugh. I like having a good time being out and about, but also cherish quiet times at home. I am someone that has rather bad cooking skills, but loves to savor great food. I am someone that has a slight panic attack before getting on a plane, but loves to travel. I am someone that can sit for hours talking and listening. I am someone that loves to be loved and loves to love back.
Q: Where can people find out more about Maya DeLeina?
A: Friend me on Facebook or visit my website at www.mayadeleina.com
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