Friday, September 23, 2022

Gina L. Maxwell Interview - The Dark King

Photo Content from Gina L. Maxwell 

Gina L. Maxwell is a multi-bestselling author living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. As a lifelong romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read.

Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and also hit the #1 spot internationally, ahead of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. #ProudDay 

When she’s not reading, writing, or spending way too much on her paper planner and office supply obsessions, she loves hanging out with her high-school-sweetheart hubby and their adult kids, while dreaming about her someday-move to someplace tropical.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
When I was young, I watched my dad perform (he was a singer and drummer) and saw how happy he made people with his talents. I wanted to be able to do that someday—to make people happy, touch their hearts, and help them escape their troubles, if only for a few hours.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
All-time favorite book is The Last Letter by my best friend Rebecca Yarros. And not just because I’m biased. It’s legitimately the most brilliant book I’ve ever read, with a heartbreaking, poignant message. I would put it into the hands of every person I met if I could. My favorite book outside of my genre is You by Caroline Kepnes, and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook because the actor is beyond phenomenal. It’s the most fascinating social experiment of a story, and the fact that she’s able to make the reader sympathize with the psychotic stalker when we know better is just amazing.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Hands down, it’s hearing from readers that one of my books has strongly impacted them for the better. Whether it helped them find confidence in themselves, heal from past wounds, or reminded them that they deserve to be loved and treated well, knowing that my stories have helped women or even just touched them enough to stick with them long after they turn that last page, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Burnout. This book had to be written very fast in order to be released this fall. That meant that I was in my office from the time I woke up to the time I fell into bed. I think I sat in my living room for all of a half hour during those 9 weeks. When I hit the 7-week mark, I really started to feel the strain of fatigue, and some days it felt impossible to get any words on the page. Thankfully I was able to power through and took a well-deserved break once I turned it in.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes? 
Absolutely! The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter. After reading that book (and feeling so invested in the characters’ HEA) I started to think about what two characters I would throw together if I were to write a book. That led to weeks of daydreaming about their backstory and conflicts, which led to me writing a book just for fun/for myself, which then led to wondering if it was possible to get it published. Three years, fourteen major rewrites, and hundreds of revisions later, I got my first contract with Entangled Publishing, and the rest is history. If it hadn’t been for Gena’s awe-inspiring writing, I don’t know that I ever would’ve stumbled onto this path. I’ll be forever grateful to her for that.

  • I’d never read any books with faeries before writing The Dark King—not even A Court of Thorns and Roses! Whereas I’m a huge paranormal romance fan, I’d never read any high fantasy books. Even to this day, the only series like that I’ve read is the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and while it’s high fantasy, there are no fae in that world. So I did a lot of Googling, and I also had a reader friend who is extremely knowledgeable about the fae who helped me when I had questions. Now I’m totally in love with the genre, but I’ll wait to read things like A Court of Thorns and Roses until after I’ve completed the series because I don’t want to be influenced by her world and characters. Any similarities between The Dark King and A Court of Thorns and Roses is completely coincidental at this point.
  • I’m from Wisconsin, so all of Bryn’s Midwestern idiosyncrasies are very real, down to her apologizing to the bartender for requesting he do his job by making her a drink.
  • I bartended at a local (small town) bar for 5 years and the part about people leaving their money in a pile on the bar and going about their business is what they do. The bartender just pulls out what they need whenever a drink is served.
  • It was my editor’s idea for Bryn to threaten to castrate Caiden in the bar. So if you love that part, she gets the credit!
  • I didn’t intend on writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but when I realized I’d accidentally created one, I scattered a few Beauty and the Beast details throughout the story just because it made me giggle.
  • Tiernan (the middle brother) has a decal on his car that says “I drive like a Cullen” which I think is one of the funniest bits in the book. I got the idea because my 23-year-old daughter has that decal on her car, and I love it.
  • All the fae characters (and Bryn) have Celtic/Irish/Gaelic names. The Woulfe twins’ names, Connor and Conall, who are from a fae bloodline of wolf shifters, mean “lover of wolves” and “powerful wolf” respectively.
  • I wrote all the sex scenes after the book was already written because they take so long for me to write, and I dread them. Yes, I know that I’m known for my sex scenes, so people are always shocked to hear I loathe writing them. But it’s only because they’re exhausting. I put A LOT of details into them and they’re always really long. So while I’m always really proud of them when I’m done, sometimes I wait until the end to add them all in.
  • There’s a line at the end of chapter 8 that’s basically a nod to my fellow romance readers in an “I see you and you see me, wink-wink, nudge-nudge” kind of way:
    I’m officially trapped. The prisoner of three extremely wealthy and unbelievably sexy brothers. Somewhere, there’s a romance reader swooning at the very idea.
  • The epilogue is in Tiernan’s POV. He’s the middle brother I mentioned earlier, and that chapter is my favorite last chapter I’ve ever written. It’s pretty diabolical, if I do say so myself, and it’s causing readers to simultaneously scream with excitement and curse my name. I love it so much! *cue maniacal laughter*
Best date you've ever had? 
I’m still looking forward to experiencing that someday.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
It was a total comedy of errors. My daughter and I (who was 11 at the time) were driving from Pittsburgh to San Antonio in a ’93 Cadillac Deville with 2 cats. From start to finish, the trip included two tire replacements (they happened separately), driving through a storm with no less than 6 tornadoes reported to have touched down in our area, multiple stops for an overheating car, replacing the thermostat at a body shop in Arkansas where my Yankee ears could barely understand their Southern accents, and staying in a motel that had what looked like a pile of pubic hair in the shower and smelled so musty my daughter couldn’t get to sleep until I grabbed the pine tree air freshener from the car and slipped it under her pillow case. But we laughed the whole way through it and kept repeating my motto I always say when things go wrong: It’s an adventure!

What's your most missed memory? 
My dad’s speaking voice. He passed away when I was ten, and I have his albums so at least I’ve never forgotten his singing voice, but I don’t remember what he sounded like when he told me stories or helped me with my homework. It’s been 34 years and I still miss him every day.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
Multiple times. Always stick up for others who may not be able to do so themselves. I don’t tolerate bullies or ignorance.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love, every time.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
Summer of ’96. Started with me and a guy from school named Rob getting together and commiserating because our significant others dumped us and got together. His neighbor/friend Jesse started hanging with us and the three of us became inseparable that summer, doing things like hiking, rock climbing, freestyle rollerblading, and jumping off a railroad bridge into the Wisconsin River together. Unfortunately, the summer ended in tragedy when Jesse and I got into a car accident that killed him instantly. The real question is how I survived at all, because according to the first responders and doctors, I never should’ve made it out of the car without being electrocuted to death, not to mention the logistics of how I got out “on my own" should have been impossible. But Rob and I know it was because of Jesse. The three of us had made a pact to protect each other, and that’s what he did. He saved me. I have a book series that I’ve wanted to write for some time that uses that summer as the backstory for the series. Maybe someday I’ll get to write it.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
The sound of strong winds whistling through windows. (Tornado experience around the age of 7.)

For Bryn Meara, a free trip to the exclusive and ultra-luxe Nightfall hotel and casino in Vegas should’ve been the perfect way to escape the debris of her crumbling career. But waking up from a martini-and-lust-fueled night to find herself married to Caiden Verran, the reclusive billionaire who owns the hotel and most of the city, isn’t the jackpot one would think. It seems her dark and sexy new husband is actual royalty—the fae king of the Night Court—and there’s an entire world beneath the veil of Vegas.

Whether light or shadow, the fae are a far cry from fairy tales, and now they’ve made Bryn a pawn in their dark games for power. And Caiden is the most dangerous of all—an intoxicating cocktail of sin and raw, insatiable hunger. She should run. But every night of passion pulls Bryn deeper into his strange and sinister world, until she’s no longer certain she wants to leave…even if she could.

You can purchase The Dark King at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you GINA L. MAXWELL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Dark King by Gina L. Maxwell.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I would change any day to be honest. I feel like it would end up changing more than just that one day.