Let's start off with a little bio about Maya Tyler, by Maya Tyler!
Maya Tyler, wife and mother of two boys, writes paranormal romance with a twist. Her debut novella Dream Hunter was released in December 2014. Her second novel A Vampire’s Tale was released in March 2017. She enjoys reading, listening to music (alternative rock, especially from the 1990s), practicing yoga, and watching movies and TV. In her “free” time, she writes books and blogs at Maya’s Musings.
What are you working on right now? I have a number of projects in the works. Right now, I’m focusing on finishing a sequel to my last book A Vampire’s Tale. This story is about the group of wizards I introduced in AVT.
Who are you reading at the moment? I read a lot of books—as many as I can—in romance, of course. I enjoy the historical and paranormal subgenres. Right now, I’m reading book three of Sarah Maclean’s ‘The Rules of Scoundrels’ series. What book/series is your current obsession? Definitely Outlander. I’ve read the first four books, but I’m waiting for the TV show to catch up before I start the next one. I instantly fell in love with Claire and Jamie.
How did you come to find your voice as a writer? Has it changed? I found, even as a child, that I expressed myself better in writing so writing became my emotional outlet, like Stephen King’s “I write to find out what I think.” My writing has changed as I’ve matured. At one time, I would write the simple ‘hero + heroine = happily ever after (HEA)’ story. I still write the HEA, but I’ve added more depth to my work…my characters have complex personalities and messier lives. I think I can attribute my personal experiences with the growth I’ve seen in my writing.
You write career-minded heroines who are "hero[es] of [their] own story." In your opinion, what's one of the most important qualities a strong female lead should possess? I view strong female leads as exhibiting confidence in their choices. My heroine in A Vampire’s Tale Marisa Clements decided to leave a “safe” job to pursue her dream of being a writer. What makes her a strong character is her sheer determination to succeed. She picked the hard road, but she has no regrets.
"Just for Tonight," was published in an anthology with Breathless Press, Dream Hunter with Just Ink Press, and A Vampire's Tale with Tirgearr Publishing. What made you choose them? What do you look for in a publisher?
I wrote my short story “Just for Tonight” for a Valentine-themed series for our online writing group blog The Nuthouse Scribblers. Several of the ladies in our group published with Breathless Press—I can’t remember how it came about exactly as I had little involvement in the process beyond contributing my story—the anthology idea was pitched, and With Love from Val and Tyne was born.
I submitted Dream Hunter to three publishers who were recommended by my online writing group.
For A Vampire’s Tale, I used the Twitter pitch party #PITMAD. Three publishers— Tirgearr Publishing was one of them—showed interest, asking for sample chapters and synopsis.
As a new author, writing a book is only half (and maybe not even half) the battle. Finding a publisher—the right publisher—is a little like looking for a needle in the haystack. You know the needle’s in there. Somewhere. But it takes time and energy and patience and perseverance to find it. I first looked to the recommendations of my peers. I researched publishers who were open to unsolicited submissions and printed my genre. Authors Publish Magazine and Absolute Write are great resources to find and vet publishers. Then I waited… I get it. There are a lot of writers out there. And we all want to be published. Some publishers take three to six months (or longer) to review manuscript submissions. Some don’t accept simultaneous submissions. Some don’t send the “Dear John” letter. In this day and age, the golden age of the Internet and instantaneous everything, I thought there must be a more time-efficient method to find a publisher. And I found it. Social media. Twitter, in particular.
I look for a publisher who offers a professional contract and fair royalty rates. One who provides cover art, editing services, and post-publication support. I have been most fortunate to find this at Just Ink Press and Tirgearr Publishing.
You've written two fiction books, published in an anthology and you currently maintain a newsletter and have been running your blog, Maya's Musings, since 2014. What keeps you writing?
The same sheer determination that I give my characters. I always wanted to be a writer. A writer writes. It’s a slow process. The anthology was published in 2012. My debut Dream Hunter was published in 2014. A Vampire’s Tale was published in 2017. During that time, I’ve had work full-time, both at home and in the “real” world, family commitments, and serious health issues. I work hard and dream big. To date, my books have only been available in e-book format, but I hope to see a book of mine in a physical bookstore someday.
I write a (pretty much) weekly blog Maya’s Musings. It’s a great tool to connect with readers and other authors…as well as fine-tune the ol’ writing skills. My newsletter is quarterly, and I’ve had a lot of fun creating new issues using the Pages app on my MacBook.
Being an author, especially one who actively promotes published work, involves much more than just writing. I’ve put my business skills and experience to good use in creating an ever-evolving marketing and promotion plan. I’ve picked up web and graphic design, and I manage my social media profiles. It’s all about exposure and engagement.
You do this really awesome thing where you promote other authors through interviews and features on your blog--what's the most memorable moment/experience you've had when meeting fellow writers/readers? What really stuck with you? I really enjoy the special author posts, like interviews and book spotlights. It’s great to help other authors out and I’ve met a lot of great people—readers and authors—through the process. Some of my proudest moments include booking authors I’d read for years to visit my blog. Tara Taylor Quinn has visited my blog three times. I’ve also interviewed Roxanne St. Claire and featured Karen Rose Smith twice. Yes, I felt a little star struck each time. And I’ve found new authors to read as well.
It's been years and I'm still trying to finish my first book and I know a lot of people in the same boat! What advice would you offer fellow writers trying to cross the finish line? I’ve been there. I have so many unfinished projects floating around. That said…I have a lot of suggestions because everyone operates differently. The main trick is to get writing. Just like exercise, the hardest thing is to get started.
1. Write a short story about a character (or two) from your book. 2. Write anything. Use a visual prompt. Enter a writing contest. Write about the weather. Write about not writing. 3. Start a new project (maybe you’re just tired of your current book) and return to it again at a later date with a fresh perspective. 4. Read. Read motivational stuff. Read for pleasure. Remember why you love the written word. 5. Don’t give up. You have a story (or ten) inside of you that only you can tell.
How do you feel books like the Twilight saga and shows like The Vampire Diaries have impacted the paranormal romance genre? Any book or show that has romanticized the paranormal—vampires, shifters, etc—has definitely boosted the popularity of this subgenre. A paranormal romance story represents a modern fairy tale. The heroine/hero is unhappy. She/he meets a supernatural being who doesn’t quite fit in. They (mostly) live happily-ever-after.
The Twilight books, like typical coming-of-age stories, resonated with teens navigating the unchartered territories of relationships and sex. As teens became an emerging demographic—experimenting with new authors and reading young adult, erotic, and paranormal romance—the demand for paranormal romance increased. This led to more publishers actively seeking stories in this subgenre.
Is there anything else you'd like readers to know? To find out more about me and my work, you can follow my weekly blog Maya’s Musings (http://mayatylerauthor.blogspot.com) and subscribe to my quarterly newsletter (https://www.mayatylerauthor.com). You can also email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from fellow readers and authors!
Where to follow Maya:
Where to find A Vampire’s Tale:
Barnes & Noble
Photo credit: Maya Tyler