Welcome, today we are talking with Maya Tyler! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.
Can you share a little something about Maya Tyler that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?
Absolutely. I share some of my interests on my website, but one thing I don’t mention is that I love music, especially rock concerts and live musical theatre. I recently completed my rock band bucket list, featuring such artists as (in no particular order) Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Offspring, Bon Jovi, Billy Talent, Imagine Dragons, Pearl Jam, Live, and Metallica. As well, my husband and I went to New York City for our 10th wedding anniversary and saw four musicals in four days—Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, and Spiderman. It was an intense trip.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. As a child, I wrote poetry (since it didn’t require perfect grammar) and short stories. When I was a teenager, I continued writing poetry and short stories and started (but not finished) several novels, including a fanfiction based on William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. I didn’t write much fiction during my university years, but I finally finished my first novel in my early thirties.
What have you found most challenging about it?
There are so many challenges; it’s difficult to know where to begin. I like to think I’m improving with practice, but one of my greatest challenges is plotting. I used to be a Pantster, but I have since realized the value of an outline. I use an Excel spreadsheet to map out the chapters with description and word count. The chapters are separated into acts, following Three-Act Structure. I use Save the Cat to plan the plot points. I also use printouts of a rollercoaster diagram (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) and Michael Hague’s Six-Stage Plot Structure to note the major plot points.
What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional?
Writing has always been a way to express myself. Sometimes it’s fun; sometimes it’s emotional. It depends on the characters and plot. My writing is like therapy for me. In the last few years, I’ve used my writing to process my real-life experiences, including workplace harassment and violence, trauma, and mental health issues.
Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood?
There is no schedule, and if I waited for the right mood, then I’d probably never write. When I have time and ability, I sit down with my laptop and do some writing-related activity which may include actual writing.
Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job?
I’ve always considered writing as a hobby. Even though I’ve published seven novels, I haven’t made any profit as my expenses far exceed my royalties. That’s okay because I’m not writing and publishing to make money. I write because I have a passion to do so, and it’s a great way to process my thoughts and emotions as I’m not the sort of person who enjoys talking about those topics.
What inspires you?
Reading great books inspire me to write with the hope of invoking similar emotional response and camaraderie with my readers. I love the happily-ever-after that comes with every romance novel, and I also aspire to provide some joy in a world that is often not so joyful.
Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.
What are your pet peeves?
Dependent thought. Nepotism. Politics. I value intelligence, hard work, and honesty.
Who is your hero?
Is it a total cliché to say my husband? Seriously, he’s a marvel. We met when I was 15 and moved to the town next to his hometown. We started dating when I was in Grade 12 and got married when I graduated from university. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 30 which completely changed his life. Prior to the diagnosis, he worked as a pharmacist. Despite the diagnosis, and the dire prognosis of the disease, he remains positive and productive. He hasn’t allowed his disease to control his life.
Give us one thing on your bucket list.
I would love to visit Paris. In one of my books, A Fairy’s Quest, I did extensive research on Paris as part of my book took place in that location. It would be amazing to see it in real life and see how my descriptions measure up to the real thing.
What would readers find surprising about you?
I use a pen name and avatar because I’m a total introvert who otherwise wouldn’t tell anyone about my books.
If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?
Tom Petty. I never got to see him in concert, but his songs really resonate with me.
Now that our readers know who Maya Tyler is let’s get down to the business of your book, Designed by Destiny, which is the start of your new series, Fairy Godmothers Incorporated. By the way, beautiful cover, and some great reviews!
Thank you so much. I love the cover too…
Please tell us a little bit about, Designed by Destiny.
Opposites attract in this fake relationship / Vegas marriage romance. Bethany Clarke is an independent architect intern with a soft spot for her misunderstood boss and former playboy, Nicholas Grey. She understands better than anyone the difficulty in overcoming first, and often erroneous, impressions. Together, with the help of a fairy godmother, they find a love designed by destiny.
What was your hardest challenge writing this book?
I put my heroine in a workplace harassment situation, which was based on a real-life experience. It was incredibly difficult, yet cathartic, to write. And, ultimately, I gave her the support that I never received.
What kind of research did you have to do?
My research ranged from the Fountains of the Bellagio show schedule to types of sofas. I like to get the details right so I also looked up the floorplan of the Bellagio, the number of wedding chapels in Vegas, names of Chicago newspapers, and the Google Map satellite view of Henry B. Clarke House. I learn the most interesting facts when conducting book research…
What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Good chemistry is often described as the sweet spot between sexual attraction and complementary personalities. Before they officially meet, Bethany and Nicholas are attracted to each other. But the gold is found in their connection. We see it in their interactions. Their banter. Their common interests. They like spending time with each other which, for a romantic couple, is pretty important for a lasting relationship.
What’s next for your Fairy Godmothers Incorporated series? How many books do you have planned?
I’m writing Book Two right now, and I have three books planned for the series.
Any other works in progress?
I have no other current works in progress, but lots of story ideas in reserve.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write. The process is different for every writer, but there is a reason we write so tell your story.
Thank you so much for this fun interview.