Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fifth Avenue Series Blog Tour: Q&A with Maisy Yates!

Currently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive streets, Fifth Avenue is home to the city’s most prestigious shops and historical buildings. It’s also called home by three of New York City’s sexiest men. A brand-new trilogy from the world’s leading publisher of books for women, Harlequin Presents is excited to launch the Fifth Avenue Trilogy, stories of sex, scandal and the Upper East Side, beginning with Avenge Me by Maisy Yates in June, Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews in July, and Expose Me by Kate Hewitt in August.

Austin, Hunter and Alex were inseparable during their school days, but the sudden death of their good friend Sarah Michaels tore them apart. However, her death was not as it seemed. Under the many falsehoods lies a corruption so sordid that New York’s elite would never believe it. Now in positions of wealth and power, these men vow to use their influence to bring down the man responsible—Jason Treffen, an infamous philanthropic billionaire. With a plan in place, Austin, Hunter and Alex are ready for anything—until three very different women enter their lives, making them question their motives for revenge.

Q&A with Maisy Yates!

Tell us a little bit about your latest release Avenge Me, the first book in the Fifth Avenue Trilogy.

Austin Treffen is a good guy, with his whole life totally together. But all of that starts to crumble when a ghost from the past is unearthed. A letter sent to his pro bono law firm implicates his father in the death of his friend ten years ago.

This sets him and his two friends, Hunter and Alex on the path for revenge. Even knowing revenge will cost Austin everything. But Austin isn’t the only person looking for revenge. Katy Michaels blames Austin’s father for the death of her sister. But when they meet it becomes clear revenge isn’t the only thing they want. Drawn together by an intense, unwanted sexual attraction Austin and Katy have to decide to either embrace love or lose themselves forever in the darkness.

What was it like collaborating on a trilogy with Caitlin Crews and Kate Hewitt?

It's a very interesting and difficult thing to piece out a series like this. And I think it would've been impossible to work on books that are this tightly connected with authors who weren't quite as generous with their time and with their willingness to share elements around so that every book had great turning point to the overall plot. Both Caitlin and Kate are very easy to communicate with, and I feel like that was essential to the success of the project. Not only that, I consider the two of them to be good friends so that made the process really fun!

Did you offer each other tips or support during the writing process?

We did a lot of problem solving together. Lots of emails, a couple of video Skype chats.Another thing we did was trade scenes when we would write something involving each other's characters. That way we were able to make sure the dialogue was consistent. I always enjoy doing things like that, because that way we end up with pieces of each other in each book.

Some of the Fifth Avenue Trilogy cover models look suspiciously similar to actors. How were the Fifth Avenue models chosen?

You know, I had no involvement in the model selection or photo shoots. Though, I most definitely approve of the choices. I have a feeling they were afraid I would misbehave around the models.

You enjoy writing dark, passionate category romances set in exotic places and also light, sexy contemporary romances set right in your own backyard. How do you determine which direction a books setting will go?

I always know what a book will be when I start out. At this point I'm contracted for several presents, and several small town contemporary romances. The stories, characters, and lengths are very different, so that's always planned before I sit down to start writing. If I'm writing a presents, the setting will be urban, glamorous, or exotic. If I'm writing a small town, they are almost always set in Oregon.

Do you draw inspiration for settings from your hometown of Oregon or from other places you’ve traveled to?

When I first started writing I had done very little traveling. I believe it's possible to write about places you've never seen, particularly with the wonders of Google maps at our fingertips. However, since then I've done quite a bit of traveling and I do very much enjoy being able to put in the details of smells, sounds, how crowded the street might be, that sort of thing.

When I write about more local settings I have the added bonus of being intimately acquainted with the lay of the land. Little details like knowing what supermarket chains are local, what color the grocery bags would be. We don't pump our own gas in Oregon, so every station is full service. Because I live here, that something I just know without having to look it up. There's something really nice about that.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer, or was it a gradual realization?

I always had stories in my head. I always had vague aspirations of writing those stories. But I didn't get serious about it until I read my first Harlequin presents. Then I thought this is what I want to write, and I'm going to do it. I think it took that moment of a vague desire becoming something specific, to give me the push that I needed to make it happen.

How do you balance your daily life with your writing life?

Hmmm… Probably not as well as I should. In all seriousness, typically I work five days a week from 9 to 5. Sometimes I have a little extra time off because I'm not working on anything pressing, and sometimes when I get deep in a project I prefer to work through the weekends, or go back to my office and do some work after my kids go to bed. So I basically balance it the same way anyone with the family and a job would.

Who is your favorite character in the Fifth Avenue Trilogy?

I think it has to be Austin. He was such a decent guy, but with so much darkness buried inside of him. I found him unbearably sexy.

What is the biggest perk of being a writer?

The biggest perk is going to work in your pajamas. Seriously? I think it's being involved in an industry to create things I love. I love romance novels, I love to read them. The fact that I get to create them daily is something that never fails to amaze and excite me. Creating new characters, new worlds, writing about love… I never get tired of it. But I also love the pajamas.

Between your cowboy romances and your Fifth Avenue romances, you are a very eclectic writer. Was it difficult switching over to writing a cowboy romance for your Silver Creek Series?

It's funny, because the idea of writing something different was very intimidating to me. But when I sat down to actually write the book the words just came pouring out. I discovered a different facet to my voice that was just as natural as writing Presents. They are very different books, but at their core they are the same. It's all about real emotion, all about two people overcoming the odds and falling in love. The settings change, the types of issues are different, but they have the same heart.

In your Cosmo Red Hot Reads book, Crazy Stupid Sex, the main character, Evie, is a multimillionaire app developer who programs her own app for landing a hot guy. What role has technology played in your life as a writer?

Hi, my name is Maisey and I have a twitter addiction. That's a huge part of my day, and anyone who follows me (@maiseyyates) most definitely knows that.

In all seriousness, I'm not sure how I would write if I didn't have the Internet. It keeps me in contact with friends overseas, it provides a water cooler so that I can interact with “coworkers". It helps with research, and thanks to the advent of the smart phone, allows me to carry my email with me wherever I go, so I can always be in touch with my editors.

What is your favorite type of alpha male hero?

That's a very hard question. I love a playboy, but I also love an uptight hero. Though I think my favorite is the wounded alpha. The hero who thought himself infallible, but has suffered a major setback. I love scarred heroes, menu of walks through hell and come out the other side, not entirely undamaged. But who are fixable with the love of a good woman.

What are you working on next?

I have two Presents to write in the next couple of months and then I will be transitioning back into small-town Oregon and writing the second book in my Copper Ridge series that will be out with HQN in 2015.

Will there be any more stories in the future about the Fifth Avenue characters? (We hope so!)

I think there are so many characters and possibilities left to explore in the Fifth Avenue world, that I would say anything is possible. Keep your eyes on the horizon. :-)

I also received a very fun Summer in the City Essentials Kit filled with exciting goodies. I had so much fun opening it up and inspecting all of the goodies! Check it out (click on the images to see a larger size):

A huge thank you to all of the sponsors who put together such a lovely kit with so many items I will be sure to use this summer!

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