Author Interviews

Interview with Helena Maeve on 21-September-2015

Author's Interview

Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Helena.
I’m a twenty-something queer lady who does yoga and cooks up a storm. Not (usually) at the same time. I also write sexy romance books featuring various permutations of gutsy women and hot-blooded men.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I’m not a native English speaker. Being something of a nomad, I speak a bunch of languages but English alone came naturally. It must be why I prefer it.

When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I’ve always enjoyed writing but I didn’t think it was something I could do professionally until Totally Bound took a chance on me. It’s been a lovely experience so far and I’m glad I bit the bullet with my first manuscript.

Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
It’s a lot more work, for one thing! Despite being an avid reader, I had a pretty warped view of what it means to be a writer. The idea that first drafts don’t magically turn into hardcover books on the library shelf is naïve, obviously, but until you’re the one doing it, why would you care about how the sausage is made?

How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Confusing. I’d girded my loins for rejection or requests for heavy edits in the best case scenario. Having my first submission accepted right off the bat was very surreal.

What's your favorite part of writing a book?
The first draft is by far the best part. I love discovering a story, telling it to myself in lines of dialogue and description, figuring out who the characters are and how they’re going to react to this or that curveball.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
My go-to genres for a long time have been murder-mysteries. I have a hard time reading romance or erotica if I’m writing at the same time, because I dread turning into a copycat by dint of familiarity with another author’s work.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’d love to try my hand at YA at some point. Or this new-fangled New Adult genre, which both perplexes and interests me. (What exactly is a new adult?)

Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Best Kept Lies is the first book in the six-novel Shadowplay series and features spies circling each other before falling madly and completely in lust. The love part comes later, which is a problem since both Grigory and Karim are affiliated with rival spy agencies. As pressure from his superiors grows, Grigory is forced to choose between having Karim disposed of and risking his own life on a doomed affair. Meanwhile, Karim is tasked with turning Grigory into a double-agent by any means necessary, which is effectively a death sentence.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
The other five titles in the Shadowplay series will be coming out in the next few months, each one focusing on a different couple of spies, hitmen, or dangerous criminals. In October, I will have a short, romantic m/m ghost story out just in time for Halloween. And I’ll be winding down the year with three lovely gents on a private island in Greece, where sexy shenanigans and murder go hand in hand.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for all your support. Hope you enjoy Best Kept Lies!

Helena Maeve's recent releases:
Fault Lines
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All’s fair in love and print.

New York native Ezra Costa has lost everything to sex addiction. His marriage recently fell apart, his pride is in tatters and he may be on the verge of losing his job at a prestigious London publication. All that stands between him and a return ticket to New York, tail firmly tucked between his legs, are a regimen of group therapy sessions and a self-imposed abstinence streak.

He’s coming up on the one month mark when he meets sexy, sophisticated Logan. Within minutes, their undeniable attraction translates into a rendezvous not far from Ezra’s flat and a rapid descent into old practices.

But there’s more to Logan than meets the eye. Beneath the thin veneer of a genteel Londoner hides an unholy marriage of unchecked power and unbridled passion. Worse, Logan heads up a rival media conglomerate and rumor has it that Ezra’s employers may be considering a merger. Soon their secret liaison imperils more than Ezra’s self-esteem and the consequences of his affair could well cost him everything.

Courting Treason
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Charlie Estes moved back home to heal a broken heart, but one chance encounter is enough to catapult him into a whirlwind of intrigue, desire, and age-old feuds.

When high school math teacher Charles Estes meets a tall, dark stranger at an exclusive event, he can barely believe his luck. He’s almost reluctant to go home with him for fear of disturbing the mirage. But rather than worry about could-have-beens, Charlie opts to bite the bullet. He has no idea that he’s about to be bitten in return.

Micah is not like other men. He hails from the nearby town of Freeburn—a forbidden enclave populated by vampires and their serfs. Charlie really ought to know better than to get involved with someone like that. If only Micah didn’t keep cropping up all over Charlie’s town like a bad penny. He’s everywhere, in the nearby woods, at the high school where Charlie teaches, even in his dreams.

One night of passion changes everything.

Faced with a murderer on the loose and the resurgent turmoil between their worlds, Charles must soon choose between the life he knows and the promise of a future with Micah.

Best Kept Lies
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What becomes of the Russian spy who lands himself in the crosshairs of a rogue British agent?

Grigory Antipov’s work within the intelligence community is exemplary, but attracting too much attention is against his interests as a spy—a lesson painfully learned the night he is abducted off the streets of Rome. Captivity is a dangerous thing and Grigory already operates under a cloud of suspicion, given his predilection for male company. Luckily, his stint in British custody is short-lived, a mere flex of muscle from Agent Karim Awad.

Karim’s objective is obvious. Lure Grigory into Section’s clutches and turn him against his own people—expose him to the wrath of Moscow if he refuses. His mission brief may not specify the methods to be used, but Grigory soon discovers that Karim is a man of many talents. With powerful interests at play and the threat of deadly force in the air, Grigory faces an impossible choice—surrender to his fate or sacrifice the only man whose touch makes him feel alive after so many years.

Excerpt from Best Kept Lies
“My superiors would like proof of your willingness to cooperate,” Karim murmured, as though picking up the thread of their conversation in Piazza Novona.

He didn’t look at Grigory when he spoke, so Grigory didn’t look at him.

“And I’d like proof of their willingness not to destroy my life with a single DHL delivery. Life is filled with disappointment.”

The elevator doors crept open slowly. Grigory slid through the gap, rummaging for his room key in the back pocket of his slacks. A small part of him wondered if he’d left too much of a mess in the room. He’d remembered to drop off his soiled clothes at the nearest dry cleaner’s, at least. The evidence of Karim’s tender handling had been erased.

He expelled a sigh as he flicked on the lights in the room. The bed was made, the carpet vacuumed. Fresh flowers drooped in the vase on the narrow coffee table wedged between window and sunken armchairs.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate your sense of humor,” Karim went on, “but the sooner you accept—”

The chances of catching an MI6 agent unaware were pitifully slim. Somehow, Grigory was able to palm Karim’s cheeks with both hands and press his lips to his in a rough kiss without his fellow spy ducking out of his reach, let alone breaking his fingers.

Karim’s breath fled his mouth in a rush as they parted. “What’re you doing?”

“Giving us both a convincing cover. You want to leave? Door’s over there.”
No obstacle between it and Karim, no weapon in sight for Grigory to even last night’s score. He had to rise on tiptoe to reach Karim’s lips. He didn’t mind.
He minded it even less when Karim deepened the kiss, surging into Grigory’s hold.

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