Rae: Welcome to the blog Gina L. Maxwell. I’ve got a spiced Latte with Almond Milk and a drizzle of chocolate in my mug. What’s in your cuppa?
Gina: I have an iced Boston Latte with whipped cream. It’s a drink that my local coffee shop makes; it’s just espresso, honey, and milk. It’s my favorite thing to drink while writing. That or Diet Cherry Pepsi. 😉
Rae: Congratulations on your recent release of Hook, the second installment in your Neverland Series. A modern day twist on a childhood classic, what was the inspiration for this series?
Gina: Thank you so much! I actually got the idea to write a book about an NA hero who doesn’t want to grow up (in other words, be a mature adult) when I heard the country song “Peter Pan” by Kelsea Ballerini. Originally that’s all it was going to be: a friends to lovers trope with a hero who was responsibility challenged. I have no idea when or how it morphed into what it is today; I honestly can’t remember. But it went from a single book based on the idea of a Peter Pan type hero to a planned 10-book series that takes the original book by JM Barrie and twists those stories and characters to make them fit into a contemporary and modern world. I actually read the original book (which is not an easy read) to make sure I have all the characters and iconic moments included. I’ve never had so much fun with a book as I did writing Pan (book 1), and I’ve never fallen in love with a hero more than I have with Captain Hook. I’m not sure I’ll ever top him.
Rae:There is trigger content, without spoilers how you prepared yourself from plotting to writing Hook’s story.
Gina: As for how I prepared, I’m not even sure I did. When it comes to storylines, I’ve become a loose plotter. Before I start writing, I at least have to know the basics of what happens in each chapter so I know where the story is going. But when it comes to my characters, I only know the bare minimum about them before I start writing, then as I go along, they reveal things to me about who they are and what’s in their pasts. So I didn’t necessarily know about Hook’s past when I started writing him in Pan, I only knew that he was going to have some kind of bad relationship with Croc, because in the original, the crocodile has it out for Captain Hook. But when I wrote that first chapter, I suddenly knew, and it was bad. It had to be to explain the complexity of his character. So I don’t think there was any sort of preparing I did or could do. I’ve learned to let my characters lead me through their stories. It feels very much as though they’re simply showing me what happens, and I’m merely the person who transcribes those scenes for others to see as well. It wasn’t easy writing some of the chapters in Hook, but the hard parts are necessary to understand him and they make you long for his HEA even more, because he deserves it so badly.
Rae: For fans of your Neverland series, how many books do you anticipate?
Gina: As I mentioned, I have ten books planned for this series. I’m operating on a strict No Lost Boys Left Behind policy. That includes Tink, Tiger Lily, the two Pirates, Smee and Starkey, who were originally Lost Boys, and the honorary Lost Boy, Chief, who is Tiger Lily’s older brother (the only character I made up that’s not in the original books).
Rae: Are you releasing any new series or finishing up others?
Gina: I’m not releasing any new series as of now, but I have a couple of ideas in the works. Eventually I’d love to write books for the other 4 guys in my Boston Heat series (right now Hot for the Fireman is acting as a stand-alone), and maybe one or a few more in my Playboys in Love series, but none of those would happen for a few years yet, if at all.
Rae: With all the that, how do you keep all of your worlds and characters from crossing over?
Gina: I don’t have to worry about my characters and worlds crossing over because I’m not the kind of author who can work on multiple projects simultaneously. I start a book and finish it before I move on to something else. I’m a horrible multi-tasker. LOL
Rae: As a reader who appreciates a well crafted book cover, are you active in the creative design process? The covers capture your books – love the models ;).
Gina: 100%! I’ve been really lucky that I’ve always had a lot of creative control when it comes to my covers, and now that I’m self-publishing the Neverland Novels, I have all the control when I work with my designer. I feel very strongly about having great covers because it’s the first thing that attracts a reader. They’re super important.
Rae: Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?
Gina: I’m the least ritualistic person ever. In fact, I’m closer to a hot mess. LOL The closest I get to something like that is going to my local coffee shop (my town is too small to have a Starbucks) to write. I can usually focus better there than I can at home.
Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline?
Gina: It’s a combination of handwritten notes and an excel spreadsheet. I first start putting my ideas on paper, but then to actually plot the chapters, I write brief summaries of what happens in the spreadsheet. As I finish writing the chapters, I change their color to mark them as done.
Rae: Your backlist is impressive and inspiring with multiple series and standalone reads both from traditional publishing houses and self-published. What can we expect to see in e-reader shops and bookshelves in the last two months of 2019 and early 2020?
Gina: From me? Nothing. LOL I’m an incredibly slowwww writer, and like I said, I only work on one project at a time. Hook was the most complex book I’ve ever written and it took me 9 months to complete, so I need a bit of a break. I’ll be starting Tink’s book in January (with the hopes of releasing it in the Spring of 2020), but in the meantime I’ll be working on chat fiction stories for the Hooked app (I’ve written several of those in the past) and a proposal for a new idea for my agent to shop around after the holidays. I might write a bonus scene for Hook that I can release around Christmas time, but other than that, I won’t be doing much until the New Year. I do have plans to collaborate soon on a fun new series with my friend and super talented author, Lorelei James, but I have no idea when the first book will be releasing.
Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.
1. What is your must read book and why? The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros is the most brilliant book I’ve ever read. The way Rebecca weaves the letters between the characters in with the current timeline is sheer genius, and the story itself is so beautifully heart wrenching and true to real life. If I could physically put it in the hands of every woman, I would.
2. If I visit your hometown, where am I going and what’s the best place to grab a bite? I grew up and still live in Fort Atkinson, WI. For some amazing Italian food, hit up Mangiami.
3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? I hate cooking. HATE. IT. If I’m getting delivery, it’s usually pizza.
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I hate writing sex scenes. This usually surprises readers because I’m literally known for them. But they’re hard to write because they involve so many different aspects, so I usually put off writing them and then complain the whole time when I finally do. LOL
5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Hard Rock. Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands.
6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? Some place like Bora Bora or Figi.
7. What is your guilty pleasure? I can’t think of anything that would be considered a guilty pleasure, but my favorite dessert is tiramisu. I suppose if I had it every day I’d have to feel guilty about it. LOL
8. What are you afraid of? My kids dying before me.
9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? I love tattoos. When I was 19, my friend and I had plans to get our first ones together. Three days before our appointments, he was killed in a car accident we were in together. So I combined our designs as a tribute to our friendship. It’s the blue and purple crescent moon with a sleeping face that I wanted and the lizard that he wanted curled up on the inside of the moon and the word PALS with the infinity sign.
10. Organized or Free Floating? Definitely free floating.
11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Binger! I really like Stranger Things, Schitt’s Creek, The Ranch (only Parts 1-5, after that I hate it), The Magicians…uh, I’m not sure what else. It’s been ages since I’ve had time to watch anything really. My “to be watched” list is just as long as my TBR list.
12. What’s on your playlist? While writing Hook I listened to a lot of Billie Eilish.
13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I have yet to see “Hamilton.”
14. Are you a crafter? I’ve been known to be crafty for certain things, but I wouldn’t say I’m a crafter, no.
15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? “Scrubs” would be my favorite comedy. The writing was amazing and so funny. All our cats are named after Scrubs characters, and I even made a reference in Hook. John’s undercover alias is John Dorian McRae. John Dorian, aka JD, is the name of the main character in Scrubs. I also absolutely love “Schitt’s Creek” and David is probably my favorite TV character of all time. My favorite drama was a Netflix original that has only 2 seasons called “SENSE8.” It’s absolutely brilliant, I could discuss that show for hours, and I recommend it to everyone.
16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros
18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? I love going to the theater, especially for action and fantasy movies.
19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My kids.
20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Gena Showalter, Dan Levy, Jason Momoa, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres. We’d eat somewhere super fancy with amazing steaks that cost ridiculous amounts of money and they’d foot the bill because they’re all rich. LOL
21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Dolphin trainer at Sea World
22. Person you admire and why? I admire anyone who lives as their authentic selves because in this day and age, the world isn’t making it easy on anyone who is different or “atypical”. I also admire those who are in the process of their self-discovery and working up the courage to embrace who they are. These are the people I admire the most. <3 Thanks again for hanging out! Happy Reading Dear Readers.
Discover Gina L. Maxwell’s backlist and dive into a new book adventure today!
Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid 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 the New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.
When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at games to her high school sweetheart, hanging out with their adult teenagers as they learn to fly on their own, and dreaming of her move to someplace warm once they finally do.