Interview with the Author: Mae Wood

Risking Ruin Cover

For my first ever ”Interview with the Author” segment, I have chick-lit and contemporary romance author Mae Wood with me to answer questions on her debut novel, Risking Ruin (which I reviewed here), as well as her writing process, and her upcoming sequel, Surviving Bitsy.

When writing Risking Ruin, how much do you draw from your own life?

Clarification: I am NOT asking about the sex scenes. That’s your business 😉

I am an employment lawyer like Marisa, so I hear about all sorts of workplace craziness.  Many of the allegations of workplace harassment in the story are drawn from events I’ve read about in court papers.  Marisa and I have the same job, but our lives differ greatly from there.  I’m married and a mother.  I’ve never been as career-focused as Marisa is, but I know plenty of women who are.  I don’t draw from my life per se, but I do draw from stories of my career-minded friends who are in their 30s and struggling through (or have struggled through) awful dating situations.  Trust me, that woman at the head of the boardroom table closing a billion dollar deal or speaking in front of thousands at a MacWord-style conference still has self-doubt.  I know.  I’m her “ordinary” friend and I get the emotional phone calls.

When is your moment to write?

I like to write in about 2 to 3 hour long blocks, but I’m fine with interruption.  Typically, this means I write during my child’s bath time and her nightly viewing of Peppa Pig and while she’s up and down for hour or so after I put her to bed, demanding water, more blankets, less nightlight, etc.  (Every parent knows what I’m talking about.)   That said, by the time I sit down to write, I know where I’m going.  I’ve muddled through the next steps in my head while driving home and preparing dinner.

Where are you up to with the sequel?

Tentatively titled “Surviving Bitsy,” the sequel picks up where “Risking Ruin” left off.   Marisa and Trip are in the plane on the way to St. George.  Let’s just say that Trip’s unilateral decision to “solve” the problem in their relationship is not well-taken by Marisa at first.    I’ve written about the first 20%, including Marisa getting to meet Trip’s mom Bitsy and John returning to the story.  Marisa’s firm has hired him to babysit her and make sure her relationship with Trip doesn’t mean that the firm loses Branco’s lucrative business.

You’ll note that “Risking Ruin” did not end with an “I love you” or an exchange of rings.  For me the most interesting bit in any relationship is getting from “Let’s date exclusively” to “Can I live without you?”  “Surviving Bitsy” follows Marisa as she navigates being Trip’s proper girlfriend and them trying to blend their lives together.   As for the title, Bitsy is Trip’s mom.  But this isn’t a Monster-In-Law type story.  Quite the opposite.  I can’t wait to get it wrapped up and released late summer!

Do you intend to keep the chick-lit / contemporary romance balancing act for the sequel? Is it difficult?

I love Chick-Lit. Bridget Jones’ Diary spoke to me in my 20s and I’ve never looked back.  What I love about Chick-Lit is what I find missing in a lot of contemporary romances — personal growth by the heroine in the face of a real-to-her-life challenge in the form of a career change, money problems, or just her beliefs. Classically, think Pride and Prejudice.  Many Chick-Lit stories are love stories at base, but I view them as Chick-Lit because of the tone.  I love humor.  I love puns.  I love to verbally spar.  I also crave honesty.   For me, it’s not love unless your cheeks hurt after a date because you’ve been smiling and laughing so much.   I do intend to keep the same light and honest tone the for the sequel.

Do you let your family read your work? What if they asked?

My husband detests “Risking Ruin”!  He doesn’t understand the genres of Chick-Lit or romance at all.  He’s read though the first sex scene and then just couldn’t tolerate it any longer.  I don’t take offense.  I’d rather go on a 10 mile hike in the middle of summer than read the five volume biography of Lyndon Johnson he currently has his nose in. Our tastes in pleasure reading differ and that’s fine with me.  Nonetheless, he’s my biggest cheerleader in this project and extremely proud of me.

My family has no clue I’ve written a novel.  However, my two closest friends I consider family read my work as a serial.  When I get a few chapters pulled together, they gobble them up and then tell me what they like, don’t like, and want more of.  It’s partially their fault there is sex in Risking Ruin.  So blame them if you think it’s too much!

As for them asking to read my book, my sister would roll her eyes.  My mother would be super supportive and probably really like it. And no one wants their father reading sex scenes they’ve written!  (Okay, probably someone wouldn’t mind, but I’m from the U.S. South where daddies and daughters pretend sex doesn’t exist.)

Which supporting character in Risking Ruin have you enjoyed writing the most?

I love writing Erica!  She’s a blend of several of my friends and my grandmother.  I’ve been toying with a story about Erica.   I’d love to know if readers would like more Erica.

What do you do to pick yourself up in moments of doubt? 

I ask my best friends, my cheerleaders.  “Too much?”  “More?”  They’ve told me harsher things in life than “that scene is boring” or “no one else will find that funny” or “more sex.”   It’s that level of trust and honesty that permits me to keep going.

Thank you Mae Wood for letting me interview you and answering my questions!

Have more questions for Mae Wood? Check out her Goodreads page and ask away!

You can also find Mae Wood at her blog here.

Risking Ruin is 99c/ 99p for February and free with Kindle Unlimited!

Indie Book Review: Risking Ruin by Mae Woods

Risking Ruin Cover

Review:

Steamy. Wow. I know I’ve said I’m not real fussed on sex scenes, but I love playful teasing, and this book had plenty of it.

Of course, those who like their steamy sexy romances will find plenty to like here.

I wasn’t real sure how I’d feel about a lawyer falling in love with her client, and thankfully, neither did the characters! This made everything believable and palatable, as the heroine and hero approached their conundrum with as much common-sense as they could manage. They tried keeping their hands of each other, they really did…

While the romance was first and foremost, I really enjoyed the court case storyline too, which made me a little disappointed when it wasn’t resolved as much as I would’ve like, but that’s life and court cases are complicated and drawn out things. When I asked Mae about it, she told me she is currently working on the sequel! I should have figured that out but the romance was resolved so well that I figured it could end there and I’d be happy with it.

Other little subplots and supporting characters also shone through to create a solid foundation for this thoroughly enjoying story. I loved the best friend and her family, and I loved the main characters’ families and all their friends. The world created was believable, with many people living their lives.

Part chic-lit, part steamy romance, this book will tick a lot of people’s boxes. An easy, comfortable read for romance-lovers wanting to curl up with a good book. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.

I was given a mobi copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Mae Wood is currently looking for people to review her book! She is happy to send review copies out to those who email her at maewoodwrites <at> gmail.com

Author website: http://maewoodwrites.blogspot.com.au/

Author Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9871126.Mae_Wood 

Risking Ruin, by Mae Wood

Book Length: 244 pages

Corporate Contemporary Romance/ Chick-Lit (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Marisa Tanner’s most important client, multi-billion dollar family-owned Brannon Company, has been sued by nine of its employees for sexual harassment. Marisa is a pro at handling sexual harassment allegations, but will she be able to handle the CEO’s prodigal son as well as she can handle the lawsuits?

Clients are off-limits and Marisa could lose her law license and livelihood, but Memphis playboy Trip keeps making strong plays for her.

Their attraction is undeniable and chemistry electric. Can she have her career and Trip, too, or will she have to choose?

A steamy debut novel by Mae Wood, “Risking Ruin” is a stand alone novel that blends the tone of chick-lit and the sensuality of contemporary romance to create a landscape filled with strong characters in the lush environment of Memphis, Tennessee.

Risking Ruin is a cross between Chick Lit and Contemporary Romance.

Why Chick Lit?

  • Marisa (female lead) is independent, financially successful, and great at her male-dominated profession.
  • Strong, funny, and open relationship with her best friend.
  • Marisa has interests beyond love
  • Marisa is close with her parents and her best friend’s family.
  • Marisa’s whole being is not about finding love.
  • Marisa likes craft beer and farm-to-table dining and other current trends.
  • Marisa likes to verbally spar.

Why Contemporary Romance?

  • Some steamy scenes.
  • She falls in love and there is a happy ending.

Book Review: The Stepmothers’ Support Group by Sam Baker

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Review:

A word of warning: this is not The First Wives’ Club. Aside from the obvious reasons, The First Wives’ Club is far more serious and detailed than this book, and if you haven’t read the former than please DO because it is amazing!

This sort of genre (chick-lit / family drama) is the sort I pick up occasionally, intermittently; it isn’t my regular type of read. Half the time I like these types of books, but this one, for me at least, fell into the other half. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it – it delivers pretty much what you’d expect from the blurb (give or take some favourable character treatment). It just didn’t do it for me.

After about page 70 I started skim-reading and never found myself invested in the characters. Mildly interested, yes, but not invested. I should note that the five women are not given equal treatment by the book, so we only get a fully-fleshed out story of two of the protagonists, and only one of them had their story resolved in a satisfying way. The other three members are very, very minor characters, and we only receive the sketchiest details of their lives.

Have you seen the movie Bridesmaids? The book reminded me of it, though only in the sense that I expected it would be about all of the characters when it was really just about one.

I think if the genre is more of your read then you will enjoy this book more than I did. Even though I was skim-reading, I was interested enough to finish the book. It just didn’t provide anything new for me. A casual read.

The Stepmothers’ Support Group by Sam Baker

Standalone Title

Book Length: 406 pages

Chick-lit / Family Drama.

Adult Fiction.

According to the Blurb on the Back:

30-something woman seeks like-minded women for friendship and socialising. Must have experience with small children,  stroppy teenagers, perfect wives (deceased) and new relationships. GSOH vital. Fed up with unfair portrayal as ‘wicked’.

Eve, Clare, Melanie, Lily and Mandy are five very different women, all with one thing in common – they all find themselves in a less-than-conventional family set-up. Thrown together by a chance encounter, they quickly form themselves into an unofficial mutual support group, talking and laughing through the ups and downs of 21st-century family life. As a cup of coffee turns into a bottle of wine, their get-togethers soon become a regular fixture. But the friendships between the women are tested to the max when they’re forced to confront new futures as well as unwelcome figures from the past…