Jen: Today we welcome Maya Tyler to Romancing the Book. Maya, will you share a short bio with us?
Maya: I am a romance author, blogger, wife, and mother. I have a degree in Commerce and my day job is in Finance. Over the past few years, I decided to unleash my creative streak and get serious about writing. So far, I have published a short story “Just for Tonight” in an anthology titled With Love from Val and Tyne, and written a few books. Writing mostly paranormal romances, all of my books have a common theme–happily ever after. Dream Hunter is my debut novella. When I’m not writing, you can find me playing with Lego and watching superhero movies with my husband and sons. You can visit me anytime on Facebook or sample my quirky writing style on my blog.
You can find me on the web at the following locations:
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Maya: Dream Hunter is about an ordinary woman, Cynthia Courtland, living an uneventful life until she literally meets the man of her dreams. Cynthia’s realistic and sensual dreams start affecting her waking hours. All she wants is to get promoted at work and she’s on target to achieve her goal until some trouble arises at the office. There’s a threat against her company and her boss sends her on a week-long ‘vacation’ while the police investigate. Without her job to keep her occupied, she finds herself at loose ends and attempts an investigation of her own. Gabe steps out of her dreams and directly into her path to steer her out of harm’s way. He is a Guardian Angel who has been watching over Cynthia for years. They are at opposing sides with Cynthia determined to solve the mystery and Gabe intent on keeping her safe.
I literally dreamed up the idea for Dream Hunter. I woke up one morning and wrote down a dream which later became the basis for the first sequence in my novella.
The air in her lungs rushed to escape and time stood still. She was aware of only him. Beyond her control, her head tilted and her whole body leaned toward him; her inner core pulsed and buzzed. He drew her in like a magnet, a moth to flame; she was helpless to resist his siren call. He emulated danger, looked like evil incarnate—black and dangerous, seductive and forbidden—and she wanted him.
When he grabbed her harshly by both shoulders, she snapped out of her lust-induced trance. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
“We must get out of here.” His words were calm, but his eyes stared right through her.
Cynthia opened her mouth to object.
“There is no time,” he announced as he tugged on her arm.
“Let go of me!” She tried to pull away. “I don’t know you.”
Holding her arm still, he stared into her eyes without saying a word.
Okay, he seems a little familiar. She gulped. “How do I know you?”
Giving her a penetrating look, he replied, “You know me. Quit wasting time.”
She opened her mouth to protest again.
“We must leave now.”
Should I go with him? She tilted her head and looked up at him. His gaze was strong and steady and made her feel safe. This is not the time to be indecisive. She thought about the threat at work and shivered despite the heat.
You will be safe with me. There is no time. We must leave now. His voice entered her thoughts like a caress in her mind and didn’t alarm her.
He was right. There was no time to analyze her options and run through various scenarios. For all she knew, every scenario without him could mean danger for her. Her body wanted to follow him, she admitted with reluctance, even if her mind resisted. Yes, she would go, she decided, even as she felt herself following him down the street.
Power resonated from his muscular build. He kept a hand in a firm but gentle hold on her elbow as they hurried down the sidewalk. Unmindful of their destination, Cynthia had ample time to study her new “friend.” He towered over her by at least a foot, wearing a black leather jacket despite the warm day, and dark jeans that showcased his narrow waist. Every beefy inch of him screamed passion and strength—his tight clothing doing nothing to disguise the sinewy muscles rippling in his legs as he moved—but she wasn’t frightened of him. She hesitated for a minute. Should I be afraid? No, she decided. She felt eerily calm, like all her life had been leading her up to this moment in time, and she was exactly where she was supposed to be. The reason she let a perfect stranger lead her to God-knew-where.
She shifted her thick hair over her shoulder as sweat soaked at the base of her neck. The day’s temperature had yet to peak, but it was already warm enough to be uncomfortable and practically running in office attire didn’t help matters.
“I need a moment,” she said.
They made an abrupt stop. The man offered her an unopened bottle of water. After casting an assessing look at him she accepted the bottle, and took a long, welcome drink.
The man dismissed her thanks with a casual shrug.
Cynthia shot him a questioning look.
“Later,” he replied in a brisk voice. “We need to go.”
“We need to go,” he repeated, ignoring her question.
They had covered several blocks and, as they moved further from her office, the sights became less familiar and a tremor of fear shook through her body. Where did this guy come from? Why does he think I know him? Because I do know him. The realization hit her hard in the stomach. It’s him.
“We need to keep going,” he insisted without further explanation.
“No!” She planted her hands on her hips and her feet in the firmest stance she could manage as she wobbled on the uneven sidewalk. Then she looked down at her feet and a strange sense of déjà vu washed over her as she stared at the cobblestone path. Her mouth gaped, her breathing quickened. With dread she looked up at the buildings on the street. Her vision blurred. Everything around her spun and faded away as she collapsed into strong arms. She had a vague awareness of him lifting her. As he adjusted his hold, she bounced against his solid chest. She must be dreaming. That was the only explanation that made sense. Nothing like this ever happened in her boring, ordinary life. It’s just a dream. Swallowing her disappointment, she glanced up at the determined expression on his face. He carried her effortlessly, like she weighed nothing. When she rested her head on his chest, she could feel his heart beating steadily. She ran her hand lightly across his defined bicep. Wow. He wasn’t real, but she might as well make the most of it; from experience she knew her dream wouldn’t last forever.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Maya: I did some research on dreams in writing this book. After all good fiction needs to be based on good facts. What is a dream? How does your brain form a dream? Does a precognitive dream exist? I needed to develop plausible reasons for Cynthia’s dreams and why Gabe had been in them. I had ramped up the tension and suspense throughout the story and I didn’t want it to end in some lame let-down. I needed it to be conclusive and make sense.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Maya: Are there challenges in writing? Probably every step of the way… From carving out the time to write to editing and refining your story into a polished, finished product! The easiest thing is thinking of an idea. Ideas occur to me all the time – not all of them are good or become a book, but I weed through them. Writing itself is its own reward. Writing is a process for me. It helps me think and acts like part-therapist, part-confidant. I pour my soul into my stories.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Maya: Cynthia Courtland would be played by Danica McKellar. With her long brown hair and natural poise, I think she would be the ideal choice. Gabe/Officer Hunter would be played by a beard-less Shia LaBeouf. I think he would have the ability to capture the essence of the character and be able to portray both roles.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Maya: I wrote Cynthia Courtland when I was going through my own work struggles. I had just returned to the workforce after four years home with my kids. I accepted a position which was drastically different than advertised and I was waiting for a promotion opportunity. Sound familiar? I wrote her character with a lot of my own personality and characteristics. I gave Cynthia my own determination and career drive. It was only after the story was written that I realized how much of myself I had infused into her.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Maya: It’s a full time job trying to achieve life-work balance. I try to spend as much time as possible with my family, my husband and two young boys. We have a lot of fun together – we love to play Lego and Hot Wheels. We also have a weekly family movie night and enjoy spending time outside – activities depending on the season. Aside from family time, my hobbies include reading, writing, doing yoga, and watching TV/movies.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Maya: A vampire story. Think ‘morality’ meets ‘dark creature of the night’. It’s still in the draft stage, but I’m pretty excited about it! As well, promoting my latest release is consuming a lot of my time, but it’s a lot of fun too!