2020 Releases

The Rock Star's Familiar
The Vampire's Familiar
The Witch's Familiar
Phantasia: Bad Day On Olympus
Ice Cave
Destiny, Desire & Murder
Close to the Truth

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Darklight on...Maree Anderson Q&A

Today's Darklight On... is with Maree Anderson. Welcome Maree!

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

Um... my warped imagination needed a socially acceptable outlet?

Seriously, I can’t seem to write anything “normal” -- even my attempt at a contemporary romantic comedy ended up having a paranormal element! I guess I’m just wired that way. I suspect it comes from getting hooked on fantasy and SciFi (à la Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey) in my late teens. People say, “Write what you know.” And that’s pretty much what I did when I started out.

Please tell us a little about your road to publication.

I started writing in 2003. Joined RWNZ (Romance Writers of New Zealand) so I could enter the 2004 Clendon Award and finalled with that first manuscript. Won the Clendon in 2006. Kept finalling and placing in various contests with one manuscript or another, but just couldn’t seem to catch a break with the editors and agents I was querying. I had a strong voice but no one “loved it enough” to take me on. By that time I’d written one trilogy, a 3-book series, and 3 standalone novels, and I figured I needed a break from writing novels -- no point flogging a dead horse, right?

Then fellow RWNZ member, the fabulously talented Nalini Singh, posted details about the Red Sage Alpha Male Novella Contest to the RWNZ loop. So I did some research on Red Sage and found out they were an erotic romance publisher.

Oooh er. Erotic romance? And a novella? It was the first time I’d written something with a market specifically in mind, so I was thrilled to bits and beyond when I got the email that Even Demons Get The Blues was a finalist. And even more delighted when, even though I didn’t win the contest, I was still offered a contract. I’m told the editor who judged my story, Robin Lawson, was really excited when she read my entry. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to know that an industry professional loved my writing enough to want to work with me.

Your recent release is Scent of a Man (which we featured in a Magic Thursday giveaway on 3rd March). Can you describe it for us? Is this a one off book is it part of a series? Love the cover artwork by the way.

Thank you, Eleni! I love the cover, too. I think it’s very romantic.

Scent Of A Man is my twisted take on a historical fantasy. In the fanatically religious island state of Anglia, male nobility dress like Regency dandies, but their women are forced to wear drab, dowdy clothes and would be punished for wearing “fripperies” such as cosmetics or perfume. Chastity is prized and rigidly enforced by the Council and clerics. Hence my hero, Joseph, is the entitled, inexperienced virgin of the story. And when he suddenly begins to exude pheromones which make him irresistible to women, he’s demonized and hunted. Poor Joseph. I really do put him through hell before he finds his Happy Ever After with Liliana.

As I always do, I’ve left it open for a sequel. But right now, I have no plans to write it—too many other stories waiting to be written, I’m afraid.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

I used to believe I was incapable of plotting. It was like having my teeth pulled. Without an anaesthetic. By a bad-tempered, sleep-deprived dentist with a huge grudge. But then I figured it was time to suck it up and learn. And I’m glad I did, because when I was 5,000 words in on a fully plotted novel, I was asked if I had a novella that might be suitable for a Secrets anthology... like, now. So my editor and I decided I should scale the intended novel back to novella-length and go for it. I wrote like a demon and that story, Kat On A Hot Tin Roof, ended up being contracted for a Red Sage Secrets anthology.

I truly believe I wouldn’t have been able to write so quickly if I hadn't plotted it out first. And I’ve since used plotting techniques to help me in the revision process, too. But that doesn’t mean I’ve embraced the evil ‘P’ word -- it’s just another technique I use when I need to.

With my current manuscript, I’ve morphed into what my good friend Helene Young terms a “scener” – I imagine a scene, and when it’s fully realized in my mind, I sit down and write it. So pantser, plotter, scener, that’s me. Nothing like being flexible, right?

Do have a favourite of your characters?

Asmodeus, the painfully handsome, totally amoral, and incredibly sarcastic Demon King from Even Demons Get The Blues and Let Sleeping Demons Lie. One day, if he’s really nice to me, I’ll get around to writing his story.

What are you currently working on? 

Another paranormal YA, because I need a bit of a break from erotic romance. It’s nice to only worry about the mechanics of two characters locking lips for a change, rather than what’s happening with all the other, er, bits and pieces ;-)

What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

Coming up with the shiny new idea that sparks the story.

What can we expect from Maree Anderson in the future?

Next up publication-wise is Kat On A Hot Tin Roof in the Red Sage Secrets Volume 30 anthology, which comes out in July. It’ll be published in both eBook and Trade paperback format, so I’m very very excited about that. My first print story -- WOOHOO!

It’s a very light paranormal -- a bit of a departure from my other erotic romances. My editor, Judith, describes it as, “Howlingly funny, deliciously tender, and super-hot”. Here’s hoping readers love it as much as Judith does!

And writing-wise, I’ll finish up the aforementioned YA story and jump back on the query bandwagon, while I figure out what to write next.

Who are your favourite authors?

Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Janet Evanovich, Ilona Andrews, Lilith Saintcrow, Rachel Caine, David Eddings, Stephen Donaldson, and a whole heap more I haven’t room to name!

What are you currently reading?

By the time this goes live it’ll be something else, because I read a book every couple of days! But as of writing this I’m reading Rebel by Zoe Archer.

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
Supernatural -- Sam and Dean!!! 

Plus Dead Like Me, Firefly, Dark Angel and The Fifth Element -- just to name a few.

Do you have advice for emerging writers?

~Read heaps. And heaps. And then read some more.

~Write heaps. And heaps. And then write some more.

~When it comes to criticism, take the comments that resonate with you, or give you an “Aha!” moment, to heart. Feel free to ignore the rest.

~And speaking of criticism: Don’t be tempted to only take notice of the negative comments from judges, while ignoring the positives! If you insist on “fixing” every single thing that one contest judge or another doesn’t like about your story, in the end you’ll be left with a story you don’t much like....because it won’t be your story any more.

~ Never, never, never give up!


You can buy copies of Maree's releases at Red Sage Publishing
And look out for the anthology in July featuring Kat On A Hot Tin Roof.


  1. Damn, my message didn't go through!!!
    Maree, I just wrote how I completely understand not having to deal with the 'mechanics' of sex. And also - am so enjoying your ms Scent of a Man, great concept and wonderful characters =))

  2. LOL Maree with the warped imagination.

    And I love the sound of Kat On A Hot Tin Roof!! Good luck with the YA and the no-bits!!

  3. I hear you Maree on the "attempt at straight" only to end up with er, not so straight characters/events :)

    Aaaah, Supernatural but you have the all important Joss world listed you browncoat you. Cows in space rule!

    Have fun playing in your YA world.

  4. Mel -- aw, thank you sweetie! So thrilled you're like Scent Of A Man. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs a break from the mechanics of sex. Exhausting! LOL.

    Eleni -- yep. Warped. Irredeemably, I fear. My mother would be shocked if she ever read my books, I'm sure! I tell her just to look at the pretty covers ;-)

    Nicky -- I try to be normal. Really I do! But it's just not in me. Maybe when I grow up *g* Forgot to mention that I'm still catching up with Supernatural, so I haven't officially met Cass yet. But having glimpsed him in the later series, I reckon he'll give the Winchester boys a run for their money.

    As for cows in space.... now there's an idea for my next SciFi. Or maybe squirrels. DH is always telling me I should write about squirrels in space *eyeroll*