What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Maria Imbalzano is a matrimonial lawyer in central New Jersey where she not only uses her law degree to navigate her clients through the court system, but her psychology degree to guide them through their personal struggles. While writing motions, legal memoranda, and briefs is fascinating, it pales in comparison to creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys.
* In addition to practicing law and writing fiction, Maria enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters either at home or at the Jersey Shore.
Today Maria Imbalzano will be talking about how she became a writer and what inspired her in regard to the story she's promoting.
* About seventeen years ago, while reading a best-selling novel, I grew frustrated with the author. She had told the reader the same thing within pages of each other. Being an avid reader, I knew what good writing was, and I couldn’t believe this book had made it through the publishing process and onto the bookshelves. In my naïve, optimistic world I told myself, “I can do this.” Thus began my quest to write a romance novel.
* Unfortunately, I didn’t know where to start. I’m a divorce lawyer and as a lawyer, I write motions, legal memoranda and briefs – a world away from creative writing. Besides, I was never much of a creative writer during my school years. As fate would have it, a flier came across my desk for a seminar called “How to Write Your Book In 14 Days (A Lawyer’s Guide)”. The seminar was exactly what I needed to get started – although to this day, I have not been able to write a book in fourteen days. But it got me started. I wrote during whatever spare time I could find, attended writing seminars and conferences, and submitted my query letters and manuscripts to agents and editors. My first two manuscripts will probably never see the light of day, but I learned so much about writing from those manuscripts - point of view, character development, story arcs, conflict, the black moment . . . the list goes on.
* My third manuscript, entitled “Weekend Diaries” won a major writing contest and I had finally obtained an agent. That was twelve years ago and I believed I was on my way. I envisioned signing a contract with a major publishing company and seeing my book at Barnes and Noble. My fairy tale came to a slow death, when three years later, I still hadn’t gotten any closer to becoming published. I terminated the relationship with my agent and felt like I was starting from scratch. Despite the sad ending to that chapter, I still continued on. Some may say I’m stubborn, but I’d prefer persistent.
* In May of 2013, I signed my first publishing contract with The Wild Rose Press for the fifth manuscript I had written, “Unchained Memories.” I recently signed another contract for my newest release, “Dancing in the Sand.”
* The premise for this book came to me in a dream. Young, passionate love exploded over the course of a weekend–the kind of forbidden, but oh so exciting love. Horseback riding was involved along with an accident. The dream was so vivid and so romantic (and a little disturbing), I wrote it down the second I woke up. From there, I created the heroine to be a dance major at NYU. I love dance and took lessons for years including ballet, tap and modern jazz. I suppose Ava is my alter-ego. I chose NYC as the setting since NYU has an excellent dance program and many great dance companies call it home. I had also lived and worked in NYC for seven years after college and had a wealth of experiences and memories to draw upon.
* As with “Unchained Memories,” “Dancing in the Sand has a legal element, since I generally have a lawyer as a main character, and I took on an issue (fracking) that pits the hero and heroine against each other for philosophical reasons.
* I hope you enjoy reading “Dancing in the Sand” as much as I loved writing it.
* Brian Stanhope, a Harvard graduate, poised to join his father’s company, suffers a brain injury in a horseback riding accident, which affects his memory. He has no recollection of his graduation party weekend or the beautiful dancer who turned his head and stole his heart.
* When they reunite eight years later, the magic of their powerful attraction binds them together, but the past holds a secret that even love may not be able to overcome.
* Not the question she was expecting. “No.”
* He smiled. A very sexy, very familiar smile. Was he flirting?
* Ava shook her head. “No. What about you?” The words fell out of her mouth before she had time to catch them, and she inwardly winced. “Never mind. That’s none of my business.”
* “It can be. Especially since I’m not married or entangled either.”
* There could be no mistaking it now. His easy banter. The way he drew a person in with a direct and open question. The mating game, according to Brian. It all came back. The way he had enticed her before. So simple for him—the master. But she knew better than to fall for him a second time.
* “We should stick to our working relationship.” Ava hoped her regret in that decision didn’t shine through. She picked up the signed fee agreement. “I’ll have my secretary make a copy for you.” She rose and moved around the desk. “How would you like to pay the retainer? Check? Credit card?”
* Brian raised an eyebrow. “All business, I see.” Yet, the hint of a smile tugged at his lips. “Check. Do I make it out to you?”
* So playful. Like he’d been that weekend. If she didn’t keep her wits about her, she’d fall right down the same rabbit hole.
* “No. The firm. I’ll be right back.”
* Out in the hall, she stopped to fan herself. The heat he generated should be captured for raw energy. No need to frack. She wiped away the smile inching over her lips. Do not cave in. You’ll only get hurt. Again.
* Reentering her tiny, airless office with his copy of the agreement in hand, she snapped into business mode.
* “Thank you so much for giving our firm the chance to represent you. You won’t be sorry.” She held out her hand to shake his.
* He stood, following her lead. “I’m sure I won’t.”
* She would have preferred to end their contact there, but she couldn’t let him meander through the halls trying to find the exit. “I’ll show you out.”
* Avoiding further conversation, Ava led Brian to the reception area, just as Peter emerged from his office.
* “Brian, I’ll get back to you shortly, after I have a chance to review your documents.” Peter clapped Brian on the back.
* “Great,” said Brian. “By the way, I have tickets to the Knicks game Saturday night. Floor seats. Would you and Ava like to join me?”
* Ava’s brain screamed no, as Peter accepted for both of them. Of course, he was a rabid Knicks fan and why would it cross his mind that a lowly associate would have better things to do on a weekend night than generate good will with a new client?
* She gave a tight smile in assent, as she knew she had to, turned and strode straight to her office where she closed the door and bit her finger to keep her shriek from reaching the lobby.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Maria Imbalzano will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
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