Today I’m hosting the lovely, talented Maria Imbalzano, a Wild Rose Press author and sistah. Maria is one smart cookie – not only is she a matrimonial layer in New Jersey ( hallaaaa, Jersey Girl!!) she juggles her demanding law practice, motherhood and a secondary writing career. And she juggles them well. I recently interviewed Maria in depth – even she admitted some of the questions were a little hard – so read on and learn more about her and her most recent novel from the Wild Rose Press, Dancing in the Sand
Questions for The Writer in you…
What drives you to write? I love the creative process. It’s fun for me to make up stories, conceive characters, and determine their secrets, flaws and motivations.
What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Contemporary. I am familiar with the present and as they say “write what you know.” It’s closer to real life and it’s easier to draw from real life experiences – whether my own or someone else’s. It would take an enormous amount of research and studying to learn enough to write historical. I suppose I don’t have enough creativity to write paranormal since I would have to build my own world. Contemporary is the place for me.
What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Mostly contemporary, but I also like to read historical.
What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I wish I could, but my day job gets in the way. I’m a divorce lawyer, which keeps me in the office many nights until 6:30-7:00, and I’m also involved on non-profit Boards and attend many evening functions such as Chamber of Commerce events, Bar Association dinners, and charitable fundraisers. There are not enough hours in the day, but when I do sit down to write, I am very efficient.
Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I am lucky to have an office all to myself. I have a large desk with three sets of drawers for filing, a printer, and a bookcase with dozens of books on writing. The office also has a couch where I often sit if I’m editing, and an elliptical machine in case I feel the need to move. This office was originally set up by my husband, but as soon as the desk came in, I took over. I do that everywhere in the house.
Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I like quiet. The only sounds I hear are my characters talking in my head.
Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I don’t listen to music when I write because I would be singing along, or worse, dancing in my chair. Neither is conducive to writing.
How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your new release? The premise for “Dancing in the Sand” 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, so romantic, and a little disturbing, that 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.
Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot comes first for me. I need to know the story before I can populate it with the appropriate characters.
What 3 words describes you, the writer? Plotter, Persistent, Non-stop Editor
And now, you the Person ( mom, lawyer, wife, etc….:)
Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I don’t think this is unusual but I love to dance. I took ballet, jazz and tap for twelve years when I was younger. Now I just go to Jazzercise to get in my dancing. For our daughter’s wedding, I choreographed a dance for the bride, bridesmaids and two moms to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” We surprised everyone with our great dance moves.
Who was your first love and what age were you? I was fifteen, he was nineteen. We worked together at a movie theater. He was so handsome and had gorgeous green eyes and smelled amazing. Ahhh, first love.
If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. Our wedding day. It was such a beautiful October day (Halloween) and everything was perfect. Unfortunately, so much is going on that day that you don’t remember everything and all you want to do is have a replay. I felt the same way about our daughter’s wedding.
Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? All of the above
If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Blush – I could improvise with lipstick, right?
What three words describes you, the person? Social, Hard-working, Persistent
If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones
If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Scarlett O’Hara before the war when we would dress up in ball gowns and attend over-the-top parties. We’d flirt and dance and vie for the same handsome man.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound – raindrops on the roof when I’m snuggled up in bed
- Least favorite sound – lawnmower impinging on a beautiful summer day
- Best song every written– God Only Knows by the Beach Boys
- Worst song ever written – Yellow Submarine by the Beatles
- Favorite actor and actress – Julia Roberts
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)-Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State-she’s a smart, strong, intelligent woman who fits well in a man’s world
- What turns you on? A guy in a suit and tie
- What turns you off? A guy in a sleeveless sweatshirt and sweat pants
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “I have a girl friend”
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Sitting on the front porch of our beach house with my husband and listening to the ocean while reading.
Peggy here: Wow, Maria! You and I have a lot of similar likes and dislikes. Gone With the Wind is one of my all time favorite books and I would love a chance to hang with Scarlett for a day before a nighttime ball too! And I wish I could see that video of the dance routine at your daughter’s wedding. I’m betting it’s amazeballs. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions – long and lengthy though they were. It was my pleasure to host and get to know you…
Now, for our readers, here’s a little taste of DANCING IN THE SAND available now...
An accomplished dance major in New York City, Ava Woodward is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional in a national dance company. But a celebratory weekend in Newport, where she meets the man of her fantasies, has devastating consequences that change her life forever.
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.
Excerpt from Dancing in the Sand:
Approaching his sister’s dance studio to the right, he heard a pounding beat, not at all similar to the classical music that fueled Carrie’s usual dance practices. He stopped to watch through a small square window off to the side. Ava, dressed in a black leotard and tights, leaped and twirled through the air like a spinning top, set on its course around the circumference of the room while Carrie spun in a more confined area in the center of the room.
Brian’s eyes sought Ava as her tight body coiled and released, coiled and released. Her arms were at once fragile and muscled, highlighting biceps and long, graceful fingers, sweeping through the air to mirror her legs. Her leaps were huge, with powerful extension and maximum air between her and the floor. No sooner would she land than she’d pull her limbs into herself and pirouette on her toes, spinning fast enough to make him question the physics of it all. This was no prissy ballet. This was fast and furious modern dance where you could feel the beat in your throat. Okay, maybe he’d experienced a little too much dance in his life, but this was definitely as good as anything he’d seen on the New York stage. Ava was even better than his sister.
What happened to the shy, vulnerable girl he’d just met? On the dance floor, she was a powerhouse. Full of confidence, energy, and magnetism.
When the music ended, he stood rooted to the floor, and his hands came up in a spontaneous clap.
“Who’s out there?” Carrie flung open the door to reveal their intruder. “Brian, what are you doing here? I thought you were playing tennis.”
“I am. I was. I-I had to come in for more balls.”
He stared at Ava, with her dark brown hair pulled tight in a bun at the nape of her neck, drops of sweat beading on her chest just above the scoop of her leotard and above her full upper lip. Hot and sexy. He swallowed, fantasizing about licking the moisture from her mouth, her neck, molding that cute little powerful body into his.
“Then why are you just standing there?” Carrie placed her hands on her hips, challenging him to stop staring at her friend and walk away.
“I’m going.” He backed away from the door, but couldn’t seem to make his body turn and move down the hall.
Until Carrie slammed the door in his face.
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.
Visit Maria at http://www.mariaimbalzano.com
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