Tag Archives: Maria Imbalzano

Author Maria Imbalzano on Persistence, or Stubbornness?

Today, one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Maria Imbalzano, is joining me and we’re talking about the impetus behind her new series and the first book in it, SWORN TO FORGET, which released into the book-reading world in July 2018. Sit back and listen to how she came up with idea for her new series. It’s pretty cool!

Persistence or Stubbornness – Is there a difference?

Book 1 of my Sworn Sisters Series entitled Sworn to Forget  was released in July, 2018. However, the idea for this story/series began in 2001, a mere 17 years ago.

During that year, I began a manuscript about four high school girlfriends who were now in their early 30s. The manuscript was titled “Weekend Diaries” and the main story was about Samantha Winslow, a divorce lawyer in NYC, who learned her husband was cheating on her. Forced to take a leave of absence from work due to her mental state, she retreated to the Jersey Shore town of Crescent Beach for the summer. Her best friends helped her through the devastation of her separation and divorce from her husband and also encouraged her to open her heart to a new possibility – the local prosecutor who had also been Sam’s high school crush.

“Weekend Diaries” was very ambitious in that it also delved into the lives of each of Sam’s girlfriends and their life issues. I thought this manuscript was going to be my entrée into the publishing world. I had won the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart In a Book Contest in October of 2003 and Kristin Hannah was one of the judges! Soon thereafter, I obtained an agent who was excited about the story. All was right with the world.

Until it wasn’t. Two years later, I parted with my agent who hadn’t done much in the way of sending my manuscript out and I felt like I was starting all over. I wrote another book and then another book, which was actually my first published novel – “Unchained Memories.” After my second book was published – “Dancing in the Sand— I went back to “Weekend Diaries.” After all, it was the story of my heart and I couldn’t just stick in a drawer with my other unpublished manuscripts.

Revisiting Sam’s story in 2015, I decided to turn it into a series, giving each of the women their own story. I always thought Sam’s story would be the first of the series, but after writing Nicki’s story, that became the first (Sworn to Forget).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t send either of those books to my publisher until I had completed the first draft of the third and fourth books—just in case I changed something about one of the characters—which I did.

It wasn’t until November of 2017, that I finally submitted Book 1 of the Sworn Sisters Series to my editor and it was accepted. I can happily say that Sam’s story, Book 2 of the Sworn Sisters Series, entitled “Sworn to Remember” is currently under contract and with my editor.

These unfortunate women, Sam, Nicki, Alyssa and Denise, have waited 17 years to meet my readers – although they have not aged a day during that time.

My persistence, or some might say my stubbornness, has paid off. Readers are loving “Sworn to Forget” and I’m loving that these Sworn Sisters have made it out into the world.

Blurb for “Sworn to Forget”

By all appearances, Nicki Reading is a star. PR director at a major music label, Nicki is sharp, successful, independent and confidently calls the shots. She dates whom she wants, when she wants, with no strings attached.  But beneath that shine, loneliness flickers.  Events from her past prove love leads only to pain. Commitment is not an option.

Until Dex Hanover, a classy, principled, and prosperous CPA, enters the picture. Undeterred by his unhappy childhood, he has an amazing capacity to be both caring and generous; giving his free time as a mentor for a child from the projects. Dex wears his paternal yearnings on his sleeve and he is at a point in his life where commitment is the only option.

Despite their opposing views, Nicki and Dex ignite each other. But will events from their pasts ruin their challenging relationship and prevent them from experiencing everlasting love?

Excerpt:

“How did the seminar go?”

“Slowly.” His libido kicked up a notch as he raked his eyes over Nicki’s attire— black leather pants and a red silky halter top. He arched his brow. “What is your plan for us today?”

“I have options.” She took his arm, drawing him into her living room. “There’s an art show at the Third Eye Gallery. Ed Kolsky’s work. He’s kind of edgy, vibrant. I thought it would be fun. Or we can go to The Philadelphia Museum of Art. There’s a Picasso exhibit.”

She eyed him, awaiting his choice.

“At this moment, only one option seems preferable, and it’s not on your list.” He didn’t want some paintings to get in the way of other, more carnal possibilities.

She seized his tie and tugged him closer, giving him a sensuous kiss, proving she was game for his plan.

“Nice,” he whispered.

He tenderly traced a line from her temple to her collarbone, then boldly dipped his hand beneath the fabric of her top, caressing her breast. Her breath hitched, causing pure desire to roll through him.

He covered her mouth with his, pulling her into him, embracing her curves. Nicki’s hands roamed up his chest and over his shoulders, sliding his suit jacket off, then tossing it onto the couch. Next, she worked the knot of his tie until it slipped from around his neck and onto the floor in a snake-like coil.

Amusement tinged by desire flashed through Dex. “This is much more fun than analyzing art work. Although you look pretty close to a masterpiece to me.” His palm skimmed her arm, sending a promise of much more.

Buy Links for SWORN TO FORGET

B&N // Amazon // I-tunes // The Wild Rose Press // Kobo

A little about Maria:

I  was born in Trenton, NJ , in the heart of Chambersburg, the Italian section of town. My father was a barber and my mother, a State employee, who also taught me to jitterbug at the tender age of four. We loved to dance in the living room while watching American Bandstand. Hardly star material, but I was driven nonetheless. The product of a Catholic School education, I learned the basics, and took for granted I would be successful doing something, even if it entailed cutting hair. I attended Rutgers University as a psychology major, but after three years decided I liked political science better. My first job led me to Manhattan where I worked as a paralegal for four years before attending Fordham University School of Law. There I learned to think like a lawyer, write like a lawyer, and speak like a lawyer, all while living like a pauper in the city of my dreams. Living in New York City, albeit on a tight budget, allowed me to indulge my love of ballet, art museums, and theater. Did you know you could walk into a theater after intermission and no one checks your ticket? I enjoyed the second half of many plays as well as ballets.

My love of reading dates back to my childhood when I would borrow at least four books from the library every week. During the summer, I would sit in the house and read, until my mother, totally frustrated, would send me outside to play and lock me out. I always found my way back in. However, I must confess, I hated to write. In every English and writing class throughout college, I dreaded trying to be creative. As a friend from law school so aptly put it, “The reason why we’re here is because we don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.” I agreed.

Despite my dislike of creative writing back then, I embraced legal writing, and was first published in Volume 5 of the Fordham International Law Journal. My article was entitled “In re Mackin: Is the Application of the Political Offense Exception an Extradition Issue for the Judicial or Executive Branch?” I would advise you against reading it, for you will surely fall asleep.

Following law school, I returned to central New Jersey and took a job at a local law firm where I have been a partner for many years. My area of practice is divorce, and while emotions run high and clients are living through the worst time of their lives, I find the practice very satisfying. In addition to litigation, I have added mediation and collaborative divorce to my repertoire, which are much more civil ways of dealing with issues in family law cases.

In addition to practicing law and raising two daughters, I’ve been working towards my second career. Memoranda of Law and Legal Briefs, although fascinating, pale in comparison to writing romance/women’s fiction. So how does one transition from divorce lawyer by day to romance writer by night? That’s the beauty of having two distinct passions

You can find and follow Maria here:

Facebook // Twitter // Blog // Website //  Goodreads // Book Bub // Instagram //Amazon // Newsletter Signup Form

Peggy here: Maria, thanks for visiting today and for introducing us all to your new series!!! It was worth the 17 year wait, for sure!!!!

 

 

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An interview with author Maria Imbalzano

 

 

mimbalzano-pressToday 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.

Bonus round

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – raindrops on the roof when I’m snuggled up in bed
  2. Least favorite sound – lawnmower impinging on a beautiful summer day
  3. Best song every written– God Only Knows by the Beach Boys
  4. Worst song ever written – Yellow Submarine by the Beatles
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Julia Roberts
  6. 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
  7. What turns you on? A guy in a suit and tie
  8. What turns you off? A guy in a sleeveless sweatshirt and sweat pants
  9. 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”
  10. 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 hereWow, 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...

 

DancingintheSand_w9669_300

BLURB:

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.

Biography:

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

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/mariaimbalzanoauthor

Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/mariaimbalzano

@mariaimbalzano

Blog Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com/category/blog/

Website Link

http://www.mariaimbalzano.com

Goodreads Author Page

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276749.Maria_Imbalzano

Buy Links for “Dancing in the Sand”

Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Sand-Maria-Imbalzano-ebook/dp/B0121Q8F5W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1438005888&sr=8-2&keywords=dancing+in+the+sand&pebp=1438005895512&perid=18SVGPFKD2FG4CB7B7BR

Barnes and Noble Nook

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dancing-in-the-sand-maria-imbalzano/1122378243?ean=2940150767836

All Romance

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dancinginthesand-1857206-149.html

Bookstrand

http://www.bookstrand.com/dancing-in-the-sand

Kobo

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/dancing-in-the-sand

The Wild Rose Press

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6348

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, Romance, Strong Women