Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Interview with Maggie Robinson

We are very happy to have debut historical author, Maggie Robinson  join us today.  Maggie, congratulations on yesterday's release of your debut novel, Mistress by Mistake!  I hope you enjoyed a debut-worthy celebration.  Please tell us a bit about the story.

Thanks so much for letting me dish about it! Charlotte Fallon is a straight-laced, lace-making spinster whose sister is an infamous courtesan. Sir Michael Xavier Bayard is a straight-up rake who finds that the wrong sister in his bed is just right.

How delicious!  Bay and Charlotte (who prefers to be called "Charlie") aren’t without flaws and they certainly have some difficult obstacles to overcome on their journey to a happy ending. Without giving away any spoilers, what’s the most important characteristic about each of them that you’d like readers to understand?

Charlie has been tamping down her passion for a decade, living a quiet, boring life. Bay’s own youthful passion has brought him nothing but danger and heartbreak. They both need to learn to trust and open their hearts again.

The bedroom scenes in this book sizzle! I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to serve raspberries again without blushing. How difficult (or easy) is it to write those scenes?

My agent, Laura Bradford kept writing MORE in raspberry-red on my manuscripts, and I guess I started following her advice. :)  I hope that the emotional connection between Charlie and Bay is even stronger than their physical relationship to the reader. I try to layer in plenty of sentiment along with the sizzle, because I really live a quiet, boring life myself. ;)

Your real life may be quiet and boring (though I somehow doubt that) but your imagination is having one heck of a good time!  There are secondary characters in this book that I’d love to know more about. Do you have plans to write books about any of the other ladies on Jane Street?

Mistress by Mistake is the first of the Courtesan Court Trilogy. Two of Charlie’s neighbors, Laurette Vincent and Lady Caroline Christie have their own stories in Mistress by Midnight (December 28) and Mistress by Marriage. Jane Street is also the setting for my two novellas for Brava anthologies. The first one, Lords of Passion, comes out November 30. You haven’t heard the last of my mistresses!

Adding two "Merry Christmas to Me" gifts to my list for next fall!  :)  We love call stories here at The Romance Dish. How did you get the news of your first sale?

My first sale was actually for the “other me,” Margaret Rowe. My June debut for Berkley Heat, Tempting Eden, sold first. I work in a high school library (where my books do not belong), and my agent called me one afternoon. I wanted to jump up and down and scream, but…library. Shh. I cried a little. Quietly. I saved the screaming for when I got home.

That's right, you're a double debutante!  Will you give us a peek into Tempting Eden, your June release as Margaret Rowe?

Tempting Eden is a darker, edgier erotic romance, with a heroine who has gone through Hell to find Heaven in her hero’s arms. I love the tagline: "A perfect gentleman, and the imperfect woman who makes him forget all his good intentions."

What a terrific tagline! It would certainly catch my attention! You’re a busy woman with many irons in the fire. Please describe for us a typical day in the life of Maggie Robinson.

I am about to ditch my day job, but for the past five years, I’ve gotten up between 4 and 5 AM to write a few hours before I go to work. I usually talk to my daughters on the phone in the morning and wander around the Internet, too. I punch in at 10:30, run the after school library program and teen girls’ book club, which keeps me in touch with YA trends. I’ve given up TV and cooking, but my husband has been super-supportive and has turned into Emeril Lagasse without the bamming in the kitchen, so I haven’t lost a bit of weight.

Many authors say they write better while listening to music. Some even choose theme songs for their stories. What’s your stance on music to write by? Any favorites? Did you have a theme song for Mistress by Mistake?

I can’t write with music, even if it’s instrumental—I’m too easily distracted. But I sing along to country music (badly) in the car back and forth to work.

LOL @ the bad country singing in the car.  You'd fit right in down here in South Carolina where I live!   What authors do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy creating stories of your own?

So many I could go on for paragraphs and still forget someone. I’ll stick to Georgette Heyer.

If you could step into the life of any romance heroine, who would you choose and why?

One of my own—Frederica Wells from Margaret Rowe’s Any Wicked Thing (January 2011). She’s a medieval scholar who lives in a castle with a really hot, wicked duke. She writes books, fences, and did I mention the really hot, wicked duke?

Marking my calendar for January 2011.  Did I mention I really love hot, wicked dukes? *grin*
If you could step into the arms of any romance hero, who would you choose and why?

I have a soft spot for Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, Rupert Carsington. He is impossibly adorable, and I love a man who can make me laugh.

Great choice!  There's nothing better than a man who can make me laugh.  

Maggie, thank you so much for visiting with us today and graciously answering my many questions.  Congratulations again on the debut of  Mistress by Mistake.  Now it's time to turn the tables.  Is there a question you’d like to ask our visitors?

As a debutante (even if I’m a bit long in the tooth), I’m curious—what makes you take a chance on an unknown author?

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Mistress by Mistake.


  1. Great interview! Mistress by Mistake looks like a great read!

    To answer your question Maggie, recommendations from fellow romance readers is usually what introduces me to debut authors. And, of course, blogs with reviews and interviews such as this one. ;)

  2. There are authors I like and I will pick up their books all the time. However, the determining factor to buy it is usually the cover blurb. Does it sound like a story I'll like or not. That is true of any book whether I am familiar with the author or not. I also read a lot of reviews. Books that have been highly praised by reviewers will be looked for if the story is one I'll like.

    Good interview. This sounds like a story I could enjoy.

  3. what makes you take a chance on an unknown author?

    Usually the reviews that i read on blogs that i visit.

    but if it's on bookshop, the blurb on back cover that usually help me to decide whether i will take my chance to read a book from unknown author :)

    As for your book, i had read several GREAT reviews about it. so i will definitely take my chance to read it !

  4. New fan of Maggie here! I like discovering new authors like Maggie. I rely on reader and blog reviews plus recommendations from authors who are on my auto-buy list. Thanks for a wonderful Q&A post with Maggie!

  5. Good morning everybody! PJ, thanks for the opportunity to ramble on!I'll try to pop in and out today, but I've got some real-life reality that's raining on my romance parade. My husband's in the hospital with something pretty complicated and serious, but we're looking at much better news than we originally thought. We'll still take all the positive vibes we can, because the next six months will be a challenge. Maybe I can get him to read my book while he convalesces. ;)

  6. (((Maggie))) I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I'll be keeping both of you in my prayers and sending tons of positive vibes your way!

  7. Congratulations Maggie on your new release! I've been a lurker on your blog for quite some time and I'm very excited to read Mistress by Mistake!

    Once a month I read a book by a 'new to me' or debut author. It's the only way I have of adding new authors to my 'auto-buy' list. I pick these new authors using several scientific tried and true methods. Some months it has to do with sub-genre; it could be January and I'm in the mood for a book that takes place in a warm climate. Other months nothing but an historical will satisfy. Still other months it must be danger and romantic suspense.

    Then, of course there are the months where I browse on-line and read reviews to see what's up.

    Sometimes - very, very rarely, the cover peaks my interest.

    Then there are the times when I see if an author I like is giving a new book/author a good recommendation.

    So there you have it, my scientific, never fails way of picking up a debut or new to me author.

  8. Hi Maggie, I love the cover of Mistress By Mistake, sexy and elegant at the same time. That cover and your title would catch my eye. Recommendations by other readers and good reviews will often make me pick up a new author. But a cover that catches my eye, an intriguing blurb on the back and a good first page that hooks me straight away will often result in me buying the book.
    Good luck with your launch!

  9. Morning, Trisha! Glad to know we're successfully feeding your reading habit. ;-) Like you, I get many of my book recs from fellow romance readers and blogs.

    Hope you enjoy Mistress by Mistake!

  10. Librarypat, I'm with you on the cover blurb. I always read that before buying a book if I'm unfamiliar with the story.

    I'm curious, has the cover blurb ever led you astray?

  11. Hi Mariska! Hope you enjoy Maggie's book! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Hi etirv! I love discovering new authors too. Hope you enjoy Mistress by Mistake and don't forget Tempting Eden in June!

  13. Marisa, I think you're going to really enjoy Mistress by Mistake.

    I love that you try one "new to me" author every month!

  14. Great interview!

    Please don't enter me in the giveaway. I'm Maggie's cp, so I've been lucky to read her books way early. *gloat* I'm so excited that everyone gets to discover the wonderfulness of Maggie, and the simple joy of Maggie's talent. She's phenomenal, both as Maggie Robinson and Margaret Rowe.

    I'm more likely to take a chance on a debut author given the blurb, the buzz, and what I hear from my friends. I remember the buzz surrounding Sherry Thomas and Anna Campbell, and they both lived up what everyone said and then some.

  15. Congrats on your debut!!
    I decide to read a new author by reading blogs just like this. I have found several new authors this year. The blog tours definitely make a difference.
    Good luck!! I know you will do great.

  16. Hi, Maggie and welcome! I've heard a lot of good buzz about Mistress by Mistake--looking forward to reading it and the rest of your yummy sounding books to come. ;-)

    I usually try a debut author based on recommendations from friends and often on reviews that I read. Lucky for me, I've found many debut authors that have become favorites.

    Maggie, I'm sending you and your husband lots of prayers and (((hugs))).

  17. Hello and welcome to the Dish, Maggie! Great interview with you and PJ. Congratulations on both of your debuts! I hope they both sell well. :)

    As for your question, I go by two things--the blurb (if it sounds appealing to me) and other romance readers' reviews/recommendations.

  18. Maggie, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband!! Please know that he (and you) will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. Congratulations! There are quite a few things that will encourage me to try a new author. There's the chatter about a particular person that will add their name to my list of authors to check out, sometimes it is a cover that will get me to pick up a book and the back blurb sounds fun. I too am a librarian and I love using Novelist for Read-like suggestions. Friends' recommendations of course are another way I'll try someone. I do tend to check out books from the library for a first time author. Sample chapters or sections on an author's website also help to determine if I'll like the person's writing style. Friends of the library sales have also gotten me into trouble as I buy way too many books there since they are so cheap.

  20. Hi Ely! You did a great job of building up my excitement for MBM over the past months. You're a good example of why I take a chance on a new author. :)

  21. But a cover that catches my eye, an intriguing blurb on the back and a good first page that hooks me straight away will often result in me buying the book.

    The Book-Buying Trifecta! That will usually do it for me too, Kandy. For your 2009 debut, Love is a Four-Legged Word, it was the title, the dog on the cover and the recommendation of a trusted friend. Btw, dogs on the cover will always cause me to take a second look at a book.

  22. Hi runner10! I hope we've helped you discover some new favorite authors this year. Thanks for visiting!

  23. Friends of the library sales have also gotten me into trouble as I buy way too many books there since they are so cheap.

    Kelly, those FOL sales can put a dent in my wallet too. They're just too good of a bargain to resist...and for a great cause!

  24. I confess covers are the first thing to attract my attention if I don't know the author. I'm so lucky to have great debut covers---Alan Ayers was the artist for both of them even though they come out from 2 different publishers. No wonder I couldn't decide which I liked best. ;)

    I'll check back in later. Thanks for the congrats!

  25. Congrats Maggie!

    What makes me try a debut author? A nice blurb on the back of a book that intruiges me or a great cover. (Yes that is kind of shallow but I must confess that I bought a few just because they seemed nice and had a lovely front.) Good reviews online or a recomandation of a friend.

  26. Congratulations, Maggie, on the upcoming release of MBM! I can't wait to read it!

    Prayers to you and your husband.

    I take a chance on new authors by reading the back cover of the book. I also listen to opinions of others on blogs and form my own decision. BUT, I have a great bookstore I go to and the owners know the kinds of stories and plots and characters I like, so they will suggest books for me to read. Isn't that way cool of them? So, it's a combination of things.

    Congrats again!

  27. I'm off for my volunteer day at the hospital. Be back later!

  28. Congrats, again, Maggie!

    When I first started reading romance, it was blurbs on the back cover. If it sounded interesting I picked it up. Now, it is almost totally recs from friends and reviews from those I trust and who have similar tastes. If I'm not sure about an author I get them from the library and if I like them I go out and buy the book.

    Maggie - hugs, prayers and good thoughts to you and the DH! I hope all turns out okay.

  29. Congrats on the new book. It sounds interesting and I've seen a couple good reviews on it.

    I'll try a new author based upon the book blurb or perhaps additional information such as an interview like this one or a review that gives me a little more insight into what the book is about. It's always nice to find a new author to enjoy.

  30. Hi Maggie,

    Again, congratulations on the release of your first book! So exciting!

    Since I have such a huge library of books just waiting to be read (last count nears 1000) I tend to be very picky about adding an untried author to the bunch. I don't just pick-up a book at the store without it being researched first and put on a books-to-buy list. Blogs tours like this are a great source of information. They introduce an author and her work and allow me to read snippets of the stories. I also enjoy reading a little of the back story about what went into the story to get it published.

    Did I mention both your aliases are going on my BTB list?

  31. I haven't been online much today because I've been reading this great book by a new author--Mistress by Mistake by Maggie Robinson. :) I'm loving it!

    I try new authors based on recs by friends, reviews from trusted sources, and favorable impression of the author from blog tours.

  32. Great interview!

    Honestly for me i'll chance a new author two ways. One being i see their book at a book sale or yard sale. This is actually how i got into a lot of my favorite authors. The second would be from a recommendation or a review. I rarely ever randomly pick up a new book by a author i've never read otherwise.


  33. Sending your hubby healing aloha vibes. Take care, Maggie!

  34. Recommendations from readers and blogs like these are great introductions to new authors. I really enjoy the interviews and book excerpts. I've seen several great posts about Mistress by Mistake and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for visiting.

  35. Great interview! :) I'm definitely looking forward to reading this book, Maggie. And congratulations on your double debut, what a great accomplishment!

    As for what will make me try a new author, if it catches my eye at the bookstore, and the back cover blurb intrigues me, I'll buy it. I may also skim a few pages or read a bit at the bookstore to make sure. I will also check out the author's website and read some exceprts from there too. Other times, it's recommnendations from my friends. I'm a member of Eloisa and JQ's BB, so I get a lot of suggestions and recommendations there, as well. I've had the opportunity to go to some author readings and signings, so I get exposed to new authors there as well. So for me, it's a number of different factors! But mostly, if the back blurb and the exceprt intrigue me, I'll buy it, or at least check it out at my local library.

  36. Hey Maggie! And welcome to The Romance Dish. All of your books sound wonderful! I can't wait to get my hands on MISTRESS BY MISTAKE. And you have me already anxious about ANY WICKED THING. I love hot, wicked dukes!

    I love that your hubby has taken over the cooking duties and seems to be doing really well with it. How wonderful to have a supportive spouse. I'm so sorry to hear he is in the hospital at the moment. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    As for your question, of course I take recommendations from fellow readers and blog sites, but I have been know just to grab a book based solely on the cover or just want to try a new author.

  37. Hi Maggie! So been excited about both your May and June books! I adore historical romances and love to read all the sensualities! I find it so exciting to read a debut author! I have favorites of my autobuys and I keep adding to them with the debuts! Its an exciting feeling to read a new writing voice. Then too, I love reading the unique stories as well as my favorite themes (I have many including arranged marriage, beauty and the beast, etc). So its not so much just the different themes but my favorites as well. I don't think I can resist a debut read! Congrats on all your releases!