Maria Imbalzano will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
I’m a matrimonial lawyer in central New Jersey where I not only use my law degree to navigate clients through the court system, but my 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 whatever free time I have, you’ll find me working on my next novel.
What was your first book?
“Unchained Memories” was my first book to be published in January of 2014. It’s the story of a rising medical malpractice attorney, Charlotte Taylor, who believes in standing up for the injured, giving them a voice, and advocating for their rights. She couldn't do it for her mother, so she does it for others, even if it means losing the love of her life.
Dr. Clayton Montgomery believes in working hard and playing even harder, until he reconnects with Charlotte. Barely noticing her crush when he tutored her ten years ago, Clay has a chance to make up for lost time when the beautiful lawyer comes back into town...until he discovers her chosen career path.
Philosophical differences soon become a reality and Charlotte is faced with the choice of representing a client against the hospital and against Clay. Charlotte has to decide whether to give up her career and her tribute to her mother for a second chance with the man who got away.
Describe your first break.
It took 15 years and a lot of rejection before I received the news I’d been hoping for. During that time, I felt like I was getting closer and closer to my goal. The rejection letters were nicer and more specific as well as encouraging. I had an agent for a while and won a major writing contest, allowing me to believe I could do this. Yet, nothing was happening. After giving up on landing a contract with any of the major New York publishing houses, I started sending my manuscript to smaller publishers. In May, 2013, The Wild Rose Press sent me a contract and I experienced my dream of being a published author. It has been a wonderful ride ever since.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
I love contemporary, single title romance. 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. While I will read historical, I know nothing about that era’s lifestyles and it would take an enormous amount of research and studying to learn it enough to write about it. I suppose I don’t have enough creativity to write paranormal since I would have to build my own world. Besides, I don’t like to read paranormal, so I know I wouldn’t want to write it. Contemporary romance is the place for me.
Are Happy Endings are must in your stories?
Being a romance writer, happy endings are a must.
What makes a protagonist interesting?
In my mind, the protagonist must be strong and independent -- not needing a hero, but wanting him because he’s just too good to pass up. She must have flaws that make her human with which the reader can relate. She must learn from the error of her ways and grow to become a better person.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
Writing is a solitary pursuit where you’re holed up in your office for hours every day (if you’re lucky). While you may not be interacting with real people, you are interacting with the characters in your head. Creating those characters and discovering a world for them to live in, grow in, deal with conflict, and find love is a special place to be. I am happiest when I’m starting a new book and learning about my hero and heroine and how they deal with issues as well as each other. I love when they’re together physically and emotionally and I also love when a conflict arises that tears them apart. Reaching into my experiences, whether joyful or devastating, helps with the emotions of my characters experience.
What is the worst thing?
The scary part of writing comes with sending my completed manuscript out into the world. Rejection is very hard (although I’ve developed thick skin over the years), especially when you love what you write. Even when my book is being published, I fret for months leading up to the release date wondering if readers will like it as much as my last book. And what if no one buys it? Or they buy it and write a bad review? What if my friends think this book is just not very good? All those thoughts go through your head making what should be a happy time, a worrisome time.
Pantser or plotter?
A plotter to the n’th degree.
What do you see the direction of your future writing taking? What can we expect next? Give us a little taste.
I am working on my first series called “Weekend Diaries.” It’s about four women who were best friends in high school and who are now in their early 30’s experiencing some challenges in their lives. The first book in the series is called “Changing Tides.” The heroine is going through a divorce and her friends are there to help her through. While she’s taking a leave of absence from work, she runs into a former crush who has his own issues. I hope to send this completed manuscript to my editor very soon.
Just for fun
Cat or dog person?
Gone with the Wind
Would you rather be the princess or the villain? Why?
A princess. I want to wear beautiful gowns and dance the waltz with my prince and live in castle with servants.
Who has more fun, orcs or hobbits?
I have no idea. I don’t read books with orcs or hobbits.
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.
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 www.mariaimbalzano.com