Featured Interview With Maria Imbalzano
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I’m a retired matrimonial lawyer from central New Jersey who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, I now spend my days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through my women’s fiction/contemporary romance novels.
I love to dance, listen to music while walking along the beach, and make jigsaw puzzles (I also love to solve crossword puzzles). My guilty pleasures are eating milk chocolate candy, watching any of the Bachelor franchise reality shows, and reading People magazine.
My novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award. My novellas, “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” and “A Song For Another Day” each came in first in their category in the National Excellence in Story Telling contest. They are finalists (against each other) in the Beverley contest.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
When I was eight, I went to the library every Sunday and borrowed the maximum number of books possible. My mother would tell me to go outside and play, but I wanted to sit in the house and read. One day she shooed me out the door and then locked it so I couldn't sneak back in to get lost in a Nancy Drew or Bobbsey Twins book. Despite my love of reading, I hated to write. It wasn't until I was in law school that I started enjoying it–although legal writing is very difference. It's linear and analytical (hardly creative). I didn't get the bug to write a book until I was in my late thirties. It took a mere fifteen years after that to get published!
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite authors (along with my favorite books of theirs) are Judith McNaught (Perfect) Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed) , Rachel Gibson (Truly, Madly Yours), and Kristin Hannah (The Great Alone). I love contemporary romance, but I also like suspense (The Marriage Lie, Ghosted). If I need inspiration while writing an intimate scene, I will read an erotic book to get into the spirit of things. If I need inspiration on plot or characterization, I'll read anything- our book club choice, the latest book I purchased for my Kindle, or a borrowed book from my daughter who belongs to the Book of the Month Club.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
"Sworn to Fly" is the third book of my Sworn Sisters series (they are all stand alone books). This is Alyssa's story. She is one of four girlfriends, the homebody of the bunch, who is going through a personal crisis workwise and relationship wise. To get away from it all, she books a week at a rustic mountain resort to ponder her next steps and rejuvenate. But when she arrives, she learns she’s enrolled in boot camp, an adventure program far out of her comfort zone.
While there, she meets Gabe, a world-travelling high fashion photographer who is in danger of losing his clients as well as his status if he doesn’t start following the rules. While hiking, kayak racing, and participating in team challenges, sparks fly between Alyssa and Gabe as they encourage each other to take different life paths.
There are four books in this series and I wrote a draft of all four before I sent out the first one to my publisher. Knowing myself, I was afraid I would change the town one of the four friends lived in, or possibly a career, which might contradict what I had said in a different book. In fact, I did change where Alyssa currently lives and moved her from Point Pleasant, NJ, a shore town, to Lawrenceville, NJ, her hometown where she and her friends had gone to high school.
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