Author Spotlight: Maya Rodale

Happy Monday Folks!

Tis a beautiful spring day in NYC finally! FINALLY!!!! This week Ma Nature seems to be in a better mood. Maybe celebrating Earth Day yesterday has something to do with it. I’m hoping this isn’t a cruel trick and we’re getting the spring we deserve after a long hard winter. In any case, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. 

This week’s spotlight features a super lovely lady. I first met Maya last year at the Baltimore Book Festival when we sat on a panel together. We’ve gotten to know each other over these last few months, and I think you should get to know a little about her as well. 

Oh, and there’s a giveaway at the end of the interview! Take it away Maya…

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I don’t get the appeal of Mr. Darcy. I’m totally meh on Colin Firth and I don’t know these Hiddleston’s and Hardy’s I see people gushing about on Twitter. I’m not 100% clear which comes off first: a corset or a chemise. And I’m not the hugest Georgette Heyer fan. GASP. I know, I know: you are rummaging around for your smelling salts because a Regency author has just confessed to the most unpardonable sins of Regency Romancelandia. Otherwise, I am terribly well behaved and woefully lacking in secrets, though I do have a fondness for swearing, particularly the c-word.

If there’s one thing you could change about your husband, what would it be? Don’t worry I won’t tell Mr. Rodale. Pinky swear!

Oh, Mr. Rodale knows what I’m about to say! He has this deplorable habit of leaving his dirty socks on the floor, in the middle of the living room, where I am vexed by the sight of them and the choice of either living in clutter (horrors) or cleaning up after him (and thus perpetuating the patriarchy). So if I could change one thing about him it would be to make him a person who puts his socks in the hamper immediately after removing them. I ask for so much.

What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?

Coming up with unique and heartfelt inscriptions when I sign books for people I know. The expectation to write something original, witty, clever, deeply heartfelt and personal ON THE SPOT while they are looking at me is just. Too. Much. Pressure.

Would you rather go back to age five with everything you know now or know now everything your future self will learn?

So I was going to say “let’s go back to five with everything I know now” because while I would make 98% of the same choices all over again, it could be interesting to redo everything with one or two little tweaks. But then would my childhood be ruined because I know too much? So then I’m thinking I’ll take all my future self knows. But the long and short of it is: stock tips. I would like stock market tips but otherwise I love the mystery and adventure of life.   

What is the most uplifting thing happening in the world right now?   

THE RESISTANCE. The energy of the women’s march, Black Lives Matter, the Parkland kids, and all the women running for office have me intrigued, inspired and optimistic that this period is just the darkness before the dawn.

What fictional place would you most like to visit?

The Plaza Hotel as it is in the Eloise books, with Eloise. Or I would like to spend a summer with Anne Shirley on Prince Edward Island. I know these are all real places that I could visit tomorrow, but I would like to experience the fictional version with the fictional characters.

If life is a game like some people say, what are some of the rules?

Be kind to yourself and others. Fuck the other rules.

What’s something you resent paying for?

The tampon tax. The military. The patriarchy.

If someone were to ask you for a music recommendation, what artist or band would you recommend?

According to Spotify, right now I am loving Bishop Briggs, K.Flay, Lorde and Kacey Musgraves. Also, HAMILTON. Both the original soundtrack and mixtape.

Finish this sentence: All romance novels should have _______.

A happy ending!

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

I am blushing just reading this question! 😳

Maya was generous enough to offer one lucky person a signed paperback copy of The Wicked Wallflower and signed cover art for her book It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke. Want to win these goodies? Leave a comment below or on whichever social media platform you view this post (Twitter, my Facebook Author Page, or Google+) with the title of your favorite Historical Romance. It’s that simple. A winner will be randomly selected on 4/30. The giveaway is open to US & International residents! Good luck! 😎


Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a frequent contributor to NPR BooksThe Huffington PostBustle and more. Maya lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

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Activate your one-click finger and pre-order Duchess By Design, Book One in Maya’s upcoming Gilded Age series due out in November! 

New Column!

Hey Peeps, 

Happy Monday! Hope your day is going better than mine. My morning commute to work began with me getting splashed by a taxicab and then having to take off my pants in my office and placing them on a heater so they could dry. FUN TIMES! 😒 But now I have dry pants, hooray!

After some discussion with my editor aka my sounding board, I’ve decided to launch a new column here on the blog. There will be a couple of new columns rolling out in the coming months, but this is the first. If you follow me on most social media platforms, you probably know I consider myself a slow writer. Slow and steady works for me. With self-imposed deadlines, I get to take my time which ensures I put out quality work. 

This weekend, I took some time to reread the stories I’ve previously published, and man, the improvement in my craft is noticeable. *I* think I’ve come a loooong way since 2014. And I think it shows not only in my newsletter exclusives but also in my current WIPs. Anywho, I guess you’ll get to see for yourselves when I roll out new features in the coming months. LOL, I’m such a tease. #noshame 

In any case, today marks the debut of “Shit I’m Digging.” This bi-weekly column will focus on pop culture goodness that’s brought joy to my life in some way. Naming a column “Harper’s Recs” sounds boring as hell but “Shit I’m Digging?” That has an exciting ring to it. A bit of New York flair if you will. 😏

So what am I digging this week? 

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram

Pic courtesy of Instagram


Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella this past Saturday.  I AM STILL IN RECOVERY MODE. Beyoncé was THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO EVER HEADLINE THE FESTIVAL!!! Sweet baby Jeebus! 👀 The woman came out in custom Balmain and channeled Queen Nefertiti as no one else could. I get that not everyone is into Beyoncé or her music (which baffles me), but her originality is admirable. 

In a time where anti-Blackness is once again making a comeback, Bey thought it best to serve melanin in Queen form to all the haters. The woman serenaded a crowd of thousands with ”Lift Every Voice and Sing” (aka the Black National Anthem) by James Weldon Johnson. WHO DOES THAT? She is eye-catching, consistent, innovative and hardworking. These are qualities I believe every entrepreneur should strive for when marketing their brand.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. LISTEN, CIVIL WAR ZOMBIES! That is all you need to know. 

Bitter by Meshell Ndegeocello. When I write, I create playlists inspired by my characters and the journey their relationship takes. I’m smack dab in sad territory with my current WIP, and this album is helping me navigate my way through some dangerous emotions. Bitter has got to be one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of music ever created. Don’t believe me? Give it a listen. I’ve been a fan of Meshell’s for years, and she continues to elevate her creativity with each album. If you become a fan after listening to the Bitter record, then my job is done. Adam is linked here, but you can stream the entire album on YouTube for free. 

I’m digging this article I read last week in the Guardian in which Hall & Oates discuss how one of their biggest songs came to be and how Michael Jackson sampled it. I’m usually in the know when it comes to music trivia, but this little tidbit blew my mind. I now listen to both songs differently!


More specifically, the Teddy Perkins episode of Atlanta. HOLY CRAP! If you haven’t watched Atlanta, I highly recommend starting with Season One. Donald Glover is creating funny and relatable television, but this particular episode in Season Two left me staring at my television like… 😨 I wasn’t ready for it. If you’re a fan of the movies Get Out and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, this will be right up your alley. The multiple pop culture references… GENIUS.  

And that’s all folks! This concludes the inaugural edition of Shit I’m Digging! Visit the blog in two weeks to see what new pop culture goodness has captured my attention.

*whispers* I swear this post could have been nothing but me breaking down Beyoncé’s outfits and set list. I’m proud of myself for reeling it in!

Author Spotlight: Melissa Blue

Hi Folks, 

Happy Monday! Hope everyone is doing well this week. Whew, last week was B-A-N-A-N-A-S! I hoped things would be calmer this week, but sweet baby Jeebus I had to log onto Twitter this AM. It’s a good thing I don’t have high blood pressure because MY GOODNESS, THE FUCKERY IS OVERWHELMING*fingers crossed* Here’s to hoping things are a bit calmer the next couple of days. Like last week’s featured author, Holley Trent, I first crossed paths with Melissa Blue back in 2013. Hard to believe so much time has passed! Melissa has always been witty and brutally honest. Did I mention I adore her writing?

Get to know a little bit about this fun lady! Take it away Melissa… 

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

But I am the evil doppelganger already. There’s some nice Melissa out there in another universe who doesn’t curse or collect baes and goes to church.

The dark, embarrassing secret though? After two kids, sometimes I pee a little when I sneeze.

How is writer Melissa from 2013 different than writer Melissa in 2018?

Oooh. This is a tough one. She was a lot more focused on making it. She wanted the accolades and the money. She also worked her butt off to try and attain it. Me, right now. I feel like the queen of the world if I write more than a paragraph.

Would you rather go to jail for four years for something you didn’t do or get away with something horrible you did but always live in fear of being caught?

I’m not made for jail. I have always known this about myself. I’ll do something horrible and get a therapist to deal with any possible sleepless nights.

If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

Before this year I would have said Samuel L. Jackson, but now I am one-hundred percent sure Tiffany Haddish is the only choice. She has zero chill but is more than capable to show some vulnerability. And can laugh at herself. I do that so very often.

To piggyback off question 4, what movie genre does your life story fall into?

Good gawd. It would be one of those horrible navel-gazing with no true goal and likely a lackluster ending books, with a touch of romance in it. I am going to die at the end after all. So…a Nicholas Sparks novel.

What book protagonist would make the worst roommate?

From one of my books? Even though I love Wade with all of my heart, I could not live with him. He’d leave the toilet seat up then give a five-hour lecture on why it’s fair. And I’d have to kill him.

What fad have you held on to, even though it isn’t popular anymore?

Ballerina styled-flats. You will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers. Or ya know. They’ll stop making them and I’ll be so screwed.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Absolutely. Dead people and vomit. I would abandon my children, my mother, and friends if I come across either. I refuse to go to a cemetery. Ever. I am convinced the day I do, a hand is going to come out of the grass to grab me. NOPE.

If you had the power to fix one thing in Romancelandia with the snap of your fingers, what problem would you solve?

Just one thing? I would fix the problem Romancelandia has with publishing anything other than white cishet and able-bodied. I believe if we can combat that then we’d have a better shot of rooting out misogyny too.

How to go about that? I don’t know. The first step though, is everyone actually believing WOC when we tell them inequality exists in every level of publishing.

What’s the title of your future memoir?

Fuck Yo Ancestors.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Most definitely would love to try it one day. I’ve been on Fetlife to see if there was a club or dungeon nearby, alas. Also, I would be a Domme. The very thought of submitting makes me want to fight.  


Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn’t looked back since.

Outside of writing, Blue works as a mail clerk for the federal government, has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dust pan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny.

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