Name: Maia Correll
Novel Title: Dare to Au Pair
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: August 6, 2024
Your Website/Platform Name: maiacorrell.com (maia.correll on IG)
1. Can you give me a brief overview of your novel?
Just a typical day at your summer job. When recent business school grad and meticulous ten-year planner, Kat McLauren, takes an unplanned au pair position in the French Riviera to schmooze a future employer, she haphazardly upholds her reputation while rejuvenating a local tourism magazine, grappling with three unruly kids, and avoiding a romance with the host family's eldest son. But if a summer full of well-aged wine, sizzling flirtation, and a bit of betrayal can promise one thing, it’s that sometimes the best things in life are the ones we don’t plan for.
2. What inspired you to write it?
The atmosphere and story themes dropped in and I was enamored and transfixed. I got this feeling like I had to write this story. I’m also a recent business school grad, just like Kat. I had my sights set on Corporate America for as long as I could remember. It was part of the identity I’d crafted for the outside world. After a few rock-bottoms, I was presented with a crossroads: continue on with a great company and a great team in Orlando, or move back home to Rhode Island and embark on the career of my dreams (author/screenwriter/entrepreneur). I quickly learned that just because an opportunity is a great one doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Maybe it’s the Aries Rising in me, but it felt like a fire had roared awake inside my being. I knew exactly where I was headed. I had no way of knowing how or when anything would transpire, but I had faith in the process and in myself. Within six months, I had a publishing deal with CamCat Books.
3. What themes or messages do you hope readers take away from your novel?
Especially for my recent college grads out there, you’re right on time. And it’s never ever ever too late (or early) to shift career lanes.
4. How did you approach the writing process for this book?
First, I went straight to Pinterest to really compile the atmosphere I was looking for. Since my book is set in the south of France, I did a lot of research on these seaside towns to capture the colloquialisms, the food, and the sights. Much of my YouTube history included vlogs around farmers’ markets and beach cafes.
5. Were there any challenges you faced while writing this novel? How did you overcome them?
Many of my characters pepper in French words and sayings, so I had to do a little French 101 to make sure the translations came across as intended.
6. What advice do you have for aspiring authors who are working on their first book?
If you’re like me, I’m a big-picture kind of gal. I like to feel, see, smell, taste, and hear the whole story. That’s absolutely wonderful, and I will continue with my cinematic approach to writing. That being said, the big-picture may (and often does) evolve throughout the book, so once you’ve got something to work with, start penning that first chapter, or whichever you’d like to start with! That’s how I’ve finished some of my greatest scenes. Just by sitting down and seeing what words fly out of my fingertips. I have to tell myself this with every book I write now, because I can so easily get lost in my Pinterest boards soaking up *vibes* for hours on end.. Dive in. First and foremost, always do the process that works best for you.
7. Can you share any upcoming projects or future plans in the world of writing and literature?
I’m really inspired by the world of metaphysics in my day-to-day life. Many of my writing projects will include that moving forward. (Think astrology, tarot, elemental magic, yoga, etc.). Other projects include a sprinkling of romantic comedies and dramedies.
8. Finally, if there's one thing you'd like your readers to remember about you and your work, what would it be?
Some amazing news that I get to share is Dare to Au Pair has been optioned for TV production by Levantine Films (the same production studio behind Academy Award Nominee Hidden Figures) — stay tuned for development updates!
Name: Madison Lawson
Novel Title: The Registration & The Registration Re-Written
Genre: Sci-fi Suspense
Release Date: 09/27/2022 & 10/01/2024
Website/Platform Name: madisonlawson.com
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org & 903-413-9224
1. Can you give me a brief overview of your novel?
Most citizens have the legal right to murder one person in their life, as long as they Register and complete the murder within fourteen days. Lynell Mize plans to Register the man who abused her through her childhood but never gets the chance when her name is said by a stranger at the front of the line. Death looming and her estranged husband back by her side digging up the past Lynell prefers to bury, her world begins to spiral. In an effort to survive the next fourteen days, she's confronted with dark secrets about her family and herself. Lynell is determined to outlive the Registration, overcome the guilt that tore her marriage apart, and discover who wants her dead… and why.
The Registration Rewritten:
Still bearing wounds from barely surviving the Registration, Lynell struggles to fill her new role as the heir and leader of the very system that aimed to kill her. She must convince the Registration committee and the country’s oligarchs that she can fill her uncle’s shoes, while simultaneously proving to the country’s largest rebel group that she is nothing like her uncle—ruthless and greedy. When Sawyer, the leader of the Resurrection, reaches out with proof that they are both on the hitlist of powerful people who wish to destroy the rebels and take over the Registration, the two women form an uneasy alliance. With mere days until the committee announces a policy change that will increase the Registration’s lethal power, Lynell and Sawyer must find out who wants them dead—and all signs point so someone close.
2. What inspired you to write it?
A few years ago, some political current events kept coming up in my life and causing friction in my relationships, specifically any happenings around abortion and the death penalty. I have very strong personal opinions about both, but what caused the true grief and anger was how these opinions influenced all my relationships. I noticed how easily I lost trust in someone after learning their opinion. This made me want to write a book where both are completely legal, which turned into anything that anyone considers murder (from abortions to assisted suicide to killing an innocent person in cold blood) is legal no matter the circumstance. I didn’t want to focus on the government aspect or write a “teenage girl saves the dystopian world” novel, I wanted to focus on this sort of law would impact relationships, particularly familial relationships.
3. Tell me about the main characters in your book. What makes them unique or relatable?
Lynell is an incredibly strong and resilient person who has been through more than her fair share of trauma. She struggles with the fear of abandonment and trust to the detriment of a happy life. Her inability to trust herself, others, or life in general has kept her from finding the happy, safe, peaceful life that she wants more than anything else. Her decisions might sometimes look selfish but they’re born out of fear, something that I’m sure many people can relate to. Despite this, when she’s forced to face the worst of life, including the immediate threat of her own life and long-since buried familial secrets, she steps up to the plate and meets it head on. Her biggest fears and her biggest hopes often clash and both of these come to a head in The Registration.
In the Registration Rewritten, we meet Sawyer D’Angelo, the head of the largest rebel group in the country. In many ways, she’s the exact opposite of Lynell. She’s super in touch with her emotions and other people. She’s trusting and desperately wants to make the people she loves proud. She’s still dealing with intense grief from losing her wife six years ago. When she’s faced with danger and betrayal she’s never experienced before, she’s forced to look into herself and figure out who SHE is and what SHE wants outside of her friends and family. Sawyer is much more relatable to people who are ruled by their heart more than their head or gut (like Lynell). But she’s also more understanding and caring than someone like Lynell who is much more cynical. Sawyer and Lynell are similar in their loyalty and their desire to protect their family and their dreams of a better future for everyone. Daniel is more similar to Sawyer in that he’s in touch with his feelings and heart and he’s unafraid to be vulnerable or let people know how much he loves them. He’s also more forgiving than Lynell would ever know how to be.
4. What themes or messages do you hope readers take away from your novel?
In almost everything I’ve ever written; family has been a theme. In The Registration, I wanted to answer the question: How resilient are family bonds and what sort of duty do we have to family members? I think what moves me about this is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut answer. It all depends on the individual and the situation. And while I want to believe that blood family doesn’t mean anything beyond genetics unless we give it meaning, there does seem to be a sort of pull there, whether we want it or not.
Honestly, I’m okay with any message readers walk away with. But if I had to pick, I would love for people to realize that most things are always more complicated than they seem and no one should be reduced to one opinion. Yes, I think some things and political views are not okay, but most people are so much more than one view. And those opinions are always influenced by other aspects of their life. But in the end, we should all be choosing what is good. Also, I’d love for readers to see that family is more important than most things. But family doesn’t have to be blood. It can be chosen. You get to choose who is in your life and deserves your love, loyalty, and trust.
5. How did you approach the writing process for this book?
My writing process different all the time but usually, I’ll go to a coffee shop, listen to one of my playlists, and simply start writing. I’m a pantser, not a planner, so I let the story unfold as I write it. That was incredibly true with The Registration. I had no idea what was going to happen until it happened. Then there is a LOT of work during the editing process because of the previously mentioned.
The Registration Rewritten was a different type of process than anything else and was, by far, the hardest book I’ve ever written. This book went through more HUGE developmental, plot point changes then any other book, so the writing process for it was more like a giant editing process.
6. Do you have any writing rituals or habits that you follow?
I always create a playlist dedicated to the specific book I’m working on. I have one for every book I’ve written and most I want to write in the future. I also tend to go to a coffee shop and get a latte when I do a large chunk of writing.
7. Were there any challenges you faced while writing this novel? How did you overcome them?
For The Registration, the most challenging part was probably describing locations. I can’t really see pictures in my head, so it’s difficult to describe settings that are realistic and flushed out. Even more challenging is remembering what I’ve described in the past. I can’t tell you how many times a location or a character’s appearance changed throughout the book simply because I couldn’t remember what I’d written in the past. This became way more of an issue when writing The Registration Rewritten. I never planned on a sequel to the Registration but Sawyer’s story came to me and it had to be told. However, I didn’t write the first book with a second in mind so I had to work around world rules and things I said in book 1. I couldn’t figure out how to start the book or what the main plot would be and these kept changing. I deleted several characters and added giant plot points and changed the timeline, etc. so many times before creating this final version.
8. What advice do you have for aspiring authors who are working on their first book?
Keep going. I know that’s so vague and broad but it’s honestly the best advice I can give. I heard someone say once that to be a successful writer you need at least two of these three things: talent, persistence, and luck. If you’re persistent, then you’re halfway there. Writing often comes with a TON of rejection. First you have to query agents, then you have to send your manuscript to publishers, and then reviewers and bloggers get their hands on the book. Most of us will be rejected dozens and dozens of times during our careers. But it really is true what they say: it only takes ONE yes. I queried 82 agents with three different manuscripts before signing with Julie Gwinn with The Registration. Try not to let disappointment or discouragement stop you from trying to achieve your goals and dreams.
9. Can you share any upcoming projects or future plans in the world of writing and literature?
I’m not done with the world of The Registration, so keep your eyes out for news about a future for Lynell and Sawyer. I’m actually working on quite a few things. A sapphic fantasy, another adult dystopian (although less fast-paced than The Registration and much darker), a YA fantasy that I’m writing with a friend of mine, and an adult contemporary fantasy/mystery that is honestly my favorite book I’ve ever written!
10. Is there a particular moment or review from a reader that stands out to you and made your journey as an author more meaningful?
It’s more every little response that makes this journey worth it. Anytime someone tells me they couldn’t put my book down or that they loved the story, I’m filled with encouragement. Also, since The Registration Rewritten was such a difficult book to write, hearing people say they love that book, in particular if they say they love it more than the first book, means the world to me.
The main point of my books is entertainment. But hearing that my book meant more to someone than entertainment purposes is incredibly meaningful. Like if it made them think about how certain opinions or beliefs have negatively impacted their relationships or their judgment of other people or if it made them appreciate a loved one’s journey more or see something from someone else's point of view, then it’s all worth it.
11. Finally, if there's one thing you'd like your readers to remember about you and your work, what would it be?
There is always more coming and I post all my updates on my website – madisonlawson.com. Also, you can subscribe to my email list to be the first for all updates on future projects!