Bestseller Maxwell returns to her paranormal roots in The Dark King (Entangled Amara, Oct.), a romance between Las Vegas hotelier and fae king Caiden and feisty Wisconsinite Bryn.
Why paranormal romance?
I’m kind of a romance snob. I only read and write romance, because no matter what mood you’re in, you can always find it as a subgenre of romance: suspense, comedy, westerns, Regency, thrillers. You can always find it, and then you have the bonus of the romance as well. It’s the best of both worlds. I started as a paranormal author. My very first contract was for a paranormal trilogy about vampires and angels. I’m a huge, huge fan of Gena Showalter, Kresly Cole, Laura Adrian, Larissa Ione—they were all my inspiration when I first started writing. And then when I became a contemporary romance author, I had to ask my editor, “What do these characters do all day, when they don’t have a prophesy to figure out or a world to save? They just sit and talk and get to know each other?” I had to learn what contemporary was. I stuck with that for a few years, but now I’m back and I’m super-excited about it, because I love to build worlds with my own rules.
Your version of Vegas is teeming with dark fae. How did you approach the worldbuilding?
I like to base it in as much reality as possible, even with it being a paranormal story. I did a lot of research on fae lore and I also had one of my readers who is something of a fae expert as a backup consult. I chose what worked for me, what worked for the story, and the world I wanted to create. There were a few things that I took liberty with, but I really loved creating the world out of as much real lore as possible. For those who are interested in that kind of lore, they relate to that and recognize it. And for those who are not familiar with it, as I was not before I started writing this, it’s something that you can just steep yourself in without having any prior knowledge of it.
Tell me about your approach to the sex scenes.
Oddly enough, I hate writing sex scenes. People are always sad to hear that, because that’s what I’m known for. But I hate writing them. I love having written them. I think I do them very well. But they’re so draining because I put so much detail into them. You’re not only dealing with internal monologues, you’re working with dialogue and logistics—the setting, what they’re smelling, and hearing, and feeling. So instead, I’ll put “insert sex scene here,” and then I have to go back and write all the sex scenes. I title the missing sections with what’s going to go on in the scene. Years ago—my daughter was 13 at the time, I think—I had labeled one of the scenes “butt sex.” My daughter came up behind me and said, “Chapter 12: butt sex. God, Mom!” I was like, “Stop looking over my shoulder!”