Maya Banks describes her "Breathless" trilogy as a blending of the last two styles of books she wrote: the highly erotic romance that was the hallmark of her "Sweet" series combined with the über-Alphas brought to life in Harlequin's Desire line.The trilogy revolves around the lives of best friends Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell and Ash McIntyre. Gabe's story, Rush, the first in the series, is set for release Tuesday. In the dedication, Banks acknowledges her family for being "patient" with her, because the idea for the series struck during a family vacation.Banks, 40, said her three teenage children have grown used to the demands of her career as an author."They're not very impressed anymore," she said.Banks lives with her family in Southeast Texas, and Houston was the setting for the "Sweet" series. She'll be heading to Dallas on Feb. 16 for an event at the Angelika Film Center.Her husband helps juggle their children's hectic schedules, and she says that, as they have gotten older, it has become easier to get engrossed in her work."When I started out, they didn't always understand why they didn't have Mom's undivided attention," she said. "They're really good now about leaving me alone and letting me get it done."Banks is a storyteller. She counts herself among writers who let the story flow from the keyboard, rather than a detailed outline. She said she often starts with a specific scene, not necessarily from the beginning of the book, and her story builds from there."I don't spend months doing detailed outlines and synopsis," said Banks, who estimates she wrote 10 or 11 books last year and is on track to write six or seven this year.She added that, if she blocked out the story before she wrote it, she would probably lose interest in the book."I approach writing a book as I do reading. For me, it's that joy of discovery as I write," Banks said.Her books typically have a wealth of well-developed secondary characters."That's what I like to read," she said. "I don't like having the hero and heroine in a bubble. It's rare in real life to have people exist in that bubble."She's not a fan of the first-person narrative because it limits the point of view to the narrator. Instead, she likes to take readers into the heads of the hero and heroine.Rush alternates between Gabe's point of view and that of Mia Crestwell. This is crucial to the plot of Rush because Mia is the younger sister of Jace. Mia is 14 years younger than her brother and his friends, and Gabe is bringing her into a dominant/submissive relationship, complete with a contract. From the beginning, Gabe knows he's crossing a line by pursuing Mia, but she's too irresistible for him to pull back.Banks said the storyline of falling for the best friend's younger sister is one of her favorites and that it was a natural way to launch this trilogy.Readers new to Banks' work might think she's joining the erotic-romance wave launched by E.L. James' hugely popular "Fifty Shades" trilogy, but Banks' steamy romances have been published since 2006, when Samhain Publishing released Seducing Simon.She said some Fifty Shades fans thought the second book in the "Sweet" series, Sweet Persuasion, was a rip-off of James, but had they checked the copyright they would have realized it was first published in June 2009 -- two full years before Fifty Shades of Grey.Jean Marie Brown,817-390-7828
Meet Maya Banks
Fresh Fiction/DFW Tea Readers hosts the author Feb. 16 at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. Tickets are $25, and include a copy of Rush. The event begins at 2 p.m. with a cocktail hour. Banks will speak at 3 p.m., and a book signing will follow.