Monday, November 2, 2020

Autumn Romance in Vermont

 Isn't it fun to get hooked on a series of stories either set in a familiar place or that follow one another? I have to admit I have done that for years so I was excited when The Wild Rose Press began to publish a series of books set at the fictional location of the Deerbourne Inn in Vermont. I've featured a number of authors in the series, and Maria Imbalzano who has a Deerbourne story is my guest today. 

What would you say are some challenges of being a writer? 
My current challenge is coming up with big-story plot points that are fresh. Most of the books I have written (all contemporary romance) have twists and turns and are emotion-packed. I am working on the third book in my Sworn Sisters series (Sworn to Fly) and I’m questioning whether it lives up to the surprises that readers encountered in the first two books. I need to dig deeper before I let that book go.  

Tell us about your road to publication.

It was meandering and slow-going. I decided I wanted to write a novel in 1998, but had no idea how to do that. I was a psychology major in undergraduate school, and then went to law school. At that time, I was sailing along in my career as a divorce lawyer, was married,  and had two young children. While I loved legal writing, which is analytical and linear, I was not a fan of creative writing. But reading was my favorite pastime, and romance my favorite genre. I took a seminar called How to Write a Book in Fourteen Days- a Lawyer’s Guide (a very catchy title – no?) and followed the advice given. I sat down and plotted out my book, scene by scene, chapter by chapter. It was more of a blueprint then an outline. Then I wrote the book – with no knowledge of point of view, character arcs, conflicts, black moments etc. Of course, it was rejected, but I started to learn the craft of writing fiction through New Jersey Romance Writers and RWA. I wrote four books before I got published – fifteen years after I decided I wanted to write a novel. Persistance is key.   


What do you like best about being a writer?

I love creating new characters, new plot lines, and torturing the hero and heroine on their journey to find true love. It’s so much fun to get lost in my character’s heads as they figure out their next moves.

How do you come up with your characters?  That depends on the book. The women of the Sworn Sisters Series are best friends since high school and they are loosely based on my best friends from high school.  Some of my characters are lawyers (the heroines of “Unchained Memories,” “Dancing In The Sand,” and “Sworn to Remember.” Being a lawyer and working with lawyers makes it easy to create these characters. I then deepen the characters while working through the plot. If my heroine is a lawyer, the hero is going to be someone who is opposed to what she does.  In “Unchained Memories,” the hero is an ER doctor and the heroine a medical malpractice lawyer, which pits the two of them against each other from the very beginning. I want my characters to be in conflict from the start.

How do you come up with plots?

 Once I decide on my main characters, then its easier to come up with plots that will put them in conflict. For example, in “Dancing In The Sand,” the heroine is an environmental lawyer and the hero works in his father’s company which does fracking, causing major damage to water systems. The hero hires the law firm, where the heroine works, to represent his father’s company even though the firm usually represents the party suing company’s like his. That’s the subplot. The major plot has to do with the two of them having been together ten years earlier at a college graduation party, but the hero doesn’t remember the heroine. That plot came from a dream.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?  

Try to write every day, or as often as possible. I know how hard that is when you’re working full-time and have a family, but you will only get better while doing. Also take seminars and read books on the craft of writing. That way you can apply what you are learning to your work in progress. Once you have a draft of a manuscript going, join a critique group with two or three other writers who are at a stage a little further than you are. Getting knowledgeable feedback is key. And don’t give up!

Tell us about your latest book. What made you write it?  

“A Song For Another Day” is part of the Deerbourne Inn Series put out by The Wild Rose Press. I chose a character who had already been identified and lives in Willow Springs, Vermont, working as a shuttle driver for the Deerbourne Inn. His name is Jason Simmons and he also sings and plays guitar at the local bar.  I had wanted to write a story about a songwriter, because I’m in awe of them. So I developed Jason to be not only a singer and guitar player, but a songwriter trying to break into the Nashville music scene. The problem is that he has stage fright, and he blew his chance two years earlier when he walked off the stage. Jason is a quiet, reserved guy who likes small town life. Enter Gigi, an up and coming Broadway star who loves the limelight.  She’s only in Willow Springs for six weeks to direct their first Community Revue while waiting to hear about her audition for a part in the touring company of CATS. Jason and Gigi are very different people but their paths collide and sparks fly. Unfortunately, their stars are rising in different directions:  

Gigi Jenson, an up-and-coming Broadway star, finds herself in Willow Springs, Vermont, for the summer as director of their first annual community revue. This sleepy town is worlds away from her vibrant and beloved New York City, but the experience she’ll gain will be invaluable to her career.

Jason Simmons has lived in Willow Springs his entire life. Working several jobs while writing music, he yearns for a contract to record his songs. The one chance he had to make it in Nashville he blew due to stage fright.

When Jason volunteers to help Gigi with the revue, sparks ignite but their dreams are taking them in different directions. Will their love for each other ever guide them to the same path? 

Sounds like a wonderful romance! What is your next project? 

  After I finalize “Sworn to Fly”, I have one more book in the Sworn Sisters Series which I must finish and edit. I also sent a proposal to my publisher for a novella in the Wylder West Series.  I’m waiting to hear if it’s a go. In the meantime, I have decided to narrate my own books, since hiring a narrator is very costly. I took a few seminars, purchased the equipment, (which was a lot less expensive than I thought it would be) and I’m learning how to work the software program. It’s a huge undertaking, but it’s fun and different.

Here are the buy links for Maria's newest book

Print Books


Barnes and Noble



Google Play





How can readers get in touch with you?

Facebook –

 Twitter -


 Instagram - mariaimbal

 Blog Link -

 Website Link -

 Goodreads Author Page

 Book Bub Profile page

 Mailing List Sign Up form

  Amazon Author Page

The Wild Rose Press Blog Interview May 2020

Thank you, Maria, for being my guest today and taking us back again to that wonderful spot, Deerbourne Inn! Any comments or questions for Maria?

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