Madhuri Blaylock’s writing voice is strong and distinct. Plus she writes some damn sexy poetry, so I wanted to invite her to be interviewed during National Poetry Month. She’s been celebrating poetry all month on her wonderful blog. Back in September, I tweeted to her, “You are my most favorite discovery so far this week. Added your blog to my RSS feed yesterday.” She then tweeted back, “Oh man, am totally feeling all kinds of loved up on right about now. Thanks babe.” And thus another fabulous social media connection was born. As always, I am excited to share an interview with such an intriguing and talented soul with my readers.
Official Bio: Madhuri is that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black, or Spanish, or Black and Spanish. She’s from down South, has lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and is proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl.
She loves whiskey, tattoos, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her mom’s Indian food, all kinds of naughty, filthy things, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha’s Vineyard. She can wiggle her ears, flare her nostrils, and curl her tongue.
As the great Charles Bukowski said, she writes because it comes bursting out of her. She cannot stop it, nor does she want to.
She’s the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and the upcoming erotic romance, The Keeper Series. In a past life, when she was much sweeter and kind of shy, she wrote and published the middle reader series, Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files.
She does other things to pay the bills.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.
A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.
Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.
All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum.
Set against the backdrop of New York City, THE GIRL is “outstanding, original, complex, deep and intoxicating”, a “well written, unique…fast-paced read” that begins as one girl’s simple quest for revenge and evolves into a complicated tale of trust, friendship, honor and love.
The journey only becomes more perilous and intense as the action surges forward with THE BOY, “another masterpiece in The Sanctum trilogy”, certain to “keep you up all night reading.” Can you cross the plains of death, collect every piece of your soul and make it back to the land of the living? And if you complete the journey, will your loved ones welcome your return?
The saga finally culminates in “a devastating and perfect ending” with THE PROPHECY, as battles wage, loved ones are lost, and the world seems on the brink of madness. When the haze is lifted, one is forced to ask: after all of the blood and torture and pain and death, can there be any room for hope and wonder and life and love?
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
Love! Sex! Romance! The soft touch of a lover, a kiss, a smile. And heartbreak. I love a good, soul-crushing heartbreak. I just suffered one myself – he was tall and gruff and smart and sexy – and as brutal as it was, it made for some amazing writing.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
Answer Laughter, intellectually stimulating conversation, and loads of great sex. Seriously, you cannot take yourself too seriously and expect to last very long in my orbit. I love to laugh, I love laughing at myself – I am a complete nerd – I love laughing with The Kid, and I love folks who can laugh at themselves. Life is too damn short for a furrowed brow and stern visage. Brains. There is nothing sexier on a man or woman than a well-cultivated, incessantly curious, fully-exercised mind. Smart is fucking sexy. Remember that kids. It’s hot. HOT. And sex. Writing it, reading it, doing it. I don’t really think there’s much else to say about that one.
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
This is impossible but if you are going to make me choose, I pick Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude because it’s epic and full of love and sex, betrayal and heartbreak, and because of the magic. All of the magic, from the first sentence – one of the most amazing sentences ever put down on paper – to the very last word.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
The name of my blog is Madhuri Blaylock Writes and readers can find anything from snippets of my works-in-progress to my poetry to my random thoughts on whatever crosses my mind at the time, from David Gandy and all of his rugged beauty to my obsession with Rihanna to my ability to kill pet fish like it’s nobody’s business. It’s full of monsters, murder, sex, and mayhem so stop through and say hi – I promise you will not regret it.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I like to know my characters, and will do pretty extensive character studies on them prior to writing, and my first and last sentences. The remainder – the guts of the story – will fill itself in as I write. Of course, I have a general idea of where I’m going and what I’m doing, but I am definitely NOT an outliner. I’m a bit more organic with my process. For example, the other day I was working out in my office, reading my story board while doing so, and suddenly the last sentence of my current work-in-progress hit me. Out of the blue. I love when that happens. And believe it or not, it’s not the first time a final sentence has come to me in the middle of exercising.
I’m also a member of a writing group and an avid user of beta readers. My writing group, The Inky Path, led by Jena Schwartz and Cigdem Kobu, is an amazing collection of men and women, fueled by a passion for words and kindness, and generosity of both heart and mind. It’s one of my favorites spaces on the internet. I use them not so much for critiques of my work but to keep my creative juices flowing and to interact with other writers – they’re like a virtual hug, always ready to shower me with affection and support and good vibes.
And honestly, my beta readers are a huge part of what makes this all happen and happen so well. Without them reading my work while it’s still in the draft stage, I would essentially be working in a vacuum, putting together thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words without any feel for how they’re affecting the outside world. Also, my betas freaking rock.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I self-published my trilogy, The Sanctum, but am attempting to go the traditional route with my erotic romance trilogy, The Keeper Series. I’m giving traditional a shot this time around for the marketing aspect. I would love to be able to focus more on my writing and editing and not so much on the marketing, mostly because I’m not so good at the marketing. I love blogging and posting on Instagram and interacting with folks on Twitter, but I’m not so good at converting any of that traffic into actual sales.
For The Sanctum, I hired someone to format both the eBook and the paperback version and my brilliant girlfriend, Michele Mason Holmberg, designed my book covers. I gave her some ideas, but NONE of them compared to what she created. Her covers are sexy, artistic, and unique – you cannot ask for more from a designer. She is truly a magician.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
I am a horrible publicist – I can’t pay folks to buy my books, so in this regard, I don’t know if I can help any writers out there. I can say that you should never give up. Even though I suck at marketing, I still do it. Every damn day. I tweet, I post on Facebook, I blog, and am active on Instagram. Mostly because I love doing it, not because it results in sales. However, if you know the trick to boosting sales, by all means, contact me, let me in on your secret, hook a girl up.
But I think I’m a halfway decent writer, so can offer this tip: write, write, and write some more. And when you feel like you cannot possibly write another word, take a shot of whiskey, and get back at it.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
The Keeper Series (Book I: Dutch, Book II: Juma, Book III: Death), a dark erotic romance, coming in 2017. And from The Sanctum Series, The Warriors, sometime afterwards…
I’ve been asked about my switch of genres but instead of a switch, I see it more as a natural progression of my writing. The Sanctum Trilogy is pretty damn sexy and as a writer, I continue to grow with The Keeper Series, which is raunchier than my previous works, but is still, under all the lust and sex, a beautiful and moving love story. Of course, I will rip your heart out, stomp on it, dance on it, maybe light it on fire a few times before returning it to you, but return it I will and afterwards, you’ll thank me for dragging you and my characters through hell and back before leaving you with my version of an HEA.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
If you love battle-worn warriors, bisexual vampires, hybrid demons, and epic love stories wrapped in trauma and beauty and death, that bring you to your knees, then piece you back together, bit by bit, then pick up my paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and get lost for a while.
Wyatt leaned on his elbow and studied her.
Dev touched her face, feeling for the paint, the designs, the makeup she saw on so many beautiful women walking the streets of New York.
“There’s nothing,” she said, a question in her voice.
“Exactly,” he kissed her, “you’re already perfect.”
-Book III: The Prophecy
The Sanctum Trilogy
You can connect with Madhuri and her social media websites via her blog.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Madhuri Blaylock?
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Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2016.