Welcome to the cottage, Maria!
The weather is beautiful today, so please take a seat on one of the comfy chairs on the front deck. What can I get you to drink?
Thanks for having me, Darlene. I would love a glass of white wine please.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a matrimonial lawyer in central New Jersey where I not only use my law degree to navigate clients through the court system, but my psychology degree to guide them through their personal struggles. While writing motions, legal memoranda, and briefs is fascinating, it pales in comparison to creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys. So, I’ve found the perfect balance; divorce attorney by day and a romance writer by night.
Let’s talk about writing and books.
What does your writing space look like?
I have a beautiful teak desk right in front of a window overlooking the back yard on the second floor of our house. It was my husband’s for about a day. He should know that I take over every space in our house. I recently bought an oversized chair with a foot stool for the room so I can sit and read my chapters away from the computer. The office also has a large screen tv and an elliptical machine so I can exercise when the words aren’t flowing.
If your book was made into a movie, who is your dream cast?
The heroine of “Dancing in the Sand” is a ballerina with long, dark hair and violet eyes. I would choose Megan Fox to play Ava. I know I’m dating myself, but my hero is Robert Redford, circa “The Way We Were.” I can’t think of anyone who looks that gorgeous currently.
What can we expect from you next? Are you working on anything new?
I am working on a series that started out as a single title novel that I wrote years ago. I have modified it to span over four books. Four women, who were best friends in high school, are now in their early 30’s and each of them is going through an emotional life event. The friends are in each book, helping out and giving advice, but each friend has their own book. The first in the series is called “Changing Tides” and it’s about a divorce lawyer in NYC who learns that her husband is having an affair and intends to leave her. Distraught, she takes a leave of absence from work and spends 10 weeks in a New Jersey shore town where she runs into a male high school friend – now the town prosecutor. Their pasts resurface to shake up their lives, due to a secret kept by one of the other friends. I have not yet released the first book because in writing the second and third, I keep changing time lines. Until I get it straight, I need to hold on tight.
Now, let’s get personal!
What is one goal you’ve yet to reach?
I’m not sure if this is a goal or a fantasy, but I would love to see one of my books turned into a movie.
Tell us about an especially romantic moment/event in your life?
It was my fortieth birthday and I was at a wedding shower for one of my best friends on that Saturday morning. The shower wasn’t quite over and my husband arrived (which was very odd). He said that I had to leave right then and he escorted me out the door. Outside was a huge white limousine with three other couples. We were heading to NYC for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. He had packed a suitcase for me (with every piece of black clothing I owned, including a dressy dress, shoes, underwear, pants, tops) and he had made reservations at a spa for the women that afternoon. We had rooms at the Waldorf and after the spa, we got ready for the night to come — dinner and dancing at a fabulous club. The thought that went into that weekend along with making sure it was a surprise was the most romantic event in my life.
Are you married and/or have any children?
I am married to the wonderful man who surprised me on my fortieth birthday. We met thirty-two years ago at the law firm where we both still work. We’ve been married for 28 years and have two beautiful daughters.
Where is your favourite vacation destination?
Key West. When I met my husband, he had just purchased a time share there, and we have gone every year since we started dating. I love the weather, the town with dozens of fabulous restaurants, art galleries, and bars. The party atmosphere is always there, but you can join in or find private spots to do whatever you like to do. We mostly sit by the pool and read. When we’re tired of laying, we walk two blocks into town where there is always a party going on, with hundreds of people milling about, listening to music, drinking, dancing, having fun. Our daughters love it, too.
Favourite Colour: Purple
Favourite Season: Summer
Favourite Movie: Pretty Woman
Favourite Actor: Pierce Brosnan (The Thomas Crowne Affair)
Favourite Song: Start Me Up by the Rolling Stone
Favourite Pleasure Food: Pizza
Favourite Place to Read: Lying on a lounge chair by the pool
Favourite article of clothing: My coats (I have at least 15)
Favourite candy your sweet-tooth craves: Milk Chocolate
Describe yourself in three words.
Persistent, analytical, optimistic
Thank you for visiting, Maria! It’s been great getting to know you. Please stop by the cottage again soon!
Where can we keep in touch with you?
Here's a peek at Maria's title,
Dancing in the Sand
Brian Stanhope, a Harvard graduate, poised to join his father’s company, suffers a brain injury in a horseback riding accident, which affects his memory. He has no recollection of his graduation party weekend or the beautiful dancer who turned his head and stole his heart.
When they reunite eight years later, the magic of their powerful attraction binds them together, but the past holds a secret that even love may not be able to overcome.