Q&A With Mia About Grayson’s Vow (Now Available)
Hi there! Because I’ve been receiving many messages about Grayson’s Vow from readers, I thought I’d answer some of the most commonly asked questions (plus a few extra) right here! (Grayson’s Vow, A Sign of Love, Libra is now available on all platforms).
Q) “Mia, the setting in Grayson’s Vow is so beautiful and was almost another character in your story. Have you ever been to Napa? I want to book a trip there now. Katy M.”
A) Thanks, Katy! Yes, actually, I have been to Napa and it’s a special location for me as it was the first trip I ever took with my then-boyfriend/now-husband. We actually stayed at the Bed & Breakfast I mentioned in the book, The Beazley House (highly recommended if you do end up going there!). And yes, I felt the same way—Napa Valley has such a dream-like, romantic quality to it with its misty-morning vineyards, castle-like wineries, fall fields of vibrant yellow mustard seed flowers, mountain backdrops, and hot air balloons floating in the skies above. It’s truly a fairytale location (not to mention the best part of all: the wine!) and I absolutely fell in love with it all over again while writing Grayson’s Vow.
Q) “I absolutely adored Kira and she’s my new favorite heroine of yours! Probably my favorite heroine of all time! She was hilarious and slightly crazy but also so compassionate and so full of heart. Do you have a favorite heroine? Dorothea V.”
A) Hi, Dorothea! Thank you! I’m so glad you loved Kira. I usually say my favorite characters are the ones I’m currently writing, as I’m spending so much time in “their” heads at the moment. 🙂 But, Kira absolutely has a very special place in my heart and although Grayson’s character came to me first, I knew I had to create a very special (and different) type of heroine for him. With that in mind, Kira came to me immediately and very strongly—someone who was brave, and also so filled with fun and vibrancy that she was a) not afraid to poke at Grayson and b) slightly crazy enough that she kept Grayson completely unbalanced and he forgot to be the cold, detached man he had become. I knew she had to be a girl who kept him half out of his head most of the time (in a myriad of ways) because that was the only way he’d let his guard down enough to allow himself to love someone.
Q) “Grayson’s Vow was wonderful! My heart was so full of love and hope at the end – that’s what your books always do for me. This book had a little bit of a lighter feel than some of your others and I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did. That was awesome and you do it really well! Will you write more books like this? Jamie B.”
A) What a great compliment! Thank you, Jamie! I absolutely set out to write Grayson’s Vow with a lighter, less tragic feel than some of my others. 🙂 And after writing five heavy books in a row, I needed Grayson and Kira, and especially Kira’s crazy antics! And although hopefully the story causes the reader’s heart to race in spots, and many emotions are felt, this is not a book where you should expect an “ugly cry.” It’s a book where, hopefully, you are immersed in a journey, flip the pages quickly to find out what will happen next, feel for the characters, laugh, tear up here and there, and close the book with a smile on your face, feeling full and complete. There have been very difficult, emotional times in my life where I needed an escape, but I needed to know that what I was escaping into wasn’t going to destroy my emotions any further than they already were with something I would dwell on or couldn’t recover from fictionally (am I the only one this happens to?). 🙂 Creating something to fit that bill was my intent with Grayson’s Vow.
Q) “Hi Mia, I loved Grayson’s Vow! It’s my top read of 2015 so far! I love that it’s almost an upside down fairy tale. Did you do that on purpose or did it just happen naturally? Thanks! Lisa M.”
A) Thanks, Lisa! I love how you put that – an “upside-down fairy tale!” That’s a great description and although I didn’t work that into the plotting of the story initially, once Kira first described Grayson as a dragon (instead of the prince she had first thought him to be based on his looks), the theme kept rolling from there, and I had some fun with it. But yes, this is not a story of the prince and the princess, but rather a sassy little witch and a judgmental dragon. And in this story, the heroine is the one who saves the day. 😉
Q) “Mia, many of your men are real sweethearts, but Grayson was a real dragon at times, although I have to admit that I was in love with him in the end and he’s now probably my favorite Mia-man (and I almost feel guilty to my sweet Archer to say that). Carla S.”
A) Ha, Carla. 😀 “Mia-men”—I love that! Yes, Grayson . . . Grayson. He was definitely a dragon to work with, and I wanted to smack him upside his head many a time. 😉 But of all my characters, his heart was probably the most tender, and the most wounded. And he had erected the highest, most frigid walls of ice to protect himself. So for him to finally break those walls down and surrender to love was going to be an epic fight to the death. I have to say, though, that for me personally, Grayson is exactly the type of hero I love reading the most: a standoffish, often cold, callous man who underneath, has a heart of gold and is yearning for love.
Q) “Hi, Mrs. Sheridan. My question is about your process when writing these amazing novels. How deep do you allow yourself to go when writing? Do you have a point where you keep part of who you are protected, or are you all in and live every past experience you can tap into? Thank you for considering my question. Grayson’s Vow was beautiful, congratulations Mia! Gretchen D.”
A) Thank you so much, Gretchen, and what a great question. 🙂 I do put a lot of my own heart into my novels, and specifically into the thoughts and reactions of my hero and heroine. It’s a really difficult thing to do because it feels somewhat like dancing on stage naked for critics. In the beginning I used to get really hurt about reviews that specifically tore apart one of my main characters because it felt like I was being torn apart. And I will be honest and admit that I have this deep unhealthy desire to be liked by everyone, from sea to shining sea. (I’m working on that). So putting personal parts of myself out there for the general public to judge and discuss is really, really difficult for me personally and feels vastly unsafe. But I’ve also come to realize that those are the parts of my books that I tend to get feedback about from those who are touched by one of my stories. And so I’ve made the commitment to be brave or go home. My skin will never be thick, it just won’t. That’s not who I am. But I also think that it’s through the thinnest parts of our skin that you can see our hearts beating. I want my characters to be real and vulnerable and relatable, and so I continue to dance on stage . . . and I continue to do it naked. 🙂
Q) “How did you work it out to have this Libra story be about the balance between two characters, rather than have the male character represent the sign like in the other books? Michelle C.”
A) Hi, Michelle. Thanks for noticing that! When I set out to write my Libra inspired story, I wanted to do a bit of a looser theme (like I did with Leo). This actually worked out well, because there isn’t really a “legend” for Libra, per se. So I wove themes having to do with Libra (the scales) throughout the book: balance, justice, the weight of non-tangible things such as hurt and shame. I also sought to explore balance through Kira’s light and Grayson’s darkness. In essence, they both had very similar stories, and yet Grayson had responded to his set of circumstances by becoming cold and angry and Kira had responded to her own by holding on to her loving, giving spirit.
Q) “What kind of research did you do for the wine making process? Did you visit wineries, interview winemakers? Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews.”
A) Hi there! Thanks for the question. I actually did the majority of my research online (what did authors do before Google)? 🙂 But once my book was complete, I had someone who owns a winery in Napa read through it to make sure I’d gotten the details right. 🙂
Q) “What’s your most favorite scene in the book? And why? Bea S.”
A) Hi, Bea, thanks for the question! I have to say, my favorite scene in the book is the one in the apricot field. 🙂 No spoilers, but having Kira and Grayson’s wills clash in just that way was very satisfying for me to write.
Thank you so much to all of you who asked questions about Grayson’s Vow, and to all of my amazing readers. I am so very grateful for each of you. XO!