Blurb: Kidnapped by her king! As the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve, the fairy tale is over for all of Petras when Queen Tabitha—refusing to live in a loveless marriage—asks her husband for a divorce. But anger erupts into passion, and when Tabitha flees the palace she’s carrying King Kairos’s heir! Discovering her secret, Kairos kidnaps his wife. Against the backdrop of his secluded island paradise, he proves there’s no escaping his royal reach. He will use the desire that’s gone unsated between them for too long to ensure his wife returns to his side.
Love Lessons Learned:
There are a few themes running through The Queen’s New Year Secret, and the Princes of Petra series in general. There’s romantic love, and there’s love for your family. In Kairos and Tabitha’s story forgiveness is at the heart of it all, both for your family, and for the one you love.
Their marriage was founded on convenience, which both of them know going in, but there are a lot of feelings beneath the surface that neither of them want to talk about, which leads to five years of miscommunication and hurt feelings. When the book opens, Tabitha is ready to give up on the marriage altogether. Kairos isn’t.
When he whisks her off to a private island (that would be nice!) they have nothing to do but deal with each other, and finally talk after years of silence.
They both learn two things: that if you want to love someone, really love them, you have to let down your guard. For both Kairos and Tabitha this means talking and sharing things they’ve never shared with anyone else.
The other thing they learn is that moving forward requires forgiveness. This is something Kairos has to practice later with family that have hurt him. He has to choose forgiveness, even when it isn’t deserved or ask for. To choose consciously to let go of anger, because that kind of bitterness does its best to choke love out, and in order to really move forward, sometimes letting go of your burdens is the only thing you can do.
New Year’s Resolutions:
Queen Tabitha, of Petras:
Escape from loveless marriage
Clean up pieces of life (And broken heart)
Find a new job (Probably a new position as queen not likely)
Do NOT sleep with sexy soon-to-be-ex-husband
King Kairo, of Petras:
Seduce recalcitrant wife
Kidnap her and take her to private island
Seduce her again
And maybe again for good measure
Q&A with Maisey Yates – The Queen’s New Year Secret
- What inspired you to explore the subject or theme of your book?
I’ve never written a book about a married couple before, and I was really inspired to explore the marriage of convenience that didn’t turn to love quite as quickly as you often see in romance novels. Five years in, and Kairos and Tabitha have a lot of unexplored feelings and a LOT of anger.
- What punctuation mark best describes your personality?
Why? Is an emoji considered punctuation these days? Because that opens up a lot more possibilities.
- Who is your favorite literary villain and why?
I’m going with Conrad from Make You Mine by Jackie Ashenden. Trust me on that.
- You’re hosting a dinner party, which five authors (dead or alive) would you invite?
Well, I would have to say I’d invite Jackie Ashenden, Nicole Helm, Megan Crane and Jane Porter because that just sounds fun. We would get thrown out of the restaurant though.
- What is your favorite part of the day?
I’m starting to enjoy weekday mornings. We get the kids up and out to school and then it’s just quiet time. Coffee, candles, and some time to get oriented to the day.
- What are five words that describe your writing process?
Caffeinated, frantic, organic, character-driven.
- Is anything in The Queen’s New Year Secret based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I think there are always elements of real life in fiction. No matter how high fantasy a story is, for me, the emotions are rooted in reality. For Kairos and Tabitha I was thinking a lot about marriage, and about communication. And about the choices we make in life to move past things – big and small – because clinging to them doesn’t benefit us.
- What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
I took creative writing in college and mostly learned there that taking yourself too seriously keeps books from getting finished. So that class wasn’t useful in the way it wanted to be! I’ve definitely learned a lot of craft and that’s been invaluable, but the key thing for me was to learn to just write, FINISH the manuscript, and then write another book.
- Which would you rather do: Never write another story or never read another book?
I’d have to go with never reading (this is awful, by the way) only because I know if I read but never wrote but head would be so full of ideas it would be torture.
- What do you love about writing for Harlequin Presents?
I love the fairy tale quality of the stories, rooted in deep, real emotion. I love writing about a king and queen who, like everyone else, need love, and need to learn how to forgive and let down their guards. I think that’s one thing that makes powerful heroes so compelling: He has everything, but still, without her and without love, it’s nothing.
You see the words ‘trust the process’ a lot in writing advice posts, and it’s something I agree with – to an extent.
Everyone has a different process. Some people are plotters, some are pansters, and some fall in all places on the plotting/pantsing spectrum. Some write a lot of drafts, some write one. Some write fast. Some write slow.
I’m a big believer in the idea that there is no one right way. BUT…if you aren’t finishing your manuscripts, then you can’t trust your process anymore. You need to figure out what’s stopping you, and you need to change it.
If not finishing is habitual, and not simply an issue of a flawed book you might need to go back and learn some craft. You might need to start plotting. You might need to stop editing as you go. You might need to STOP plotting.
The process cannot be placed on a higher pedestal than the ultimate goal – which is a finished book. That sounds funny, but I’ve watched people deify their process, and make themselves slaves to it.
The good news is, you can change your process. You can learn a new way. You’re a writer. You’re a writer before you’re a plotter, or a pantser. My process tends to shift from book to book. Some books work best if I punch my way in blind, others require that I sit down and make outlines and lists of scenes. As long as I reach the end, it doesn’t matter how I got there.
Much like running a race, it’s about the finishing. You don’t lose points for sweating…or crying. It can be ugly, and it can be imperfect, but that’s okay as long as you finish.