Welcome to the crazy laboratory, Mia. Why don’t we start by telling the folks a little about you?
Hi, I’m Mia Downing and I write erotic romance. I’d love to say I write in lacy lingerie from a red velvet chaise lounge while service submissives tend to my every need, but as you can probably guess that’s all in my mind. In reality, I live I rural Connecticut on a small farm with cows, a horse and chickens. I have two awesome kids and have been married for 16 years. My friends and family know I write smutty stories but I think only my sister has actually read anything under my pen name. I do have something under my real name that’s Nana-approved.
Fun stuff: Croutons are my crack. I can juggle (sorta) make balloon animals and can face paint. I was the hit at 2 birthday parties (a friend and my niece.) Kids like balloon swords much more than they like swans, btw. I have a rubber band gun and have excellent aim. I also knit fabulous socks!
You sound like a blast! When and why did you start writing?
I’ve written since I knew what letters were, but my first book was a sequel to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH because I hated how that story ended and I wanted a sequel then and there. I think I got 40 pages written in a notebook. I thought it was epic and my 4th grade teacher was pretty proud. It was all downhill from there.
I started writing romance in 2000, did the contest scene, submitted a lot and got lots of rejections. I decided to turn the writing into money and went into technical writing and editing. In 2012 I decided to finish a book, and the rest is history.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I don’t really have a favorite author per se. I have my go-to’s in a certain genre but I read so much over all genres it’s hard to nail down a favorite. For example, I love Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series, which is
m/m (originally written with Madeline Urban.) I love Anne McCaffery and Terry Goodkind for fantasy. I love Julia Quinn for historical, and grew up reading all of Johanna Lindsey’s books, too. Tymber Dalton does BDSM with a loving, caring approach but I also love many others. My friend, Christi Snow, writes very real, honest characters within the romantic suspense genre.
Do you feel that these authors inspired your writing? Do you feel that your writing is modeled after them?
I think you take away inspiration with every book you read. I know I would love to build an awesome world like Anne McCaffery, or write such real and approachable historical characters as Julia Quinn. I think my writing captures snippets of all my favorites. I can’t wait to find new authors to emulate.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
There is one thing you should know about me—I’m fairly lazy. The idea of accomplishing something is pretty overwhelming on some days. When I woke up January 1, 2012 with the New Year’s resolution to finish a book and submit it, I was truly questioning my sanity. The idea of finishing a book seemed hard enough. Six books later, I’m still afraid to jinx the whole thing by requiring myself to do more than finish a book. If readers are happy and it gets them reading instead of watching TV then I’m excited. But beyond that, I have no goal. Mark Twain and I are alike in that respect.
I would like to say I do like to challenge myself with every book. The first challenge was to write a book and submit, and get the goal, motivations and conflicts of the characters to work. I think I succeeded with Exceeding Boundaries. The second book (Trained for Seduction) I wanted to add more angst, suspense and a ménage. Lethal Limits tested a different layering of conflict and could I write a series? I also wrote two different m/m’s to test myself in that genre. Endgame will release very soon and that book tested finishing a series as well as other aspects.
Traditional or self-publishing and why?
Both. I will have 6 books out with The Wild Rose Press. I love that they take care of things for me, like editing, the covers, and formatting. They market and get it out to readers in a way that’s really hard to do when you self-publish. I do have one novella self-published because at the time The Wild Rose Press wasn’t taking erotica. You make better royalties self-published, but in all honesty, I’ve sold more books through the publisher because of the reach.
Tell us about your most recent book and why we should love or hate your characters.
Here’s the blurb from Spy Games: Endgame! It sums it up much better than I can, quickly.
Sexy assassin Charlotte Smith doesn’t go by the code name Dragon Queen because she’s sweet and cuddly. She’s cold, hard, and mean and has been training for the past five years to take down the men who destroyed her soul and left her burning for revenge. But when she meets her next assignment at a
wedding, her body protests there’s much more to life than kicking asses and taking names. Actor Aaron James is witty, hot as hell, and he smells divine. But women with suicidal endgames don’t indulge in casual sex, and they definitely don’t fall in love.
Since meeting Charlotte at his brother’s wedding, Aaron’s life has been nothing but trouble. He’s plagued by memories of the kiss he stole from her, and he senses underneath her aloof nature and frosty glare is a woman with passion and fire. When Charlotte is assigned as his bodyguard after a botched kidnapping attempt, he’s psyched. What better way to get in her panties than have her pretend she’s his girlfriend? Until Aaron realizes too late he wants more than her panties…he wants Charlotte’s heart.
What I love about this book is it’s very different than anything else I’ve read and both Charlotte and Aaron are very unique. Charlotte is cold and hard on the outside, but inside she’s broken and dying for someone to fix her. Aaron has his own bundle of issues, but he is the first man to see beneath Charlotte’s cold exterior to her soul. If you’ve read the series, you’ll see lots of Jake and Chase, the heroes from books one and two. You’ll probably hate Chase even more than you did in Lethal Limits, but beta readers assure me he redeems himself perfectly at the end.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are the first 5 songs you would include?
For Trained for Seduction:
1. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson (that’s always been Kate’s song.)
2. River Flows Through You by Yiruma. It’s a piano piece but very angsty.
3. International Love by Pittbull and Chris Brown is the ménage scene and anything including Jake.
4. With Or Without You by U2 for sex scenes.
5. Set Fire to the Third Bar by Snow Patrol (that was the song Chase listens to during one sex scene.)
Aside from writing or reading, what is your favorite pastime?
I was a professional horsewoman for years, so horses are a passion. We have one my daughter rides. I knit and do decorative painting. I was a chef in one lifetime, and I do enjoy cooking. My friends and fans on Facebook will tell you that I would rather poke them than do anything else. Feel free to join in.
What is the one thing you want to do, or the one place you want to go, that you would put at #1 on your bucket list?
Visit Egypt! I’d love to see the pyramids, the Sphinx and tour the Valley of the Kings. I wanted to be an Egyptologist in 4th grade, so it’s been a long time dream.
A more realistic bucket list item would be to see more of what we have here in the good old USA. I’d love to see the Grand Canyon, and my family loves steam trains and caves. On all of my journeys I make a point to visit friends I’ve met from the Internet. I’ve had waffles in Georgia, coffee in Pennsylvania and tea in Florida with online friends. So when I’m ready to go, I’ll make a list! Count yourself on it.
Finally, what else would you like readers to know?
I have met so many wonderful people in the past year, all so supportive of this little New Year’s resolution. I love hearing from them and cherish support. Don’t be afraid to friend me on GoodReads or Facebook, or give a shout out on the blog. And seriously, I love pokes! Make my day by poking me hard.
Thank you for being my guest! I enjoyed learning more about you. I hope my readers will as well.