A Visit With Maude Winters

Taking the Plunge: Why I finally hit publish.

I have been writing novels since puberty. I know this for a fact because my mom recently brought me a stack of handwritten notebooks and printed pages all filled with my thoughts dating back to 1998. I wrote an epic around age sixteen. I have always written what I loved to read. Back then, it was regency-era tales, historical fiction, classics, and tales of disasters (better still if it were about Chernobyl). My favorite authors were Austen, Bronte, and Du Maurier. My mom got me hooked on Rebecca and I couldn’t put it down. So, I set out writing about big families with lots of conflict, a few mysteries, and a lot of horses.

My reading preferences haven’t changed much (I also still prefer horses to people). Now, I read a lot more memoirs, I guess. I listen to audiobooks more than a read physical books. Graduate school almost broke me of my love of reading. I used to read about 1000 pages a week. Thankfully audiobooks brought me back to loving literature and reading again. Recently, I’ve been loving a physical book in my hands.

Still, I’ve been reading and writing what I “knew” and what I loved to read since I was about eleven-for nearly a quarter of a century. Yet, until now, I have not published a single work. Well, that’s not true. I was published in my academic life years ago, but that is different altogether.

So why not publish? And what made me change my mind.

Let’s start at the why. I was convinced no one was interested in my writing. Who would care to read a book about a royal family warring with itself? Who would care to read a fish-out-of-water story about an heiress who falls into this family and turns it on its head? Who would care about a silly, frothy love triangle?

Well, I didn’t know until I allowed myself to find reading again. And, this time, I read anything I wanted to and I didn’t worry about the supposed “value” of a novel. I knew for a fact that female writers and women who wrote stories about women and for women were largely excluded from the canon. So, why did I care what “they” had to say about the things I read?

Once I passed thirty, I just had to believe that reading was fun. So, I read romance novels about marriage plots-my favorite kind! I devoured any historical fiction I pleased. I read anything and everything remotely related to royals — The Royal We, Red, White, and Royal Blue, and American Royals. Was it high art? Not according to the canon. New adult fiction isn’t Steinbeck, but it isn’t trying to be. It’s not the complicated, pedantic professor whose class you respect but whose readings make you want to nod off. Instead, this sort of literature is the old friend you are dying to catch up with. It is a Saturday morning at your favorite coffee shop.

So, I realized, there is a market for this sort of fiction. Some people like to read this stuff. In fact, every time I went on Goodreads to find my next blissful book, I would run into tons of other people who loved this stuff. It was good. It was juicy. It was an utter pleasure to read. I realized I couldn’t claim no one would read my stuff anymore.

I then decided I couldn’t do it because I have a professional job in a male-dominated sector and I was in no way ready to be the “romance novel girl” in my industry. Part of it was fear of rejection and part of it is just me being a realist. I have ironically written every day of my adult working life. I get paid to write documentation. That’s another story for another day. However, I worried people would find it silly. I am a very high-ranking woman on a team where I am basically the only woman. It seemed too risky.

Enter: my husband.

He’s perfect [for me]. He even loves Chernobyl (see above). My husband is also an actual, real-life writer. He was also my academic copywriter. He writes stuff I don’t like reading-YA fantasy novels. That is not my genre. It wasn’t when I was in that demographic and it isn’t now. However, he is a good writer. His stuff is imaginative. He’s got a system, he’s organized, and he knows what he is doing.

He quit his job primarily to be a stay-at-home-parent to our young child. We agreed he could chase the dream of writing for a few years. In that time, he has released one trilogy and is about to release another. He works a few hours each day on writing and editing his novels. But he was brave enough to finally write novels and hit publish. He couldn’t hit publish because he needed time to build his back catalog. Once he had that and a couple of covers, it was time to launch.

I had been writing all of this time for fun. It hadn’t even occurred to me to hit publish. I had four-and-a-half novels in need of editing that I could have published. He was like, “Why don’t you do it?”

I gave him the above reasons and he laughed. For two years, he asked me near-daily when I would mention what I was working on, “When are you gonna publish?” It became a joke, almost.

I would always give him a mealy-mouthed excuse.

He began to follow up with, “Well, why do you write then?”

The answer to that is complicated. I have always written to process things. I write because it is entertaining. I write because I love escaping into a story. I would always say, “I just write for me.”

I struggled to think I would ever be good enough. Wouldn’t people just take the piss when they read my drivel? Would they not hate my sort of fluffy, saucy premises? Would they not loathe a trope? Well, the more I read of new adult romance and the more authors I followed on social media, the more I realized we are a tongue-and-cheek bunch. Perhaps the lit bros have made us band together? I don’t know. What I do know is that I see a lot of queer and/or women authors lifting one another up, identifying their tropes, and knowing that their readers quite literally identify books by the tropes they love to read (see my love of a marriage plot above). Reading should be fun. It should be an escape. I had finally seen that in this community.

I finally leaned into it. My daughter and I were sitting in an airport and I was thinking up the way I was going to finish the final book of my series. She was eating a bag of Cheetos and I was just thinking. I was holding Red, White, and Royal Blue at a gate. It had been so, so fun. A joy. The ending was great. It left me wanting more but, at the same time, I did not want more on a page. It was perfect. Nothing more would have sufficed beyond my imagination. So, I wrapped up my story in my mind and decided it was now or never. I decided to get brave.

When we returned home from our trip, I told my husband I was ready to edit and publish my first book in February. Valentine’s Day! To my surprise, I think he was more elated than I was. We spent the next week coming up with my nom de plume and then I set out to listen to his million tips on editing, Kindle Create, and all other manner of things.

I am lucky I had him there to help because it saved me a lot of time. But then, I hit publish on my pre-sale. So, the book is out there.

Maude Winters loves to write saucy fiction just like she the titles she devours. She’s a horse girl through-and-through and lives in the Midwest with her husband, horse girl daughter, and three dogs.

Maude loves to write strong female characters who challenge institutions and find strength in relationships with their sisters in the world.

Maude has lived throughout the world but attributes her interest in writing about the intersection of modern politics, feminism, and royalty with her time spent in the UK as a twenty-something.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheQueenMaude
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089838155689
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maude_winters_fiction/


Book2: The Queen’s Conundrum

To meddle, or not to meddle. That is the question…

The Lyons family faces challenges as Queen Margaux struggles with her health. While Prince Robert falls deeper and deeper in love with Lady Vanora, the Queen can’t help but worry about the future of the monarchy and what change that union might bring. The harder she digs her heels in, the more Robert believes that Vanora is his future.

Meanwhile, Prince Duncan is falling for a commoner who isn’t quite sure that the relationship has any hope. They are very different people and her life is complicated by a child from a previous relationship. Still, Duncan feels this is different than anything he’s ever felt before.

As she returns to her reign, Margaux is faced with Robert’s desire to propose to Vanora, who The Queen now knows has a secret in her past. The Queen is opposed to the marriage, but Robert won’t budge. Will Margaux win out or will Robert and Vanora plan their dream wedding?

Book 1: London Season


Get lost in the charming world of London Season, a new adult romance filled with pageantry, drama, and a love triangle between an unlikely society darling and dueling princes. Who will she choose?

London Season is a captivating romance novel, set in modern-day London, and the first book in the Regency and Rivalry series. Lady Vanora “Vanna” Morgan is a Welsh-American heiress who feels more comfortable on a horse than in a ballroom. After the loss of her first love, she’s ready to start a new chapter in her life. Vanna attracts the attention of a friend’s cousins—Prince Robert (the heir to the throne) and Prince Duncan (the spare)—and a love triangle ensues. Vanna falls for Prince Robert, the Prince of Wales, and despite their different backgrounds and the Queen’s disapproval, they start a secret relationship. However, when Robert is called upon to take on the role of regent, their relationship is put to the test. With humor, drama, and a clash between modernity and tradition, “London Season” is a must-read for fans of new adult romance and royal watchers alike.

Readers of Red, White, and Royal Blue and The Royal We will enjoy the humor, drama, and storyline of Ms. Winters’s debut novel. This first book includes a love triangle, all the horses readers can stomach, pageantry, luxurious excess, and a clash between modernity and tradition.


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