Mariana Zapata: Hitting Gold With Slow Burn Romance That Sizzles!

One of the very best things about owning a magazine is getting to meet my personal favorite authors and (quietly, of course) have giddy fan-girl moments.  That is exactly what happened with Mariana. I discovered this NYTimes mega-selling author a few years ago, and have since devoured every single book she has written.  And the very best thing?  She is SO cool in real life!  Seriously, folks! Like, kick-back, hang-out, dream best friend kind of girl.  Mariana is humble, unassuming, extremely easy and fun to visit with, while still being incredibly intelligent and informative when it comes to creating stories that resound with depth and heart.  Read on and I’m sure she will soon become a favorite of yours, as well!

InD: Man, you don't share much about yourself online, Ms. Mariana! So, I get to talk about whatever I want to! (both laughing) First of all, where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I lived there for my first 28 years.
InD: Were you in Houston itself or the suburbs?
: We lived right in the middle of Houston, literally right off North Main - which is a really big street in Houston. It was a nice quiet neighborhood with a bunch of regular families with kids, where you could play outside. We would roller blade and ride our bikes around the four blocks or so. We lived downtown for my first 15 years, after that we moved to the suburbs.
I had such a wonderful childhood. My parents were just the best. They are still my closest friends. I have three brothers and sisters and we spent a lot of time together. I think it says a lot about us that I still like them as people (laughing). We are still very involved in each other's lives and send each other random text messages. In fact, my little brother is one of the reasons I started publishing. I used to write fan-fiction and he would read it and say, “This is so good!” That encouragement was just the faith I needed to try. I am super lucky.
InD: But, you live in Colorado now, right?
Yes, I am in Colorado, for the most part, but I still spend time in Texas.
InD: So, you go from humid and hot, to dry. Which do you prefer?
am not a fan of humid and hot, for the problem of dealing with my hair alone! But, in Colorado it is so dry, my knuckles and lips crack... but my hair looks great! (both laughing)
InD: I have read that you started writing Romance stories as soon as you could read.
Yes, at least that is what my mom says.
InD: I have analyzed this in my head and I still don't get it. Why Romance as a child?
: I guess I was really good at sounding out words because my mom says, even though I didn't know how to spell princess, I would write stories about them. It blew my mom's mind so much, she kept them. She also said when I was six, I was trying to write stories about "Robocop", so I guess I was writing "Robocop" fan-fiction. I have always had an active imagination. I guess I wanted more out of reading that I wasn't getting, so I made it up myself.
InD: Did you love to write all through your growing years, or was it only something you did as a child?
: No, I have pretty much always written. I remember the princess stories, and other stuff. I can't remember a lot, but I think I wrote *NSYNC fan-fiction, as well.
InD: I was going to ask you about them because I saw something about your love of boy bands.
Yeah, I used to make these little banners using Microsoft Paint and I had my own website and everything. By the time I was in high school, I was too busy with academics, so I stopped doing that. I got back into Romance when I read the Sookie Stackhouse books and I started writing about that.

Read the entire fun and informative interview in the February 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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