Guest Post by Libby Mercer, author of Unmasking Maya

Today, I'm happy to have Libby Mercer, author of the upcoming Unmasking Maya, stop by to tell us a little about her book and its similarities with Jane Eyre. So without a further ado...


Thanks so much for having me here today, Lauren!

I had a recent epiphany. While brainstorming blog topics, I got to thinking about Derek Whitley, the love interest in Unmasking Maya. In my mind, I started listing his characteristics – extremely intelligent and strangely mysterious. Thoroughly arrogant, cold and cynical, but still somehow magnetic. It wasn’t long before it occurred to me I was listing many of the same characteristics shared by one of the most fascinating literary characters ever. Only then did I realize how closely Derek resembles Edward Fairfax Rochester!

Of course there are some major differences. Derek is hot and Mr. Rochester… well, he’s not. Also, Mr. Rochester can be a bit hot-tempered, whereas Derek almost always keeps his cool.

Once I’d consciously drawn this parallel (because who knows what my subconscious was up to as I was writing Unmasking Maya?) I began to see certain similarities between Maya Kirkwood and Jane Eyre as well. Both characters are fiercely independent and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. They both had troubled childhoods, both feel ostracized, and they both end up landing employment in unfamiliar new surroundings – for Maya, it’s Silicon Valley, and for Jane, it’s Fairfax Hall.

Naturally, there are some huge differences between Maya and Jane too. Unlike Plain Jane, Maya is a fabulous fashionista. Maya also tends to be a bit of a drama queen at times. Take, for example, her studio apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District. Maya hates living in such cramped, run-down living quarters, and she hates the noise pollution that goes along with it. If Jane were to time-travel to the 21st Century, you know she’d be grateful just to have a roof over her head.

It’s a funny thing. I most definitely had no intention of writing Unmasking Maya as a modern retelling of Jane Eyre – and to say that it is one is more than a bit of a stretch. Still, it seems clear that the classic novel influenced me. And it makes sense, really. Jane Eyre is one of my top three all-time favorite novels, surpassing even (get ready to gasp) the works of Jane Austen.

As an author, my characters and my plots and especially my voice didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. These things developed gradually as a result of my imaginings combined with influential bits and pieces from everything I’ve ever read. Or at least that’s what I believe. Who knows? If I dig deep enough, maybe I’ll find certain aspects of my stories that parallel Slaughterhouse-Five. Or Rachel’s Holiday. Or Great Expectations. Or The Bell Jar. Or Ramona and Beezus. But hopefully not all at the same time. ;-) 


Thanks so much for stopping by, Libby! I can't wait to start Unmasking Maya!

About Libby: 
Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013. 

About Unmasking Maya:
Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced...

Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?

Not so much.

She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.

As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?
Unmasking Maya will be released December 15, 2012! 

And to stay up to date on all book tour shenanigans, be sure to check out Libby's blog


  1. Jane Eyre is one of my all times faves! And having read Maya, I can definitely see the similarities, and perhaps why I enjoyed it so much!

  2. I love the Jane Eyre influence! Unmasking Maya sounds like a fun read--thanks for the post!

  3. Lucie, I'm so glad you can see the similarities too! And aw, what a nice thing to say. Dee, thanks so much! I think it's fun, but, of course I would... Thank you both for stopping by!

  4. Can't wait to read Unmasking Maya! This sounds like such a fun read. And I too have always preferred the Brontes to Jane Austen. (Gasp!) :-)

  5. Jane Eyre is a fav of mine!

    I love the changes you made with the blurb. It makes me want to read it right now and I don't read a lot of Chick Lit.

  6. Aw, thanks Angleterre and Elke! Glad to know there are more loyal Bronte fans out there. Also very exciting to know that I've tempted someone who doesn't normally read chick lit.

    Lauren, thanks so much for hosting me today!!

  7. Well, now I'm really curious to read Unmasking Maya, so I can contrast and compare Maya and Derek with Jane and Rochester!

    P.S. There is no choosing between Austen and the Brontes! They are all brilliant and wonderful in their own ways.

  8. Eek! So sorry about the late reply but I just wanted to thank Tracie for commenting and say I do love Austen too. Although none of her books are on my Top 3 list, a couple of them are in my Top 10. :-)


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