Today I welcomed author Marie Lavender to the site for an indepth interview. Read along and find out what makes Marie Lavender so popular with her readers.
1. Could you tell us what the writing process of Marie Lavender looks like?
I write scenes pretty randomly with a basic idea of the plot in mind, until I feel it’s time to break down and write a detailed outline in order to get focused. From there, I can start the vigorous chapter writing process and get to know my characters better. I do research in between everything to fill in the necessary details, and after I finish writing the manuscript, I go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Even when I plot, sometimes the characters will still surprise me, though.
2. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
No, nothing like that, but I am pretty obsessed with colored gel pens and pretty journals. I’ll write on anything if I have to, but I’d rather use a pen than a pencil. I also compose on the computer. If I do that, I have to have complete quiet with no interruptions. Yeah, I guess I’m a little strange.
3. Is there one Marie Lavender book that is your favorite? Which of your characters is your favorite? And which is the biggest trouble maker for you?
Wow, what a loaded set of questions. I still have a special place in my heart for Upon Your Return.Fara Bellamont is a character I can really relate to, as she is a dreamer, a hopeless romantic and a little on the feisty side, with a lovely head of auburn hair. I love red hair.
Hmm…a trouble maker character? Adrienne Bellamont Hill. She first appears in Upon Your Honor, the second book of the Heiresses in Love Series, and gets her own book in Upon Your Love, a manuscript which is currently in edits and should be released sometime this year. She is a very tricky woman in many ways, and she definitely made writing about her very interesting.
4. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
It’s hard to list them all, but I will try. Aphra Behn, Max Erhmann, Kurt Vonnegut, Emily Dickinson, Catherine Coulter, Nora Roberts, Rosemary Rogers, Emma Wildes, Kris Tualla, P.C. Cast, Chloe Neill, J.R. Ward, Kerrelyn Sparks, and the list goes on.
Obviously, I’ve never met those authors, but the ones I have encountered on my author journey inspire me every day. Here are some off the top of my head: Linda Lee Williams, Sheri Fredricks, Mika Jolie, Devika Fernando, James McAllister, Ica Iova, Annie Edmonds, Theresa Moretimer, C.J. Heck, Joy Redmond, Lois W. Stern, K.C. Sprayberry, Celia Kennedy, P.I. Barrington, Olga Núñez Miret, Susan Mac Nicol, Rebecca L. Frencl, Shannon MacLeod, Rachael Stapleton, Penny Estelle, Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, Carole McKee, and LaRae Parry, just to name a few.
5. If you could cast the characters from your latest book in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
I think from Second Nature,
6. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I do a little of both. I have always liked unique names. My real name is pretty common, and I always wanted something cool so I live vicariously through my characters. LOL. I try to also fit the name to the character. I do choose names based on meanings, and I often fall back on baby name books or my favorite source, Behind the Name. You can search by ethnicity for First Names or, Last Names
7. What does Marie Lavender consider to be her best accomplishment in life outside of writing?
Oh, that’s easy! After a few duds, I found the man of my dreams, my soul mate, Chris. We have been together for eleven wonderful years.
8. (A) I have heard that you have published 20 or more books under various pen names. How many are Marie Lavender novels?
Currently, I have published four novels under Marie Lavender, but there will be many more as I re-release my other books under that name, but I will probably give them new titles. I also have a children’s fantasy book which is currently being formatted for release, and that will be published soon. It is titled A Little Magick, and is the second book of the Magick Series.
8. (B) How about Erica Sutherhome?
I published twelve books under the Erica Sutherhome pen name. The final book was Leather and Lace, released in November of 2013.
8. (C) And Kathryn Layne?
I released one book under Kathryn Layne, a paranormal mystery/thriller. It was titled A Misplaced Life.
9. Have you always liked to write?
Definitely. I have been writing since the age of nine, with all of these stories in my head. They had to come out somehow, and honestly I can’t imagine doing anything else as a career.
10. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Be patient and persistent. I know those sound contradictory, but it will make sense in a moment. You’ll need patience on the long, hard author journey, but also don’t be afraid to stick to your vision and believe in yourself. Keep trying, and if you feel like you failed, get up and try again. The only person who will be disappointed in the fact that you didn’t publish is you. Later, you can develop a following and a set of readers. But, right now, this is your dream, and you have to feed it with love and patience.
Always come back to the reason you’re writing in the first place. If you’re looking for fame, it could be a disappointing journey. But if you’re doing this because of your love of writing, then I have no doubt that you’ll succeed.
11. If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I have always loved literature, just poured over any tome that I could, so I’d probably want to stick by books as much as possible. Maybe I’d be a bookstore clerk or even own my own bookstore.
12. Are you a plotter or a pantster? (Write by the seat of your pants)
I am part pantster, part plotter. I let the ideas flow as much as possible, and then I start plotting to get organized. I leave myself open for adjustments and let the characters tell me their stories, though.
13. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read them now and then. If I have a good review, I thank the reader if I know them. If I don’t know them, I still thank them publicly on a post using their first name. If I receive a bad review, I never respond. It would be unprofessional to confront a reviewer for their personal opinion. How to deal with it? Just deal. Be professional, and move on. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and we all come from different backgrounds so what works for one person may not work for another.
14. (A) How does Marie Lavender manage her time? With all the effort you put into the various Linkedin groups, and your constant marketing, how do you find time to write?
All I can do is try. Now and then, I have to tell myself, “No, go write on this project” or I’ll get nothing done. It also helps to leave notes for myself as reminders on what I need to work on next. I try to keep as organized as I can.
14. (B) What is your best marketing tip?
Stick to a few main social media sources and work to develop those as often as you can. You can’t do everything, but don’t be afraid to try something new either. Subscribe to blogs with tips and if you stumble across an article that might help, don’t be afraid to bookmark it for future reference. Keep an eye out for bloggers who take on guest authors in the form of author interviews, character interview, guest posts, etc. You want to have a good web presence. Honestly, I never imagined I’d be writing articles until I began cracking down on promotion in 2012. Put yourself out there as much as you can, even if you have a tendency to be shy. It will only get easier. Do press releases, radio interviews, whatever you can to spread your author name around. But, be professional as an author. Even if someone says something hurtful, be the better person and walk away. You’ll thank yourself later for it.
15. What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Editing, the necessary evil. It’s not easy, and it definitely smarts if you have to cut anything from your manuscript. But, you have to learn to take advice from others as writer. You have to know when to pick your battles, the difference between what will improve your technique and what may actually hurt your vision for the book. I have been working with proofreaders and editors for several years now, and I know I’m all the better for it.
16. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I probably wouldn’t write science fiction. Although I do have an alien story in the works, I probably wouldn’t write official science fiction. I admire those who can, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. I also don’t think I would ever write horror. Some horror movies or gory scenes really bother me.
17. (A) In Second Nature, who is your favorite character?
I love Alec! He’s hot, has some pretty nice teeth (wink), is a gentleman and can be a total sweetheart as well. He is also fiercely protective of those he cares about.
17. (B) How about in Upon Your Honor?
Chloe is my favorite. She has been through a lot, so much you think she’ll probably break or lose it, but she is strong, a survivor, and I totally admire her.
17. (C) And in Leather and Lace?
Angie is my favorite character in Leather and Lace. She is sexy, totally gorgeous, and she has a lot of depth, a lot of secrets she keeps for a good reason. I also love how Patrick, the levelheaded detective, becomes completely obsessed with her.
18. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
I think it depends on the book. Any of those scenes can be difficult because you have to honor the character while you’re writing it. It is told from their point of view, not yours. Action scenes can often be a little challenging for me as well, because I have to visualize what’s happening from every angle and make sure it sounds right to the readers. Often as writers, we know exactly what we mean in our heads, but conveying it perfectly can be difficult at first.
19. Marie, what is your latest published book? How many books have you written prior?
My latest release is Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series. Two more books will follow in the series. I have written and published nineteen other books.
20. The Marie Lavender website’s tag line says: “romance author for both women and men”. Could you elaborate on that for us?
Yes, it actually refers to the fact that I not only wanted to go against the general misconception that women are the audience for romance novels, but because my tagline is the truth. More men read the genre now than we once believed, sometimes I think because the genre has evolved rapidly, accepting numerous subgenres including fantasy, time travel stories, science fiction and pretty much anything you can think of has a romantic element. Many of the professional reviewers who read my work and loved it were men so why wouldn’t I draw attention to that? I have always believed in equality of the sexes, and that should extend to my readers as well. I welcome both women and men to my books!
If you’re a male, don’t be afraid to read romance, just as if you were a female, you shouldn’t be afraid to read other genres. It’s simple. You never know you’ll like something until you try it.
The following are some Crazy Questions That No One Ever Asks Authors, answer any you would like others to know about you.
1. What has been your biggest disappointment in life?
Probably losing both of my grandparents. I still mourn them and think about them every day, and I wish they could have seen my accomplishments. More than that, I just wish I could see them again because I miss them more than I can ever say.
2. What is your greatest joy in life?
My greatest joy is knowing that I have love in my life, that someone out there loves and misses me when I’m not around, that I love that person just as much.
3. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
This one is personal. When I was younger, about twenty-one, I found myself in a pretty abusive relationship. For about eight months, I felt trapped, not knowing what to do next and I hated myself for feeling so powerless, so vulnerable. Eventually, I did walk away from that destructive relationship, and I was better for it. With the loving support of family, I was able to get out of it.
4. What is your biggest fear?
Losing those I love.
5. What do you want your tombstone to say?
I’m not arrogant so I cannot say, but I wouldn’t mind it referring to the fact that I’m a writer or author.
6. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I think I’d want to read minds, but not forever, just for a little while. Writers, I think, are fascinated by the human psyche, and we are always trying to observe and see how people tick. I would want to do briefly just to figure people out. And then maybe influence people who were evil back into good. It’s just a thought, anyway.
7. If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?
Now you have my imagination spinning. I love hot pink so my costume would have to be hot pink.My super hero name would be Mystic Mindbender.
8. What literary character is most like you?
When I was growing up, I identified with Mary Anne Spier from Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club Series. Now, I identify with Merit from Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires Series. She was a English Lit grad student who got way in over her head when she was saved from an attack. Quirk Merit bounced back quickly and became a kick-ass heroine. I would say she is a lot like me, except for the whole protecting her vampire house thing. But, if I was put in the same situation, I’d like to think I would be that brave. I would certainly stand up to Ethan too. Love the dynamics between those two.
9. What secret talents do you have?
I’m a pretty decent cook, and I can sing soprano. I also do pretty well at designing décor for a room when I want to change things up a little.
10. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Ireland. I have always wanted to go there. I’ve heard it’s lovely, and I’d like to get in touch with my Irish roots.
11. If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
12. What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
So many things really. I’d like to get married, have a beach house, do a ton of traveling, have a child, and just be happy.
13. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
I love those Irish, British, or Scottish accents!
14. What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was a dreamer, always playing with dolls, absorbed in my own little world of make believe. I was shy, but I was a Mama’s girl so I was always under her feet. My favorite doll was my Sarah doll.Well, I named her Sarah. She was soft, had little pink cheeks and a pretty dress. As I was able to read on my own later on, I read voraciously, and fell into the world of fiction whenever I could.
15. Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
I don’t often remember my dreams, but if I do, it’s usually a disturbing one. The only recurring one I ever had was this image of being on a cliff in historic dress somewhere in Ireland, but not much else happened in the dream.
Thank you Marie for your time in doing this interview and for your candid answers. Readers you can order your copy of the best selling Marie Lavender books here. Check out the trailers, and visit the websites of Marie Lavender.
Don’t miss the interview with Alec Sullivan
Second Nature – Marie Lavender (paranormal romance/urban fantasy)
Upon Your Honor – Marie Lavender (historical romance/suspense)
Magick & Moonlight – Marie Lavender (lighthearted romantic fantasy)
Upon Your Return – Marie Lavender (historical romance)
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Purchase Marie Lavender Books Here!