Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Marie Lavender
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Marie Lavender
Title of the book you are promoting: Upon Your Return
Links to purchase your Book:
Genre: Historical Romance
Welcome ML…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
ML: I think I always wanted to be a writer. I kept telling my family, “I want to be an author!”
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
ML: Well, I’ve pretty much always been partial to romance. There was a historical romance series by Jean Ferris that really influenced me when I was younger. I think the turning point was when I started reading Jennifer Blake and Catherine Coulter. I have really branched out since then, adding Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, Tessa Dare, Emma Wildes and Jane Feather. I am also partial to paranormal romance so I definitely like J.R. Ward and P.C. Cast.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
ML: A little bit of both. Last year, Solstice Publishing found me and offered a contract for my current release, Upon Your Return. Before that, I was self-published. I self-published fifteen books under various pen names before Upon Your Return. I am not beyond self-publishing again if the mood hits me later on.
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
ML: Solstice, the house I am with now, is a small publisher. I suppose at some point I would like to be noticed by a big publisher. You can create a name for yourself a lot easier, and there are a lot of other benefits like movie deals and being able to publish consistently. I wouldn’t do it for the money or anything. I just have this dream of seeing my name in print in a bookstore. That’s not much, right? LOL. On the other hand, I’m guessing there are disadvantages as well (i.e. deadlines and bureaucracy). I am comfortable where I am right now, though.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
ML: Wow, I can’t decide between a major hottie or a favorite author now. I better stay away from Gerard Butler. I wouldn’t be able to stop staring at him or listening to his accent. LOL. I think maybe I’d invite Nora Roberts or Catherine Coulter, and I would not talk about how much money they make. People get kind of sensitive about that, even if you mean well. And I’m not obsessed with it in any case. I’d love to find out what inspired them to write about certain characters or books. I think if I met Catherine Coulter, I’d ask her about Devil’s Embrace, the novel that really opened my eyes up to the genre.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
ML: Yeah, it’s one thing for adults to know about sex and discuss it freely with their friends or partners. But, it’s quite another for us to have to see celebrities falling out of their clothes on purpose. Please. Who wants to see that? And I actually get uncomfortable when I see too much sex on TV or movies. And as for violence, I think things are really bad. We are so desensitized to things that when we watch horror movies or even action movies that contain highly graphic killing scenes, we don’t even blink. And it looks so real you couldn’t tell the difference. It doesn’t say much for humankind in general if we don’t care about that stuff. I think we need some definite changes. I’m a romance writer so you know I’m open to things, but I worry about what we’re subjecting our children to these days. That is my main concern with sex and violence in society.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
ML: Starvation. I think poverty is a major problem both here and in the world at large. I would want no one to go hungry. It’s just so heartbreaking when you see that or hear about it. You want to help, but there is so much wrong with the world. I think that would be a good step.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
ML: Well, I’m still kind of torn on the e-book vs. physical book debate. I love having a book in my hands. I think I always will. I’m a Luddite that way. But, to answer your question, I think a lot of importance is placed on it. I don’t believe, however, that every great cover would have a great story…or that a crappy cover would have a terrible story. I think you can sometimes tell by the blurb more than the cover. That is what sells. How the story is presented to readers is the most important thing. If the blurb doesn’t grab you, why would you want to read it? I know there are books out there that are probably pretty great, but may not have a good description and that really is sad. Well, and you know. You were self-published too. It is hard to make your book sales-worthy. Now I’m not saying covers don’t help. They do. But, a good description really does it.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
ML: Yeah, I always have. I pretty much started when I was nine, and never stopped! I was always writing stories, or letting them play out in my head.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
ML: The plot has to be pretty good. But, I do agree. Stories are character-driven. If you don’t have a compelling character, then there’s not much of a story. I like to see the different facets of a character. And I definitely want them to be human. They can make mistakes. Or learn from their mistakes. I want them to be real.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
ML: Yeah, I know what you mean. My story ideas come at pretty much anytime, whether I’m ready or not. So, I have to write it down really quick. Sometimes it will be a basic idea…like, “Hey, why not write a story about three women who get stranded in a small town and they are all struck by love in different ways?” That’s one story I have. It gets developed later, of course. And I have developed it since then. At other times, whole scenes will play out in my head with full dialogue. And if I don’t write it down, it can drive me crazy. The creative mind can be pretty complicated sometimes.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
ML: Yeah, I’m working on the sequel to Upon Your Return. Or shall I say the second book in the Heiress in Love Series? I still have a lot to do yet, mainly some more research and filling in the blanks here and there. Then there is the whole editing process, but I digress. I pretty much know what is going to happen in the book though. No spoilers! LOL.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
ML: I have written a ton of stories. I haven’t published them all though. I published sixteen books. Fifteen of them were self-published and one was published traditionally. My website, http://marielavender.webs.com/, has all the details.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
ML: Fun. Yeah, I write for the joy of it. I sincerely believe it’s sad to be driven by money in this industry. If you don’t enjoy the art of writing, why are you a writer? Money is temporary. It can be gone so fast. So, you may as well love writing. You know that urge to write, the drive that makes writers nutty? You know that pure joy you feel when you’re fully in the moment, writing your scene without stopping? That’s the way it should feel. And if it doesn’t feel that way, then why do it? We are artists. We create. But, we have to love our work too. That is the one reason we should do it.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
ML: Well, they certainly never understood the dedication it takes to write. Why do I spend so much time writing? Blah, blah, blah. I would say the one problem I ran into was that I am the total oddity in my family. I’m a writer. They don’t know what it’s like to be a creative individual. I also have green eyes. Theirs are blue. Weird, right? I’m digressing. LOL. I guess it’s been hard because there is nothing reasonable about being a writer. If I wanted a reasonable job, I would have chosen a different profession. I remember my mother telling me when I was a kid, “So you want to be an author? Then you better marry some rich guy!” Really? I don’t believe in shooting anyone’s dreams down, no matter what. The funny thing is I think my mother has come around about some things. She has read a few of my books, and she likes them. She has not read Upon Your Return yet. I don’t know how I feel about showing my mother I’m actually a sexual being even though I am an adult, and I’m engaged. But, that’s a story for another day.
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
ML: Several years ago, I did get writer’s block. For a period of many months, I just didn’t have it. I had no ideas. I couldn’t write. Anytime I tried, I felt dried up. Nothing came out. I couldn’t even use writing prompts. It was painful. I think I was also depressed, and I believe emotions have a huge impact on writing. But, that is neither here nor there. Eventually, I had to just tell myself, “It will come. Don’t worry about it.” So, I didn’t. At least, I tried really hard to forget about it. I tried to fill my life with other activities. I just knew that at some point, it would change. And it did. Eventually, I did pick up a pen again. I did start writing. And what came out was pretty good. But, I never want to go through that again.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
ML: I’ve probably said this enough on my blog, and enough on discussion groups on LinkedIn. But, perseverance is really important. Persistence. Don’t give up. Don’t stop writing. Don’t stop trying. Keep working at it. Eventually, you’ll get there. Even my journey wasn’t without it’s hurdles. And the journey is still going. I’m still learning.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
ML: No, probably not. I’m not sure I’d change anything. I think I could have used a little more encouragement as a kid, but I made it through. Maybe those roadblocks make us who we are. I briefly entertained being a singer when I was younger. But, I am not good with crowds, not good in front of an audience. I’m still working on that. It’s one of those things that is necessary in show business. So, I know it’s not really my cup of tea. But, writing? That’s something I can do. It’s something that is in my blood, something that is so much a part of me that it feels like it’s in my soul. If I changed any part of my journey, I don’t think I’d be here. That’s what matters.
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
ML: I feel two ways. I feel that altering history is probably pretty bad because history is a chain of events and even the smallest thing can affect another. However, the Holocaust really upsets me. I think I’d do something to control Hitler. The man needed a major…well, don’t get me started. But, I wish I could do something about that if I could go back in time.
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
ML: I am not as shy as I used to be, but I would be pretty excited about that. I have actually seen my book as a movie. But, really, who hasn’t? I would be ecstatic! If that did happen though, I would probably tell my fiancé first as he is the man I love, and my best friend.
Thanks for that open and honest interview ML….Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Hot chocolate
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble bath
Favorite Color? Hot pink
Takeout or Dine in? Take out
Camping or Hotel? Hotel, of course.
Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate (is there any other way?)
Dogs or Cats? Cats!
Favorite Food? Pizza
Favorite Song? How can I choose? I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to music. I would probably choose Fireflight’s “Wrapped In Your Arms”. I’m not religious, but I like alternative. And I like love songs. It’s the best of both worlds.
Favorite Movie? The Princess Bride (silly, but still a love story)
Favorite Car? The Chevy Equinox is a nice looking car, but I don’t own it.
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Don’t make me decide! LOL. Both.
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
ML: Can I please, please, please pick Gerard Butler? Just kidding. Seriously, I would choose my fiancé. I would go to the Caribbean somewhere, marry the man and escape to a deserted island. What a honeymoon! I can’t wait to marry him!
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Marie Lavender’s
Upon Your Return