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Author Interview on Rachael Stapleton’s blog

Monday, January 12, 2015

Today I’m interviewing bestselling author Marie Lavendar who prefers a gel pen to a keystroke and a journal page to a computer.

When asked if she had any quirks she admitted that while she doesn’t write in the shower, she does find herself working on scenes in there. I had to agree…this happens to me all the time. 

SecondNature-final cover

Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.

Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

So, Marie, your book is a love story involving vampires. How did you become “involved” with vampires? 

LOL! That’s funny because my “book boyfriend” is Wrath from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. But seriously, vampires have always held a fascination for me. Whether they came from movies or books, I was always interested in them. I always wanted to write about them too, and with Second Nature, I got that chance.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The vampire element! It was fun to write about something mythical and to use my own imagination to fill in the details. I’ve read a lot of vampire books; therefore I had a foundation. I just had to make it my own. Of course, I loved and found myself identifying with the characters too.
Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers?  Define some of those.

There are a couple of terms. ‘Others’ are supernatural beings, and another term is ‘bloodseer’, but readers won’t see that one until the sequel.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?
All I can say is…my vampires don’t sparkle.  Oh, and they don’t sleep in coffins.  LOL.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

For the main characters in Second Nature, I would choose either Henry Cavill or Matt Bomer as Alec, and for Desiree I would probably pick Moon Bloodgood because of her exotic features.
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 think names are important. Sometimes I choose them because I simply like the name, but mainly I choose a character’s name because it really fits him/her. I have used a baby name book that I own, but I have also used other baby name sources online (http://www.babynames.com/).  The meaning of a name or even its origin can be very significant in some stories so I spend a lot of time on http://www.behindthename.com/ or for last names, I use http://surnames.behindthename.com/. When I write historical romance, I want to be period specific. Often I will just do a search to see what common names were for the time period. With the Heiresses in Love Series, I spent a lot of time looking for both English and French names.

Have you always liked to write?

It seems like I’ve always loved it. I’ve been writing stories since I was nine years old. I’ve never felt more freedom than I do when I’m telling a story.

Do you do a lot of research for your books? Do you enjoy doing research?

Yes, I believe you have to do research for every book. Some, such as historical novels, require more than others. I don’t mind the research portion of writing. It helps me find the answers I need, and sometimes it will even help jar me out of writer’s block.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Maybe science fiction. I don’t mind watching the films, but I think I would find it pretty hard to write.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Heavy action scenes can be challenging because I need to really visualize it before I can put it into words. For example, with my last historical romance, Upon Your Honor, I did a lot of study on fencing before I attempted to write the scenes about dueling. I watched fencing videos and I tried to understand and picture the terms they used.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

No, it’s not my first book. Other than Second Nature, I have written and published 19 books.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?

Right now, I am working on the final book in the Heiresses in Love Series. It is titled Upon Your Love. I am also perfecting the manuscript for A Little Magick, book two of the Magick Series. For my next project, I will probably finish up Blood Instincts, the sequel to Second Nature.
What made you choose romance as your particular genre? Do you write in other genres?

I guess I just love “love”. That obsession sort of translated into a love for books about love, or romance novels. Even as a young writer, some of my stories tended to have a romantic tone. I poured over romance novels as I grew up (I still do), and it just felt natural to keep writing about romance. Eventually, I started including other elements, which would work for subgenres like historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic fantasy, time travel romance, western romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I have tried writing in other genres, of course. I have written and published mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Recently, I even wrote a children’s fantasy story.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I think from the time that my mom read books to me when I was tiny, I loved books. And then when I learned how to read, it opened up a huge world, a world of wonder that I couldn’t help but immerse myself in. I just loved flipping through tomes from any genre, loved the smell of new and old books and pouring over the words within. Writing, I think, naturally came out of my love of books.
What kind(s) of writing do you do? Just fiction or have you tried other things?

Yes, I also write other things. I write poetry in my free time and, since I’ve been published, I started writing articles for my blogs.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

Since Second Nature is set in Baltimore, I did a lot of research from the city of Baltimore website as well as understanding where everything was through Google maps. Via the city website, I was able to find the best park location for one of the scenes in the book. I did other types of research for Baltimore. I also did research on the Civil War, and found a lot of information on http://www.history.com/ and http://www.civilwar.org/.  It did take me awhile to get access to the Roster of Civil War Soldiers, though.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Both Catherine Coulter and Nora Roberts definitely influenced me. Catherine made me love historical romance, and Nora Roberts taught me to be fearless about any topic while writing.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

I studied Creative Writing in high school and college. There are several elements I always use. I have to agree with 1) constructing three-dimensional and believable characters. 2) Start a story “en media res”, or in the middle of things, or mid-action. 3) Oh, and don’t kill off main characters. This is a failing I have seen not only in movies and television, but also in books. It is shocking to the reader, and can ruin the whole story in most cases.  I have seen only a few authors pull it off well, and only because the death was necessary for a major plot element.

So, all of these were helpful guidelines. I think the most useful thing was simply the freedom to write what you wanted, what your heart was telling you. The writing community as a whole is pretty supportive, and having that is important to writers at any stage. Any feedback I received in workshops only helped to make my stories better. The same goes for any time I use beta readers or critique partners now.

I think that the most destructive thing to tell a writer is to rewrite something. What was it that our English teachers told us all through school when we were writing essays or research papers? “Revise, revise, revise.” That is a far better strategy because even if you have one terrible paragraph, you can always use parts of it to improve what you have. The idea of starting from scratch is a far more daunting task, and can make it that much easier to give up on writing in general. A smart writer will start to see what is wrong with the paragraph and how they can adjust it. That’s what editing is, and it’s a very necessary instrument in a writer’s toolbox.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

Part-time for now, though I’d love to do it full-time. It can be a real challenge finding the time to write, but I just push myself to get something done every day, despite the distractions in my life.
For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start? 

Start with the paranormal or urban fantasy genre. There are a lot of unique spins on the world of vampires, shifters, etc. I would suggest books by J.R. Ward, Kerrelyn Sparks, Chloe Neill and P.C. Cast as well as any other authors in the genre.
Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? 

I guess it would be a combination of the two. Intuition helps with writing some scenes, and then logic helps me figure out the wording or if I need to stop and do research in order to continue writing the manuscript.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love reading paranormal, historical and contemporary romance novels. Recently, I have been reading more paranormal, but I will probably go back to historical soon.
What projects are you working on at the present?  

As aforementioned, I’m working on Upon Your Love, which will be the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series. This is a Victorian romantic suspense, and I am excited to show the book to readers! On the side, I am also working on Blood Instincts, which will be book two of the Blood at First Sight Series.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a ton of works in progress. There is a romantic suspense collaboration called Certain Death, and that is with another writer. There will probably be at least two books in that series. I also plan to re-release all of my self-published books under this pen name. A big future project I have in mind is called the Witches of Moonhaven Series, a set of six books about a coven of witches around the time of the Salem witch trials. I have other ideas as well, so I doubt I’ll ever have a problem coming up with what’s next.

How on earth do you start writing one of your stories or books? What is your process during the course of writing?

My ideas come to me randomly, and the scenes pop into my head in any order. This causes the story to become a puzzle I need to piece together and once I start the plotting portion of the book, I can work at making it seamless.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

Publisher: http://solsticepublishing.com/second-nature/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-nature-marie-lavender/1120879883

CreateSpace link: https://www.createspace.com/5131233

Book Trailer

Mariepic2 - small

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March. Upon Your Honor, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

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Guest Post: Why Research Is Important and How to Do It (Marie Lavender)

Check out my article on how to do research with your writing today on Belinda Y. Hughes’ blog!

Belinda Y. Hughes: Writing, Editing & Social Media

Impreial Federation c maps bpl org Image credit http://maps.bpl.org

When my friend Belinda suggested the topic of how to do your homework when writing historical romances, I thought I’d take it a step further since I have done all kinds of research in my writing career.  Research is a dual-edged sword.  It can be a total blast if you’re into learning about new things.  On the other hand, it can be a real pain when it’s difficult to find the right information.  No matter what stage of writing you’re at, you will, at some point, need to look something up.

First of all, let me get the big question out of the way, the one I was arrogant enough to ask myself so many years ago.  This coming from someone who wasn’t a fan of history class, but loved reading historical romance.  Cue the irony.

“Why is research so important?”

Indeed!  Why should we go to…

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Come Sail Away to the Past by Marie Lavender

An article about how I did my historical research for UPON YOUR HONOR…

Seasons of Love

From Christina: As another historical romance writer, I know the need for careful research. Today, Marie Lavender offers a glimpse at how she uncovers accurate information for her stories.

 

Come Sail Away to the Past

by Marie Lavender

 

CLIPPERPICAs Upon Your Honor is a period romance, I wanted to cover some of the tough research I did for the book. Though it is getting easier the more I write, I did struggle with some technical issues during the writing of the manuscript.

For example, as most of Chloe’s journey is aboard La Voyageur, captained by Grant Hill (the hero in the first book), it was necessary to research ships. Clipper ships, to be exact. Clipper ships were very popular in their time, from 1840 to 1869. They were very fast and could outrun many other ships. I chose the clipper because I knew the captain would want a…

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The Genesis of a Book – Leather and Lace by Marie Lavender

 This was a guest post on Exquisite Quills blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Start with a Title
My newest book is Leather and Lace, a romantic suspense.  It was released in November.  It is about a cop and the stripper he pursues because not only does he believe she is involved in a crime, he also can’t shake his desire for her.  But, there is a lot going on under the surface of things.  Patrick knows Angie is into something she can’t get out of, and yet she won’t tell him the truth.  His only choice is to try to gain her trust.  Angie, however, is a tricky girl and she makes him work for it.
Leather and Lace by Erica Sutherhome
When I first had the idea for Leather and Lace, all I had in mind was the title.  That’s not normally how I work.  The title is usually last.  But, I thought it was an awesome title and I went with it.  The premise of the story started to fall into place right away.  I had always been fascinated with women who use their sexuality to make money.  And I don’t mean prostitution, but exotic dancing.  Though I have done a strip tease (*blush) for my fiancé before, I just find it interesting that there are women comfortable enough to do that as a profession.  I don’t think I’d have the courage.
The fun thing about writing is that when you’re researching and composing, you kind of fall into the roles of the characters.  For a brief time, you can imagine yourself as those people.  So, it was really exciting to “become” Angie for the time I was writing Leather and Lace.  She is a multi-faceted character, and our hero, Patrick, has to work pretty hard to see those layers.  But, he was just as complicated a character and I had to not only give him cop instincts, but find out more about the location they were in.
I had a grand time researching Boston.  In fact, I found it so interesting, I plan to write about it again.  I wanted Patrick and Angie to live and work somewhat close to each other and after a bit of maneuvering, I figured out a way to do it.  I tried to use real places to give the story some authenticity.  For the rest, I used some creative license.  There is a restaurant that the couple goes to in the story, and I plan to go there too when I visit.  It is so amazing what you can find online these days.  I used the menu and pictures of the restaurant to describe it the best way I could.
As for Patrick, it was pretty fun researching what precinct or “district” he would work in as well as showing exactly the way a detective worked.  Patrick was not just a cop though.  He was a man with a pretty interesting background and I did my best to show that.
Overall, I found Leather and Lace to be one of my greatest joys.  I hope you find it just as exciting to read.
Blurb

When Detective Dreyling sees Evangeline Lewis standing over a dead body, his whole life changes. Determined to not only find out what she knows about the crime but also to make her his, he will go to any lengths, even bribe her boss, to have more time with her.

Angie fights the overwhelming desire she feels for Patrick, but there are some things in this world you can’t fight. There are rare kinds of attraction. No matter how much she tries to keep her heart from him, she can’t help the feelings that strike her.

What makes it all harder is the secret she keeps from him, the reason she has put herself in some pretty bad situations. Can she come clean with him in time or will the lie destroy any chance they have at happiness?
Author Bio
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.
At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.
Since then, Marie has published seventeen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A list of her books and pen names are as follows:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return
Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

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