Posted by: Alastair Rosie | July 14, 2014

A Conversation With… Marie Lavender

Despite what some people may think, writing is hard work. Going from a scene in your head to a full blown novel is a long and winding road peppered with dead ends, obstacles and the occasional breath taking scene. I’ve managed two novels in the last six months and the first was actually already written so I’m bumping the figure up slightly to make myself look better. Having said that when I looked at the list of Marie Lavender’s books I was truly in awe, a total of nineteen in the last few years. I decided to shoot a few questions her way to see how she manages to do it and still come out smiling. Her contact links and buy links are found at the end of the interview so check them out and hopefully you’ll find something to tweak your interest.
Enjoy!

Thank you Marie for agreeing to answer these questions. You’re a prolific writer with about nineteen books under your belt. How do you balance writing and marketing with your regular job?
Marie:
Yeah, it’s not easy. I basically just use all of the free time I have to do what needs to be done. If I have time between calls at work to tackle some tasks, then I do that too.

You’ve written under different pen names and I’ve heard the disadvantages and advantages of this approach. Why do you use pen names and is it something you’ll keep doing?
Marie:
I originally started using pen names for two reasons: 1) to distance my personal life from my writing career and 2) because I thought I might need to use pen names for different genres. I was also trying to decide on the right name.
Since then, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to merge them all back under one pen name: Marie Lavender. I do plan to re-release them that way. Now, if I were to branch out into an entirely different genre than romance, (like erotica or mystery/thriller), then having a pen name specifically for that wouldn’t be bad.

When I was in college I was told to write what you know. Do you agree with this mantra or should writers launch out into uncharted waters and write what they don’t yet know?
Marie:
I think if we squeeze ourselves into that kind of mindset, there wouldn’t be much creativity. You can write what you know to a point. Yes, of course, we naturally glean information from anything we read or anything we do. So, in a sense, we are writing “what we know”. However, you can’t know everything. You will always come across something that needs further explanation or detail. I never write just what I know. For example, let’s look at Perfect Game, one of my books published under Erica Sutherhome. It is a romantic suspense set in Kenya. Did I know anything about Kenya going into it? Not really. I had to do the research to fill in those blanks. And with Upon Your Honor, I had to learn a lot about clipper ships and the ports the characters visited in order to make the book more accurate. I think it’s exciting to do the research required for a book. If we just wrote what we knew, how would we know to use our imaginations to the fullest extent?

Who are your favourite characters in Upon Your Honor?
Marie:
Chloe Waverly and Gabriel Hill, of course! They are the main characters.

What fictional or real life people inspired the characters in Upon Your Honor?
Marie:
Most of my characters are not based on anyone in real life. However, Gabriel is a man of honor and I may have gleaned certain characteristics from my fiancé. He is such a gentleman; I have never met anyone more honorable than him.

If you could bring the ship, La Voyageur to life and had your own personal time machine, who would you bring back to the twenty first century as your crew members?
Marie:
LOL. I think it would be great fun to have Grant and Fara as well as Chloe and Gabriel along. I might even choose Eric and Grant’s first mate George. Perhaps even Lina could come along. Samson, of course, would be invited because you need a fiddler to keep everyone entertained. In any case, I’d love to meet them all in person. You get so close to all of these characters during the writing of a story, and they become like family. So, it would be wonderful to see them in real life.

If you were approached by a major studio to make a movie based on Upon Your Honor and let’s pretend they actually let you choose the cast, who would play your characters?
Marie:
Okay, let me think for a moment. I’ve definitely pictured the cast with the first book, Upon Your Return, but the second book plays like a film in my head as well. Of course, I always imagined Gerard Butler for Captain Grant Hill and possibly Amy Adams or Isla Fisher to play Fara. Gabriel, the main male character in Upon Your Honor, has that trademark red hair so I might go with Simon Woods (his hair was red when he played Mr. Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice”). As for Chloe, I always pictured Julianne Hough for her.

What are you writing now?
Marie:
I have two projects. I am finishing up edits on a paranormal romance novella about a woman who stumbles into the world of vampires. In the process, she learns a lot more about herself than she ever imagined. The novella is titled Second Nature and it is with beta readers now. The other project is Upon Your Love, the sequel to Upon Your Honor. It will be the third and final book in the Heiresses in Love series. Upon Your Love is about a spirited young woman who agrees to help a man in a matchmaking scheme to get their mutual friends together. She doesn’t count on falling for him. But, then a dangerous menace threatens to harm all of them and her gentleman jumps in to save his friends. Adrienne, however, is not your typical Victorian woman so she takes matters into her own hands. This does, of course, complicate things because her gentleman has his own ideas about a woman’s “place”. It makes for an interesting story.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Marie:
I love writing, of course. I love reading books. I love buying new books and adding them to my collection. I hope to have a large room full of books someday! I am also a compulsive shopper so keep me away from a credit card. LOL. I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes. I also enjoy watching films and television, but I am highly selective about what I watch. The shows I follow are Bones, Grimm, Doctor Who, Castle, as well as a few others. For films, I enjoy watching romantic comedies and some action and sci-fi movies. Other activities? I go on walks with my fiancé often, and I love miniature golf!

Who are your favourite writers and singers?
Marie:
Some of my favorite authors are Catherine Coulter, Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward, P.C. Cast, Chloe Neill, Kerrelyn Sparks, Tessa Dare, Emma Wildes, Kris Tualla and others.
As for music, I love OneRepublic, Owl City, Paramore, Fireflight, Sarah McLachlan, Natalia Kills, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Callat, The Corrs… the list goes on. What I listen to generally depends on my mood.

What advice would you give to writers trying to balance writing time with social media networking and general marketing?
Marie:
It is impossible to do everything. Check your notifications on social media daily and do some retweeting as well as your own tweet or two. Post on Facebook and Google+ as well. But, try not to get too wrapped up in it or you’ll just get distracted and get nothing done. When I am heavily focused on a writing project, I try to focus on that as much as possible. I will do the social media as well, but not as heavily. I do it more often when I have an interview or a guest post going on. The best thing to do is to keep a schedule of what is happening or upcoming so you know what days you need to do more promotion. As for general marketing, that is an ongoing process as well. Read articles about how to get your work noticed and send out book review requests to official reviewers whenever you can. Try to do blogging on a schedule as well, once to a few times a week. And don’t forget: promote those posts! You never know when a reader will stumble across your blog and then get interested in your work.
If you’re trying to write between all of this, my advice is to have a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. For example, “Between the hours of 2:00-4:00 p.m., I am going to write.” Or, maybe you can’t write because you need to research. Whatever helps. But, you have to spend some time on it or you’re not going to feel that you’ve made any progress. Try to work on your writing project every day in some capacity, whether it’s writing, editing or researching.
Don‘t overdo it, however. There are going to be days where you need to take a break from everything. Sometimes pretending technology doesn’t exist for awhile really helps. If I need to unwind, I will go read a book for a few hours. I have to be firm with myself at times and step away from the computer or my phone. It is tempting to be on it all the time because you feel you have to, but that’s just not possible. And you get burnt out. Always try to get back to the thing that drives you – the writing. If you don’t love writing, then why are doing it? Sometimes after I have stepped away, that gives me a surge of energy and I even start to get more ideas.

What advice do you have for writers in general?
Marie:
Don’t ever give up. If you’re really in this because you love writing, you owe it to yourself to try, to keep pushing forward. The only person who will regret the fact that you quit is you.

Where would you like to be in five years time?
Marie:
Well, of course, I’d like to have more books out! I hope to have re-released all of my other books under Marie Lavender as well. Perhaps by then, I’ll be well into The Witches of Moonhaven series, another series I have planned. On a more personal note, I hope to be married with a child by then.

Describe your desk.
Marie:
Cluttered! LOL. It is full of notes for current works in progress and well as a stack of reference books. I do have the usual suspects, though, like pens, paper and a stapler as well as paperclips. I also use post-it notes a lot to remind myself of what needs to be done. If I didn’t have that, I couldn’t get anything done. LOL. When I am working on a specific project, I try to keep a detailed outline of the book nearby so that I know what I need to do next, whether it’s working on a specific chapter or researching a particular topic.

Website Blogs:

​​http://www.marielavender.webs.com/

​​http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

​​​http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

​​​​http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon: ​​​​Upon Your Honor at Amazon

​​​Upon your Honor at Barnes and Noble

​​Upon Your Honor at Smashwords

​​Create Space

​​Upon your Honor at Solstice Publishing

​​​​​​WordPress I Love Romance

​​Marie Lavender on Facebook

​​Marie’s Author Page on Facebook

​​Upon Your Return on Facebook

​​Magick Moonlight on Facebook

​​Upon Your Honor on Facebook

​​Writing in the Modern Age on Facebook

​​Marie Lavender on Twitter

​​Marie Lavender on Google+

​​Marie Lavender on Linkedin

​​Marie Lavender on Goodreads

​​Marie Lavender on AuthorsDB

​​Marie Lavender on Amazon

​​http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG

​​http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2

​​http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

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