This week, I’d like to introduce you to author Marie Lavender. She lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty-four books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are: The Heiresses in Love, The Eternal Hearts, The Magick, The Code of Endhivar and The Blood at First Sight.
So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest, professional or hobby.)
I wrote the Heiresses in Love Series (a Victorian romance trilogy), as well as some of the books in The Magick Series (lighthearted fantasy), Blood at First Sight Series (paranormal romance) and The Code of Endhivar Series (science fiction romance). All of them were released through Solstice Publishing. Besides that, I have standalone works. I have been writing since the age of nine, but I’ve only been published since 2010.
One of my recent writing accolades is the fact that I reached the TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog.
What are you currently working on and what is it about?
I am working on a romantic comedy that lightly covers the topic of body-shaming. I think it’s important that we realize how much damage it can cause to our self-esteem. Approaching it in a more comical fashion might take some of the dramatic edge off the problem while still getting the point across. Anyway, it’s something I’m trying out.
What drew you to write in this genre?
I’ve always been drawn to romance novels, both as a reader and a writer. But now and then, the muse really surprises me. That’s why I label myself multi-genre, since I published a children’s fantasy a few years ago, and some of my works in progress include mysteries, psychological thrillers, dystopian and time travel tales, even horror.
How much research do you do?
I do what is necessary, but I also go a bit beyond that. I don’t want to bog the story down in details, yet I try to aim for authenticity.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
A little of both, actually. I let the muse take me to a point, and then when I get stuck I write a full outline and try to fill in some of the blanks to bring focus back to the story.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Blood Instincts is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a futuristic angle. I guess I struggled with the time difference between book one and two. But once I figured out the reason for it, the story just fit.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Tough question. It usually depends on the book I’m working on. Some take longer than others, especially if they’re more detailed and part of a series. A regular novel often takes a year to write. But historicals take a lot of time, since I do extra research.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I am still a bit of a Luddite in that sense. I like the accessibility of an ebook, but I prefer a physical format over anything else. I love paperback because it’s more compact on the shelf, but hardback is one version I’ll always have a lot of respect for. I think that’s because it makes me think of the times when I used to hang out at the library and comb through the stacks, worshipping the spine of each title. What can I say? I’m a total book nerd!
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I will never send my work out into the world unedited, at least on some level. I keep it really close to the vest until there have been numerous passes at it. I edit my own book as much as I can, then I hand the manuscript over to a trusted proofreader and some beta readers. After it’s as clean as possible, my publisher has the book and they assign their own editors.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
A month is preferable, but on a time crunch? I’ll let it sit for at least two weeks before looking at it from a different angle. You don’t want to be too in love with your own story.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Oh, yes! It is essential to help potential readers make a decision. Not that the blurb isn’t also important; it certainly is, but I think a lot of factors go into the buying method, a great cover being imperative to the whole. Yet with certain publishers, authors have very little control over the cover.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?
Listen to your characters. Don’t plan it all out so much that you can’t keep an open mind for a few surprises.
What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work?
I think they’re helpful as a sales tool for readers. They offer a glimpse into the book without giving too much away. I make a book trailer for every release. You can discover them all on my YouTube channel.
What is your favorite quote?
This one both thrills and inspires me as a writer. Natalie Goldberg said, “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
I think it is apropos for the situation. With the act of writing, we delve so deeply into our inner selves, and it can be a little terrifying at first. But it always results in something magical.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
Some of both. It can feel like a gift most of the time, this rampant need inside to express yourself, to go out and tell your characters’ stories. But now and then, when the muse isn’t working with you, or whenever the outside world doesn’t understand you as a writer, a dark cloud comes over your rainbow.
Marie’s accolades include: Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 3 years. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
You can find out more about Marie’s work and follow her progress via the following:
Official Website: http://marielavender.com/Blogs: http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
Stay tuned for another author interview shortly!
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