Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Marie Lavender
Hello everyone! This week I’m happy to bring you an author I’ve seen throughout social media but didn’t know. I love meeting new people so, when I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE, she jumped right in! We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.
First, please welcome my guest, Marie Lavender.
Marie Lavender 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 24 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 Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.
Hi, Colleen. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m really looking forward to our chat.
Hi, Marie. You’re a new author for me. I can’t believe all the books you’ve written. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both, actually. When I’m in the real flow of writing a scene, it is exhilarating. Afterward, and especially if I choose to type it all up right away, I can feel drained mentally. The real job of writing a book, though, takes its toll. Some of my books take up to a year to write, and it is hard work. Getting each chapter written, the subtle nuances of dialogue, exploring a character’s background – all of that takes time.
Understandably, I take a break away from work after writing a book, at least before I dive into the editing process. And that isn’t easy either. But when the muse finds me again, I feel blessed to be visited by it.
What are some common traps for aspiring writers that you’ve come across?
One that comes to mind for me, and probably many other writers, is the old adage that you should ‘write what you know’. I think the notion can be incredibly intimidating. But, really, why write what you know after all? It’s true that we come from different backgrounds and house so much life experience, thereby contributing to our own sense of the human condition. We should funnel all of that into our writing. But, beyond that? I think that researching a specific topic can open a world you never thought possible. Suddenly, it creates a spark, and you have something new to write about. Something you didn’t exactly ‘know’ beforehand. So no, I don’t believe we should always write what we know.
What a great point to make. Do you want each of your books to stand on their own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A little of both, actually. Because I write in different genres, I do want them to stand on their own. To speak for themselves. At the heart of each book, I aim for the characters and the story to touch readers. With so many works in progress, there are going to be books that stand alone, and that’s okay.
However, if a book is part of a series, the novels are naturally interconnected. I often choose a family or friendship theme to each series. I’m also working on loosely connecting a few of my series, at least the ones with paranormal or fantasy elements.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning your writing process?
That depends on the project. I always use reputable online sources, and sometimes I fall back on nonfiction books that I own or buy for extra material. For my historical novels, it takes a lot of effort to find the right information. Especially to get a real sense of the scene. There are so many elements that comprise the whole picture – fashion of the time period, social events or activities, politics, locations to include, and the list goes on.
I take my time and study old-fashioned photos to paint the scene the right way. I imagine myself there, and how I might react to what’s going on. For more contemporary work, I just do enough research to set the scene and explain the character’s profession. The rest is creative license. But in most cases, I write some of the story first and add the finer details later.
Wow! I’m learning so much about how you approach your writing career. What was your hardest scene to write?
I think the emotional scenes are the hardest, whether that comes in the form of dramatic dialogue or a character’s internal dilemma. But I know I haven’t done my job unless I’m wiping tears away at the end of the writing process.
The hardest scenes I wrote were for Directions of the Heart, in the novella ‘A Touch of Dawn’ – those fragile moments experienced by Caitlyn and Jack, as they dealt with their past traumas, and how they could confront their fears well enough to create new lives for themselves. Every character touches my life in some way, but those two? Unforgettable for so many reasons.
Thanks, Marie. I will have to check out some of your books!
Thanks for the interview, Colleen. I’ll see you around.
What if you found out that you weren’t exactly…human?
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy (with a Slight Futuristic Angle)
Release Date: May 30, 2018
Enter the Other World at your own risk…
What if you found out that you weren’t exactly…human?
Myah Sullivan is suddenly living that nightmare. There are Others in the world, dangerous, supernatural creatures that make her mind spin and cause her to question the reality she’s always known.
Oliver King is her savior, a vampire who tries to show her the way. Through her journey, she learns far more than she ever thought she would about herself, and about the past. Soon, she discovers that there is so much more to meeting Oliver than mere happenstance.
Can Myah accept her new reality, or will she retreat into that normal, safe world she once thought was her own?
Amazon Universal ebook & print link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07DFL8DRR
Add to Goodreads bookshelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40237583-blood-instincts
Marie Lavender: Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 3 years. Voted TOP BLOGGER for August 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. 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.
How to contact Marie Lavender:
Official Website: http://marielavender.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13
Thanks for stopping by to meet Marie Lavender. ❤