It’s my great pleasure to host author Marie Lavender, who has stopped by to answer questions about her new release, Second Nature. (Stick around to the end for a chance to win a free copy!)
What inspired you to write your book?
My current release, Second Nature, was a long time coming. I worked on it off and on for years before I realized it would be a vampire story. I wrote Desiree’s character first and the rest sort of came out of that.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I believe I do. I have a certain way that I write; I am character-focused first and then I add in the other details. I am comfortable with that approach, and my fans appear to like it.
How did you come up with the title?
Good question. At first, it was untitled and then it had the crappy title of Love or Blood. One day, “Second Nature” just popped into my head and it fit the story perfectly.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Simply that we need to stay open-minded. Life doesn’t always turn out like we think it will; accepting that up-front can save a lot of trouble, I think.
How much of the book is realistic?
Well, the research I did on Baltimore is real and I had to look into the Civil War. Most of the paranormal stuff is fiction.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. I guess I’ve always been obsessed with vampire stories so it just naturally happened that way.
What books have influenced your life most?
Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, which I read when I was thirteen, really opened my eyes to the whole vampire romance thing. And I’ve read a lot of books since that also did.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Nora Roberts is brilliant. I love her books! She knows what she is doing; I don’t know how she cranks that many books out all the time.
What book are you reading now?
Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward. This is probably the millionth time I’ve read it. LOL. Just kidding, but I’ve read it a lot.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Chloe Neill and Kris Tualla are fairly recent reads for me. I’ve been reading them for the past year or so. Linda Lee Williams is also pretty awesome.
What are your current projects?
I am trying to finish writing the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series (Victorian romance with some suspense). It is titled Upon Your Love. I also have a finished piece, A Little Magick, part of the Magick Series, which is with beta readers now. It is a children’s fantasy, but the previous book was an adult romantic fantasy book. The sequel to A Little Magick, tentatively titled Magick Sunrise, will also be geared toward adults. I have a lot of other projects, but I would say I’m more focused on the first two I mentioned right now.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I would have to say that my fiancé has been so supportive of all of my creative endeavors. He is also a creative individual; therefore, he understands the drive more than my family.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, definitely. I will always see writing as a job. Yes, it is something I truly enjoy, but some aspects of being an author are challenging. It is only natural to feel it is a career; it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I think Second Nature turned out very well. There is a point in writing when you have to say, “That’s it. I’m done. I did my best, and now it’s time to show it to the world.”
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Was there a specific instance? Probably not. To me, it seems I’ve always had this drive to write stories, to create fictional worlds. I just know that I was nine years old when I started writing them down, but they were in my head before that point.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Of course. Here is an excerpt from Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, which was released on December 9th:
Soon, the car slowed and as she could still see nothing, she kicked her feet petulantly on the seat.
“Just relax. We’ll be inside in no time.”
“Sure. No problem. Just take me to your dungeon, Master.”
He chuckled. “You’re amusing, Desiree. I knew I liked you the moment I saw you, as soon as I heard your voice.”
The blood drained from her face. Oh my God. He had been that close when he was stalking her? That was eerie. She thought back to the festival and remembered that feeling of being watched. Natalie had brushed it off, but Desiree had sensed something was wrong. “What if … I had seen you?” she managed weakly.
“But what if I had? Would you have given up your pursuit of me? Would you have lost interest?”
“You don’t see your appeal at all, do you?”
She went silent. She honestly didn’t know what to say.
They entered a garage, or at least that’s what she thought it was. He turned the car off and got out. When he opened the passenger side, he caught her foot just in time before she nailed him.
His eyes narrowed. “Play nice, sweetheart. I don’t have to be easy on you.”
“You’ve certainly proven that already.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet.” He grasped her body and jerked her out of the seat.
With the bright lights of the garage over them, she had a better look at him now. Alec was very tall, with wide shoulders and defined muscles that she could see through his black tee shirt. He had black hair that sprung over his head in spiky layers. His eyes were dark, almost without color, with such a hypnotic quality to them that she had to blink. He towered over her and the hard look in his eyes didn’t help any.
She shivered. But, that was his intention, wasn’t it? To keep her off-balanced and afraid? “You’re doing this because I know too much,” she said as she stood before him, even though she was still bound. She firmed her lips for a moment. “Take me back now and I won’t say a word to anyone. I swear. This never happened.”
He scowled. “Will that help you sleep at night? I told you that I hesitate to erase your memories because you’re too strong. Even if I believe what you just said, there’s something you’re forgetting.”
“I actually want you around.”
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Well, research is always pretty challenging, especially if it’s not easy to find the answer right away. No, I would say most of the writing flows well until a character becomes difficult. As a writer, you have to pay attention to characters. Believe it or not, we’re not in total control of things. We can plot and plot, but those characters may still change something and sometimes it’s a pretty big something.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. I love the combination of vampires, romance and an ongoing war with the enemy. J.R. has this uncanny ability to make you care about the minor characters to the point where you want to know their stories as well. And she never disappoints.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not at this point, though I would love to do more traveling for research.
Who designed the covers?
I had a different cover artist for each book. I have published twenty books. For sixteen of them, I got a license to use the photographs and designed the covers myself. For the books with Solstice Publishing, they hired different artists. Kayden McLeod designed the cover for Upon Your Return, the first book of the Heiresses in Love Series. Select-O-Graphix did the cover for Magick & Moonlight, the first book of the Magick Series. Deborah Melanie designed the cover for Upon Your Honor. And the cover for Second Nature was designed by MLCDesigns4U.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I would say that writing the fight scene was the most difficult. I had to visualize it first, then write it out.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
If you’re going to write a trilogy, have a timeline in mind of how everything plays out or you’ll have a lot of issues when writing the sequels. I have learned that with all of my series books.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
This is going to be a strange answer. As a writer, you have to learn that fine balance between patience and perseverance. Be patient about getting published; it will occur when it should. But, know when to heavily pursue your goals as well. If you’re not ready, don’t rush it. But, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new either. You probably won’t regret it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to thank all of my loyal fans for reading my books, and I hope the Blood at First Sight Series is exciting for you! And, if any of you haven’t read my books yet, I write in a lot of different genres and subgenres (contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry) so you’re bound to find something you like. You can find me on Google+, Twitter or Facebook if you want to stop by for a chat!
Want to know more about Marie Lavender?
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.
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. Her newest book is Second Nature, a paranormal romance. Lavender released Magick & Moonlight, a romance with fantasy elements, 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.
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
Stalk Marie Lavender:
As Marie says, patience and perseverance pays off! Please comment with your preferred email address for a chance to win a free e-copy of Second Nature! I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner on Saturday, 20th December, so comment early and often! Giveaway ends at 17:00 GMT on 20th December 2014. (If you don’t want to enter your email address here, email it to me at emmafrostuk (at) gmail.com.)