Author Interview on Nancy Wood's Blog!

Marie Lavender


Hi there. I’m happy to interview Marie Lavender this week, a very prolific and generous author. I’m helping her celebrate her latest release, Upon Your Honor, a work of historical romantic suspense.

Marie is the bestselling author of Upon Your Return and 18 other books. She’s a finalist and runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition and received an honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. She’s received a Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014 and is in the top 50 authors list on She’s also the 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 nineteen books.  She has published in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry.  Along with this name, she has also released books under Erica Sutherhome, Kathryn Layne and Heather Crouse.

Upon Your Honor book jacket:

Deception is a dangerous path…

New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancĂ©, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.

Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.

Why did you decide to write a mystery/thriller?

It sort of picked me.  I was aiming for another genre, but someone woke me up and said, “Hey, your book has a TON of suspense.”  And when the editor-in-chief gave me a possible blurb, I started rethink how I looked at the book.

What genre does your book fall into - cozy, mystery/thriller, suspense, police procedural, etc?

It is a historical romance with quite a bit of suspense.

What prompted you to write this book or series?

I began the series in 2002, but didn’t publish the first book until 2013.  I didn’t think about writing a sequel until about 2011.  The opening scene of the first chapter, where Chloe walks on board this ship full of intimidating males, came to me then and after that, I started planning to make a trilogy.

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

Both.  A lot of it is driven by Chloe’s goals to get to New Orleans, but there is so much suspense, so much she has no control over that a lot of the time, the suspense drives the book forward.

What makes your book unique?

I think it is rare to have a romantic suspense that also fits as a historical romance.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

Most of the time, I let it come out as I’m writing.  I have a lot of different ideas for different projects at once.  When I fully focus on a book, then I can start planning it out better.  So, in answer to the question, it is a little of both.

How did you develop the names for your characters?

Gabriel’s name was already created in the first book.  He is mentioned at the end.  As for Chloe, that is a name I’ve always loved and I jumped at the chance to use it.  For some of the minor characters, I alternated between using a baby name book and looking up common names for the time period.

Do your characters swear? Why or why not?

Sure.  You could probably call it some of it minor swearing.  For anything more detailed, I just alluded to it.   It’s hard not to come across swearing on board a ship.

How did you decide on the setting?

The story is about Chloe’s journey so it takes her to a lot of different places.  The trip starts out on board the ship, but it goes all the way to New Orleans.  From that first scene I wrote, that pretty much painted the picture.  During the writing of the manuscript, I did get stumped a few times until I asked someone who knew more about sailing and what possible routes that might be taken.  I threw those ports in and did my research.  I also found out how long a clipper ship journey to those ports would take.  I

Do you have a writing mentor?

I had a lot of Creative Writing teachers and professors in the past.  I admired them all.  I would say that they all helped to shape what I’ve become.  As for mentors, I credit them, but also my favorite authors and my fellow writer friends I have met on my journey.  They have all inspired me to keep going, and I don’t know where I’d be without them.

What's your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I don’t have a specific writing schedule.  I write whenever the mood takes me.  But, when I’m working heavily on a project, I do tend to push myself to write more so I’ll write in blocks of time during the day.  As for places, I write everywhere, but I tend to write a lot in my bedroom, sprawled across my bed with a gel pen and a journal.  A lot of my aha moments come at night just before I go to sleep.

What’s the first mystery you read?

I can’t remember what the first one was, but I do read books by Heather Graham and Kay Hooper.  When you say “first mystery”, it reminds me of the first mystery I wrote, a pretty corny book I wrote for an assignment in the third grade.  It was called The Mystery of the Golden Chair.  It was never published, but I still have it sitting on shelf so I can see how far I’ve come.  I like the fact that I set it in Italy.  I was a Midwestern girl so Italy was a very exotic locale to me. 

What’s next?

There are a few things I have in the works.  I have an anthology called Miss Lavender’s Anthology of Ramblings that I plan to publish in the future.  I also have a romantic suspense collaboration with another writer called Certain Death, which I think will be quite thrilling for readers.  I am currently working on the final book of my trilogy, the sequel to Upon Your Honor.  It is called Upon Your Love and judging from what I know of the plot, I think it will have a lot of suspense as well.  I am also working on a paranormal romance novella, but I haven’t decided on an official title yet.

Anything else you'd like to add?

You can find me on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.  I also run three blogs, Marie Lavender’s Books!, Writing in the Modern Age and I Love Romance Blog.  You can find a listing of all 19 of my books on my website at

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