Authors of the Free World Interview

*This was originally posted on Authors of the Free World website here, but I will post it.

Author Interview – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats, and she has been writing for over twenty years, with more works in progress than she can count on two hands. At the age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests  and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer.

While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book. Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction, and dabbled in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website for more information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.   

Nick: What genres do you like to read?

Marie: I mostly read romance, though I have occasionally read mystery novels and literary fiction. I do read sub-genres of romance like contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance. You’ll laugh at me, but I do have a thing for vampire books if they have a love story. Not like Twilight [SN: Thank God!] at all, but I do like J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and P.C. Cast’s House of Night series.

Nick: Who is that one person, if anyone, that you lean on for guidance and support?

Marie: My fiance. He’s my rock. If I need advice, I go to him. If I’m feeling down, he knows just what to say to bring me back up. I love that man.

Nick: Do you believe in reading to improve your writing?

Marie: Definitely! I think reading shapes our work. In the beginning of our careers, it gives us a better idea of how certain genres are written: what is acceptable and what is not, even though best-selling authors seem to get away with more in the industry. (laughs.) I also think that we store all of this information in our heads from what we read, whether it’s fact or fiction, and that mixture of “stuff” in our heads keeps the ideas generating. Not that we steal ideas or anything, but I think you can build further on what’s already out there. Sometimes, you get an idea and you have no clue where it came from, and yet you’re really passionate about it. Maybe it is just your muse urging you on. Maybe it’s something else. Who knows?

Nick: Give us a brief synopsis of your latest work.

Marie: Upon Your Return is my newest release. It is actually my only traditionally published book right now.  It was released in February through Solstice Publishing.

Upon Your Return is a historical romance about a young woman, Fara Bellamont, who gets into a lot of trouble by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She is saved by a captain named Grant Hill, and during the course of the novel, she not only has to contend with her feelings for him, she has to worry about how society will view her for associating with him. Lots of obstacles stand in the way of her happiness, of course. For any more, you’ll have to read the book! (laughs.)

Nick: What is your process for developing characters? Do you people watch and base characters off of what you see? Or are your characters complete figments of your imagination?

Marie: The little nuances of my characters get developed as I write the story. Sure, I’ll do a character workup sometimes, but the finer details come out later. I do observe people a lot, and of course, that gives me ideas.  And then, sometimes the ideas for my characters just come out of thin air, it seems.

Nick: What inspired you to write your most recent story?

Marie: I would say Upon Your Return was the result of the romantic relationships in my life. I took lessons from those experiences, of course, and shaped my characters and the events that touched them from that. I didn’t realize I was doing that at the time, but I look back on it now and I can see the things that must have made me write it. Not to mention Upon Your Return was a long project, and it took on a life of its own. I fell in love with the characters–even the minor ones–and couldn’t help but follow them to the end of the story. Even I was surprised at where it took them sometimes!

Nick: Is there one story that you’ve written that is so bad, you’ll never let anyone read it?

Marie: As I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, there are a couple that I’d never want to be published. In the third grade, we had to do some kind of writing project. I had this pretty silly story, and I still have it somewhere. I think it was called “The Mystery of the Ancient Golden Chair”. It was a mystery, of course, but very bad writing. Not really one of my finest! But, I’m sure I learned from that. And there was another one…I think I wrote it in middle school, possibly later. It was called “Trouble in Puerto Rico”. The plot was sub-par, the characters pretty immature and the dialogue was terrible. Never passing that around, I’m telling you. (laughs.)  But, it’s nice to see how far I’ve come.

Nick: Where can potential readers find your work?

Marie: Upon Your Return is available on Solstice, Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords and Kobo. My other fifteen (self-published) books are on Amazon and You can find links to them on my website at

Marie Lavender: Personal Questions

Nick: Are you a social butterfly or do you prefer to keep social relationships to a minimum?

Marie: I was always kind of shy, really. I’m really not a public domain kind of person. But, I have learned to open up more as my writing career has changed. Social networking has definitely been a big help. So thanks, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!

Nick: What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

Marie: I was in Choir my whole school career. I did solos. Well, at one performance, I actually forgot the words to the song and ended up singing the previous verse over. I was so mortified! I hope no one noticed, but I’m sure they did. (laughs.)

Marie Lavender: Books and Pen Names

Marie Lavender:  Upon Your Return
Erica Sutherhome:  Hard to GetMemoriesA Hint of ScandalWithout YouStrange HeatTerror in the NightHauntedPursuitPerfect GameA Touch of DawnRansom
Kathryn Layne:  A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse:  Express Café and Other RamblingsRamblings, Musings and Other ThingsSoulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things