Author Interview and Author Page on Cold Coffee Cafe
Welcome, Marie Lavender!
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. 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 nineteen books. She has published books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released ‘Magick & Moonlight’, a paranormal romance, in March. ‘Upon Your Honor’, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
What makes you proud to be a writer from the Midwest?
I am from a very small town in Indiana. Yes, that meant that everyone knew everyone else’s business, but it also meant that it was a very safe town to live in. We didn’t have high crime levels to deal with. My family kept their doors locked at night, but I knew a lot of people who didn’t. If anything big happened, it was shocking because we weren’t accustomed to it. The other thing I’m proud of is that I am from a pretty close-knit family. I remember seeing my grandmother’s house as a second home, a haven of sorts, and that was comforting to me. I think a lot of my characters look for a place to call home or at least a person that they can feel at home with.
What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t see it as any one instance or even a person that inspired me. To me, it feels so inherent that I don’t remember not having it. I do know that it seemed natural to me to start writing the stories that were playing out in my head. They were always there. I poured over books, of course, and that certainly fed my creativity. I was the kid pretending to go to sleep, but actually reading with a little book light late at night.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published?
I think I always wanted it. I remember telling my family I wanted to be a novelist or an author when I grew up. I would use the terms interchangeably. It wasn’t about fame or money or anything like that; I just always wanted to write for a living. It was my passion.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage?
I would say that the writing process itself has its occasional challenges. Even with research, there may be an aspect of it where you can’t find what you need. Usually, if that happens, I either tackle another part of it or I just keep looking until I find the information that will help fill in the details. Especially if you’re doing historical fiction, it has to be as accurate as possible.
As aforementioned, I came from a small town so not much was going on. It was fun to escape into my imagination, to create stories and worlds that were exciting. The other thing that I think affected it was that my mom sort of fostered the reading gene in me. She used to read to us all the time when were little, and when I could finally read on my own I read everything I could. I was addicted to words, but especially the words in fiction. The more I read, the more I wanted to write. So, you could say all of that influenced me in a way.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript?
Both. It really depends on the project. There are some books in which I know the title automatically. Or, it just comes to me at some point during the writing of it. Very occasionally, I will struggle with the right title after it’s written, but not very often. I like to have all of that figured out in advance if I can.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre?
I write romance and this includes any of the sub-genres of romance (historical, contemporary, paranormal, mystery, suspense). I have always loved romance, both the idea of it and reading romance novels. There is something about it that just calls to me. There’s nothing I like better than to read a good love story. And I enjoy writing about it just as much.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process?
To me, it’s rewarding when I finished a project, when I can finally say it’s ready to go out into the world. There are two times I feel this: when it is ready for beta readers and when it’s ready to be sent to the publisher. With both situations, you feel this great sensation that you accomplished something. But, you know there’s more work ahead and suddenly, you get the butterflies. Your work, your book or story, is going out there for the world to see and you don’t know how it will be received. The unnerving part is waiting for a response from a publisher or beta reader. I get so antsy around that time and I have to force myself to ignore that feeling, to try to focus on something else.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please tell us about it.
I can’t think of any negative experiences exactly. You always have to expect that there will be an occasional beta or critique partner that may not like what you send to them. Perhaps it’s because they don’t normally read that kind of book. Whatever the reason, it’s best to seriously evaluate the suggestions to see if you can still garner something positive from it. Maybe there was a tip in there that really helped. Even if you can’t agree with all of the feedback, it’s possible you can use it to your advantage. I would say that the writing process itself has its occasional challenges. Even with research, there may be an aspect of it where you can’t find what you need. Usually, if that happens, I either tackle another part of it or I just keep looking until I find the information that will help fill in the details. Especially if you’re doing historical fiction, it has to be as accurate as possible.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey?
I would say that getting traditionally published has been very rewarding. It all started with a story called Upon Your Return, a historical romance that I began in 2002. This story became a manuscript and after years of writing, I began to submit it to literary agents and publishers. Soon enough, I received a contract for the book, and here I am with three traditionally published books out as well as my self-published ones. Seeing that contract offer changed my whole life. It has helped me set more writing goals for myself and achieve those as well. I think I have come a long way since I started writing.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided.
I think there are always going to be negative situations whenever you put yourself in the public eye. I have had occasional bad reviews and yeah, that’s no fun, but you just have to move on. You can’t really prevent that. I have also come across a vindictive person in the industry now and then, someone who feels threatened because you even bothered to put yourself in their space. It is best to ignore this type of behavior. I firmly believe that, as authors, we all have a right to be here. We all go through the same hard journey and shouldn’t we just support one another as peers instead of feeling jealous of success? Another thing I have come across is stalking or harassment. When you use social media to promote yourself as an author, you’re bound to garner some negative attention. If things get too uncomfortable for me, I just block them and move on. We’re all human beings, and no one deserves to be treated that way.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors?
Don’t give up. Perseverance will get you through most obstacles you encounter. Without it, without that resolve to keep going or keep trying, you can’t make any progress in your career.
Who is your favorite author?
That is tricky. I would have to say that Nora Roberts is, though I have a whole list of other favorites.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
‘Upon Your Honor’, the sequel to ‘Upon Your Return’, was just released in late April and is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, CreateSpace and Solstice, my publisher.
Do you plan to write a sequel to ‘Upon Your Honor’?
Yes, this is already in the works. The Heiresses in Love Series is a trilogy. The final book is titled ‘Upon Your Love’, and it will be available once I am finished writing it.
Featured Selection: Upon Your Honor – by Marie Lavender
Amazon Purchase Link
Marie Lavender’s Titles:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return, Magick & Moonlight, Upon Your Honor.
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.
Marie Lavender’s Website:
Marie Lavender’s Blogs: http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/