Interview on author Mika Jolie's blog
How would you describe Upon Your Honor to someone who has not read any of your previous novels?
Upon Your Honor is a historical romantic suspense. It is not your typical Victorian romance; there is a lot more going on. It is about a young woman who flees an unsavory situation only to find herself in a lot more trouble. Chloe Waverly stows aboard a clipper ship to escape the nightmare at home. When a handsome gentleman, Gabriel Hill, discovers her, he agrees to help her get to New Orleans. But, he doesn’t know her past is coming back to haunt her.
Will your next book also feature some of the characters from Upon Your Honor?
The third book in the Heiresses in Love series will definitely have characters from Upon Your Honor. It will be titled Upon Your Love.
Which part of researching Upon Your Honor was the most personally interesting to you? Were there any facts, symbols, or themes that you would have liked to include, but they just didn’t make into the story?
There was quite a lot to draw on. I loved researching the different ports. It made me want to do a lot of traveling. I would have to say the one thing I wanted to talk more about was dueling. I have always found that subject fascinating and it was great fun to look into the history of it as well as learn the terms that were used. I wish I had had more time to expand on it, or have more fight scenes. LOL.
How many books will be included in the series?
The Heiresses in Love series is a trilogy.
Are your books available in any other ebook stores other than Amazon & B&N?
Upon Your Honor is also available on Smashwords, CreateSpace and at my publisher’s website. My other books are available on Amazon or through Lulu.com.
Does your series have to be read in order?
Certainly not. I have designed it so that each book can be read as either a standalone or part of the series.
What inspired you to write this book, the series?
That’s a tough question. The series initially came to me in 2002. I was in my first romantic relationship, which I later found out was a mistake. The first scene for Upon Your Return that came to me was a section of dialogue in which the hero and heroine are having a particularly interesting argument. As the years went by, I still developed the book, but I truly believe it came to be a reflection of my romantic experiences. Readers will notice the different types of suitors the heroine had. But, I digress. In 2012, I received a contract for that book and shortly after that, I began to get ideas for the sequel. Suddenly, I wanted to tell the story of one of the characters mentioned in the previous book as well as introduce a new, fascinating female character. During this time, I also began to develop ideas for the third book. It all seemed to happen at the same time. Eventually, I had to break down and focus on Upon Your Honor, and here I am today.
What’s the message of this book?
There are probably a few things to take away from it. One is that life doesn’t always turn out the way you assume it will; often there are twists and turns you didn’t anticipate.
How do you relate to the characters?
Oh, I found the characters easily relatable. Both Chloe and Gabriel are very private individuals, but they still manage to make you keep turning the page with their many interesting traits.
How did you come up with the title?
That was a bit of a challenge at first until I realized I needed to treat the title the same as I did with the first book. Each title is a bit of a message from the heroine to the hero. After all, the trilogy is called Heiresses in Love.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Spoilers! There is a survivor theme in the book (pay special attention to the dedication). Some of the strongest people endure the most terrible feats, and still come out extraordinary.
Do you write in different genres as well?
Mainly, I write romance novels and that includes the different sub-genres that it can encompass: historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, the list goes on. I have also written literary fiction, a couple of mystery/thrillers and I write poetry in my spare time.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on a paranormal romance titled Second Nature. It is about a woman who stumbles into the world of vampires and in the process, she learns a lot more about herself than she imagined she would.
What are you reading right now? Are there any authors that you would name as influences?
Right now, I am re-reading Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. I love her books. As for who influenced me, I can easily name Catherine Coulter and Rosemary Rogers. They woke me up to historical romance. Since then, I have added such favorites as Nora Roberts, Emma Wildes, Tessa Dare, Kris Tualla, P.C. Cast, Kerrelyn Sparks and Chloe Neill.
What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
I think Devil’s Embrace by Catherine Coulter really influenced me. The journey was hardly easy for the characters, but I think it leaves you with a good message: Anything worth having is never easy. If you want something, you have to work for it. And with regards to romance, I think that relationships take work to maintain. If it is a good love, though, it is totally worth it.
What challenges came with writing?
Tough question. Sometimes I think that when you’re in the zone, it feels relatively easy. It is freeing in a way. The challenges come when you get a little stuck in writing a chapter or when you’re trying to do research (it’s not always easy to locate specific things). Juggling a life with writing is pretty hard too. There always to be something that drags you away from it. When I’m heavily focused on a project, I try to work in time blocks (write this now, research this at this time, promote this at this time, work on my blog at this time, etc.).
What are your 10 favorite books —and why?
Can I name the entire Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward? Alpha males with redeeming qualities – warriors who protect the race – and the women who are strong enough to love them. What more could you want?
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I read or do some shopping. I also watch the occasional TV show or movie. Oh, and I do love to cook when I have the chance. It relaxes me.
The Princess Bride, Two Weeks Notice, The Fifth Element, The Jurassic Park movies, most romantic comedies. For the holidays, I still love White Christmas. I watch it every year. It doesn’t hurt that I love Bing Crosby songs.
Favorite music? Do you have a playlist specifically for writing?
Oh, my music tastes vary a lot. I listen to whatever I’m in the mood for. I like Paramore, One Republic, The Corrs, Sarah McLachlan, Owl City, Coldplay, Sarah Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Fireflight, Natalia Kills, Switchfoot, Adele, etc. As for a writing playlist, I don’t have anything specific for that, but I have noticed that music can affect writing. One time, I was listening to Celtic music and I wrote a dancing scene for a romantic fantasy story. I love Celtic music. I remember another time when I was listening to an alternative song. The character was feeling pretty rage-y and it worked out very well to write while I was listening to that.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why?
Kris Tualla’s Discreet Gentleman series. It is a Viking historical romance about a very intelligent, yet handsome spy with a disability that he doesn’t let affect him. And he’s not the only one who gets to have all the fun; the heroine joins in. It’s a very interesting series that I totally recommend.
Do you write with a detailed master plan, or take a general idea and characters and see where it goes as you write? Why?
Both. At first, I just take it as far as I can to see where it goes. When I focus more on a project, I write a detailed outline to work from.
How do you develop your characters to make them seem like real people?
Mostly, I just let their personalities unfold. However, I was trained in Creative Writing in college so I try to keep that adage about “consistent inconsistencies” in the back of my mind while I’m working.
What’s your schedule like as a writer? Do you work 9 to 5, or fit it in where you can around other things like a job or running a household?
I have to fit it in when I can. If I have time off from other things, I try to focus heavily on writing.
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
Oh, yuck! My first job? In the real world? LOL. My first job was at a tuxedo warehouse. The store there rented tuxedos out for formal occasions. We got really busy around prom and summer wedding times.
As for what inspires me with writing, sometimes it just happens without a reason. The ideas seem to come out of the ether. At other times, I am inspired by current events, a book I read, a movie I saw, or just something that happened to someone I knew personally. Any of that can spark an idea.
What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
I love gel pens, the color pink, the feel of a physical book (the texture of the page as I’m turning it), I like to dye my hair red (I experiment with different shades), I love pizza. Oh, and dark chocolate. Yum! I don’t like pencils very much, but I will use them if I have to. I hate conforming to society (LOL) and I can’t stand beets, to name a couple of things.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You can find all nineteen of my books on my website at http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
Upon Your Honor book blurb
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 fiancé, 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.
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. 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 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 in various genres. She 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.
A list of her books and pen names are as follows:
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
Check out the beautiful cover of Upon Your Honor.