At the tender 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 a little 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 at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A list of her books and pen names are as follows:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return
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
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things
What inspires you to write romance books?
I love “love”. I always have. I always loved reading love stories or watching romantic comedies. I especially have a weakness for historical romance. But, I read and write contemporary romance as well.
I suppose my parents were an influence. I could always tell they were truly in love and so I wanted that for myself. I was also a writer from the time I was nine years old so I tended to write about love.
I have finally found my soul mate after years of searching. We’ve been together for about nine years. I have to say that what we have is special. He is the most wonderful man I’ve ever known, and he inspires me every day.
Tell us about how you write:
I write pretty randomly. Ideas come to me now and then, and in any order. I have about 90 story ideas in progress at the same time. Eventually, I focus on one project and make myself do an outline. Then, with a little self-discipline, I can complete a novel.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Wow. How many people can say they hear voices in their head, and not be put away for it? But, it feels that way sometimes. I can hear the dialogue and I have to write it down. The story unfolds from there. I just write it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t give up. It is so easy to let every day life get in the way of your dreams. Just take a moment each day and write something. Even if you think it’s crap, just write something for ten to twenty minutes. Eventually, you’ll get to the heart of the characters and the story. I don’t know everything about a character from the beginning. That comes later.
Also, if you have written a manuscript and you find the idea of publishing pretty daunting, it is. I won’t lie. But, the only way I got published at all was to not give up. You will have rejections. Just accept it and move on. Maybe they just didn’t “get” your manuscript. Maybe they had something specific in mind they’re looking for. Whatever their reasons, don’t let it affect you. You’ve got to be tough to make it. Oh, and create a web presence early on, either through blogging, social networking or both. You’ll thank yourself later.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had published two short stories before in college, but I wanted to publish a book. I had a bunch of short stories and poems so I decided to self-publish them. That was back in 2010. It became a kind of obsession, I think. Since then, I have self-published fifteen books in various genres. In 2013, I traditionally published a historical romance novel.
The decision to self-publish or to find a literary agent to make it traditionally is dependent on each author’s experiences. It is a personal choice. So, I don’t recommend doing one or the other. What I do recommend is that you explore both options. Maybe your dream is to be traditionally published, to make it big someday. That’s great. Maybe you will get lucky and one of those agents will take you right away. But, if that isn’t the case, keep trying. And don’t be afraid to try something new. Maybe there is a publisher out there you can submit to directly. Maybe you’d like to try self-publishing and see how that goes. Just don’t overlook all of your options.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it is changing constantly. Obviously, there is more of an emphasis on e-books now and in some ways, that makes sense. It is more convenient in a lot of ways to read a book on your e-reader than to wait for it to be delivered by mail or go out and purchase it in a bookstore. Personally, I love the feel of physical book in my hands. I prefer reading traditional books rather than e-books, but I don’t limit myself to that necessarily. I have access to Kindle, and I still read e-books occasionally. I don’t think the concept of e-books will ever change, though it may become more user friendly. Will print books go out of style? I hope not, but then, who knows? The world is changing, isn’t it? Audio books are still available for those who don’t like or have the time to read. I think there will always be a niche market. There will always be a demand for bigger and better things, and I guess we have to evolve with the times or get left behind.
What genres do you write?
Contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery, literary fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print