Author Highlight: Marie Lavender

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Hi All,  I’m hosting one of my fellow writers.  I have to say, she is one of my favorites to host because . . . well, because you just have to read on to find out why . . .

Let’s begin with the interview:

What genres do you enjoy writing?

I am a multi-genre author, so I have written in a lot of different genres. I guess the one I favor more often than not is romance of any kind.

Tell us about your latest book:

My latest book, Blue Vision, which is closest to release, is a sci-fi romance. The novel is set in Montana in the dead of winter. The main character, Brooke, encounters some bizarre events and comes across a stranger in the middle of the forest one night. She has to figure out if it’s real or just her imagination.

What inspired the story? Where did you get that first bit of “ah ha” inspiration.”

I guess it was all those science fiction movies I watched growing up! LOL. That didn’t hurt. The scene in which Brooke finds Colin just came to me one day. After I decided to focus on that work-in-progress, the rest of the story just fell naturally into place.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Brooke is a capable, independent woman. She believes she doesn’t need a man in her life. She gets along just fine on her own. She’s athletic and has a fascination for fencing.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Wow! I can’t decide. I guess I admire Brooke a lot because she is a very strong person. But I also can relate to her because her tangled past has shaped her into who she has become.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Oh! I don’t want to give anything away…I should probably leave that question alone.

How much research did you have to do for this book? Any travel involved?

No travel, but I did quite a bit of research related to winters in Montana and how long it would take to hike certain distances in the area. I modeled the lodge after several winter lodges all over Montana. It took me awhile to decide exactly where Blue Vision should be set. And as for Endhivar, I just wrote about the planet the way I pictured it.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Believe it or not, it was breaking into a different genre. Writing science fiction was rather new for me. I did a lot of research about science fiction romance and writing sci-fi stories. In the end, I just went with my gut and used my imagination.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Fear can be a great motivational tool to find what you’re meant to do.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ll just name a few off the top of my head: J.R. Ward, Chloe Neill, Linda Lee Williams, Mika Jolie, and Nora Roberts. I love a writer who is not afraid to tell it like it is or take a risk in writing. Hell, even Kurt Vonnegut was an inspiration to me for years.

What does your writing process look like?

Random scenes come to me in any order. I write as much as I can, and then I start plotting and filling in the blanks with more writing and research.

Do  you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I usually need peace and quiet, though I’ve been known to occasionally listen to certain types of music on low volume while writing.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m finishing up a romantic drama collection titled Directions of the Heart. And in between that, I have been working on the second book in the Blood at First Sight Series, which is called Blood Instincts. That’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

How  important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I believe names are pretty significant. If I can’t come up with a name for a character right away, I’ll start with he/she and pick the name later. You need the right one. Sometimes I choose them based on how well I like them, or I use the website Behind the Name when I want to find out the origins of a name. This also helps for choosing ethnic names. I have a future series titled the Witches of Moonhaven Series, and I chose all of the main characters’ names based on each meaning.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Sometimes an action scene is harder for me to write because I have to picture it clearly in my mind first and then describe it. It needs to make sense.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I honestly think it chose me. It just seems like one day, around the age of nine, I somehow knew this is what I wanted for a career. I was always creating stories in my head.

Why do you write?

I write to tell a character’s story, to show his or her journey and how that character changes by the end. I write for my readers. Mostly, I write because I can’t see myself doing anything else but this; being immersed in storytelling is probably the greatest sense of freedom I’ve ever experienced.

Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes I’m inspired by something someone said, whether it was a family member, a friend or a random stranger while I was out at a restaurant or in a store. At other times current events inspire me. My ideas often come from the mass of impressions and experiences stored in my head, jumbled up and then spat back out on the page in a completely new form.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Both. I am a hybrid, so I use both methods.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Research can be pretty hard sometimes. In the mass of confusion that is the internet, the search engines are no longer intuitive and it’s getting crazy difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for these days. Unless things start to improve, I may have to go back to old school methods and do some more traveling as well. LOL.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Have more patience. The road to publishing is long and it’s hardly easy. Also, getting published is only a small part of being an author. Authors now must take on many different roles or risk getting lost in the chaos that is this industry.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Hmm…tough question! To stick with our sci-fi theme, I wonder what inspired Aldous Huxley to write Brave New World. What a fascinating tale.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

I truly don’t want to have taken credit for someone else’s work, just my own.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Besides patience? Probably persistence and perseverance. Be persistent, but obviously not annoying enough to make enemies. And persevere despite the obstacles you run into. Don’t be afraid to try new things, new ways of marketing or try what has worked successfully for other people. Keep what works for you and toss the rest.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel quite right, it usually isn’t. Trust yourself and trust your characters. They won’t steer you wrong either.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can find more about me and my books on my website at https://marielavender.com/, or subscribe to my three blogs, Writing in the Modern Age, Marie Lavender’s Books! and the I Love Romance Blog. I also have an author newsletter, which provides updates about book releases and such. I am on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well.

Here are more ways of contacting Ms. Lavender:

Author Links

Tell the readers something about yourself that has nothing to do with writing.

I love beauty of any kind – flowers, lovely vistas, art, the list just goes on. I’m a big fan of beautiful things. And I love animals!

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

These are two great tools when you’re looking for a literary agent or a publisher: Query Tracker and Preditors & Editors. Query Tracker will help you organize your queries and look up agencies and publishing companies. And P&E is sort of like the Consumer Reports of the publishing industry. You can check on the reputations of these agencies or publishers to make sure they’re legitimate. Also, P&E has additional options, such as a list of writing contests, writing conventions or festivals, editing options and other great writer’s resources.

Blue Vision-final cover

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More about Blue Vision

Brooke Sanders just wants to get away from her life for awhile. A remote cabin in Montana fits the bill. She doesn’t expect to encounter a mysterious stranger with unusual blue eyes, or events that cannot be explained…

Colin Fielding is on a mission – scout a planet and return home to Endhivar. Simple really. What he doesn’t anticipate is that fate has a pretty twisted sense of humor. Suddenly, this human calls to him, every part of him, like the call of a true mate, and he can’t deny the connection as he gets closer to her.

Little do they know, someone is out to do them harm, as well as the world Brooke holds so dear. Can they stop what’s coming before it’s too late? Or will the universe lose a perfect gem?

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And she is never one to sit idle . . .

Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 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 10 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 has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

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