Please welcome Marie Lavender to my blog. Hello Marie, have a seat and we shall chat for a short while.
Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Hello! Nice to visit your blog, Mary! I am an author of twenty-four books in various genres. I’m from a small town in the Midwest. I am a thirty-something woman and I hope to marry my fiancé sometime this year. I love shopping, reading and writing!
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
Yes, I’ve been writing fiction in some capacity since I was nine years old. I think I always knew I wanted to be an author.
In college, I had two stories published in a university anthology. By 2010, I started the indie publishing journey, and in 2011, I submitted my first historical romance manuscript to literary agents and publishers. In 2012, Solstice Publishing offered me a book contract, and I have been with them ever since.
How difficult was it writing your first book?
The first book I published was a literary fiction and poetry collection. I am working on fully revising and re-releasing it under this pen name. It will be combined with two other such collections, and titled Madame Lavender’s Collection of Ramblings: Tales, Snippets & Poetry.
I think the hardest book to write was my historical romance, Upon Your Return. It took me nine years to write and polish it to be market-ready. It took me a long time to decide which time period was the best in which to set it.
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Give up writing? That’s impossible. The thought only crossed my mind once, when I realized being an author wasn’t quite how you think it’s supposed to be. With all the marketing and business details you’re forced to cover, it can get discouraging at times.
But the characters continue to talk to me, demand their stories to be told. They redirect my focus. I do this for them, and for the huge amount of peace and happiness I get when I’m in the writing zone. I write for my readers who enjoy the books I publish too. In any case, I doubt the voices inside will ever quiet down, so I just don’t see myself ‘stopping’.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
Out of my family, my sister is very supportive, but my fiancé is probably the most supportive. He has been behind me one hundred percent, every step of the way. And since he’s a creative type as well, I support his dreams.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
For this blog, let’s focus on a children’s fantasy I wrote and published back in 2015. A Little Magick took me by surprise. In 2014, I published a romantic fantasy, Magick & Moonlight. I never thought of this being a series at all. But one day, a little girl’s story danced around in my head, and I knew it would be about a special young witch.
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
Back in college, I had a professor who told me not to limit myself to one genre. I think that’s the best thing I could’ve heard. I was stubborn at the time, and I brushed it off because most of what I wrote then was romantic in nature. Regardless, it burrowed into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. This has kept my mind open to writing a children’s story, as well as one for young adults. It even got me thinking about ideas for a psychological thriller, and a horror story. I call myself a multi-genre author now, and I am happier for it. I no longer feel boxed into one type of writing. I can fly in a sense, try out anything I want.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
A Little Magick is targeted toward six to ten year olds. But it’s also a great story for parents to read with their kids. For example, a mother could read Magick & Moonlight, and then read ALM with her child. They could share the way Rosie’s story touches them both, and the parent would see where this special little character came from (since the first book is about Rosanna’s parents).
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I designed the cover myself. It was simplified at first, but after getting some reader feedback, I kept adding little touches to make it seamless. I may get it redesigned at some point to tie all the books together (there will be a third book in the trilogy), but I’m not in a rush to do that right now.
What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
No, since you prefer clean reads I probably shouldn’t give you a peek of my rom com, or a romantic mystery collection I’m working on. But I can let you see a little about Rosie’s story with a peek at the first part of the book…
Through the rain streaming down the car windows, the gloomy sky could still be seen. It did little to improve nine year old Rosanna Hamilton’s mood. “How long will I be there?” she asked her mother from the back seat of the red SUV. “How long are you making me stay with him?”
Rosie was supposed to stay with her Uncle Adam for a few weeks. It was summer so she didn’t have to worry about missing school work, not that she cared much for it anyway. She was an active type; she preferred playing with her friends or participating in sports to sitting in class, learning about fractions and other silliness. What did she need that for? She just wanted to be outdoors, in Mother Nature, as Mama called it. Rosanna didn’t mind reading for fun, however.
“No more than a month, baby. I’m not quite sure how long the festival runs in Portland. I’d have you stay at home, but Daddy can’t watch you while he’s training for his new job as Sheriff. There may be some late nights. But, we’re happy for him, right?”
She nodded and gazed out the window while cars sped by them, throwing water up into the air. She sighed. She couldn’t wait to grow up so she could see things better, reach things easier. She was short like Mama, and she often struggled while other kids didn’t seem to have a problem.
Her mother went on. “We’re going to have to come up with another option soon. Mrs. Waters moved to Florida to be with her daughter so we can’t ask her. I wonder if Lisa’s mom would be willing to watch you for a few hours after school…” Lisa was her best friend and neighbor; they were practically like sisters. They had sleepovers and everything.
She glanced at her mother as she continued to talk; her full concentration was on the road, but she had a tendency to chatter when Rosie got silent. It was nothing against her mother. Rosanna had a vivid imagination. She often daydreamed of fantasy worlds with castles and dragons and warriors. She thought of them when she was in her post in the nearest tree after she’d climbed it. It wasn’t her fault if she found life lacking the excitement she craved. With the exception of a few family vacations, she hadn’t been outside of Yachats for very long. This trip would be the exception and she dreaded it for a very good reason.
“What if he doesn’t like me?” she complained.
“Oh, honey. Uncle Adam adores you, you know that.”
She wasn’t so sure. She had only seen him a few times in her life and though he’d been warm towards her, she often caught the suspicious looks sent towards her mother. It was almost as if he knew something about her that he didn’t like. And she wasn’t sure if she should trust him.
Universal reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mg0eMv
Any last words before we wrap things up?
You can visit my author website for updates, and subscribe to my newsletter. I also have three blogs, and I post to social media consistently.
Marie Lavender is a multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. 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, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.
Official Website: http://marielavender.com/
Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
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