SAY HELLO TO MARIE LAVENDER!

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 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.

Marie is a multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books.  She has an impressive list of accomplishments which include:

 

Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 3 years.

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.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW BOOK.

My latest release, Blood Instincts, came out at the end of May. This is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy with a slight futuristic angle, and book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. The story is about Myah, a very special woman who finds out she’s…well, much different than she ever imagined. She is a hybrid, and her parents were just not who she thought they were. Her guide in this suddenly scary world is a vampire and artist, Oliver. A lot happens in the novel, but I don’t want to give too much away right now.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?

Myah’s inherent instincts play a big part in the story, so it just seemed right to go from there.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?

Yes, this is book two, and it starts about twenty-five years after the first one, Second Nature, left off. But the reader misses very little because I fill in the blanks. As for what gave me the idea for the book…I kept thinking about what it would be like to find out one day that you weren’t who you thought you were, and you were forced to question your whole life from day one.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?

A little, I suppose. I went through something a couple years ago, finding out a big part about myself that I never knew before. It was quite a journey to come to grips with it. I guess on some level, this came from that, but honestly I never made the connection while I was writing the book.

WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?

For more contemporary type of works like this, you can find everything online. Of course, I had to familiarize myself with each character’s career on some level. Myah is an accountant and Oliver is an artist. Beyond that, learning more about Baltimore didn’t hurt. And I even researched the Adirondacks in New York, since the forest and mountain area will play a larger role in the third book of the series too.

WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?

Because of the ‘blood’ theme, I knew I wanted to express that yet also bring out the romance angle, the connection that Myah and Oliver share. I found a great cover artist, Sherry Soule at SwoonWorthy Book Covers, who did an excellent job!

WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?

I think that it’s good to stay open-minded in life. You never know what you’ll discover about yourself or about those you love. And bad news is not always the end of the world. It’s about perspective.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?

No, I think it did it justice, said what needed to be said.

IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?

For the character Myah – Megan Young, a Filipina actress

Oliver – Jason Lewis (only with shorter hair and no facial hair…LOL)

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?

I think I always had the writing bug. As a child, stories would play through my head and I’d act out the scenarios with my dolls. When I finally had the ability to write a legible sentence, it made sense to start putting the stories on paper.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?

I feel like I knew from the beginning. When I was a child I’d go around – at least from the age of nine – telling my family, “I’m going to be a novelist!” I think it became more cemented once I took official Creative Writing classes and I was in the midst of writing workshops. Maybe as a preteen or in high school. I was a writer then, working on my craft.

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.

I always get stumped on this question, since every writer has his or her own style. I guess mine is a combination of descriptive writing – utilizing the five senses (six, if you count intuition) – and a narrative approach. I am telling the story, but sometimes I feel like I am along for the ride. The characters are in control. I know my plots are more character-driven, though there are always a lot of things happening.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?

I had to learn not to box myself in. As a Libra, I can’t handle that anyway, but as a writer, it’s a total nightmare! One of my professors in college told me not to commit myself to one genre, that it would help me stay open to other tales. And that has never been truer than right now with my career. If I hadn’t been open-minded, I wouldn’t have written a children’s fantasy a few years ago, and I wouldn’t have started writing a horror story or a psychological thriller (out of my many works in progress).  But I was stubborn at first with that advice, even though my instructor was right.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?

For me, it’s difficult to find a balance between home and work. We have to take on so many roles as authors these days, that it’s hard to get back to the reason we got into this in the first place – the joy of writing. The industry is constantly changing, and we’re forced to evolve with it.

Marketing has been, and continues to be, one of my greatest challenges. I’d like to reach that happy medium where I’m working at it, yet I still have time to keep writing my novels, AND cool off now and then with my family or fiancé.

NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?

My fiancé. He’s always been behind me every step of the way.  Beyond that, my friends, and especially all the writers I’ve connected with over the years. Sometimes it is so refreshing to have someone who backs you up and knows exactly what you’re going through as an author! 

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?

I was my first, actually. From 2010 to 2012, I published around fourteen books on my own. But I had no clue about how to approach anything, what do in any aspect of indie publishing. It was trial and error. I have since learned a TON of lessons. How not to do it, for example. Because of that, I am in the process of fully revising and re-releasing all of the books on my backlist as collections in various genres.

However, in the summer of 2012, I received my first book contract! This was for book one of my historical romance trilogy. It was so exciting! After making sure the terms were good and the company was legit, I went for it, and I have been with Solstice Publishing ever since. Beginning from 2013 until now, I have released nine books in various genres with them. I also indie published three books under this pen name, but I used what we call ‘the right way’. LOL. If all goes according to plan, I should have two more out this year, a romantic comedy novel and a romantic mystery collection.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?

Take your time. The journey takes as long as it takes, and pressuring yourself to go at lightning speed just wears you out, and, in the long run, will likely make you sick. This is not a race. It’s your life, your writing career. Comparing yourself to other authors won’t get you anywhere. Remember that they had to jump through all the hoops too. It’s not as easy or as fast as it looks on the outside. Learn what you need to learn, and enjoy the ride. Be patient with yourself, and you’ll get there.  Oh, and for God’s sake, hire a proofreader or editor. Your readers will thank you for it!

 

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?

To name a few, my favorites are J.R. Ward, Chloe Neill, Nora Roberts, Tessa Dare and Kris Tualla, among others.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

Oddly enough, I’m trying out a dystopian horror novel – The Witch of the Wood by Michael Aronovitz.

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?

True injustice makes me cry. Also, I know I haven’t truly connected with one of my characters until tears are rolling down my face while I’m writing a scene.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?

Helen Keller…I always found her fascinating, and she led such an inspiring life despite her limitations.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?

There are so many! A few of my top movies would be the Harry Potter series, Chronicles of Narnia, The Princess Bride, The Fifth Element, Jupiter Ascending, and any good rom com I can get my hands on.

Let’s see…favorite TV shows? I like most of the superhero shows, such as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. I’ll even go for the darker ones on Netflix like Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Paranormal shows work too. Right now, I’m watching Midnight, Texas. I enjoy some good crime or mystery dramas. I don’t usually get into medical shows, but I do like the New Amsterdam TV show. Now and then, I also enjoy sitcoms or humorous shows. I tried out The Good Place this year. My favorite angles with shows are when they do something truly creative. I used to watch Bones and Castle. Castle was awesome! How many modern shows actually have a mystery writer pairing up with real detectives to solve cases? Nice…but I’m sad that they canceled it.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?

I like all kinds – pop, rock, electronic, Celtic, even Michael Bublé bringing back some of the standards. I used to listen to Sarah McLachlan quite a bit, and now I love Sara Bareilles, Ellie Goulding, Paramore, Icon for Hire, OneRepublic, Lights, Halsey, Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. The list goes on. I really don’t like country music these days, but I tolerate Taylor Swift as she crossed over. For me, the best songs are the ones that speak to me on an emotional level. Some of Adele’s more heartbreaking lyrics can do it. Occasionally Sia has one that gets to me. A Fine Frenzy had a song years ago that was just so melancholy I couldn’t help but want to cry. But I don’t mind songs you can dance to either.

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