The Writing Life of: Marie Lavender
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Marie Lavender. Marie will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Chasing Ginger‘, which was released on 10th March 2020 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 18 other books. 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 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry.
An avid blogger on the side, Marie Lavender writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She also contributed to several anthologies. Though she has some standalone titles on the market, her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series and The Blood at First Sight Series, but she has many others planned.
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
I always, always wanted to be an author. Sure, when I was tiny, I might’ve had some silly dream such as being a princess. But, as soon as ideas started floating around in my head – and I could form a legible sentence – by the age of nine, I just knew writing would be my main profession.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
At a pretty early age, I started reading books for older audiences. So, at the time, I had a big thing for The Baby-Sitters Club series. Ann M. Martin was my idol back then. I’d consider that a middle grade/YA type of series, but I was definitely reading it when I was much younger.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
Yeah, when the voices in my head wouldn’t shut up. LOL. At first, I acted out the story scenarios with my dolls. Finally, it occurred to me to write them all down! It was the only thing that gave me a real measure of peace, freeing my mind up for more ideas to come. As aforementioned, I was about eight or nine when I knew for sure that this was my career goal.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
I guess I just write a scene or chapter until I run out of steam (maybe I fall asleep, or my hand starts cramping up!). However, my usual method when I’m focused on a story project is to work a little on it every day, whether it’s writing, doing research, or editing (I’m nitpicky about getting rid of the obvious mistakes first). I write as much as I can using a freestyle, casual approach until I’m ready to really work on the book. Then I turn to my detailed outline to help fill in the extra details.
Now and then, a character surprises me with a plot twist! Also, I try to not to box myself into one genre or type of book. With word count, I ignore that aspect until I get to the editing stage, unless a journal or publisher states a specific limit (that’s something to freak out about). Most of the time, the novel just ends up how it should be. There’s no controlling my muse.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
I have written and published twenty-one books. As for unpublished work…definitely! I get new ideas for stories all the time. I currently have over a hundred stories in progress at the same time. That’s why I am forced to stop and choose one or two to focus on, or they’ll never get published. Creative freedom is fine, but we still must reign ourselves in as writers sometimes.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m more of a hybrid, I guess. I’ve implemented both approaches to writing. I write on the fly as long as possible, until I feel blocked. Then I start plotting more and using my outline to help me finish the novel.
Concerning your latest book:
Misfits Series Book One
Pages – 441
Release Date – 10th March 2020
ISBN 13 – 979-8622022708
Format – ebook, paperback
Chased by a group of angry men. Saved by quite a hunk.
This is not the résumé Ginger Halloway ever imagined having. But thanks to a miracle pill, which makes her size 22 body instantly sexy, that’s what happened.
Yet, now Lance Franklin is showing interest in her, and she can’t figure out if he really likes her for her, or if it’s just because of a bizarre drug.
And her wild bunch of friends, The Misfits…well, they’re always getting her into some interesting situations.
So, yep, business as usual. Except for the guy. What the hell should she do about him?
As for Lance, he believes he’s lucky to have found Ginger. But can he convince her they should go for it?
With some new attention from the hottest guy she’s ever met, Ginger can’t help but wonder…is this all too good to be true?
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Since it’s a modern tale, most of it was found online. I always use legitimate sources, though. You must be selective about what you use, and carefully weigh all the information. For what I looked for, I needed the details to create a fuller picture. For example, the style of a dress, or a room’s layout.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
This novel took me about a year and a half to write. It would’ve taken less time, but we had a major loss in the family, and it was just harder for me to get back into the swing of things. Depression and grief took a toll on me, and that’s especially difficult to overcome when you’re trying to write a book with quite a bit of humor in it.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title is actually a play on words. Some of it’s obvious when you read the book blurb, but it has other meanings. CHASING GINGER refers to three things:
1) Ginger getting chased by a group of men she doesn’t want
2) her being chased (courted) by the hero, Lance
3) Ginger chasing her dreams and finding herself
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Ginger is a rare combination of fashionista, singer-songwriter, dancer, loyal friend, and all-around sweet person. Except she’s trapped in a body that most of society can’t accept when it comes to her life goals.
This book was my opportunity to finally write about a plus-sized character, with all the emotional fallout that comes with having any disability in the face of social expectations.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
This is indie published. I wrote the book, had beta readers to see their impression of the story, hired an editor and a proofreader, and then published it through Amazon and Smashwords (which distributes widely to other channels). I would say getting the formatting of the manuscript perfected was the biggest challenge when it came to uploading the paperback version on Amazon KDP. After that, I could focus on the book launch itself and promotion for the new release.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
My next project is a romantic mystery collection titled First Target, which will consist of two novellas from my backlist. I’m fully revising them so they can be released under this pen name instead.
Afterwards, I’ll focus on a short young adult mystery story, and prepare it to be submitted to literary journals. Hopefully, one of those publishers takes it on. If not, I can release it on my own. Beyond that, I’ll probably start working on book three of the Magick Series, so I can finish off that contemporary fantasy trilogy.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
As a writer, I’m always trying to figure people out. So, it makes sense that I’d go for mind reading abilities.
2) Do you have any pets?
Yes, two awesome felines! Emma and Katerina (Kit Kat) are my fur babies. One is a calico, and the other is black with some white spots here or there.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
Um…Rollercoaster Personified? I feel like I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life!
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
Hmm. I’m an observer by nature, so maybe part of the audience when Ginger and Lance go to the dance competition.
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I actually miss going to my grandmother’s house for the holidays. My family and I lived so close to my grandparents, and that was a second home to us. We visited a few times per week. Being there for Christmas too just felt natural. But now, since Grandma and Grandpa passed away years ago, we don’t have access to that house. It was sold, which is a real bummer.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
A ‘quack’, I guess, which signifies, “I’m back!” LOL.
To explain, I had a duck as a pet years ago, when I was a little girl, but he got too big to handle. So we had to let him go and then gave him a proper send-off at the lake with the other ducks. He had no trouble fitting in. I’m glad we saved him in the beginning as a duckling, and he ended up having a good life.
I would like to say a big thank you to Marie Lavender for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.