Welcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Marie Lavender from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Thanks for joining me, Marie. Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable.
How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
I have been officially published since 2010, though I did have two stories published in a university anthology back in 2005. I’ve released 22 titles under the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, fantasy, romantic suspense, mystery/thriller, science fiction, literary fiction and poetry. Some were published under different pen names, but I’m working on moving all of those previous titles under one name. I’ve also had poems and stories published in anthologies. Yes, some of my books were self-published. Others were through my publisher, Solstice Publishing. Solstice found me in 2012, and my first book with them, a historical romance titled Upon Your Return, was released in February of 2013. From then on, I released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy; Upon Your Honor, book two of the Heiresses in Love Series; Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy and book one of the Blood at First Sight Series; A Little Magick, a children’s fantasy and book two of the Magick Series; and Second Chance Heart.
Here is my 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.
It sounds like you have quite a diverse writing career. Tell us a little bit more about your books — any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
I am a multi-genre author, so you’ll see my books in various genres. I often cross genres. In both my published books and works-in-progress, you’ll notice comedies, historical tales, paranormal, science fiction, dystopian and time travel stories, as well as general romance. I’m currently editing Directions of the Heart, a contemporary romance/romantic drama collection of four tales. And I hope to finish Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy and book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, sometime in 2017.
Releasing on November 15th is Blue Vision, a sci-fi romance and book one of the Code of Endhivar Series.
You certainly are busy, congratulations on your upcoming release.
Blurb for 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?
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
Well, as aforementioned, I plan to totally revise and re-release some titles from my backlist. I hope to have Awakening, a paranormal thriller collection, done in 2017. Other backlist titles to be released include Dark Secrets, a romantic suspense collection; First Target, a romantic mystery collection; The Game, an international romantic suspense saga; and Ms. Lavender’s Collection of Ramblings, a literary fiction and poetry collection. Also, I’d like to finish up the Magick Series with the final title in the trilogy, Magick Sunrise, another romantic fantasy with a somewhat futuristic angle. There may even be a Valentine’s romance, titled Project Cupcakes. Additionally, I hope to launch into two new series, The Misfits Series, a six-book romantic comedy series set in San Francisco; as well as the Witches of Moonhaven Series, a six-book historical romance/fantasy series about a coven of witches in the time of the European witch trials.
How will I do it? I guess I’ll just keep hacking away at the computer until it’s all finished. With 117+ works-in-progress, I’m not likely to run out of ideas for future projects!
And I thought the 11 manuscripts I found from writings I did in my twenties would be too much to handle. You are inspiring.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
Anyone who is open to entering new worlds is welcome to read my books!
I’m sure that’s a wide audience.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Never lose your joy for writing. When the “business” of being an author drags you down, you’ll need to go back to that time and time again, to renew your energy and live in the moment of the story as you follow the muse down unknown paths.
I like that. It’s very true. Although we authors are involved in so many tasks besides writing, it’s the writing that keeps us going as well as the readers who read our books.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I received a lot of rejections from literary agents and publishers before I found the right publisher. But I learned to be persistent, to never give up on my dream.
That’s the most important thing. If you want something enough, you will keep striving for it against the odds.
Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.
Yes, I have. I actually took Creative Writing in middle school, high school, and then also majored in Creative Writing in college. Additionally, during my senior year at the university, I took a ‘literary editing and publishing’ class. It was a way to let us dip our toes in the water of publishing without running into the usual barriers. Of course I think taking a writing class helped me develop my writing skills. I would definitely suggest it too. In lieu of that, however, reading in the genre you plan to write in can give you an idea of the way those books are structured.
Yes, writing courses can be helpful; but, as you said, reading is also very important. I’ve always been an avid reader and, as a librarian and author, it’s helped me a great deal personally as well as professionally.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love reading books, working on creative projects (like graphic design or even experimenting with home decor), and shopping! I also like cooking, listening to music and collecting gel pens.
Gel pens? I never thought of them as collectibles. I guess they make good ones for authors.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I have two favorite parts. One, I love being in the midst of writing a story, when the characters are talking to me and the plot is flowing perfectly. Secondly, I love hearing from fans that enjoyed a book, and especially when their interpretation is spot on, like they totally get the way the character came out on the page, the way he or she was intended. I really feel like I did my job well then.
I’d have to say the toughest part for me is still editing. Knowing what you should get rid of or change is hard on a writer. It’s like when a teacher critiques your child. Your first reaction is denial or even anger because that’s your kid. You love your child, and you would never try to change him or her. And you don’t like it when people say bad things about your kid. But you take a step back and realize Tommy might really benefit in the long run by studying or improving upon his skills. Let’s consider another analogy. Editing for me is like when you clean your house. You know you have to go through those steps to get to the other side and have a better looking place, but the work to get there is a real chore. When I first receive my editor’s comments on a manuscript, I groan a bit at all the scary marks across the page but then I quickly get over myself. I know this is just a necessary step on the way to making this the best product for my readers.
I share the same favorite parts about my writing that you do. I love when a story and characters come together as well as the twists and turns I try to feature in my mysteries. I also equally enjoy meeting readers and hearing their complimentary feedback about my writing. It’s very motivating. I also don’t love editing, but promoting is the toughest part for me because I have a hard time selling myself and my writing.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.
Graphic design company: http://www.ambrosiainnovations.com/
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
Wow! You are really well represented online. It was a pleasure to have you on Ruff Drafts, Marie, and best wishes again on your book releasing next week.