Thank you very much Zrinka for hosting me today. It is lovely to talk to you once again about my writing and my new release ‘The Lion’s Embrace’, which has just been released by MuseitUp Publishing.
Please tell us about your writing. Can you explain the title without giving too much away?
The story takes place in 1845, mostly in Algeria, where there were still lions and leopards in the South of the country at the time. Harriet Montague hires Lucas Saintclair, a hard, selfish, mean guide, to travel to Tamanrasset in the Sahara and rescue her archaeologist father, who she believes was captured by Tuaregs.
What was your journey as a writer?
I have always loved writing stories, ever since I was a little girl. For several years I wrote mainly short stories. I thought that one day I would manage to write a novel but never seemed to have the time. About four years ago, I had a bit of a health scare and I decided that I shouldn’t waste time any longer. So I wrote ‘Bellefontaine’, a contemporary mystery romance, my very first novel! I sent it to agents and publishers, received many rejections and a few encouraging comments. I then got the idea for ‘Angel Heart’, my first historical romance, and started researching the Napoleonic period, the Templars and the fascinating character of Count Saint Germain. The day I signed my publication contract was a very, very happy day!
I am inspired by authors like Arturo Perez Reverte, Jack Vance, Dan Simmons, Beatrice Small, J.R.R Tolkien, C. S. Lewis. What writers inspire you?
Being French, I grew up reading French authors like Joseph Kessel, Colette, Maupassant and Le Clezio. I always loved poetry too, particularly poetry by Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Jacques Prévert and Eluard, to name but a few.
What are your future writing goals?
I have the outline of several historical romances in my head… but unfortunately I have no time to do anything about them just yet. I would love to cut down my teaching job to three days a week (or maybe even two!) and spend the rest of my time writing. For now, however, I have to be realistic. My immediate goal is to complete my third novel.
Whom do you see as your ideal reader?
Someone who loves to be transported back to other times, other places. Someone who likes to dream whilst finding out about other cultures. And, of course, someone who is very, very romantic.
When you have time, what would we find you reading?
Historical papers and non-fiction books about places I would like to be the setting of my next novel. I also like romances – Nora Roberts is one of my favourite authors, as is Jojo Moyes and Rose Melikan – and thrillers by Karen Rose, Karen Slaughter and Peter James. As you can see, my tastes are very eclectic!
What do you learn from your writing?
I love the writing process, from the moment when I get an idea about the plot, the characters, to the research and taking notes and the final editing. What I have learned most of all is patience. It takes time to write a story, it takes even longer to edit it and get it ready for publication!
Who has been your biggest supporter?
Definitely my second son, Nicolas, who is almost fourteen years old. He thinks the whole thing is really cool, as he puts it, even if he has never read a word of what I have written! My two sisters, who both live in France, have always been very supportive too.
How are you promoting your work?
I find the promoting very difficult and time consuming, especially since I wasn’t even on Facebook until a few months ago, I still do not tweet and I’ve only had a blog for just over one year. I definitely need advice on how to promote my work and make my name known to readers.
What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Persevere and enjoy what you do. Above all, enjoy your story and your characters.
Where can our readers find a copy of your work?
‘The Lion’s Embrace’ is published by MuseitUp Publishing as an eBook It will also be available very shortly on Amazon but I do not yet have the link!
And finally, as an author, do you have any quirks or habits that help you write better?
My family will tell you that I am very antisocial, very grumpy when I write. I need to be alone, and although I love music, I can only listen to it sparingly when I write, usually before I start writing or only when I write one scene. I need the quiet to work things out in my head. What I find helps a lot when I get stuck is to go for a walk or for a run. It gives me time and space to think, or not to think at all! I usually come back with at least one idea, one sentence, even one word for my story.
Thank you so much Zrinka for hosting me today. I look forward to reading comments!
The Lion’s Embrace blurb:
Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive? Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.
Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?
Where to find Marie
The Lion's Embrace, February 2013 at Muse it Up Publishing
Also by Marie: Angel Heart, October 2012 at Muse it Up Publishing