Today Ellie Holmes interviews busy author, Marie Laval.
Welcome, Marie. I read on your blog that you are originally from Lyon in France but currently living in Lancashire - what brought you to the UK and is the UK home now?
Would it sound very clichéd if I said that it was love that brought me to England...to Bolton, to beTwenty-seven years later, I am still here, and we moved from Bolton to the beautiful (but very wet!) Rossendale Valley. For as long as I remember, I always had a fascination for England and everything English, and no one was surprised when I fell in love with an Englishman. I blame Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins and Jane Austen!
When I was eighteen, I was so full of romantic notions about England that I registered as an au-pair and spent a few - miserable - weeks in Kent. I made my poor mother buy me a navy suit, a couple of white blouses and a pair of court shoes because I saw myself as a modern day Mary Poppins - the perfect nanny to two well-behaved children! Reality was very different, unfortunately. It wasn't a happy experience at all, and I escaped one morning at dawn by the garden gate, a few weeks only into the job!
Luckily, I didn't let that bad experience stop me, and England is very much my home now.
You have beautiful, eye-catching covers. How much input do you have in your covers?
Thank you so much! I do love all my covers too. I have had quite a lot of input in them. I am quite sure my publisher found me quite difficult to work with at times, but it's hard to compromise when you imagine your characters in a certain way.
The cover for 'The Dream Catcher' is wonderfully atmospheric and perfectly captures the mood of the novel, which is set in the far North of Scotland in the heart of winter. Áccent Press have been very patient with me, and have indeed given me wonderful covers.
As a writer of both contemporary and historical romance which do you prefer and why?
If you had asked me that question last year, I would have answered without hesitation that I preferred historical romance. Things have changed a little now, because I have since then written more contemporary romance. The genres are different, the research process involved is different too, but at the end of the day I am writing a love story, and the most important, I think, is to show the conflict between the hero and the heroine and the triumph of love.
How do you go about the research for your historical novels?
I absolutely love research! There is nothing I enjoy more than finding anecdotes, little titbits of information, and quirky facts that lead me into a totally new direction. Being French, I am lucky to have access to material both in English and in French, so I have double the fun. I usually spend time looking at maps (I adore maps!) and photos or paintings of the settings. It is important to get the clothes right, as well as details such as uniforms for example.
In my debut historical romance Angel Heart, Hugo Saintclair, the hero, is a cuirassier captain. I found out that for part of the year cuirassiers had to wear a moustache, and I didn't like the idea at all, so I set the start of the novel at the time of the year when cuirassiers were allowed to shave their moustache...
What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have a word count target? Do you have a dedicated writing space?
I don't have any set routine, and no word count either. I write whenever I can, in the evenings after planning my lessons, cooking and cleaning, or in the morning at weekends when everybody is still asleep. Any minute I can grab is precious.
We moved house a few months ago, and after years of writing on the dining room table, I now have my own study. It feels like the ultimate luxury.
Facebook or Twitter? Which is your preferred promotion tool?
Facebook, definitely. I have made wonderful friends there, and some of them I am lucky to have met 'for real'- Helena Fairfax, Sophie Claire, Sarah Mallory and Helen Pollard, to name but a few. I don't really understand Twitter and don't often venture there.
How do relax when not writing?
To tell the truth, writing is for me the ultimate escape from daily life and the most relaxing activity I can think of. My writing time is always a wonderful treat, except perhaps when I get frustrated because I am stuck with a plotline or a character who refuses to talk to me!
I also love going for a walk. Living in the Rossendale Valley, I have great walks on my doorstep, even though I need a good rain coat and sturdy boots as it seems to rain more here than anywhere else.
I used to go running, but these past two years I have unfortunately let that slip. I have consequently put quite a lot of weight on and have become quite self-conscious about it. I tried yoga at my local sports centre last year and even though I did enjoy it, I was absolutely rubbish at it, so I decided to stick to walking.
What’s next for author, Marie Laval?
I am writing a short Christmas novel set in the Lake District, which I hope will be the first of a series of stories set there. I spent a short holiday in Coniston last month and even though I had been there before, I was blown away by the beauty of the scenery and thought it would make a great setting for a series of romantic novels. As usual when I get an idea, I had to start writing straight away...
I am also editing a contemporary romantic suspense set in Scotland, and have two other projects on the go. One is a contemporary romantic suspense set in Paris for which I need to do more research - what a wonderful excuse for a mini-break there, isn't it? Another is a historical romance which I wrote years ago and which is set in late nineteenth century France.
Thank you very much for having me on the blog today! It's been wonderful.
Thank you for taking part, Marie, and good luck with your next book.
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in the beautiful Rossendale Valley and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. Her contemporary bestselling romance A spell in Provence, as well as her historical romances, Angel Heart, The Lion’s Embrace, and the Dancing for the Devil Trilogy are published by Áccent Press. She contributed to Letterbox Love Stories, a romantic anthology by international bestselling authors, which was released in July.
Amazon: Marie Laval Author Page
DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy:
THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE (Books 1, 2 and 3 in the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy)
Can her love heal his haunted heart? - Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?
Thank you Ellie and Marie for such an interesting interview.
If you would like to be interviewed for the RNA blog please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org