Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blog Swap with Marie Laval

A Little Something to Get Us In the Holiday Spirit!
Today, fellow MuseItUp author Marie Laval and I are exchanging blog posts. Be sure to stop by HERE to see what inspired me to write Faery Marked.

And now, welcome, Marie!!

Hello Mary and thank you so much for the opportunity of being on your blog today. I am very happy to have you on my blog for our blog swap and to find out about your new novel Faery Marked.

Thanks, Marie. I'm excited to be visiting with you, as well as sharing your writing process here. Please tell us a bit about what you write.

I write romance - both historical and contemporary romance. I have also written several short stories inspired by my mother's childhood in North Africa and I would love to publish them in an anthology. One of them was published last October by Áccent Press in their Hallowe'en anthology, SHIVER

Wow! I'd love to read those stories inspired by your mom. I bet they are amazing! Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs in your writing?

In my romance novels, I use third person POV and usually alternate between the hero's and the heroin's POV.

I love books that do this, letting us get a glimpse at both characters thoughts. How do you get started with a book?

It's never the same. Sometimes I am inspired by a visit to a manor house, a landscape, or a historical anecdote. Other times I find a poem or a song, or even an unusual name and I start dreaming about characters and story lines. 

I love a variety of muses, too. Would you say you draft quickly? 

When I worked part-time I wrote quite quickly because I considered writing as a job and worked every day from morning to night. Unfortunately - if I may say so! - I now work full-time as a teacher and it takes me about a year to complete a project. I find it very frustrating because I have so many ideas and never enough time to write.

I hear you there. I always wish I had about 8-12 hours extra a day, just for writing. You mentioned you write historical romance, so let's talk about research. Do you do yours before your first draft, or during?

Both. I do love the thrill of starting a new project and gathering information about the setting, the historical background, the characters...but lots of research also happen whilst I am writing. 

My computer almost always has a browser open while I writing, so I can pop over for those quick things I need to know right then. 

Authors all see to have a different way about getting that first draft down. Some outline, and some just take and idea and run with it. What method do you use?

Unfortunately, I am very bad at planning. I have a vague idea of where I want to go and I usually know what the last scene is going to be, but that's all!

Names of characters and places so are important. Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?

I usually like to complete each scene and each chapter as thoroughly as I can before moving on. That's probably why it takes me so long to complete a project!

I have always found it beneficial to get another set of eyes on my work to look for inconsistencies, redundancies, and anything that can be done to improve the story I'm telling. Do you work with CP's or Beta's? And how soon into your draft do you let them see your work?

I have two close friends who always read the first draft of my stories, and I am very grateful to them for doing that. Since getting published I have made new friends, among whom Helena Fairfax, a romance writer from Yorkshire and we sometimes meet for lunch. We have exchanged our first three chapters and synopsis on a couple of occasions and had a chat about our latest projects. Talking things over with her really helps.

I love Helena. She's such a lovely lady. I'm sure these exchange have been great for both of you. 

Can you share some books or websites that you have found most helpful to helping you write your best?

There are so many great books, it is difficult to single one out, but if I had to pick one it would choose 'To Writers With Love' by Harlequin author Mary Wibberley. It was written some years ago but is full of good advice.

I haven't heard of that one. I'll have to add it to my list of books to check out :-) 

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?

That writing and publishing a novel is a very long process and takes a long time! I have definitely learned to be more patient.

Patience is a must for all authors. Truth! 

Tell us a bit about your upcoming release and where we can find you on the web. 

I have a contemporary romantic suspense A SPELL IN PROVENCE about to be released by Áccent Press on December 19th. This was actually the first novel I completed after going on holiday in the South of France a few years ago, and later attending a very inspiring romance writing seminar organised by Calderdale Libraries in Yorkshire. I have since rewritten it twice!
A SPELL IN PROVENCE will be available at Accent Press and on Amazon

You can find me at 

and befriend me on Facebook at

Congratulations! And I just love the cover!! Thanks for stopping by today, and for hosting me on your blog as well! 

Thank you very much Mary for having me on your blog today. I look forward to answering your readers' questions and comments.

About the Book:

After losing her job in England, Amy Carter uses her redundancy payment to start a new life in France, turning Bellefontaine, an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love — least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of the nearby château. 

As romance blossoms in the beautiful Provençal countryside, disturbing events at the farmhouse hint at a dark mystery — a destructive, centuries-old attachment between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste. As Amy struggles to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

About the Author:

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie Laval studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher in adult education and secondary schools. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends most of her free time dreaming up stories. A vivid imagination, an intimate knowledge of her native France as well as her love of historical research help her create compelling historical and contemporary romance novels. She has published two historical romances with MuseitUp Publishing, ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE.


  1. Hello Mary and thank you for having me on your blog today!

  2. What a lovely post, Mary and Marie. Marie, I also have to complete a chapter as thoroughly as I can before moving on. My New Year's resolution is to increase my writing speed! And I thoroughly enjoyed the first three chapters of A Spell in Provence. Such a great premise for a romance. I can't wait for release!
    Very best of luck to both of you!


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