Marie Lavender writes romances of all kinds: historical romance, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense. She has a few time travel/reincarnation romances in progress. She has written mysteries and literary fiction as well. Marie has been writing since she was a kid. She used to entertain herself and her family with tall tales. These days, her tales are still fiction, but she has made a career of it.
In college, she majored in Creative Writing, intent to further study her hobby. She graduated in 2005, and in 2010, she began self-publishing books. Since then, she has published 17 books under various pen names including Erica Sutherhome, Kathryn Layne, and Heather Crouse. One of the books was traditionally published. Marie has many more in the works. In September, her historical romance Upon Your Return became an Amazon bestseller. She is a finalist in #MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. She is currently polishing the sequel to Upon Your Return. You can view all of her books on her website at http://www.marielavender.webs.com/.
If your life story were made into a movie, which actor would you want to play you?
That is a really tough question. I might choose Amy Adams.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work? Who is your muse?
Life is my muse. I draw inspiration from my experiences, from the experiences of those around me, and sometimes current events or facts I have read. There are also moments when I get a bizarre idea out of the blue, and I really have no idea where it came from.
How do you market your work, and what has been your most successful marketing tactic to date?
I have placed some cover ads here and there. I also have accounts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I run three discussion groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I have two blogs. To date, I think Facebook and Twitter have been the most successful with regards to spreading the word about my books.
What do you do when you’re not working? How do you like to relax?
I may watch a movie or spend a quiet evening with my fiancé. I read a lot. I find that relaxing. But, sometimes I may go out just to get away from home for awhile.
Describe the most important or memorable event in your life?
I would say the most important moment of my life was when my fiancé asked me to marry him. It was a usual night at first. We had just gone out and we went shopping for awhile. Afterwards, we had a moment alone in the car and he started telling me how much I meant to him. Then he pulled out this ring and I swear I have never felt so happy in my life as I did the moment he took my hand and said, “Will you marry me?” That man is my soul mate. I don’t think I’ll ever forget a minute of knowing him.
Everyone gets criticism. Describe the toughest criticism you’ve received and what you learned from it?
I had a professor in college who told me I shouldn’t limit myself to romance writing. I never saw that as a limit really. I love writing about love. I’m not going to exactly “limit” myself. I have ventured into other genres as well – paranormal, some mystery and literary fiction.
And the best compliment?
I love when a reader just “gets” a character. I had one reviewer recently say the heroine was “sweet, but downright tough if she had to be.” Yeah, that was the character in a nutshell. So, I’m glad she understood the way I wrote her.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps – particularly how to avoid any of the same mistakes you made?
Don’t wait until you have a book out to start promoting yourself as a writer or author. Build your social networking accounts and gain connections and followers. Start your blog early, and decide what topics you want to cover. Decide who your audience will be. Gain a following early on, and you will have readers when your books come out. Everyone may not buy your books, but they will spread the word for you. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool.
Your favourite place in the world to be?
“In the zone”, writing a scene for one of my stories.
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?
- I would like to live on a beach or a private island.
- I would like to have the wedding of my dreams, maybe get married in a castle.
- I would like world peace.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love writing. I always have. I love that Eureka! moment when everything is flowing perfectly and the story just falls into place.
What do you hate the most about it?
Being in the public eye can be both interesting and disturbing. I have been stalked a few times and harassed. That made me a little uncomfortable. The downside of being a public figure is it can attract all kinds of people. But, I still love connecting with my readers.
If you were a superhero, what would your super power be?
I think I’d want to read minds. I’ve always been fascinated with human psychology and the way people work. They’re really complicated, aren’t they? I probably would start to regret it after awhile, but it might be interesting to have the power briefly.
That is really a hard question for me as I love reading so much. My new favorite series is The Discreet Gentleman series by Kris Tualla. It is a historical romance series set in Norway.
Favourite TV show or movie?
The show I am watching right now is Castle. It is about a writer, which I can relate with, but there is a good deal of mystery and detective work going on so it really grabs your interest.
Thinking back to the genie, if he then granted you the ultimate fantasy dinner party, and said you could invite whoever you wanted – from any time or dimension – who would you have on your guest list?
LOL. I would, of course, invite the Black Dagger Brotherhood (J.R. Ward’s characters) to the party. They might seem intimidating at first, but I really love that series. Then, I would invite the characters from Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love At Stake series. Now that would be an interesting party.
For more information on Marie, check out her social media links: