Posts Categorized: author interview

Marian’s Christmas Wish Blog Tour

15 Nov, 2011 by in author interview, marians christmas wish Leave a comment

Marian’s Christmas Wish
by Carla Kelly
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 8th 2011
by Cedar Fort, Inc.
ISBN 1599559536

Miss Marian Wynswich is an unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she is certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected— a young and handsome English lord.
Fire and Ice is today’s stop on the Cedar Fort blog tour for Marian’s Christmas Wish. We have an exclusive author interview with Carla Kelly. Thanks so much for joining us Carla!

When did you publish your first work and how many books gave you written? My first pubished book was Daughter of Fortune, set in 1680 colony of New Mexico. Incidentally, I’ve just signed a contract for it to be published as an e-book and paperback on demand. I have written 24 novels, plus two non-fiction historical works, plus any number of short stories for Signet and Harlequin. Plus in June there will be another Harlequin Historical, this one beginning in 1815 in and near Dartmoor Prison. And Enduring Light will be out in January. SO maybe that’s 26. Picked up a couple of Rita Awards for Best Regency of the Year. Big ol honker statues.

Any in the works now? Yep. I’m writing a third book for Harlequin in my current 3-book contract, plus a fun little novel set in Chama Valley, NM in 1725, which I’m hoping to turn into a series. Then in January, I’ll start my Scofield Mine Disaster story.

What would be your Christmas Wish? O gee, whirled peas. Family around, some Christmas carols, and more tenors and basses in my ward choir, which I direct.

Tell us a little about the book and your main characters. It’s Devonshire in 1814. The interesting, eccentric Wynswich family is facing ruin and the loss of the family estate, thanks to Dad’s mismanagement. In order to avoid the above, one of the two daughters has to marry well, and marry soon. Ariadne, the older, already is pining over the poor-as-a-church-mouse vicar. Marian, the younger, is a smart young lady who has looked around and decided that she’s too sensible to get married. Ever. Enter Gilbert Collinwood, Lord Ingraham, a marquis with diplomacy on his mind. He meets Marian and wants to change her mind about marriage. He’s hauling around some heavy baggage that puts the issue in serious doubt. Two people in the novel, Marian and her brother Alistair, have to grow up, and as Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, “It is a near-run thing.”

What has been your most rewarding part of being an author? Readers, and the pleasure of creating little worlds that really matter, while someone is involved in reading. I also like padding down the hall in my sweats, hair combing and shoes optional, and getting to work.

Do you have any writing rituals, music or snacks that help? No rituals. I put my happy a** in the chair and leave it there until I’ve written enough for the day. I do have a lovely photo of a 1948 trail drive of the Two Dot Ranch in Sunlight Basin near Cody, Wyoming, where my dad was raised. I look at it a lot, because I like cowboys and know a few. I’m LDS, but I have a wonderful little retablo of St. Francis de Sales hanging over my printer that makes me smile. He’s the patron saint of writers, journalists and editors. Yo, St. Francis.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I’ve been to home ground in lowland Scotland, and enjoyed London and Plymouth. I’ll be heading back to the Chama Valley this spring, and then Bonanza, Colorado, settings for two books to come, when I get a moment. That’s where I want to be. Back in Taos and Santa Fe, too. Writing is a bit like painting. I need to see where stories take place, when possible.

What advice would you have to aspiring writers? Take your happy a** and put it in that chair. Avoid too many writing/critique groups and blogs. Writing takes time and discipline and that stuff is way too time-consuming and distracting. It is a solitary profession. Also, avoid self-publishing. If you’ve sent it to numerous publishers and been turned down, it’s time to take another look at the book and see what you can improve. Seriously.

About The Author: A newcomer to Cedar Fort, Inc., Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America.

Recently, she’s been writing regency romances (think Pride and Prejudice) set in the royal Navy’s Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. She comes by her love of the ocean from her childhood as a Navy brat.

Carla’s history background makes her no stranger to footnote work, either. During her National Park Service days at the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Carla edited Friedrich Kurz’s fur trade journal. She recently completed a short history of Fort Buford, where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.

Following the ?dumb luck? principle that has guided their lives, the Kellys recently moved to Wellington, Utah, from North Dakota and couldn’t be happier in their new location. In her spare time, Carla volunteers at the railroad and Mining Museum in Helper, Utah. She likes to visit her five children, who live here and there around the United States. Her favorite place in Utah is Manti, located after a drive on the scenic byway through Huntington Canyon.

And why is she so happy these days? Carla looks forward to writing for an LDS audience now, where she feels most at home.

Learn more: Blog Tour Schedule /Author Blog /Author Facebook/ Book Poster page /Publisher Blog

Author Interview With Karen Mahoney

21 Feb, 2011 by in author interview, the iron witch Leave a comment

Fire and Ice is thrilled to have urban fantasy author Karen Mahoney with us today in this exclusive interview where she shares a deleted scene from the Iron Witch!

Where did the inspiration for the Iron Witch and your interest in alchemy come from? So the inspiration for The Iron Witch came from a variety of things:

– The desire to write a sort of modern version of The Handless Maiden folklore (those tales, also called ‘The Armless Maiden,’ aren’t so well known, but there are a ton of different narratives around the world). I actually wrote an essay about this in the back of the book called, “The Girl With Silver Hands,” so I’ll let people read that if they get hold of the book, to find out more. 🙂
– There were also a couple of dreams (I know it’s a bit of a cliche!). One of a girl being chased by screaming monsters, and the other of a wingless boy.

– And yes, then there’s the alchemy. I’ve been interested in alchemy for about 6 years, since I discovered some books about it an occult bookstore I used to work in. If you want to know more, I wrote a guest post about it here: http://vampirebookclub.net/karen-mahoney-guest-post-giveaway-alchemy-in-the-iron-witch/

Tell us more about the armless maiden.

I am going to cheat and send you to this post I wrote for author John Scalzi’s blog, ‘Whatever’: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/02/10/the-big-idea-karen-mahoney/ 🙂 This sums up a lot of my thoughts, which you can see more of in the essay I wrote for the back of The Iron Witch, but I’d also like to say that I wish there were MORE retellings of The Armless Maiden in contemporary/paranormal literature. Especially YA, as it’s such a feminist story at heart – I think it carries a cool message for girls and young women, in terms of regaining their power and fighting their own battles.

What sources did you draw from for your myth and faerie lore?

Honestly? Although I’ve read a LOT about faeries and that kind of lore (inc. classics, like books written by Katharine Briggs), my particular fey creatures in The Iron Witch came from some particularly dark corners of my imagination. 😉 I really enjoyed creating the wood elves, but they’re not really based on one piece of folklore or mythology. There’s a little bit of Norse mythology in there, I suppose – I did read up on Norse elves, but mine are very different.

Favorite all-time books?

Goodness… what a hard question! Okay, I’ll try: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), in fact, anything by the Brontes, I love all of their books and used to be pretty obsessed with them; The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell); Tithe (Holly Black); Ink Exchange (Melissa Marr); Sleeping in Flame (Jonathan Carroll); the Hunter Kiss series by Marjorie M. Liu; The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant (Sarah Rees Brennan); The Sandman comics/graphic novels by Neil Gaiman; Bleeding Violet (Dia Reeves); etc. etc. I could go on!

Any little known facts or deleted scenes or maybe a teaser from book two you can share?

This is a good one… Okay, I’ll give you a deleted scene from The Iron Witch. This is a small snippet from a VERY early draft (so please excuse it being rough and unedited) when I was playing around with the idea of having some scenes from Navin’s POV. In the end, we decided to go just go with Donna’s, but this is from after Nav’s been taken by the dark elves and he’s thinking back to how they captured him:

Navin allowed the rhythm of his breathing to comfort him, as he thought back to those confused moments on the footpath.

He had been cycling full-out along the alleyway’s uneven pavement, enjoying the bumpy ride and the cold wind tickling his hair around his face, tucking himself down low over the handlebars of his bike. The next thing he knew he was slammed from the right—sort of from above him—and he and his bike practically flew into the brick wall on the other side of the alley. He tried to twist his body away from the impact, managing to save his shoulder and head, but his legs got tangled up with the bike meaning that his left leg was crushed between metal and wall.

It had been painful.

Navin remembered the jolt that lanced through his hip, even as he tried to save himself from a worse fall by landing on his hands on the gravel. He crawled out from under the bike, ignoring the ache in his leg and the pain when his knee made contact with the ground, scrambling to face whatever had thrown him with such force.

But there had been nothing there.

Breathing in quick gasps, Navin tried to haul himself up, sparing a regretful glance at the twisted frame of his beloved bike. The red chrome plating was cracked in places, and the back wheel was twisted at an impossible angle. He staggered as he regained his feet, barely able to put weight down on his left leg.

Just as he was reaching into his jacket pocket for his cell phone, the air in front of him shimmered. That’s the only way he could think to describe it. One minute he was looking at a plain brown brick wall. The next there was a strange earthy smell and the air heated up and moved—and then he was standing face-to-face with two familiar nightmarish creatures.

Wood elves.

Do you have a playlist for the books?

I’m afraid I tend to write without music, but I will say that The Wood Queen (book 2) was an exception and large parts of it were written to The Pierces. I love The Pierces! 🙂

Thank you very much for the great questions. It was a pleasure to answer them!

Interview With YA Author Sara Zarr

22 Jan, 2011 by in author interview, book giveaway, once was lost, sara zarr, utah authors 8 comments

Today Fire and Ice is pleased to introduce YA author Sara Zarr. I’ve met Sara at a couple of book related events and she is always very down to earth & friendly. She’s one very talented woman.

Author Bio: “Sara is the acclaimed author of three novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), and Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009, Utah Book Award winner, INSPY winner). Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain online, Response, and several anthologies. Sara’s fourth young adult novel will be published in early 2012. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at http://www.sarazarr.com/.”

Here’s what Sara had to say in our exclusive interview about her latest book, “Once Was Lost…”

Once Was Lost was inspired by the story of Elizabeth Smart. Tell us a little bit of her background and what moved you about it.

Elizabeth Smart was taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night, back in 2002, here in Salt Lake. It was so incredibly sad, and I was certain that there was no hope. I’d see the blue ribbons people put up around the neighborhood and think, “When you take those down? How do you know when to give up hope?” I thought about that question as applied to life in general, and started asking the what-if questions that lead to a story–What if I were a teen in Elizabeth’s community? What if I sort of knew her? What would that feel like? Etc. And when she was found, alive, it forced me to re-think all my ideas about “too late.”

Samara is an unique name, any reason you picked it?

I can’t remember, except that in my mind her name was Sam, but it wasn’t short for Samantha. So I think I started looking for other names that could be shortened to Sam. The fact that she’s a pastor’s daughter and the name sounds biblical helped.

What is the overall message you hope readers glean from Once Was Lost?

I don’t hope for a message. I always hope readers connect with the story, that it feels real to them. First, I want them to enjoy reading. Second, it’s nice if the story compels them to think more deeply about some aspect of life…whatever aspect that the book brought up for them.

Samara’s parents are far from perfect. Is there anything you wish her father or mother would have done differently?

Ha! Yes, of course, a lot. Her father should have talked more openly about what was going on in the family. Her mother should have returned her calls. But, as readers can see in all my books, parents are flawed humans, like all of us. They, and we, don’t always have the courage or wisdom to do what’s best for everyone.

Tell us a little bit about your aversion to facebook and too much social media.

Well, I actually love social media. I’m a Twitter fiend. My issues with Facebook are: It is really difficult on Facebook to keep my private/family life separate from my public life as an author. FB does provide some tools to help you “manage your identity” to different groups of people, but the tools are complicated and, based on past “privacy oversights”, I don’t trust them. I don’t like the categorization of life it forces you into. It just makes me uneasy. Recently, there was a “glitch” by which everyone who listed Salt Lake as their hometown got a link put on their profile to the Salt Lake Visitor’s Bureau. That kind of stuff drives me nuts!

In general, I think we all live too much through screens. I try to set limits for myself and notice when I’ve gone over that tipping point between fun and connection, and mindless clicking.

Do you have any new books in the works?

I do! My fourth book, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, will be out in about a year. I’m very excited about it. It’s about two girls, Mandy and Jill, whose worlds collide when Jill’s mom decides to adopt Mandy’s baby.

Ten books that have influenced your life.

In no particular order…

THE CHOCOLATE WAR by Robert Cormier
MYSTERY AND MANNERS by Flanner O’Connor
HO– USEKEEPING by Marilyn Robinson
THE WAR OF ART by Stephen Pressfield
MEMBER OF THE WEDDING by Carson McCullers
STORY OF A GIRL (By me…cheating? It was my debut novel, and it changed my life.)
SECRETS IN THE DARK by Frederick Beuchner
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
MY GRANDFATHER’S HO– USE by Robert Clark
THE HOLY WAY by Paula Huston

Do you believe in miracles? Why or why not.

Oh boy. I am a practicing Christian, and therefore the answer must be yes, as the whole point of the faith is based on a miracle – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But when it comes to the present day, or the possibility of miracles in my own life, I’m a skeptic. This is why Elizabeth Smart being found alive was so powerful to me. Though it didn’t involve the laws of physics being broken, she might as well have been Lazarus, that’s the extent to which I’d written her off for dead.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a YA author?

The most rewarding moments always have to do with interactions with people–with readers who have connected with my work, or with other writers who are struggling with the same hopes and fears as me.

Any upcoming events?

I’m giving a keynote address at the SCBWI New York conference next weekend. And this summer, I’m teaching a week long workshop in YA (and middle-grade) fiction. Info here for anyone interested! http://imagejournal.org/page/events/the-glen-workshop/2011/east/index

Thanks so much to Sara Zarr for taking time out to be with us! Visit Sara at her website http://www.sarazarr.com/

Little Brown has generously donated a paperback copy of Once Was Lost for our blog readers. To enter to win simply fill out this form.

Author Interview With Dan Harrington

19 Jan, 2011 by in author interview, who's at the door 4 comments

Our interview today is with Dan Harrington author of Who’s At The Door published November 8, 2010 by Cedar Fort International.

Author Bio: When Dan Harrington was 8 years old, he tried to interview a talking Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Santa’s Village in New Hampshire. With captivating questions such as “Exactly what Reindeer games do you play?” and “What’s Santa’s favorite cookie?” he drove a teenage employee crazy enough to say that Rudolph was sleepy and had to go to bed.

Harrington became a professional freelance writer many years later in 2007. His work has appeared in publications such as Village Soup, The Kennebec Journal, Inside Pro Wrestling/The Wrestler, Portland Magazine, and LDS Church News. He has written about everything from missionaries to extreme sports to law enforcement. He lives in central Maine.

What works/ articles have you written? Is this your first book published?

This is my first book, but I’ve had about 200 articles published. I had two in LDS Church News: one was about a patriarch and the other about a morning seminary. I’ve written feature stories for newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics like extreme sports, the military, and law enforcement.

I’ve also interviewed Victoria Rowell, the actress from The Young and the Restless; UFC Fighters Marcus “The Celtic Warrior” Davis and Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch; Scotty 2 Hotty from the WWE and various other well-known people.

Any other projects under way?

I’m currently working on some stories for a newspaper and deciding what my next book should be about.

What moved you to want to write and publish your story?

I’ve always wanted to write a book, and my experience with the missionaries was on my mind a lot. It was a perfect fit. It was difficult to find books about the LDS Church that weren’t trying to convince me to think a certain way. I wanted to write a book for other investigators, so they would know that I’ve been where they are—a lot of people have. You just don’t hear about it unless a conversion is involved. In the book, I don’t try to convince people that the LDS Church is right or wrong. I just put my experience on the table and share my thoughts.

In what faith were you raised?

Catholic. The book includes some memories from catechism (Sunday School) that were both funny and serious. My upbringing gave me a real respect for Christ, but I never realized there were any other churches besides my own until I was much older. I thought everyone felt about God the same way I did.

Favorite quotes?

I have several, but for now I’ll say:

Never give up. Never surrender. -Galaxy Quest

All-time favorite book and movie?

One of my favorite books is “Pawn of Prophecy” by David Eddings mostly because it turned me on to reading.

Braveheart would be my favorite movie—awesome characters, action, romance, a villain you want to see crushed. That movie has it all.

Is there a message you hope to convey to your readers?

That you can care about people even if you disagree with them. I think opening your home and heart to a stranger has the potential to change your life.

I want people to see the missionaries as specific people. Most LDS books I’ve seen don’t treat the elders as characters, just vehicles to conversion.

Describe the road to getting published and what helped you the most.

I think my resume and research helped me the most. Before I looked for a book publisher, I had a hundred articles published in various newspapers and magazines. Looking for a publisher is like looking for any other job; they want to see your resume.

As a teenager, I used to have this grand notion that a publisher would discover me out of the blue. It doesn’t work that way. Editors, agents, even regular people always ask where you have been published. It’s best to have an answer.

I finished the book in December 2009, sent it to several publishers in January, and by the end of February 2010 I was offered a contract. I was floored. Part of me is still on the floor. You hear so much about slush pile limbo, but I think I was in the right place at the right time and with just enough experience to stand out.

What advice would you give to male authors?

Get published wherever you can. Create those bullet points for your resume. As a male author, you can sometimes feel like the odd person out at workshops where most of the attendees are women.

In Maine, I often found myself the only male under 65 at writing events.

What is the Man Cave group you started?

Man Cave Authors is a brand new blog I started with several other published male authors including Michael Young, David West, J Lloyd Morgan, and Frank Cole. I had noticed several group blogs online and most of them were hosted by women.

I had been corresponding with these guys, so I asked if they were interested in started a male author blog called “The Man Cave.” They all enjoyed the idea. We’re hoping to offer some writing advice from a male perspective.

Anything else you want to add?

I appreciate the interview. It’s exciting to have my first book published, and I appreciate the support. So far, I’ve gotten so many good reviews from Utah writers, and it’s wonderful to get such praise. I hope more people will enjoy the story.

Thanks to Dan for that exclusive interview! To learn more about him visit his site at http://www.authordanharrington.blogspot.com/ And add Who’s At The Door to your goodreads pile here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9582821-who-s-at-the-door

Author Interview with Saundra Mitchell

08 Jan, 2011 by in author interview, saundra mitchell, the vespertine 7 comments

Bio: A screenwriter and author, Saundra Mitchell penned the screenplays for the Fresh Films and Girls in the Director’s Chair short film series. Now an executive producer and head writer for the programs, she mentors young screenwriters from first page to production.

Her short story “Ready to Wear” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her first feature film, Revenge Ends, debuted on the festival circuit in 2008. Her debut novel, SHADOWED SUMMER, won The Society of Midland Authors Book Award for Children’s Fiction, was a 2010 Edgar® Award Nominee, a VOYA Summer Reading selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, and an ALAN Pick in 2009. You can find out more about that novel here.

In her free time, she enjoys studying history, papermaking, and spending time with her husband and her two children. She lives in Indianapolis and welcomes you to visit her on the Web at http://www.saundramitchell.com/

Saundra has been kind enough to answer some exclusive questions for Fire and Ice about her new book The Vespertine Coming March 2011 from Harcourt Children’s Books

Give us a quick blurb about The Vespertine.
The Vespertine is about a girl who sees the future in the fires of sunset, a boy with a mysterious ability of his own, and the moment their worlds collide.

What drove you to Baltimore as the main setting? I love Baltimore! It’s an amazing city, with an amazing history. Enoch Pratt founded the first free library there; it was the working heart of the eastern seaboard for several centuries. The B in the B&O railroad stands for Baltimore!

And I wanted to write about a city where readers wouldn’t know what to expect from this time period. New York City, New Orleans, London- we have in built-in expectations for these places. But I wanted to write a book about middle-class girls, who had options: family, college, careers. I wanted them to live in a city where classes and races and genders mixed more freely. Baltimore has had a robust, integrated middle class for three hundred years- it was exactly the right place for this book!

Tell us a little bit about the world of 1889 and Victorian courtship…For middle-class girls, it was a lot like it is for teens today: going to school, and hanging out with groups of friends. Most went to school up to 8th grade at least, and they were starting to add high school to the mix by 1889. And because they were middle-class girls, they could escort each other. Which meant if they wanted to ride the cable car or a hansom cab into town to catch a show, or go to the library, or practice archery in the park, they could.

But teens then were more likely to host dinner parties, which didn’t usually get started until 8 or later. Then after dinner, everyone would stay a few hours to play games. Blind Man’s Bluff was a popular one, and there were kissing games, of course. Dances for the middle class were public affairs: pay your quarter, and anyone properly dressed could attend.

The real difference is in communication. Today it’s easy to text someone to see if they want to go to the movies. In 1889, you walked from friend’s house to friend’s house during morning calling hours, leaving cards, receiving cards, and making plans in person. If someone left their card inviting you to visit, you could drop by during visiting hours- usually tea time, before dinner. If you left your card, you’d better be home at tea-time, in case anyone comes to see you!
Because they weren’t building empires, middle-class teens in the 1880s had the luxury of hanging out together, getting to know each other, and falling in love. They had the option of going to work or to college, which means they got to date. They went to concerts and shows, for walks in the park, to fairs and carnivals- just like today! The main difference between courtship then and courtship now is that marriages came a bit earlier. But not crazily so– the median age for girls marrying in 1889 was 22 years old; the median age now is 26!

How long did it take you to complete The Vespertine and where did the inspiration come from? I had a lot of false starts on this book. I tried writing a version set in contemporary southern Indiana, didn’t work. Another set in a New England boarding school, also didn’t work. I was beginning to think that the idea- a girl who could see the future at sunset- was neat, but never going to happen!

Then my best friend and I sat down to watch a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights on PBS, the one starring Tom Hardy as Heathcliff. But I was fascinated by Burn Gorman as Hindley. When he was angry, he completely lost it. It was incredible, and terrifying! And during one scene when his character was raging away, I thought to myself, “Man, that’s a guy who would totally lock his sister in an attic.”

It was a stray thought, had nothing to do with what was happening! But it stuck with me, and eventually that became the opening scene for The Vespertine: a furious August van den Broek locking his crazy sister in the attic. Once I had that down, the book poured out of me. The first draft took me six weeks to write. It was delirious, and exhausting and amazing. I had so much fun.

Then it took a year and then some to properly edit, which was slightly less exciting, but had to be done! 🙂

What research went into the book and can you give us any little known facts or extras about it? That’s a very straightforward question, but my answer is oddly complicated. I used to write fan fiction for a show set in Baltimore. During those years, I did a ton of research about Baltimore, because I was writing about police, and neighborhoods, and I had t0 know my way around. It’s funny– when I got to Baltimore for the first time, I really did know my way around. I could give directions.

Then later, I wrote several stories set in Gilded-Age America. One was set in New York, and because I knew it so well, Baltimore! I ended up doing quite a bit of research then- reading newspapers from the period, looking at photographs at the Maryland Historical Society and the Library of Congress, stuff like that. So I had Baltimore, and 1880s Baltimore, already in my head when I sat down to write The Vespertine.

The research I did specifically for this book was really focused on the household, and women in society in this time period. I read Mrs. Beeton’s Household Book, and studied vintage Harper’s Bazar collections for the clothes. I researched the food, the public dances, the schooling system– everything I needed to know, to round out Amelia and Zora’s world.

As for extras– it’s a bit silly, but it amused me so: the dinner party that Zora has in the beginning of the book? All of the table settings are local and seasonal to Baltimore. All of the food is local and seasonal to Baltimore. And all of the dishes come straight out of Mrs. Beeton’s period guide to dinner parties. So if you were invited to dinner in April, 1889 in Baltimore, there’s a good chance you could have had exactly the meal these characters do!

Melese Jow-Amelia
Who do you picture playing Ameila, Zora, Nathanial and Thomas? I’d really love it if everyone could picture their own cast, because who I see is not necessarily who readers will see. But in my head, Amelia is played by Malese Jow, Nathaniel is played by Ed Westwick, Zora is played by Kristen Stewart, and Thomas is played by Zac Efron. Sarah is Katerina Graham, August is Burn Gorman; an actor never appeared for Mattie- I wonder why…?

Do you have any writing munchies or rituals? I like to clean my desk off completely before I start a book. And I do like to have something to drink. Other than that, it’s me and the word processor. Sometimes I make a playlist, but that’s more for the last 2/3 of a book. I have to think to get the exposition down in the first 1/3, and everything from music to the carbonation bubbling in my Coke can distracts me.

What works would you recommend to our readers? Favorite books/ authors? Oh man, I could write a novel about books and authors I love! I love Malinda Lo’s ASH and I am so looking forward to HUNTRESS coming out this year. Sarah MacLean’s THE SEASON is wonderful YA regency, Carrie Ryan is finishing her trilogy with THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES this year, which is awesome. Actually, so is Sarah Rees Brennan with THE DEMON’S SURRENDER, and Aprilynne Pike’s series is getting a new installment in ILLUSIONS.

But if you’re looking for my fave historicals, I have a whole page dedicated to them on The Vespertine website! A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray, WILDTHORN by Jane Eagland, THE REVENANT by Sonia Gensler, oh, I could go on and on. Which is why I have a whole page of them. And now I’m going to stop because like I said– I will seriously be here all day, otherwise! (SISTERS RED! TANTALIZE! HOURGLASS!)

Which scene was your favorite to write and which was the most challenging? This book was the smoothest writing experience I’ve ever had, probably a once in a lifetime experience. It went by in a blur of glee, it really did. I honestly enjoyed writing every bit of it. I just love, love, love this book! I want to hug it and pet it and squeeze it and call it George!

But most challenging was probably writing the visions. I wanted them to be dreamy and otherworldly, but I didn’t want people to be confused. I had to make sure that readers could tell the difference between vision and real life, but I also wanted them to experience how jolting and odd it was for Amelia. So those sections, I had to edit quite a bit to strike that balance.

What element do you think you best represent and why? Probably fire. I have a temper, I totally freak out over stuff, but it’s pretty easy to put me out with a bucket of water. Thank you so much for having me!!

Thank you Saundra for visiting our site! Watch for our review of The Vespertine plus a swag giveaway coming on Monday.

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Author Interview With Marie Higgins

06 Jan, 2011 by in author interview, Marie Higgins 4 comments

Tell us a little bit about your books published

Walnut Springs Press is my publisher. My first book was published in August ’10, titled Winning Mr. Wrong. It was recently nominated to win a Whitney Award for LDS authors.

Will an Internet list help Charley win her man? Whoever said the quest for love wasn’t comical, never met Charlene Randall. Charley is looking for a man who wants to start a family – a man who will take her to the temple. Problem is, she has never dated a man for longer than three months. When she reads an Internet article called “Ten Ways to Win Your Man” she decides to try it on her new coworker, Maxwell Harrington. Max was her crush in high school, but the superstar sports anchorman doesn’t even remember her. Damien Giovanni is Charley’s handsome neighbor who agrees to help her win Max over. What follows is a hilarious tale of mishaps and misunderstandings where Charley learns that what she really needs may be right in front of her.

Walnut Springs also published, Heart Of A Hero, a month after the first one was released. This book has also received many 5-star rating reviews and was the first out of the two to be nominated for a Whitney Award.

There’s a new hero in town . . .
When Summer Bennett returns to Richfield after a five-year stint at her aunt’s finishing school, she discovers a lot has changed. Her father has suffered a crippling injury, and Summer is desperate to get the money to pay for surgery that could allow him to walk again. She hears of a reward offered for the capture of a cunning gang of bank robbers, and her years of etiquette training fall by the dusty roadside.

What Summer doesn’t count on in her quest to capture the bandits is the competition from her family’s longtime friend, Jesse Slade. Now a deputy marshal and local hero, Jesse keeps thwarting Summer’s plans, just like he did when she wore pigtails. She would like nothing more than to use Jesse’s head for a slingshot target, but soon Summer finds her aim shifting from his head to his heart. Problem is, Jesse is engaged to her sister Violet. Jesse doesn’t understand why he’s suddenly encouraging Summer’s attention and enjoying seeing the sparks fly every time they’re together.

What inspired you to want to become a writer? I fell in love with romance novels after reading Kathleen Woodiwiss’ stories for the first time. I also enjoyed watching movies that had a touch of romance. I don’t know if there was one person who inspired me, but everything just fell together. Between loving romance stories and having dreams like I’m watching a movie, these are what led to me daring to write my own story. That’s all it took because once I started writing, the ideas started coming so fast I almost couldn’t write fast enough. That was over 15 yrs ago and it’s the same now. Love it!

If you could live your life in a book which one would you choose and why? I thought I was doing that already since I’m always in another world when I’m thinking about my next story. hahaha But there is no one book I’d like to be in, but the story I’d chose MUST have romance. It MUST have adventure. And I MUST be a beautiful, slender, women with a fun personality. Why these? Because I love a good story / adventure…and I’ve always wanted to be slender and beautiful. J

Do you have a play list for your books, if not what songs do you think fit the plot?
I’ve never thought of songs for the plot, but definitely one of my favorite 80’s songs will work for Heart Of A Hero. It’s the song from the movie Footloose – Holding Out For A Hero.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

I’d never thought of a song for Winning Mr. Wrong, but when my friend put my book video together, the song she chose for that fits perfect. Check out the video to see for yourself –

http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com/p/winning-mr-wrong.html Also on my blog you’ll have to watch the book video for the other book which is cute as well!

What has been your favorite character to write? I love strong heroines. Kick-butt heroines that don’t take any sass. I also enjoy writing charming heroes. I’ve enjoyed writing different kinds of characters. It seems they all go through changes as they progress through the story, and that is what makes it fun to write, I think. Sassy, funny heroines are probably my favorite, though.

Most inspiring quote? I have two that are hanging on my wall at work and by my computer desk at home:

“Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world.” ~~ Tom Clancy

“Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough.” ~~unknown

Favorite authors and books? I have too many to count. I love historical romance mainly, so if there is a LDS author who writes historical, chances are, they’re going to be one of my favorites.

If you could go on a retreat where would you pick and why? Sandy beaches sound fun…with a warm breeze blowing gently against my cheek. Then again, sitting by a fireplace with the fire warms my toes and fingers while snow is swirling around outside the secluded cabin in the mountains… Shoot, anywhere I’ve NEVER been would be a good retreat to get inspired to write my next novel.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? You don’t know me well, do you. heehee I will ALWAYS have a book in the works. I actually have three releases scheduled for 2011. My first paranormal suspense (with romance, of course) will be released in February. Editor and I will start working on this any day now. Here is the blurb:

When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice; so taking on a client who insists he’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career – if only so he doesn’t think he’s going crazy. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost.

Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily-ever-after happen when she’s already dead?

For the other two stories that will be released this year, we don’t know at this point which ones they will be. Will it be another romantic comedy like Winning Mr. Wrong? Or will it be a spin-off story from Heart Of A Hero? Who knows…

Another project I have going right now is trying to find an agent. Currently, I have two agents reading over my newest Christian historical romance – A Walk In Heaven. I would love to see something wonderful happen with this.

My goals? To write as much as I can with having a full time job – and to make people happy with my stories.

What resources would you recommend to other aspiring to write? For several years, I was part of an organization called Romance Writers of America. If you like to write romance, this is the place for you. If not, I would advice to find a writing group you can meet with once a month. It’s so important to know there are other writers out there struggling with the same issues. And we all need that kind of support.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. I absolutely love it when people tell me how much they loved my stories. That feeling will never go away! But lately when I’m in stores, I’ve been getting that “Are you Marie Higgins – the writer?” question, and it tickles me pink!! My poor husband can’t go anywhere in town with me now without someone asking about my books or asking me if I’m that writer. FUN!! And last month when my daughter and I delivered Christmas goodie-plates to friends and people in my church, I had my daughter take the plates to the door, and she said most everyone told her how good of a writer her mother was. Gotta love that!

You can find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?networks#!/profile.php?id=700473435
and on my blog – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much to Marie Higgins for joining us and for this exclusive interview. We can’t wait to read her books! Hop on over to her blog for more information and book trailers.