Today we are delighted to welcome Marie Laval. Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to French teacher in secondary schools. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends most of her free time dreaming up stories. She has published two historical romances with MuseitUp Publishing, ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE. A SPELL IN PROVENCE her first contemporary romance and is published by Áccent Press.
When did you decide to write your first book and how long did it take?
I wrote my first novel, ANGEL HEART, in just over six months. That was four years ago. I was so engrossed in the story that I spent all my free time working on it. I did have to rewrite and edit it extensively, so altogether it took me about a year. It was the same for A SPELL IN PROVENCE, my contemporary romantic suspense shortly to be released by Áccent Press. When I first got the idea for the plot during a family holiday in the South of France, I was working as a part-time teacher and had more time to write than I do now so I could complete the first draft quickly.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. For as far as I can remember, writing was always my passion. As a teenager in France, I used to write the most ridiculous plays, poems and love stories with my best friend, some of which we would then perform and record on a cassette recorder. We were very silly but we had a lot of fun. To this day we still remember lines from our great dramatic masterpieces!
How do you fit your writing around your home life?
I write in the evenings, after planning lessons and when my young daughter is in bed. Unfortunately it's often quite late when I start so I sometimes fall asleep on my keyboard. My favourite time to write is very early in the morning at weekends or during the holidays when everybody is still in bed and the house is quiet. I make myself a cup of tea and 'steal' a couple of hours at the computer. It feels like heaven.
How do you plan to promote your book?
I am not very good at promoting myself and I must say that it is the aspect of publishing a novel I enjoy the least. For A SPELL IN PROVENCE, I have contacted several author friends who have very kindly offered me a spot on their blog, and I may organize a tour and a couple of special events as well after the book is published.
Did you find it difficult to move from historical to contemporary romance?
Not really. People often think that historical romances require a lot more research and are more tricky to write than contemporary novels, but I find both genres equally exciting and challenging. For example, I am really bad at understanding and using the latest technological gadgets and I had to do some research into mobile phones in order not to make any mistakes.
In the end, whether the novel takes place nowadays or in the nineteenth century, my aim is the same - to write a love story between two appealing characters.
How good are you at planning your work? Do you prefer to wing it?
I am hopeless at planning. Although I usually have an idea about the main plotline and can visualise the final scene when I start the story, I tend to just get on with it and let things happen - or not! I would love to be better at plotting because I waste a lot of time exploring a storyline, only to backtrack and delete entire chapters a few weeks later.
Do you enjoy research?
I love it. In fact, I love it far too much and often have to restrain myself and get back to writing the story.
I enjoyed finding out about the ancient history of Provence, which is fascinating, and I loved even more surrounding myself with photos of hill-top villages, of old fountains and of lavender and sunflower fields. I spent many holidays in the South of France as a child and writing A SPELL IN PROVENCE brought back fond memories of sitting in a fragrant garden in the sunshine, breathing in the scents of flowers and grasses, and listening to the cicadas.
If you could rescue only one book from your burning home what would it be?
Just one? I think I would take a book of poems by Jacques Prévert or Victor Hugo.
What is next for Marie Laval?
My next historical romance, DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, will be published by Áccent Press in the New Year, and I am currently working on another contemporary romance which I hope to finish by Christmas.
It's been lovely chatting with you Marie. Thank you for joining us today
A Spell in Provence is currently available from Accent Press
and will be available on Amazon from 19th December 2014
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