Today bestselling author Marie Lavender is taking some time away from her busy writing schedule to share some thoughts with us. Marie is a multi-genre author of numerous bestsellers and the winner of a wide variety of writing contests.
Thank you for joining us!
WHAT DREW YOU INTO WRITING?
I’ve been writing fiction since I was nine years old. I guess you could say the muse never shut up! I always loved reading books, and immersing myself in my own fictional worlds just seemed natural.
WHY MULTI-GENRE? WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF THAT, AND WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE GENRE WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING?
A couple years ago, I switched gears and wrote a children’s book. After that, I realized I needed to take a hard look at my published books and my works in progress. It wasn’t difficult to notice a big trend was happening. I was all over the place with my creative avenues! And I began to accept that I really didn’t like to be boxed in either. The challenge that most multi-genre authors face, I think, is that a lot of publishers won’t take that kind of writer seriously. I guess they’re scared of those who are bit different from the norm! I’m just lucky that my publisher, Solstice Publishing, has no issues with writers who try out different genres.
Do I have a favorite genre? Well…yeah. You could say that I lean towards romance at times, but I don’t mind experimenting either. Heck, I even wrote a horror story recently! Weird, right?
WHAT KIND OF WRITER ARE YOU—ORGANIZED OR INTUITIVE?
I assume you mean, am I pantster or a plotter? I’m actually a hybrid, so I dabble in both worlds. Surprise! I let the muse guide me as far as possible, without limits, and then when I start to falter, I create an outline to bring myself some stability. This helps me get focused and guides me to complete the book faster.
DO YOU SET TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY FOR WRITING, OR JUST WRITE WHEN THE MUSE TAKES YOU?
For the most part, I write randomly, but when I am really focused on a project, I try to work a little on the book each day, even if it’s just researching or editing.
DO YOU SOMETIMES ENCOUNTER WRITER’S BLOCK? HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH IT?
Yeah, it happens now and then. Mostly, I have to walk away from the problem for a while. I need distance to see the project in a new way.
DOES ANYTHING SURPRISE OR CHALLENGE YOU ABOUT THE PROCESS OF GETTING PUBLISHED?
I think being an indie author is a crazy battle. Sure, you have the reigns for the most part, but there are all of these elements that you, as the author, are responsible for. It’s a lot of work! And if you’re a hybrid author – dabbling in self-publishing and traditional – then there is more pressure involved.
DO YOU THINK IT’S GETTING EASIER TO MARKET BOOKS? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED? DO YOU FIND IT CHALLENGING TO MARKET YOURSELF AS AN AUTHOR? WHAT VENUES DO YOU FIND BEST?
It seems like it’s getting more difficult. Authors have to constantly change their marketing approach, and it can be a juggling act, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. When I first started out, in some ways it was easier to get the word out. Now? I think there are so many methods to spread the word about your books that it’s easy to get lost in the chaos. Plus, I can’t say I’m all that great with newer technology as it comes out. Maybe I’m too old school. LOL!
Right now, I’m finding that Google+, Facebook and Twitter are the most effective tools for marketing. It doesn’t hurt to have a major web presence either, and a monthly newsletter.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL OUR READERS ABOUT ENTERING WRITING CONTESTS? HOW DOES ONE FIND INFORMATION ON THEM?
Believe it or not, I stumbled into most of the ones for which I earned achievements. But I think the best way is to simply look them up online. Though I believe you can find a pretty legit list on Poets & Writers. The key is to have your antennae up just in case you come across one while you’re surfing. My next piece of advice would be to stay wary of the contests that require an investment. Sure, there are fairly authentic ones that do ask for a small entry fee. However, just as many exist that could be scams, so definitely do your due diligence beforehand.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL ASPIRING WRITERS?
Be patient with the process, but don’t be afraid to try something new either. You never know where the journey will take you!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AUTHOR-AT-WORK STORY? PLEASE SHARE.
Actually, I do! The one I can think of right now off the top of my head brings home the fact that inspiration can come from anywhere. As writers, we are inspired by the outside world, by the people we meet, our own experiences, and sometimes the mysterious muse transmits ideas.
A follower and loyal reader commented on one of my Facebook posts about two years ago. It was a joke concerning how she couldn’t attract a good man. To make a long story short, her hilarious comment gave me the idea for my current work in progress, a romantic comedy. Later, I told her how helpful she was, that she moved me to write a farfetched tale about a miracle drug. She loved the idea! I won’t go into the details just now; you’ll have to wait to find out. It was just a seed at the time, but I’ll always be grateful to her for the inspiration! We just can’t predict when or where we’ll find our next book idea.
WHAT ARE YOUR MOST RECENT BOOKS?
My latest book release is a modern romantic drama collection titled Directions of the Heart. It released on July 25th. And before that, Upon Your Love, a historical romance/family saga, was released, as well as a new adult romance story called The Missing Piece.
PLEASE LIST YOUR BOOKS, WHERE WE CAN FIND THEM, SOCIAL MEDIA, BLOGS, ETC. (I’m including my bio and links)
Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.
Thank you so much, Marie! We wish you continued success!