Today in the Library we have Marie Laval, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
I was born and brought up near Lyon, in France. After studying at university there I moved to England and worked at the University of Manchester for several years. When I had my second son, I decided to retrain as a teacher and move to the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire. It’s a lovely place, even if it does seem to rain more there than anywhere else in England! I love writing, researching stories, and dreaming up romantic heroes and heroines…
Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
I always loved reading. As a child and teenager you could always find me with my nose in a book. I used to have very eclectic tastes and read a wide range of genres but I have become a lot more sensitive than I used to be these past few years, and I now find it difficult to read about death, loss, and grief. Therefore I don’t often read crime novels or really sad stories. I read a lot of romance, and historical material when I research for a novel.
Are you self-published or traditionally published?
I am traditionally published. All my novels are published by Áccent Press.
Which genre do you write in and why?
I write romance, both contemporary and historical, because I like happy endings. For me romance is the ultimate escapism, especially historical romance.
Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
That’s a very difficult question! There have been so many authors whose work really made a big impression on me. If I had to pick a few, I would say that some of my all-time favourite writers are Wilkie Collins, Joseph Kessel, Barbey d’Aurevilly and Maupassant.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
Very much so. I have drawn inspiration from my childhood in France, from my beautiful hometown Lyon, my family holidays in Provence and more generally from my whole upbringing. My mother was a French national born and brought up in Algeria and her wonderful stories, legends and superstitions filled my imagination from a very young age. I have drawn on my fascination for her stories when I wrote my historical romance, THE LION’S EMBRACE, and all of my short stories. One of these short stories, THE CEMETERY OF THE TWO PRINCESSES, was published in an anthology SHIVER which was released by Áccent Press last year for Halloween.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
I love writing and researching but I’m not very good at plotting. In fact I am really bad at plotting, which means that I often have to rewrite whole chapters time and time again, delete sub-plots, add new characters or ‘kill’ others! Every time I start a new story I vow to be more of a ‘plotter’ but somehow it never happens.
Do you have a favourite time of day to write?
Any time works for me! With a full-time job and a busy family life, I have to grab whatever writing time I can get.
What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?
I don’t like promoting myself, probably because I am not very good at it.
Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?
I have learned a lot these past four years about the industry and I have made really good friends thanks to social media. I do prefer Facebook to Twitter because basically I have no idea what I am doing on Twitter!
I have made really lovely friends thanks to Facebook, several of whom I have the great pleasure to have lunch with once in a while in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
I cannot imagine not writing. Even if I wasn’t published, I would still write my stories…
It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?
My daughter’s poems and stories. She is ten years old and has a wonderful imagination and she makes me smile.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My historical romance THE DREAM CATCHER, which is set in 1847 in the far north of Scotland, was released by Áccent Press at the end of November. I am very excited about this release because THE DREAM CATCHER is part of a trilogy and I have never written a trilogy before. The other two parts will be released at the end of January and March.
To learn more about Marie check out the links below:
Historical fiction writer, blogger