RA: Hi Marianne, it’s nice to have you today. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
ME: I’d love to! First, though, please let me say a big thank you for having me as a guest at your blog, Regina! I’m thrilled to be here!
By way of introduction, I’m a multi-published author in contemporary romance. I used to write secular romances, but even back then I wanted to write Christian inspirational. Problem is, I couldn’t quite seem to come up with a storyline that felt worthy of the endeavor and grabbed me by my heart. Well, enter into that mix White Rose Publishing, and a dream came true.
You see, as I pondered the switch to inspirationals, I remember being at church one day, and watching my fellow parishioners come forward. Each of them was beautiful, each of them unique and precious. I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to create a series of books based upon a house of worship where you got to meet, and mix with people just like you do at church? I’m humbled, and honored, that this series “dream” of mine has found a wonderful home at White Rose Publishing.
RA: How long have you been writing? What’s the most rewarding aspect of it?
ME: Oh, gosh. I won’t but a “number” on the length of years – not sure I can count that high – but I’m that gal who, back in middle-school and high-school, when she should have been studying Math, Science, French, etc., focused instead on English, and neglected other homework in favor of reading, and writing. I’d pass around stories I wrote to my friends and they’d actually ask for more! Imagine how that motivated me!! Well, needless to say, when that happened, I’d focus on my writing even more, and I just fell in love with the process.
The most rewarding aspect of writing, to me, is glorifying God, number one – bringing forth an illustration of His love and mercy in the realm of romantic fiction, which is the genre I’ve always favored, is awesome to me. Secondly, I also feel rewarded by the idea of sharing something with the world that began as nothing more than a scene in my mind, a story on my heart, or a simple: ‘What If?’
RA: You have a new release. For those who haven’t read the book yet, would you tell us a little about it?
ME: You bet! My new release is Hearts Surrender, and it’s offered in digital and print formats via White Rose Publishing and amazon.com.
Hearts Surrender is the sequel to my inspirational romance debut, Hearts Crossing. Hearts Crossing launched the Woodland Series. Hearts Surrender is Book 2.
RA: What was the inspiration behind your book?
ME: Here’s the funny, but true, story of Hearts Surrender: I entered a writing contest sponsored by White Rose Publishing. Hearts Crossing was my submission. The winner would have their book published. Well, as I awaited the results – knowing full well my chances of winning against a large, and strongly talented field of candidates was slim – I couldn’t silence the voices of Kiara Jordan and Ken Lucerne, who were secondary characters in that story. Not knowing whether Hearts Crossing would ever even see the light of day, I went to work on its sequel which is now Hearts Surrender. Talk about a risk! I ended up winning the contest, and when I told my editor I had a sequel in the works, she asked to see it. The rest is history!! I went forth on faith, and hope, because I couldn’t *not* write this story.
RA: That’s so interesting! Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing?
ME: Absolutely. Hearts Communion and Hearts Key form books 3 and 4 of the Woodland Series. That’s what I’m working on right now. From there, I’ll move on to other places and characters, I suppose – but I won’t ever discount going back to Woodland. I’m very fond of that church, and its family of faith, and I absolutely love working with the folks at White Rose Publishing. They’re outstanding.
RA: Do you plot your stories in advance, or just start writing and see where the story goes?
ME: I used to be a ‘pantster.’ I used to sit down with my computer, or note pad, and let the story and characters take me where they wanted and needed to go. Now that I’m being contracted on proposal, I have to present my editor with a synopsis and a few chapters. As a result, I’m slowly but surely evolving into a plotter. When you write on proposal, you have to be able to present an idea of the story you’re going to tell that’s fairly detailed from a plot-point standpoint, but what I’ve discovered is that the synopsis process, which used to intimidate the heck out of me, is now one of the most effective tools I have – and it really helps keep me focused and my plot moving forward in plausible, effective ways.
RA: Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
ME: I’m a proud member of RWA, the Faith Hope and Love chapter of RWA, the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA, the Mid-Michigan Chapter of RWA, American Christian Fiction Writers and Michigan Literary Network. I served one term as Treasurer and two terms as President of Greater Detroit RWA.
RA: What role does the geographical location play in your storylines?
ME: To me, the location of my stories is paramount. I have to love the setting where my characters live, because I’m the type of writer that uses location to help reinforce conflict, or emotion as well as just a setting where my characters “reside.” I love using rain, snowfall, lakes, landmarks…it makes the writing so much more fun and relatable!
RA: For plot development, have your methods changed since you began writing? How?
ME: They sure have! As I explained earlier, the most striking change in my writing recently is the fact that I’ve changed from writing by the seat of my pants, and letting the story carry me, to writing outlines, synopsis and far more detailed plot points. I think it’s been good for me as a writer, too, so I can’t complain. (until I have to write them, that is…!!)
RA: Outside of your writing life, is there something you would like to advocate through your writing?
ME: LITERACY. We need to keep people reading books. Books are such a wonderful blessings. I can’t tell you what a thrill I feel when I hear about young adults who are avid readers (my niece is one of those – she’s forever got her nose in a book – and I love that about her!). We need to continue to promote and advocate the gift that is reading!!
RA: Who is your favorite author and why?
ME: Naturally, being a romance lover, I’m a Nora Roberts fan, born and bred. She’s simply an outstanding storyteller. Lately, however, I have dived deep and hard into the Baxter Family Series by Karen Kingsbury. I’m swept away by the plots she’s created, the circumstances this family finds itself thrust into, and the lush, evocative way she crafts a scene. I’m in awe. It’s such a thrill to find authors like this!!
RA: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Marianne. Good luck with your releases and please come back again soon!
ME: Thank you so much for having me here! It’s an honor, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I’d love to be back! Blessings!
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