Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Romance author Marie Laval on her writing and France

Marie Laval has appeared on the blog a few times, promoting her current romances. Today she is telling us more about her book Angel Heart, as well as some out her homeland of France (one of my favorite places!).

Hello Andrea and thank you so much for welcoming me on your blog today. It's a pleasure to be here today!

What was the inspiration behind this book?
Memories of a weekends in the lovely Beaujolais region when I was younger, and reading about that fascinating character Count Saint-Germain. The Beaujolais is a very green, very scenic area north of my hometown Lyon. There are lots of quaint villages and beautiful, fairy tale chateaux. I took my inspiration for the heroine's ancestral chateau Beauregard there, definitely. Little by little, the characters and the plot developed and took shape in my mind, and I started researching the period - the novel is set in 1815 when Napoleon was in exile in Elba. I was also inspired by my hometown of Lyon, its rich history and beautiful buildings.
To which character did you most relate?
I love my hero Hugo Saintclair. He is a very honest, very loyal, and very strong-willed and ambitious cuirassier capitaine. He has become disenchanted with Napoleon's campaigns but will still fight for him when the time comes. He is also very protective towards Marie-Ange, even though he despised her at first for being from an old aristocratic family.
What is one of your favorite scenes?
I think it has to be the end scene where the elusive Count Saint-Germain appears briefly - or does he? I won't say anymore...
Please tell us about your other published works.
I have written two more historical romances featuring the Saintclair family. THE LION'S EMBRACE is set in North Africa and features Lucas Saintclair - Hugo's son - and the heroine of my soon to be published DANCING FOR THE DEVIL is Rose Saintclair. All are published by Áccent Press. 
I also write contemporary romantic suspense. A SPELL IN PROVENCE was released by Áccent Press last January, and I am currently completing the first draft of another contemporary romance, set in Scotland this time.
What is it that drives you to write?
I have so many stories and characters and plot lines in my mind all the time! I just have to write. Even though I am a very busy mum with a full-time job, I try to make the time to write every day.
Take us through your typical writing routine.
I don't really have one. I work full-time as a teacher of modern foreign languages and I have a busy family, so I fit in my writing whenever I can, usually quite late in the evenings. However I try to write every day, even if it's only to edit a chapter or a scene. I need that connection with the story and the characters.
What is some advice you have for fellow writers?
To keep writing! It's what you love doing, it's part of you so don't let anyone discourage you.
What can you be found doing when not writing?
Reading, working on my lessons for school, or going for walks or outings with my family. I have started attending yoga classes because I have been quite stressed recently and I absolutely love it, even if I am rubbish! Half the time I just look at the instructor and shake my head in wonder...but I have a go!
What are you reading right now?
I have started researching my next two novels. One is set in Bordeaux, which is a beautiful city I visited for the first time last year when my son was doing his Year Out at the university there. The other is a historical set in Corsica, but that one is still in the very early stages, and both characters and storylines are still very blurry in my mind. 
So I am reading tourist guidebooks, looking at maps, and researching the history of both Bordeaux and the stunning island of Corsica.
What is something on your bucket list that you are willing to share with us?
At random. To learn to relax more and be less stressed all the time. To visit my two sisters and their family in France more often. To ride a motorcycle. To ride a horse.
You grew up in France, one of my favorite places to visit. What are some of your favorite places that everyone must see?
France is a very big country with a huge variety of landscapes, and there is so much of it I don't know. I have a predilection for Lyon and its surrounding area, because it is where I grew up. Paris is definitely worth a visit. Even if you are not keen on museums and art galleries, it is just wonderful to walk in Paris, soak up the atmosphere and have a drink at the terrace of a café and watch the world go by... And sample a few pâtisseries, too, of course! 
The whole of Provence is magical and beautiful, and the Alps are breathtaking, whether in wintertime or in summertime. I would love to visit Brittany where I've never been and return to Bordeaux and nearby bay of Arcachon with its endless sand beaches and massive sand dunes...
I have been to all of those. Absolutely fabulous. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today. We look forward to hearing from you again!

Check out Marie's other titles on Books to Light Your Fire:

A Spell in Provence

With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

Read an excerpt here.

Buy links:
 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Accent Press 

Angel Heart

Angel Heart is a lavish mix of romance, adventure, and a hint of the supernatural, largely set in France against the turbulent background of Napoleon’s return from Elba. 

Devonshire, January 1815.

Marie-Ange, the young widow of an English officer, accepts an inheritance in France only to find that everything in Beauregard is not as it seems. Why is the sinister Malleval so obsessed with her family? And could her darling Christopher still be alive? Marie-Ange finds herself trapped in a dangerous web of lies, intrigue, and mystical possession, and the only person to whom she can turn for help is Capitaine Hugo Saintclair. Yet the enigmatic Hugo represents a danger of a different kind …

Available on Amazon

Marie Laval Bio

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. This, as well as her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by Áccent Press.

You can find Marie here http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

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