Please join me in welcoming Marie Laval.
Thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today. I am delighted to answer your questions and have this wonderful opportunity to talk about my latest release, SWORD DANCE, Book 3 in my historical romance trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL.
Where were you born, Marie?
I was born in Amiens, in the north of France. This is where my parents met after my mother left North Africa where she had grown up. I remember her telling me how dark and gloomy France looked after Algeria’s vibrant sunshine, and how difficult it was for her to understand the accent of the people of Northern France. I don’t remember much about Amiens because we moved when I was two and my sisters and I grew up in a village near the beautiful town of Lyon. I actually featured Lyon and my village in my debut historical romance ANGEL HEART.
What do you like most about where you live now?
The hills! I live in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, and although it does seem to rain and snow quite a lot – it was actually snowing only last weekend – the countryside is stunning. I also love the fact that it’s a village and that people here are really friendly.
I know Lancashire well. I was born not far from your valley! What’s your favorite season?
Spring I love it when the days are getting longer, when you hear the birds singing first thing in the morning, and when all the flowers come out. It’s lovely.
Any school memories you’d like to share?
Only very silly things, really. My best friend from the age of ten was my neighbour, Nathalie. We attended the same primary, secondary schools then college in Lyon. We were always making up stories about adventures we were having and we invented a friend called Josephine. We never admitted she didn’t exist, and we must have been very convincing because people still ask us how she’s doing today!
Priceless! Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?
My parents will always be my heroes. My father came from a poor Polish immigrant family. They were coal miners and led a very harsh life, and yet he worked hard and gained bursaries to attend a top business school in Lille. My mother had to leave her home in Algeria and she came over to France with only a small suitcase. She could have been bitter about it all but she was the sunniest, the most loving and optimistic person I’ve ever known.
Wonderful! What is the worst job you ever had?
PR assistant in a luxury hotel in Lyon when I was a law student. It was just across the river from my university, so very convenient to get to between lectures. I usually worked in the office but every Wednesday afternoon I helped out in the restaurant where the chef held cookery lessons for very rich ladies. I had to serve them nibbles and champagne, and they were so snobbish and obnoxious I hated every minute of it.
Don’t blame you. Do you have any hobbies?
I love reading and going for a walk. I used to run a lot but I let that slip a couple of years ago and I am trying to get back into it now. Unfortunately it’s really hard!
What is your feeling about social media? Love? Hate? Beneficial?
I actually quite like Facebook. I have made really good friends there – people I have meet ‘for real’ and very much enjoy talking to.
Can you confide something you’re not good at?
I wish I had more willpower when it comes to resisting cake, cheese and generally all the tasty things that aren’t good for me!
I know that feeling! What’s your pet peeve?
I have two. Hypocrisy and nastiness.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I go for a walk on my own. There is nothing like a brisk walk in the hills near my house to ‘unblock’ my writer’s block. I always come back with an idea, a line of dialogue, a solution to a problem.
Tell us about your latest release.
The Dancing for the Devil Trilogy includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE, published by Áccent Press. It’s a historical romance set in the far north of the Scottish highlands. Here is the blurb:
Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum. Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?
Originally from France, Marie has lived in Lancashire, England, for the past few years. She has three children – two boys and a girl – who are growing up fast, and teaches French in a secondary school. When she isn’t busy looking after her family and planning lessons, she likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are published by Áccent Press.
You can find out more about Marie Laval on http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00A03UV3I/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Marie+Laval&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Marie+Laval&sort=relevancerank
and on Facebook
To see some of the photos of Scotland that have inspired Marie Laval whilst writing THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE, please go to Pinterest (https://uk.pinterest.com/laval0232/)
Excerpt from SWORD DANCE
‘What are you doing? Please stop,’ she breathed, as his lips trailed along the curve of her throat.
If only he could… He looked up and the seductive power of her sultry, heavily made-up eyes gleaming in the moonlight hit him like a bolt of lightning. Every fibre of his body reacted to the feel of her soft body against his, the warm fragrance of her skin. She was right, though. What the hell was he doing? Once again he reminded himself that he had no right to feel that way, no right to want her, but damn it, the woman would tempt a saint. And he was no saint.
He swallowed a deep, hard breath, released her and made himself step back. ‘All right. We’ll stay here a while and wait until McRae and his remaining guests have gone to bed. Where’s your horse?’
‘I left it tied to a post behind the hunting lodge.’
‘What about your bag?’
‘It’s still strapped to the saddle. By the time I spoke to the girls and the musicians, we had to get ready to come here.’
‘How did you manage to get into the hunting lodge without being seen by McRae’s men?’
‘It wasn’t easy. I got stuck as I sneaked in through one of the downstairs windows and ripped my – ’
‘You got stuck?’ He would have laughed if he weren’t so angry.
‘The musicians had to pull me in. We had to be quick and very quiet, because Cameron’s men were in the kitchen.’
Damn the woman. Didn’t she care about the danger she put herself in? ‘So, after clambering through a window, you had the brilliant idea to disguise yourself as a dancer and throw yourself into the lion’s den.’
She flinched at the harshness of his tone. ‘I thought I could avoid bumping into Cameron.’
‘You bump into everything and anything you come across, why not McRae?’ he interrupted, taut with temper. ‘He could have recognised you when you were with the others in the music room.’
‘Then I would have confronted him and exposed him for the liar and the debauched rake he is in front of all his guests!’ The baubles on her necklace tinkled like little bells as she shook her head.
‘Weren’t you afraid of all those men ogling you, lusting after you?’ Me included, he remembered, guilt tightening his chest.
‘Well, I… I didn’t think I would have to dance. My plan was to get into the castle and hide until I could speak to Lady Sophia. Unfortunately, Cameron’s manservant was watching us like a hawk and I had no choice but to go into the music room with the others. The girls promised to create a diversion so that I could sneak out unnoticed.’
‘A diversion? That’s a mild way of putting it,’ he sneered. ‘The girls’ dancing was… ahem… striking, to say the least. Ask that poor old man who collapsed.’ He drew in a deep breath. ‘Anyway, where did you learn to dance like that?’
She lowered her eyes, snapped a leaf from a nearby bush and tore it into tiny pieces that spiralled to the ground. ‘Malika taught me, in secret. She always said I was good enough to be one of them.’
She was right, her dancing had been entrancing, mesmerising, but he wasn’t going to tell her. ‘I still can’t believe you took such risks tonight, just to talk to McRae’s fiancée. It was stupid and foolhardy.’ And damned brave, too, even though he would never admit it. Gripped by conflicting urges, he towered above her, his fists clenched and his jaw set.
Thank you very much Anna. I really enjoyed being your guest today.