Good morning, Marianne and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Please grab a seat in our cozy recliner, and be sure to get some delicious baked treats off the table. They are all calorie free. Karenne made sure to take all the fattening stuff out. Oh, and don’t forget to slip on the relaxing fuzzy pink slippers. The readers are very eager to learn more about Contemporary Romantic Fiction writer, Marianne Evans.
Marianne, why not tell us what a day is like in the life of Marianne once she wakes and starts her busy schedule?
Well, in my 'Clark Kent' work-a-day-world disguise, I'm a Department Administrator in the Valuation/Appraisal Department of a commercial real estate firm located in Detroit, MI. Are you yawning yet? LOL!!! My work-week starts at 5:30 in the morning, at which time I bash the snooze alarm a couple times before rolling out of bed to do 30 to 40 minutes of treadmill/workout time (which is the only opportunity I have to fit it in! Ugh!) followed by a mad dash to the office. There I astound friend and foe alike with organizational brilliance, then return to hearth and home for the "Superman (woman)" portion of my day. I cook, kiss the hubby, occasionally check in with the grown son and daughter....then finally focus on that which inspires me most: Writing!!! Weekends are full of home-front activities - typical house chores, hanging out with friends and family, but I find I can carve out a few more hours to dedicate to edits, my works in progress and new story lines. Translation: Marianne loves her weekends!
I can tell you really dig in and embrace your characters. You have a way with words that really touch upon the heart. The readers are anxious to hear about, Hearts Crossing, and the story of Daveny and Collin. Would you please tell us a bit about it and why you chose this particular grabbing story?
I can only describe Hearts Crossing as a gift from God. It sounds woefully corny, I know, but it's the absolute, positive truth. Here's the scoop: White Rose Publishing sponsored a writing contest at the end of last year entitled: Hearts Crossing. Entrants were furnished with a very bare-bones set of criteria by which to create a novella. I brainstormed story ideas with my college-aged daughter who was home for the weekend and we came up with the love story of Collin Edwards & Daveny Montgomery. I submitted...and ended up winning! The prize? Publication of the story. I could not have been more thrilled.
I was instantly drawn to the idea of a prodigal son working his way back to faith, hope and love, by virtue of God's intervention. This intervention arrives in the form of his soul mate, a wonderful woman full of spirit and spunk and tenderness who battles her own sense of spiritual inertia and a quest I think we all face to find purpose and meaning in life. Bring these elements together, and I hope the end result is a memorable romance.
This is the first time I have heard of the name, Daveny. I like it because it is different. Is it hard to come up with your characters?
I'm so glad you like it, and am even more glad that you asked! Many readers have inquired about the origin of Daveny's name in particular. (Pronounced Dave-ah-nee / emphasis on Dave) Many true romantics who linger and play in the Coffee Time Romance Universe may recall the movie "The Notebook." Trivia question to those who love that flick: Remember when the Allie and Noah's grand kids are introduced to Allie at the nursing home? :-) One of them steps right up to Allie, sweet as sugar, and says, "Hi, I'm Daveny." I remember thinking, as soon as I heard that name, I just had to use it. In fact, I even told my daughter, as we brainstormed the plot line for Hearts Crossing, that if she had been born in the here and now, here name would have definitely been Daveny.......
As to Collin, my absolutely mouth-watering hero...per the contest requirements, he had to be "embattled" when it comes to matters of faith - so coming up with his background is what I had to focus on most carefully. What would drive a good, loving man away from his faith, and a sense of hope? Well, I won't give away plot details, but suffice to say Collin is dealt a blow in his life that sends his heart, and soul, reeling. From there he was fascinating to create! Many facets and dimensions to explore, which I loved!
What intrigues you most about your characters?
Growth. Watching characters evolve throughout the course of my books is my challenge as a writer, and my greatest pleasure as a reader.
How long does it normally take you to finish a book?
I wish I had an easy answer to that. Really, that's up to my muse, and the amount of time I can dedicate to my writing. Strangely enough, though, I've noticed that when my life gets busiest, I'm often most inspired, and most able to efficiently channel my creativity. Every second becomes precious. Hearts Crossing took me roughly eight weeks to complete.
I believe you are presently working on another book, The Devils Game. Would you like to share an insight to this one, too?
Mmmmm -- The Devil's Game! Well, imagine the following scenario: An angel of good. An angel of evil. Each of them are given earthly presence and interaction...and a person to protect/draw in. I wondered. What if the angel of evil discovered that which is best in humanity - our ability to give and receive love? What if he came to crave that goodness, that beauty? Furthermore, what if he then renounced the devil himself in a bid to attain the woman he loves? That's the premise of The Devil's Game.
However.... (isn't there always one of those? LOL!)
I'm actually working on turning Hearts Crossing into what I hope will be a series! My editor at White Rose Publishing is reviewing book number 2, and I've proposed books 3 and 4 of what I hope will become "The Woodland" series. Several secondary characters came to life as I created Hearts Crossing and they stepped to the forefront, niggling at my muse until their stories came to fruition. Hopefully The Woodland Series will be coming to a bookshelf near you! Wish me luck!
What would you say is important to you, characters, plot, or intimacy?
All three. I know, that sounds like a cop out, but honestly, it's not. Characters lead to intimacy - the intimacy is intertwined with the evolution of the plot as the characters, and their intimacy unfolds. For me, you can't have one without the others. Not if you want to tell a really great love story.
Do you have a certain ritual that gets you in the mood for writing your terrific books?!
Aww! What a nice compliment - thank you very much! What always gets me in the mood to write is "hearing" a scene in my head. Dialogue plays out, I can even see the scene in my mind. From there, I lunge for the nearest notepad or laptop and get to work. Usually when a scene falls together in my mind, the words follow fast and furious, and I need to get them committed to paper (computer chip?) as soon as possible. Capturing emotion and setting and dialogue as it comes to life, for me, makes for a stronger read. It's straight from the heart.
What does your writing place look like?
Actually, my writing place looks just exactly like a computer! Imagine! LOL! Honestly, my computer is 'my writing place.' It's the best - it keeps all of my writing/blogging/inspiration files, my research, pictures, videos, music....thank goodness for back-ups, because losing my computer would likely have me losing my mind!
Other times, if I'm on vacation, or as I'm winding down before I go to sleep, I always...repeat always...keep a notepad and pen nearby. I've honestly had some of the best scenes 'jus'as I'm resting and relaxing. But I've forced myself to commit them to paper immediately so that the impact isn't lost and I don't lost details in translation by waiting to memorialize.
I'm pretty organized - if I weren't I'd never accomplish anything - so I make sure I keep distractions to a minimum while I write. When I sink into my 'writer world' I don't want anything else around to bother me. I don't write with music on, and while I can tune out the television, I'm not one of those writers who needs and/or wants background noise. You might say I like to get 'lost' in my stories once I get into the flow of writing.
Do you write on a schedule or as inspiration hits?
I write as inspiration hits, most definitely. In fact, one of the frustrating battles I fight with my muse are those moments when I have a clear schedule, I can park myself in front of the computer and write....and all I get out of the exercise is a stinkin' blinkin' cursor and blank pages. However, counteract that with those moments when I sit down and the words flow - whether I have fifteen minutes or two hours to dedicate to writing - and there's just no feeling like it! It's the best!!
Name three things you look for in a companion or friend.
What a cool question --- I'd have to say that top of my list is a shared belief system and sense of faith. By that I sure don't mean "cookie cutter" - but my closest friends and family share mutual affection and trust. Next comes that very necessary ability to laugh and have fun. I've been married for - well - a looooong time now and I'm blessed by a solid support system of family and friends. I don't know what I'd do without them.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate Peanut Butter - Single Scoop - Sugar Cone. YUMMMM!
A: Your favorite chocolate treat? Have you ever tried Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares in Dark Chocolate with White Mint Filling? If not, run, don't walk, to the nearest store. HEAVEN!
B: Your favorite comfort food? Cheddar Sausage chopped and mixed with a multi grain, rice-style side dish that quite simply spells cozy and delicious to my tummy.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
Peace. Love. Happiness.
Congratulations, you have won a vacation to an exciting island of your choice and you can take four people with you. What island would you choose and who are you taking with you?
MAUI, baby! (See how you had to twist my arm? Shameful, yes?) To come with me I would elect my dear and devoted husband, followed promptly by my daughter and my son and daughter in law. It'd be a family fiesta complete with hula skirts, wild Hawaiian shirts and maybe a mai-tai or two! Ah, by the way? Thanks! When do we leave? Do I claim my tickets from CTR, or......I mean, hey, we can be ready to go in less than 24 hours...I'm just sayin'.....
You are trapped inside an elevator with a woman with a screaming baby, a toddler who wants to try to push every button and a teenager who is complaining because he can’t get a tattoo, not to mention he is bored out of his wits; do you scream, and lose your patience, or find a way to handle the situation?
May I please, instead, execute some type of slick James Bond type maneuver and remove the ceiling grate above our heads, climb out of the elevator, and shimmy up the emergency access shaft and exit to safety....and sanity??
Thank you Marianne for being with us today. I look forward to reading more of your uplifting stories.
Thanks to YOU, CTR! I just love you guys!