Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my fellow author, Marie Laval. Marie is a talented writer with a wonderfully evocative writing style. I’m currently reading her new novel, The Lion’s Embrace, and am gripped by both the hero and the romance of the setting.
(Marie is originally from the beautiful city of Lyon, the setting for my first novel, The Silk Romance, and so this gives me even more reason to give her a particularly warm welcome!)
So, I’ll just pour us both a glass of Côtes du Rhône (a wonderful wine from the Lyon region!), before saying a heartfelt bienvenue and over to you, Marie!
Thank you so much Helena for hosting me today. I look forward to talking with you and answering any questions or comments your readers might have about myself, my writing and my new historical romance The Lion’s Embrace, which has just been published by MuseitUp Publishing.
Where do you live, Marie? I am very fortunate to live in a lovely village in the Rossendale Valley, in Lancashire, England. The downside is that we get a lot of rain, even in the summer. The upside is that it’s very green!
Where is your favourite place in the world? It has to be my home town of Lyon, and to be more specific, the town’s St Jean and St Paul districts. I love walking in the narrow streets, or climb the stairs to the top of the Fourvière hill. And of course, I love sitting at the terrace of a café, and watch the world go buy. Sometimes, I only have to close my eyes to imagine myself back there!
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? It has to be the part-time clerical job I had at the Hotel Sofitel in Lyon when I was a student. I still remember the nastiness of some of the staff, especially in the PR department where I was based, and of some customers. One of my duties was to serve champagne to the people who attended the ‘cookery lessons’ with the Michelin star chef in the restaurant. Some of them were so snooty, I absolutely hated it!
What book do you wish you’d written? Where to begin? Some of my favourite authors are Le Clezio, Colette, Maupassant, and the very dark and tormented Barbey d’Aurevilly. I don’t think his novels were ever translated into English, but they are absolutely marvellous. I wish I could have written any of his books. I also love Wilkie Collins, so I would have loved to write the ‘Woman in White’ or ‘The Black Robe’.
What’s your happiest memory? To the risk of sounding very sentimental, I have 3 happiest memories: the very first moment I held my children in my arms. I have never, ever felt so much happiness, elation, wonder – and fear. And I still feel them to this day, mixed with a good dose of exhaustion and irritation, of course!
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I would love to have another chance to speak to my mother and tell her all the things I never had time to tell her. I would also love for her to meet my children, and to show her a copy of ‘The Lion’s Embrace’ and of my first novel ‘Angel Heart’. She was a wonderful woman, always happy and cheerful, and believed my sisters and I could do anything if we tried hard enough.
What would your superpower be, if you could choose one? That’s a very tough question. Having lost so many people I love to cancer, I would love the power to keep people healthy and eradicate this horrible disease from the surface of the earth.
If you won twenty million in the lottery, what would you do with the money? I would set some money aside for my children, for charity and for my sisters. I would then resign from my job, buy a house with a view in the Lake District or in Dorset and write, write, write…
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? To persevere and to believe in what you are doing. And not to take rejections stop you. If you have a dream, go for it.
And finally, please tell us about your latest book, where we can find it, and where we can find your blog/website.
My second historical romance is called The Lion’s Embrace. It is set in Algeria and England in 1845. I absolutely loved writing it. It was a marvellous adventure, and I often felt I was travelling with Harriet, my heroin.
Here is the blurb:
Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him. As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems. Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive? Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.
Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?
The Lion’s Embrace was released on February 1st and is available from https://museituppublishing.com/
(It will also soon be available from Amazon but I do not have the buying links just yet.)
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Helena.
Thanks, Marie, and thank you for your touching answers. I’ve really enjoyed having you.
And I know Marie would welcome any comments, so please feel free to leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!
Au revoir, Marie, et merci !