Wednesday 2 December 2015

The author in my spotlight is ....Marie Laval

I am delighted to welcome to Jaffareadstoo

Marie ~ welcome to Jaffareadstoo, it's a pleasure to have you as our guest today..

Tell us a little about Marie Laval, author.

I grew up near Lyon and went to university there before moving to England. I was always very attracted to England (I blame my obsession with Agatha Christie's novels!) and it seemed normal to come to live here after graduating. I was very lucky to find very interesting jobs as a PA in various departments of Manchester University. After having my second son however I felt it was time to try another, more creative, career and I retrained to become a modern languages teacher. I now have three lovely children, still teach full-time and live in the Rossendale Valley, a gorgeous, hilly place where I'm sure it rains more than anywhere else in England!

How long have you been writing and what got you started?

I have been writing since I was a child. I wrote a diary, very bad poems and play scripts with my best friend Nathalie, and every night I used to tell myself a story - usually a very romantic story.

However I only started writing 'properly' about seven years ago when I entered my short stories into competitions. I was so happy when one of them was published! When another story was short-listed in an international competition and another won first prize in a competition organised by Calderdale libraries, I thought that maybe I could actually write and people liked my style.

The turning point for me came when I attended a romance writing workshop. I came home that evening and started writing my first novel. I haven't looked back since.

Without revealing too much, what can you tell us about your style of writing?

This is a tricky question. Being French and writing in English, it takes me a long time to complete a novel because I need to go over everything several times to make sure I'm not making words up and the syntax and grammar are correct, but otherwise I don't really think I have a particular style.

How important is location to your writing, and do you visit any the places you describe so vividly in your novels?

Location is very important and I always strive to get the details right and give readers a strong impression of the atmosphere of a place. When writing ANGEL HEART I drew on my personal experience of Lyon, the Beaujolais region and Saint Genis Laval (my home village!) for example. For A SPELL IN PROVENCE, I had lots of memories of family holidays in the South of France when I was growing up to help me set the scene. 

However, I also have to resort to travel accounts, road maps, photos or documentaries to get an idea about places I have never visited, and let my imagination do the rest. THE LION'S EMBRACE, which is set in North Africa, is very dear to me because although I have never been to Algeria, my mother grew up there and I could remember her stories and look at her black and white photos. I was always fascinated by the place, and it was a joy to research the many locations my characters travel through on their way to the Sahara desert. I was also very lucky to be given a Guide Bleu dating from the early twentieth century containing invaluable information for travellers in North Africa at that time.

As I have never been to Sutherland either, I had to resort to lots of photos, films and holiday brochures to help me get the atmosphere of THE DREAM CATCHER right too.

Your writing is very atmospheric – how do you ‘set the scene’ in your novels and how much research do you need to do in order to bring your stories to life?

Thank you very much, Jo. It's very kind of you to say that my writing is atmospheric! I do lots and lots of research, some may find that I do too much research because I find it difficult to stop and I have to force myself to get on with writing the story. I love it when one thing leads to another and I find little gems - pieces of information which may seem anecdotal at the time but fit into a scene and make the story come to life.

What is your perfect writing day?

It's very rare when I have a writing day. Every moment I snatch for my writing is special, but unfortunately there are never enough of them!

Do you get writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

I have finally understood that when I'm stuck, it's because I haven't thought things through properly. I am a terrible plotter - or rather, I don't plot at all. When I start a new story, I have my characters, my settings, I know where the plot starts and where it's all going to end, but I make up everything in the middle as I go along! I find that going for a long walk really helps because I can let my thoughts flow freely without feeling under pressure.

What do you want readers to take away from your books?

Adventure, love, an escape from day-to-day life and a few new dreams! I hope it doesn't sound too pretentious.

You can find Marie at :

Twitter @MarieLaval1

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, for the past few years and works full-time as a teacher. When she isn't busy looking after family, marking books and planning lessons, Marie loves nothing more than dream up a romance story. ANGEL HEART, her debut historical romance, has just been re-released by รccent Press, together with award-winning THE LION'S EMBRACE. Marie also writes contemporary romance with A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which was published earlier in 2015.  

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THE DREAM CATCHER, Part I of her historical romance Trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, has just been released by รccent too.

รccent Press
2 December 2015


Can her love heal his haunted heart?
Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land in the far North of Scotland. Discharged from the army where he was known as the claymore devil, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, 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.

But Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master - the man she calls McGlum.

DREAMCATCHER is the first of the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL trilogy and is followed by BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE.

It is available from 2 December both as ebook and print from:

Huge thanks to Marie for sharing her love of writing with us. 
Jaffa and I wish you much success with your Dancing for the Devil trilogy.



  1. What a lovely interview. We were particularly interested to hear about the research for location - and of course location is a big part in Marie's books.

    1. Hi TripFiction Team -So pleased that you enjoyed Marie's interview. Thanks so much for your lovely comments.

    2. Thank you very much for visiting and for your lovely comment, TripFiction Team!

  2. I really enjoyed being your guest, Jo! Thank you very much for having me today.

    1. My pleasure Marie. Thanks for your insightful answers to my questions.

  3. How interesting to hear from another author who writes in a language that's not their mother tongue. We are rare beasts and it's great to hear that I'm not the only one who takes ages to complete a novel because I want to makes sure the English is up to scratch. Great interview, Jo.

    1. Thank you Helena for your comment. It is indeed quite tricky and time-consuming to write in another language. I will have to try writing a novel in French and see if I am any faster! What is your mother tongue?


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