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12 November 2012

Giveaway and interview - Marie Laval - 12 Nov

My guest today is the talented Marie Laval, the lovely lady who tagged me (below) and author of the wonderful historical novel 'Angel Heart' which I've just started reading - and loving it!

M: Thank you so much Hywela for welcoming me on your blog today. I look forward to telling you and your readers a little more about me and ‘Angel Heart’, my debut historical romance which is now available at MuseitUp Publishing.

HL: Can you tell us about your writing environment?

I wish I had a large study tucked away in a tower overlooking a park, with mist curling around tree branches and rolling hills covered with dark, mysterious forests in the distance. I would be happy even with a tiny basement room, as long as it was my own space. The truth is that my desk is in my daughter’s playroom. I write – or try to - among dolls, teddy bears, jigsaw puzzles and plastic toys spread all over the carpet and to the sound of children singing, shouting or arguing (more often than not, arguing).

  
HL: Mmm, I suspect a lot of people would like a tower, LOL! You write historical fiction. How much research do you carry out for your books?

I enjoy research, sometimes a little too much. It is such an exciting part of the writing process. You never quite know what gems you’re going to find and how much they will alter your characters and storyline. I enjoy reading articles and books, finding out facts and anecdotes, which often send me in a completely new and unexpected direction. The internet is a wonderful research tool, although you do have to be careful and sift through information carefully. Without it, it would have been impossible for me to travel to France, Algeria or Malta to find the information I needed for ‘Angel Heart’ and ‘The Lion’s Embrace.’

In ‘Angel Heart’ I have interwoven facts and fiction. For example most of what I wrote about the ‘Société Angélique’ which existed in Lyon from the Middle Ages onwards is based on facts, incredible as they may seem. Its members, who over the centuries included well-known figures such as artist Poussin and writers Rabelais and George Sand, really did believe they could communicate with angels. I loved researching the legendary Count Saint-Germain, a central figure in the novel even he only puts in an appearance at the end. I also read about Napoleon and his return from exile in Elba, about key political figures of the time such as Joseph Fouché, and the cuirassiers of course!

All the locations, including the village of Malleval and the stories about bandits who lived there, and the chateau of Arginy in the Beaujolais region, have been thoroughly researched. I had a great time writing ‘Angel Heart’ and I hope readers enjoy it too!

HL: Oh yes, research can be so much fun, and adds so much to the realism of thye story.  So tell us a bit about your writing process.

I am definitely a ‘pantser’. I usually start with an idea about a character, with an image, the line of a poem or even a song, and the story develops – or not – from there. I was very fortunate with both ‘Angel Heart’ and my second historical fiction, ‘The Lion’s Embrace’ (to be published by MuseitUp Publishing in February 2013) because I always felt so connected with the characters that I was happy for them to take the lead and decide the direction the story would take.
  

HL: What is the best advice you ever received?

It has to be something that my mother used to say. She was a very inspiring, loving and incredibly brave woman, and I miss her terribly. The best advice she ever told me and my sisters was ‘To get what you want you have to stop moaning and take the bull by the horns’!

At times, it seemed that I would never get published. Many people around me advised me to give up and consider my writing purely ‘as a hobby’ to avoid the constant disappointment of rejection letters. It took me two years between the day when I first submitted ‘Angel Heart’ to publishers and agents, and its publication by MuseitUp Publishing.

Imagine what I would have missed if I had given up!

HL: Absolutely - and your readers would have missed so much too!  Thank you so much for being my special guest today, it's been wonderful learning more about you.  Now before I beam you back to Earth, have some refreshments while the ship's computer tells the visitors about you and 'Angel Heart'!

M: Thank you very much Hywela for your kind welcome on your blog. I look forward to reading comments and answering any questions readers might have. I will forward a free pdf copy of ‘Angel Heart’ to a visitor selected at random (so please leave an email address!).

About Marie Laval

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie Laval studied French History and Law at university there. Marie now lives in Lancashire, in Northern England, where she tries to balance her busy family life with her passion for writing and her occupation as a teacher.
ANGEL HEART is Marie Laval’s first novel.

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

Blurb
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 …

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.

Mini-excerpt

The cutter was sailing too close to the cliffs, heading straight for the Devil's Tooth. Marie-Ange's cloak billowed in the blustery wind, the hood blew back and her hair swirled like a golden veil around her. From the cliff top, she watched the small French ship dancing wildly on the waves, its tricolour and white ensigns flapping at the top of the mast.  If it carried on its course the ship would be ripped open by the reef… She unfastened her cloak, pulled her black shawl from her shoulders, and waved it above her head in the direction of the Devil's Tooth.

Damn this ship. Damn this weather. And damn Malleval. Hugo Saintclair clapped his hands together a few times and blew on them to keep them warm. Around him, the crew shouted orders and heaved on ropes in order to switch sails and change course before they hit the rocks.  The Angel warned them, the sailors said, heaven was on their side. Shaking his head with impatience, he listened to their nonsensical chatter. Angels didn't exist, but the woman who waved at them from the cliff top had saved them from a certain death.
  









'STARQUEST'    'CHILDREN OF THE MIST'  (The sequel to Starquest)  Dancing With Fate      'Freeread':'A BARGAIN WITH DEATH
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