I’m delighted to welcoming my guest Marie Laval. Dancing for the Devil is a series of three shorter novels and although set in Scotland, has a heroine from a different culture. You’ll find out Marie’s inspiration and much more as she answers my questions today.
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance, bestselling A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, 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. Her short story SONS OF THE WIND was her contribution to LETTERBOX LOVE STORIES, a romantic anthology by international bestselling authors, which was released in July 2016.
You can find out more about Marie Laval and her novels on Marie Laval Author Page. She also blogs at http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/ and recently ventured on Pinterest and Twitter @MarieLaval1 and lastly on Facebook Facebook Author Page.
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
DANCING FOR THE DEVIL started with two main ideas: I wanted to write a novel set in Scotland, and I wanted Rose Saintclair, the sister of my hero in my historical romance The Lion’s Embrace, to be my heroine. For a long while however, I couldn’t think of a plot or an exact setting for the story…until one day when I sat staring at the map of Scotland (I love maps!). I saw the name ‘Cape Wrath’ right at the top, in the far North, and inspiration struck.
As if by magic, I suddenly had my hero – Bruce McGunn, dark and tormented laird of Wrath Lodge – as well as an outline for the plot and my title!
Please tell us about the characters in your story.
Rose is funny and kind, but having been brought up in Bou Saada, Algeria, she is also a little wild and very unconventional. She is on her way to her new husband’s estate in Scotland when her ship is damaged in a storm and has to dock at Wrath. Bruce McGunn, laird of Wrath, desperately needs money to save his estate from ruin and he resorts to taking her hostage. He doesn’t realise that instead of a ransom, Rose will bring him sunshine, laughter and love.
Did you do any research for your book Marie? What resources did you use?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to travel to the far North of Scotland yet, so I had to rely on books, maps and the internet to research my novel. In fact I have only been to Scotland three times. The first time was a family holiday near Dumfries, in the South West of Scotland, an incredibly beautiful and peaceful place. Since then we’ve had two short breaks in Edinburgh, which is a wonderful and vibrant city. I promised myself that I would travel to the Highlands one day and experience the magic and the wilderness of the landscapes there.
Having said that, I feel very lucky to have access to the internet which is a wonderful research tool. I am also fortunate to be able to access research material both in French and in English, and this was really useful since a story line is centred around the Ouled Nail dancers of Algeria in North Africa, and a lot of material about Algeria is in French. If you are interested in the research I carried out for DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, I blogged about some of the resources I used on my blog here.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
I am very lucky to live in the countryside and I love going for a walk to clear my head of my day-to-day worries. It’s usually when I’m out walking in the hills that I sort out my ideas about my story and my characters. The only problem is that it rains quite a bit in our green valley, so I have to be prepared, wear wellies and a good raincoat!
Panster or plotter?
I am a complete pantser. Every time I start a new story I tell myself that I will do things differently, take more time to plot and plan, to write my characters’ biography and have a clear storyline with all my subplots. And every time, I ignore my resolution and jump straight into the story writing. I don’t think I’ll ever change…
Can you share with us what you are currently working on?
I have just finished a short story, The Ravine of the Wild Woman, which is due to be released in an anthology in March and have just gone back to one of my projects (I have three on the go at the moment, which is far too many!) It’s a contemporary romantic suspense set in Paris, in the world of ancient manuscripts and auction houses, with a dare-devil journalist for hero and a seriously OCD academic as my heroine. It’s still in its early stages and I have lots of research to do, but I’m loving every minute of it.
Finally Marie, what do you think a short story gives to the reader that a full-length novel doesn’t?
I think there is definitely a place for short stories and novellas in today’s world. Readers want to relax on their daily commute or during their lunch break. They read on their ipads or their phones, and short stories provide them with little interludes of dream and escapism.
DANCING FOR THE DEVIL isn’t a short story but a series of three very short novels. I do however love writing short stories, even though I find them really hard work, mostly because I always write too much and I hate cutting down words! One of my short stories, SONS OF THE WIND, was published last July in Letterbox Love Stories, an anthology by the World Romance Writers, a group of international authors. It was a really fun project, since the common theme to all the stories was a letter received by the heroine which would change her life and all nine authors came up with very different takes on the idea.
The WRW is releasing another anthology next March, and this time the theme is North Africa. I absolutely wanted to be part of this project because I have always been fascinated by North Africa, Algeria in particular. I am very happy that my story was selected and I can’t wait to see it in print.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Wishing you success with all your projects Marie 🙂
Publisher: Accent Press (11 Nov. 2015)
THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE (Books 1, 2 and 3 in the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy)
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?
The Dancing for the Devil trilogy is now available as a box set and includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE – download it from Amazon here