Today, we're lucky to have author Marie Lavender with us. She's an incredibly talented writer and really sweet to talk to!
Give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:Upon Your Return is a historical romance novel set in Victorian France. To sum it up, the main character is Fara Bellamont, a young girl who has always dreamed of having adventure in her life. When she is set upon by rogues, her protector becomes so much more than a stranger.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
It will, of course, appeal to historical romance or historical fiction readers. It should also appeal to anyone who loves a good love story.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
Upon Your Return came from a part of the dialogue between the two main characters.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
The lovely Kayden McLeod did the cover art. Jimmy Thomas is the male cover model. When I put in the request form through the publisher, I wanted something that would invoke the harbor, the fact that Grant Hill, the hero is a captain. I also wanted something very romantic, and I think they achieved that quite well.
They did wonderfully! -Amanda
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
It is so hard to choose. Of course, I am partial to Fara because there are a lot of things about her that I can relate to. She is a strong female character in a time where women were powerless. I also love Captain Hill as a character. He is so…um, hot.
*fans herself* Ooo yes he is!
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
Oh, dear. I don’t want to give any spoilers away. Well, I really have no liking for the man Fara is promised to at the beginning of the book, Jean Le Croíx. He is a spoiled jerk.
If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?
I guess it would be fun to have the book made into a movie. I have always seen the story playing in my head like one so it just seems fitting to see it that way in reality. Of course, that is just a dream, but one can always dream, right?
I think this is a wonderful idea!
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Interestingly, Upon Your Return is a part of a series. It is the first book of the Heiresses in Love series. In the course of the series, the characters visit many different locales, and I have found it so fascinating to go on those adventures with them.
Oh dear. I sense a lot of 'One Click" in my future!
What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
It’s ironic that you say that. When I think of this series, I think a little of Catherine Coulter’s Devil’s Embrace. Only a little, of course. The story is totally different. I actually used that cover (the original) as the suggestion for this one. But, when I received the cover art for Upon Your Return, it was perfect for the story. I am so glad they went in that direction.
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I can sing first soprano. And I write poetry occasionally.
I think we need prood of both of these. :P
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can certainly visit my website. http://www.marielavender.webs.com/
I have two blogs as well. http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
You can also connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I just finished writing the sequel to Upon Your Return. It is titled Upon Your Honor. I will also be releasing an anthology before the end of the year. I have a romantic suspense in the works as well. On top of all of these projects, I do plan to re-release all 15 of my other published books under Marie Lavender (they are under other pen names now).
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Feel free to tell your friends or tweet about it! Word of mouth is very effective. Reviews are also appreciated. J
Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Never give up. The road is long and hard. But, as with most other things in life, if you keep trying, if you keep moving forward, it is worth it.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to thank you for letting me visit you and your readers today, Amanda!
Oh my goodness, thank YOU for stopping by!
And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
“I hear you're leaving us.”
She turned to see Grant approach her. “Yes, my uncle has sent transportation.”
“It's a pity. I would have kept you longer.”
“Oh?” Alarm ran along the back of her neck and raised the hairs in some kind of strange anticipation. What did he mean by that?
“Oui. I'm sorry I was away so long. The business of being a captain has its moments of tedium.”
“That's all right. Every position has its disadvantages.”
He then took her by the hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Mademoiselle.”
“Your carriage awaits, my lady.” He gestured to the vehicle waiting down below at the dock.
She nodded, barely glancing at her uncle's property, and looked up at him. His face relaxed into an expression of contentment, and she wondered if her departure was the source of it. Had she given him cause to want to be rid of her? The prospect didn't seem fair for she'd never been anything more than herself. Hadn't he just expressed otherwise?
Fara chastised herself. He was a captain of a ship. His opinion should not matter to her at all -- but strangely it did, and she couldn't find a reason for it.
She cleared her throat to cease the silence. “I regret to say I never quite thanked you for your most timely interference last night.”
He grinned. “I think your show of gratitude this morning was quite enough. I require no more, Mademoiselle.”
She flushed scarlet beneath his captivating gaze. No doubt he referred to that morning, when she awakened in his arms. Like a lady, she should have apologized profusely and probably should still for acting so familiar with a man, but she was certain he would not accept it.
“Nevertheless, Capitaine, I am grateful for you truly spared me humiliation, if you understand my meaning.”
He nodded. “I do. But, I suggest you forget the ordeal. They were rogues intent on doing any manner of harm possible, and it is just fortunate you got away.”
“You are too humble, Capitaine.”
He shook his head. “Now, Fara, I am sure you must attend to your duties as I must to mine.” He grasped for her hand and lifted it to his lips. “Perhaps we will meet again, Mademoiselle...”
Like a perfect gentleman, she thought, and was grateful he hadn't done something impulsive.
“Oui, Monsieur. Perhaps we will. I bid you farewell, Capitaine Hill.”
He released her hand, and she turned to go, but with a sudden tight grasp of her wrist, he reeled her back. Crushing her against the wall of his chest, Grant covered her lips with his. It was too late to pull away for he held her against him and Fara was lost in the sensation of his kiss.
Lord, if she'd found the man aesthetically pleasing, his kiss was so much more. She parted her lips on a sigh as he burned her, igniting a fire deep inside in her body.
She had no time to respond to him completely though. Before she knew it, he'd set her away from him. Gasping for breath, she searched his eyes, expecting to see something akin to triumph. There was only brightness. The deep and dark charcoal she'd witnessed before turned soft and subtle, appearing as the land when the sun comes up and light spills to the ground, staining every surface and contour.
Fara cleared her throat again, aware that propriety should have mandated she slap him, but she couldn't muster the will to do it. “Goodbye, Grant,” she whispered as she made her way down the gangway to the ground below. Pierre assisted her into the carriage and she turned to stare up at the tall figure of Grant Hill. She wondered if he really was pleased to see her go. Certainly a kiss like that could only mean the opposite.