August 25, 2011

Spotlight On...Lynne Marshall

Happy Thursday! Please help me in welcoming Lynne Marshall to 'Off the Keyboard' this morning. Welcome, Lynne.

Thank you for inviting me, Sarah! I’m very happy to be here.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Yes. I’m a late bloomer when it comes to writing, having been an RN for thirty years, and only a writer for the last eleven. I didn’t tell my co-workers what I was doing with my spare time until I’d sold a short story to Woman’s World magazine. I live in Southern California, about forty miles outside of Los Angeles with my husband of almost thirty years. Our two children live out of state, so I help fill my empty nest with my writing. My husband and I love to travel. I’m a Curves devotee and a power walker. Our sweet dog died last March and we are in between dogs, right now, but I love dogs to bits. My RN background helped me break into the Mills and Boon Medical Romance line in 2005.

Tell us about ONE FOR THE ROAD and where we can find it.

ONE FOR THE ROAD is a midlife coming of age story for a new widow named D’Anne who happens to be forty-six years old. She’s stranded outside of Nashville and penniless and needs to take drastic measures to get back home to California. Tyler, a one-hit wonder ten years prior, needs cheap transportation for a three-week comeback tour ending in Las Vegas. Desperate D’Anne has one possession left, a forty-foot deluxe recreational vehicle. You get the picture by now, right?

Since I believe it’s never too late to fall in love, and love has a tendency to show up when least expected, I went ahead and wrote this road trip story. It’s got a fun cast of secondary characters, namely the band and D’Anne’s two grown kids. The three rowdy musicians keep things hopping along with their own problems, which D’Anne keeps sticking her nose into, and her sons let her know they think she’s taken a detour from Nashville to Nutsville by renting out her RV to Tyler and the band. I even threw in one sweet old dog named Dexter. Oh, and I should mention that somewhere between Nashville and Vegas, D’Anne and Tyler fall in love.

What is the most emotional scene you had to write in this piece?

There is a blowout scene between D’Anne, and her son Randy. As a mother, my children mean the world to me, and I’ve been blessed with great kids. Yet I’ve noticed that some kids come out fighting and make life miserable for their moms. Randy is such a character, and there comes a time in the story where D’Anne is completely sick of his harsh judgments about her and has to confront him. She tells him she doesn’t care what he thinks anymore, that he needs to grow up, get over himself, and let her follow her own path. It devastates him, and makes her feel like the worst parent on earth, but it is necessary. For both of them. It tore me up to write that scene.

That would be a difficult scene to write. How did you start writing?

I call it my late midlife crisis. LOL. I thought I was flipping out because these characters started forcing me to think about their story. I thought something was wrong with me, that I was going crazy or something, because they wouldn’t let up until I started to write their story down. Boy did that open a Pandora’s box of new experiences!

I bet! Which comes first, plot or characters?

Characters. Two faces push their way into my mind and I must be able to see the conflict before I can begin to plot.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m an in-betweener. *grin* I have a plot in mind when I begin a book and try to stick to it. This never goes the way I’ve planned because the characters keep surprising me with scenes of their own, which, of course, moves the story in different directions. So, though I do plot and develop a conflict grid before starting a story, I am totally open to my “pantser” side.

What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you? 

Since I was a young girl, I was aware that the books I liked the best had love stories in them. Yes, I enjoyed all kinds of books – To Kill A Mockingbird was the greatest book I’d ever read at age twelve – I discovered Forever Amber in my early teens and thought, wow, they can write these kinds of stories? From then on I kept looking for more. I came late to romance reading, but was really happy to discover it because it always irked me in literary books when the whole book was about a relationship and in the end the couple didn’t make it. What? I loves my HEAs.

Me, too! What are three things you wish you’d known before you began your writing career?

I didn’t begin writing with a career in mind. As I went along and discovered I could actually conceive a story, write it down, AND finish it, I changed my perspective and thought about writing to publish. Here are three things I would have liked to have understood before writing five full length novels.

1. Figure out which genre you write in and stick with it, because if you blur the lines of genres you WILL have trouble selling your book.

2. Category writing is one of the hardest jobs on the planet!

3. Promotion is an ugly beast that will eat you up if you let it, yet you must dance with that beast, whether you want to or not.

What’s next for you?

I am currently contracted for another Medical Romance for Mills and Boon. It will be number eleven. I am impatiently awaiting my first ever Harlequin Special Edition release in March 2012 titled, Courting His Favorite Nurse. I just contracted a Champagne Rose to The Wild Rose Press titled – An Indiscretion. (I’m very happy about that) And I have my fingers crossed for another Last Rose of Summer contract, though am currently holding my breath, and I see revisions in my future, first. Sigh.

Where can we find you on the web?

I have a lovely little website titled: Life, love, and the pursuit…, where anyone can find out about me and follow my blog, which I post once a week@

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Yes, please! How open are you to new authors? With the gazillion books out there, how do you discover authors you’ve never read before, and what makes you give them a chance?


Joya said...

Hi Lynne and Sarah,
Wow, what a great idea for a story, Lynne. Such a unique plot and characters. Thanks for sharing how emotional it was to write the mother-son scene. You're right about some of those fights being "needed" in relationships.
Best wishes for continued success with your writing. :)

Calisa Rhose said...

I loved this interview Lynne and Sarah! I really have to read this book, too. I'm so thrilled for you Lynne. The more I hear about it the more I want it! Good luck with all your in progress endeavors.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Lynne! Great interview! Wow! You certainly are a busy lady. Late into the game or not -- seems you've made up for it! One For The Road sounds AWESOME! And as a writer and also a reader, I can tell you that YES! I am ALWAYS looking for new authors. The more the better! Cheers and congrats on your release!!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Joya,

thanks so much for reading the blog. I'm tardy because of California time.
fortunately, my kids were both very reasonable (so far) but I always noticed the super tough kids some parents had to deal with. Since I write fiction, the one big scene helped fix the relationship. Doesn't always happen in real life, though. LOL.
Reading back the story set up, I realize it might not come off that I wrote a lot of humor into the story, too.
thanks for reading the blog, and good wishes right back at you!

Lynne Marshall said...

You are so sweet. Thanks. I've never been interviewed so much in my life, and it's amazing how many different answers I've got inside.

Sarah - I especially liked your questions.

Calisa - I hope I have intrigued you enough to pick up One for the Road. I'm so happy WRP published it.

Much success to you, too.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi AJ,
Thanks for commenting on the call out question. There are so many authors out there, sometimes I wonder how an avid reader finds new ones.

I think blogs are a good way to reach out to people who wouldn't normally have heard about you.

Thanks so much for stopping by and continued good wishes on the success of Jezebel's Wish!

Carol Henry said...

Lynne, as another 'late bloomer' it's inspirational to read your interview. It is hard to write those tough scenes when you're family life has been rather smooth-going. So it's even more inspiring to pull off such scenes. I've traveled in a motor-home with three kids for a month. It's no piece of cake. Love the story line, sounds like a wonderful read. All the best.

Robena Grant said...

What a lovely interview!

One For the Road is a really good read. It's fast paced, funny, and has a mystery through line that is intriguing but doesn't take away from the fun of the road, or the band, or the romance. I liked that both the hero and heroine were older and that made me root for them and their newfound love. And the secondary characters are interesting and colorful. : )

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Great interview Sarah and Lynne. I understand all about schlepping into the writing arena late in life, but, oh, isn't it fun? Now when I say "schlepping," I'm referring to myself. No doubt you power walked into the arena.

I find I enjoy debut authors and other new, but unknown authors over the "well-knowns." Their writing is crisper, their dialogue punchier and storylines intriguing.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Lynne,
Love to learn new things about my friends and fellow writers! Great interview and I too, would love to learn how readers find new authors. I know I find them thru Amazon, sampling their first chapters on my Kindle, before buying. It motivates a writer to creat a truly dynamite first chapter! (Not easy to do!)
Charlene Sands

Robin said...

Hi Lynne and Sarah! This was a great interview! I am always open to new authors. I usually discover them with a recommendation from a friend. But sometimes a title or book cover will grab my attention, and if the back cover blurb grabs me, I'll buy it.

Good luck with all your projects, Lynne. Happy writing!

Mia said...

This is a great book and the ending is my favorite kind, HEA!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for stopping by and reading the blog. since you've been on the road with a family, you can imagine what a plucky heroine I had to write to be surrounded by four rowdy musicians! There was so much conflict to choose from, and it wasn't all sniping or griping. She manages to get involved in each one of the band members' business at some point. Poor Tyler, the hero, he was constantly cleaning up after her, making things right again.
I hope you'll give the book a try.
From one late bloomer to another - thanks for commenting!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Robena!
Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm really thrilled you enjoyed the book. I did cross genre lines by throwing in the mystery, but that was the story that my characters told me to write!
I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I had fun answering Sarah's questions.

Lynne Marshall said...

Dear Vonnie - I certainly hope my writing is crips, punchy (I know I am!) and intriguing. I love that you give new authors a chance. It's always wonderful to find new favorites.

LOL - I think when I'm not power walking (and btw, what I call power walking is subjective!) I'm definitely schlepping. I'm a schlepper the biggest!

Lynne Marshall said...

Charlene - my favorite Harelquin Desire author! :)
I am so happy you stopped by. Yes, Amazon got it write by posting the "check out this book" button. It's a great way to get a new author's foot in the door.

I am struggling with the opening of another book for TWRP. Sigh. The beginning has got to rock! (so far it doesn't on my work in progress)
I am very proud of the opening sentence for One for the Road.

Hey, if any of these commenters reads this, and wants to say what that first sentence is, I'll give a pdf copy of One for the Road to them today.
How's that for burying the lead!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Robin
Yes, word of mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to discovering new authors. I think it's the best way, too.
Covers and back cover blurbs are very important, too. Now with the dwindling books stores, I guess we have to do that online, too, eh?
Thanks so much for coming by and reading the blog. Doesn't Sarah have a beautiful website?

Lynne Marshall said...

Ah, Mia - I'm so glad you liked it. I have an epilogue that I give out (it isn't in the book) to those who contact me via my website and ask for it.

A handful of people have so far enjoyed it, as I leave the door open just a bit at the end and don't spell out the h/h's future. Some people like the tidy ending, so I wrote one just for fun.

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Lynne!

What a great interview!

I have One For the Road in my Nook ready to go. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Kathy!
Thanks for reading the blog, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. So glad to know my book has made it to your nook!

And continued best selling status to you! Your Dozen Deadly Roses is tearing up the nook and Amazon charts!

Eden Bradley-Eve Berlin said...

Great interview! I'm an 'in-betweener', too-maybe we should start a club. :)

Nancy Jardine Author said...

I love your questions today...and i really appreciate Lynne's answers. Thanks for sharing.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Eden! I'm so happy to see you here.

We start out with the best laid plans, then that dang old story with thos pestering characters step in, right?

I'd be glad to join your in-betweener club. :)

Lynne Marshall said...

Hey Nancy, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.
best wishes,

Karen C said...

Enjoyed the interview, ladies! Lynne, I've got One For The Road in my TBR pile, but seriously behind in reading - can't wait until I can get into it though.

I have been finding new authors by following various blogs and I love new authors. The problem is trying to find the money to buy their books along with my 'older' favorite authors!!

Wishing you continued success!!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Karen C.

Thanks so much for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. I'm also thrilled to know you've got One for the Road in your TBR pile. I know what you mean about so many books, so little time, and hitting the pocketbook harder and harder. I've discovered many new and wonderful writers at The Wild Rose Press, and each day with my local chapter of RWA, more and more authors catch my interest.
As they say - it's all good!

Sarah Grimm said...

Holy cow, look at all that I've missed while working today! You guys have been having some fun without me, that's for sure.

Instead of hogging the blog, I'm going to toss out a blanket thank you to everyone for stopping by today, as well as for the kudos on the questions. I love asking questions of my fellow writers. But as I was just telling AJ Nuest - hi AJ! - I loath answering them, which I'm doing now for a few appearances. Why? Really not sure.

Lynne-thanks so much for being my guest! It's been fun learning about you and ONE FOR THE ROAD.

Lynne Marshall said...

Sarah - it has been my pleasure.

Trying hard to give good blog.


Now, you go and answer those questions and think about how it feels to have the tables turned on you. LOL

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