Interview with Mariel Grey

Introduce yourself and your book!                

Hello, I’m Mariel Grey. I want to thank you for hosting me, and your interest in my work. I’m a paralegal by day, and a writer by night, and I call Central Florida home. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to catalog the large number of books I’ve read over the years, but I enjoy all kinds of stories, and will try reading various genes. I’ve always loved books and have wanted to write since I was a child. It’s wonderful to finally have the opportunity.

As for the stories I write, they are more along the lines of “clean” fiction, but I must admit to sneaking in some naughty humor or thoughts on occasion. Though A Gentleman’s Surrender is the second novel in my Surrender Series, it can easily be read as a standalone.  I’ve also rewritten the first book of the series, Surrender of Trust, and I believe it is now a much better read than when I first published it.

The series is set in England during the extended Regency period. These books are not true Regency stories in the Jane Austen style, but they do have very strong Regency elements and themes.

How did you handle researching and incorporating the historical elements of A Gentleman’s Surrender?

Certain historical aspects of the story were researched upfront because historical details can play a pivotal part in a plot. I’ve made the mistake of not doing that in the past and had to make story shifts to accommodate facts or events.   

I spend a tremendous amount of time researching historical details for my books. After I write my main story, I will do additional research in order to add more in the way of descriptive details and give odd tidbits of trivia that would be common knowledge to people who lived then. Hopefully, readers will get a sense of being immersed in the time period.


Without giving away spoilers, was there a scene that was particularly challenging to write? What about a scene that was the most fun?

The entire book was challenging to write! I made major revisions to the plot line on three separate rewrites before I felt it was finally ready for publication. Though romances as a whole are driven more by internal motivations as opposed to external events, I really challenged myself creatively in writing this story. The plot in this particular book is propelled forward by internal issues more so than my last. I want to stretch my writing skills and become better at my craft.

If you think about it, it’s really difficult to write an engaging story with heavy emphasis on internal problems when readers already know how the book is going to end before they read the first sentence. In this book, I don’t think my characters seem likeable at the onset. It’s only after you get a little deeper into the story and begin to understand them better that I think you start rooting for them. So, this entire book was tough for me to write.

As for fun… Yes! I really enjoyed writing some of the scenes. That’s where the off color humor I mentioned earlier crept into the tale. Readers looking for pure Regency stories will probably not enjoy those scenes, and I’ve seen some evidence of that in reviews. However, a majority of the readers, so far at least, seemed to have gotten the humor. If I described these scenes, it would spoil the effect, but I’m certain readers will be able to figure it out.

What authors or books would you recommend to readers who enjoyed A Gentleman’s Surrender?

I’d like to say Sabrina Jefferies, Julie Garwood, or Madeline Hunter, but that would be both presumptuous, as well as a dream on my part.  

What’s next for you?

Because of the amount of time it takes to do research for my historicals, I’m taking a break and working on a contemporary romance which is set in Central Florida. For the foreseeable future, I’ll probably alternate back and forth between historical and contemporary works. The contemporary manuscript is mostly finished, but the editor I like is booked until the end of May. So, for the time being, I get to tell myself how wonderful the new book is until the editor reads it and tells me how much work I have left to do.


surrender

Call her a romantic—or a fool, Lady Monique Cathdon is determined to marry for love. After watching her parents tolerate an arranged betrothal, life seems too short to be wasted on keeping up appearances.

After all, what’s the point of having a heart if one refuses to follow it?

With a smile the devil himself might be proud of, James Stanton is not what her mother would call a matrimonial prospect. Still, there’s something about the young man that sends Lady Monique’s heart thumping around her chest, and silences her voice of reason.

Unfortunately for Lady Monique, the stakes are high, and young ladies of the ton make for very poor gamblers. Especially when James Stanton is on the hunt for revenge, and won’t let an innocent woman—or his own passionate desires—get in the way of righting past wrongs.

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Guest Post- Writing a Sequel by Majanka Verstraete

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A lot of books seem to suffer from “middle-book-syndrome”, and even in movies, people generally think the sequels just don’t live up to the original. I’ve written several series where I struggled with the sequel, because I had a third book in mind, and it was difficult to link book one and three together in the second book. The second book was more of a middle part than anything.
Not so for “The Angel of Death Series”. See, here I had the idea for the sequel first. “Demonic Pact” was outlined well before I started writing “The Soul Thief”. When I started outlining “Demonic Pact”, I knew it couldn’t be the first book in a series, though. The characters were fleshed out already, they had history together… No, the book needed a prequel of sorts. So after outlining “Demonic Pact”, I finally began working on the outline for “The Soul Thief”, which my most important goal to bring all the characters where they needed to be to start “Demonic Pact”.
The important part about writing sequels, from what I’ve learned, is that you need a completely new story. You can use the same characters, but they can’t even 100% be the same people. They need to evolve. The story needs to be fresh. You can’t just resolve outstanding plot-lines. You need something fresh to keep the reader engaged.
I would say there is more character development in “Demonic Pact” than in “The Soul Thief”. In “The Soul Thief”, we’re basically getting started and getting to know everyone. In “Demonic Pact”, the characters really get to grow—especially Riley, our protagonist.
Another important thing about writing sequels, is changing the stakes. In movies, you often get higher stakes in the sequel, and even higher stakes in the third. The stakes in “Demonic Pact” start out more or less the same as in “The Soul Thief”, but they quickly evolve and change, and suddenly there’s so much more at stake than in the first book.
I think that people who read “The Soul Thief” will be pleasantly surprised to see the direction the sequel takes. “Demonic Pact” leads to a darker route, but a very intriguing one, and I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.


 

demonic.jpgAbout the book: Sixteen-year-old Halfling Angel of Death Riley Scott is on a dangerous mission. To save her friend’s life, she must make a pact with the man who just tried to kill them both and break him out of the Celestial Prison, guarded by Angels of War—fearsome warriors who can squash her like a fly. If caught, she’ll be sentenced to eternity in that impenetrable prison. Riley will have to make deals with demons and her number one enemy, turn her back on her most loyal friends, and risk losing her family forever. Worst of all, her very existence is in the hands of her devious new allies.


 

Majanka Verstraete studies law and criminology by day and writes speculative fiction by night. All her books include monsters of some kind: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. She’s written several children’s picture books in the Valentina’s Spooky Adventure series, and six chapter books in the Weirdville series. She’s the author of the young adult horror series, Mirrorland, and of young adult paranormal series, The Angel of Death Series. When she’s not writing, she’s probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.

Review – The Traveller’s Daughter

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ROSA’S PAST IS HER PANDORA’S BOX, AND THE LID IS ABOUT TO BE LIFTED …

‘If you lie down with dogs you’ll rise with fleas’ – Irish Proverb

Rosa Sorenson’s conversation was often peppered with sayings from her homeland. It was these conversational clangers that gave her daughter Kitty the only clue as to a childhood her mother refused to speak of. When she passes away suddenly, Kitty is resigned to never knowing the girl her mother once was. Then out of the blue she receives an invitation that will take her on a journey into the past Rosa never shared with her.

Renowned photographer, Christian Beauvau has been commissioned to recreate the iconic print, Midsummer Lovers the shot that made him famous fifty years ago. It’s the first Kitty has heard of the photograph and she’s amazed to learn it features her mother as a young woman alongside a man called Michael in the Provencal town of Uzes, France. Together with Michael’s nephew she has been invited to pose for the anniversary shot. Leaving her fledgling London cupcake business in the hands of her flatmate and her ex Damien, who has been sniffing back around, she accepts. In doing so, she will find more than she ever imagined.

The Traveller’s Daughter is a tale to lose yourself in. It’s a story of redemption and love told with Michelle Vernal’s trademark warmth and humour.


Review: The Traveller’s Daughter was one of those books that helps me to remember why I love books so much. This was a great read from beginning to end. The concept of rediscovering your own history, and maybe finding yourself along the way is one I connected with immediately.

Kitty is a character I initially struggled to feel like I really knew, but by the end of the book I wanted to be her best friend. Her journey in learning about her mother’s history, uncovering a few secrets along the way, was beyond memorable. We also got a look into Rosa’s life before she died, and seeing the contrast between mother and daughter was especially touching. Really, all of these characters were absolutely wonderful.