I want to welcome Marie Laval. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Of course, Barbara. Thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today. I was born and brought up in France and have been living in Lancashire, England, for a number of years now. I write historical and contemporary romance, and my day job is teacher of modern foreign languages.
Tell us about your latest release.
A SPELL IN PROVENCE is a contemporary romantic suspense published by Áccent Press. It takes place in the Lubéron region. The heroine, Amy Carter has lost her job and decides to start a new life in France. She spends her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provencal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the owner of a nearby château. Strange things happen which hint at an ancient and dark mystery and which endanger not only Amy's new guesthouse venture, but her life too.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
It will have to be the sheriff of Nottingham played by Alan Rickman in the 1991 film Robin Hood film, Prince of Thieves! I love, love, love Alan Rickman!
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
I love all my characters, but I do have a soft spot for Amy Carter, the heroine from A SPELL IN PROVENCE. She follows her dream to start a new life in Provence and is strong enough to believe that being a dreamer is a strength, not a weakness.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I love reading and enjoy many different genres, from romance to crime fiction, from autobiographies to poetry. I've always had a predilection for romance, so I basically write what I would like to read.
4.) What are you working on now?
I am working on another contemporary romantic suspense set in Scotland, and will soon start the edits on my third historical romance - Dancing for Devil, also set in Scotland, which will be published by Áccent in the Summer.
5.) What got you to start writing?
As long as I can remember, I was always scribbling and making up stories, mostly romantic tales. I used to love reading Delly, which was the nom de plume for a brother and sister team of writers of historical romance who were very popular in France between 1910 and 1950. I don't know if their novels were ever translated into English. It was my mother who introduced me to their novels. Although they were a bit old-fashioned I devoured them all when I was growing up. It's no wonder I ended up writing romance.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Anything can spark an idea, even a road map! I have often found great names for settings or characters by looking at road map. One of my favorite areas in England is Devon and Dorset. They have fantastic names of villages and hamlets.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
That's a tricky question because I'm not sure what image people have of me through my work.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I think I am really quite boring, Barbara. I used to play the piano quite well but unfortunately my piano is now permanently closed and has become a bookshelf. I was also trained as a typist and could take shorthand in French, English and German, not that many people use it these days. I also studied Russian, but I think I would be quite unable to say more than three words now!
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Write what you love to read. It is the best way of putting your heart into your work, and for readers to feel that you genuinely enjoy your characters and your plot.
10.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A black bird.
You can find A SPELL IN PROVENCE on Amazon
You can also buy it in print at
Marie Laval Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press.
He looked down. The light of the rising sun played on his face and made his green eyes seem deep and warm. Time slowed down. The noise from the crowd became muffled and distant, and all she could hear was the crystalline spring water trickling in the old fountain. The spring that ran through the forest between Manoir Coste and Bellefontaine and bound hearts and lives together, or so the spell said … Her heartbeat slowed, or maybe it stopped altogether. It was as if Fabien and she were alone. Desire, fear and another feeling she didn’t recognize overwhelmed her and made her dizzy.
Shivering in the cold breeze despite her shawl, Amy joined the guests lining up to be greeted by Fabien, who in true lord of the manor style, stood tall and imposing at the top of the steps, with torches burning on either side of him.
He might wear a black dining suit and a crisp white shirt instead of a suit of armour, but there was something untamed, fundamentally uncivilized and proprietary about the way he surveyed the crowd – as if he truly owned everything and everyone, like Frédéric had said, and Amy was seized by an irresistible, irrational and overwhelming urge to flee. She didn’t want to speak to Fabien Coste, didn’t want to put up with his arrogant ways. He could keep his fancy chateau, his contacts and glamorous guests, she didn’t need him. She would walk home. It wasn’t that far.
She was about to step aside when he looked down and their gaze met. Shadows danced on his face. The torches hissed in the breeze, their flames shooting high in the air and reflecting in his green eyes, giving them a deep, dangerous glow. For the space of a heartbeat, the noise of conversations around her became distant and fuzzy, and all she could see was him.
He walked down, took her hand and lifted it to his lips. Even though his mouth barely touched her skin, a flash of heat reverberated through her body.
‘Mademoiselle Carter – Amy, you’re here at last.’
It was the first time he’d spoken her first name. He made it sound French, sensual and incredibly romantic. Aimée. Beloved.
‘Shall I escort you inside and introduce you to a few people?’
Panic made her heart flutter and turned her brain to mush.
‘Well, it’s just that …’
He arched a dark eyebrow, looked down, and smiled as if he knew exactly what she was feeling.
‘You’re here now. You might as well make the most of it.’