Friday, July 16, 2010

Marie Force Is In The Lair!

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Welcome back to the Lair, Marie! So glad to have you with us again. Can you please tell us about your new release?

Thanks for having me back, Aunty! It's always a great pleasure to stop in for a visit with the Banditas. And I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at RWA!

Here's the skinny on Fatal Affair: On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O'Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator's killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.

It soon becomes clear that the senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term. Find the book at

What other exciting things have been happening with you?

There's a really cool story behind the sale of Fatal Affair. When we put it out last year it didn't sell, primarily because editors were looking for a new couple in the second book, but I saw the series as Sam and Nick, their cast of supporting characters, romance, suspense and politics. Because I was already halfway through the second book I wasn't willing to retool the series idea at that point. So when I heard that Fatal Affair hadn't sold, I had to figure out what to do about that second book, Fatal Justice. After I had a big ole pity party, I decided to finish the book, which I did—a full year after I started it.

When Carina Press opened its doors last November, claiming that no great story should go untold, I figured why not? Carina bought Fatal Affair in February and Fatal Justice in May. Fatal Affair was released June 21 to wonderful reviews and in the latest issue of RT Magazine, I was named a Future Star of Romantic Suspense. From dead on arrival to future star in four months' time. Pinch me please!

Fatal Justice will be out in January. We've submitted the proposal for book 3, Fatal Consequences, to acquisition, and I've been chipping away at that as well as another contemporary I'm excited about. I guess my story with the Fatal Series just goes to prove that you never know what's going to happen in this business! I'm very excited to have the opportunity to write the series I wanted to write, and I'm thrilled to have connected with an editor and publisher that sees the series unfolding the same way I do.

What a FANTASTIC story about preserverence and believing in your work! Thanks for sharing that with us, Marie!

What are some of the challenges you've faced in writing your first series versus your stand alone titles?

That's a great question. As I begin book 3, I'm starting to feel the challenge of multiple characters and situations and relationships and plot lines. Remaining true to each of them is going to be a huge task. I was joking last week that I need to take a vacation to do a series bible, but since that's not going to happen any time soon, I'm soldiering through!

Here’s a little excerpt from Fatal Affair:

“Why haven’t you ever gotten married?” Sam asked Nick

“I don’t know. Just never happened.”

“Surely there had to have been someone."

“There was this one girl...”

“What happened?”

“She never returned my calls.”

Shocked and speechless, Sam stared at him.

“You asked.”

Tearing her eyes off him, she accelerated through the last intersection before the turn for the public safety parking lot. “Don’t say that to me,” she snapped. “You don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do.”

She pulled into a space and slammed the car into park.

He grabbed her arm to stop her from getting out. “Calm down, Sam.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.” She tugged her arm free of his grasp. “And save your cheesy lines for someone who’s buying. I don’t believe you anyway.”

“If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be so pissed right now.”

“Do you want to know what happened to your friend?”

With one blink, his hazel eyes shifted from amused to furious. “Of course I do.”

“Then you have to stop doing this to me, Nick. You’re winding me up in knots and pulling my eye off the ball. I need to be focused, one hundred percent focused on this case, and not on you!”

“What about when you’re off duty?” The teasing smile was back, but it didn’t steal the sadness from his eyes. “Can I wind you up in knots then?”


Fixated on the drab-looking public safety building, he sighed. “We’re about to go in there and take John’s parents to see him laid out on a cold slab, and yet, all I can think about right now is how badly I want to kiss you. What kind of a friend does that make me? To him or to you?”

His tone was so full of sadness and grief that Sam softened a bit. “You were a great friend to him, and in the last twenty-four hours, except for the whole kissing thing, you’ve been helpful to me, too. Can we keep it that way? Please?”

“I’m trying, Sam. Really I am, but I can’t help that I feel this incredible pull to you. I know you feel it, too. You felt it six years ago—as strongly as I did—and you still do, even if you don’t want to. If we had met again under different circumstances, can you tell me the same thing wouldn’t be happening between us?”

“I have to go in now.” Her firm tone hid her seesawing emotions. “His parents are probably waiting for me, and I don’t want to drag this out for them. Are you coming?”

“Yeah.” He opened the door. “I’m coming.”

OOOO! Thanx for sharing that great excerpt, and for guesting with us today Marie!

Thanks you have having me, Aunty!

Now I have a question for readers: What do you think of a romance series with the same couple headlining every book? What are the things you like and dislike about this type of series? Thanks in advance for your input!


PinkPeony said...

Hi Marie & AC!

I wouldn't mind the same couple but it depends on whether the author can maintain the spark between them...snappy dialogue, the underlying romance, and show that despite everything, they care about each other. The series sounds terrific. I love rom suspense and books in a series.

Virginia said...

Is he coming home with me!

Virginia said...

Just missed him by a feather! Congrats PinkPeony on getting the rooster.

Virginia said...

I wouldn't mind the same couple as long as the story line can keep me in the book! Great excerpt would love to read this book.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WOW! Pink and Virginia you were in a dead heat for the GR! Looks like Pink prevailed by a few seconds...


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I think you hit on the key. Just like any series, it's all about the characters! If you care about them you'll want to continue reading.

Writing about the same couple certainly hasn't hurt JD Robb's In Death series... Just sayin'


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Sorry you just missed the Golden One, but I think you've hit on the other critical factor, an interesting story line. As long as you have that and engaging characters, I think you're good to go!


Helen said...

Well done PinkPeony you just beat Virginia enjoy your day with him

Hi Marie and Aunty Cindy

Who Hoo I have heard so many great things about this book I so wanna read it and I will get it downloaded to my PC (I don't have a e-reader).
I can't recall a series that I have read that has the same hero and heroine thru all the books but as long as the the story is keeping me interested and the characters are growing I am sure I would love it.

Congrats Marie

Have Fun

PinkPeony said...

I've read some series where I've loved the characters and it's always a pleasure to read about them again, even if they're a secondary character in the next book. (hint...hint...)

The GR, who hasn't been at my place in a while, shall partake in a variety of snacks from Trader Joe's and then we're going snail hunting at dusk...hope he's not squeamish! I'll be armed with a pair of chopsticks! By then, he'll probably be wishing he'd landed at Virginia's.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Helen,
We are gonna have to get you to try the In Death series. I GUARANTEE you will LOVE the hero, an Irishman named Roarke. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YUM!! I love snacks from Trader Joes, Pink! Edamame, if we must be healthy, or GREAT cookies and candy if we don't. ;-)

I need to introduce you to my friend Lisa. She came to my launch party on Sunday and could not stop telling me how much she LURVED Kathleen Fitzgerald DiLucca. Perhaps the two of you could hatch a plan to convince my editor of how popular the wee Irish lass is...


barb said...

Enjoy your day with GR Pink Peony

Congratulations These books sound interesting and I don't mind a romantic series with the same couple as long as there is a HEA

Kendra Leigh Castle said...

Hey Marie & AC! I might have been biased against reading a series with the same h/h a while back...but then I started reading the In Death series, and it both rocked my world and changed my mind. If the characters are interesting and the sexytime stays hot (and I know it will, Marie!), I'm there! Congrats on selling these awesome books. IMO, RT nailed it when they featured you!

Cheryl Brooks said...

I think a series with the same couple is definitely doable. A romance shouldn't end with the first book, it should continue throughout their lives.
Great post, Marie! Keep up the good work!

gamistress66 said...

Living in dc area, always think it's neat to see a story placed there. I wonder if I'll recognize/know any of the places mentioned ;)

When it comes to romance, I'm not a fan of the same main h/h for each book in a series. I want them to have their happy ending and be just be happy from there on. For mysteries/thrillers though it doesn't bother me. In that case I'm not reading to learn if the couple find love and happy ever after but rather to what happened & who did it.

Congrats on the release :)

Marie Force said...

Hey there,
Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes as I say hello! It's so great to be back in the lair for another visit. Aunty, thanks for hosting me and to the other Banditas, thanks for turning over the mic to me today.

Congrats on nabbing the rooster. I did it once. About 2 years ago. I've never been the same since! I'm having the best time keeping the spark flaming between Sam and Nick. I like that in book 2 we got to the romance right away rather than having to wait an appropriate time during a murder investigation. Everyone: agent, editor, etc wanted the romance later so it kept getting pushed back. That won't happen in book 2!

Marie Force said...

Hopefully the combination of romance, suspense and politics will keep you engaged with Sam and Nick!

Marie Force said...

Thanks for checking it out! I really hope you enjoy it!

Marie Force said...

Hi Barb,
Yes, each book ends with what I'm thinking of as a "happy for now," although Sam and Nick will always be happy together, there will just be some conflicts and arguments and heated makeup sessions. :-)

Marie Force said...

I too loved the In Death books and I'm glad they converted you in time to read mine! YAY! Thanks for stepping out of one lair and into the others!

Marie Force said...

Hi Cheryl,
I couldn't agree more! Romance is a life-time affair, and that's what we'll get with Sam and Nick! Thanks for lair hopping with me! :-)

Marie Force said...

I think you'll recognize a lot of the DC landmarks referred to in the series. Hopefully I didn't make too many mistakes!! :-)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Marie *waving madly* look forward to catchin up with you in FL!

Thanks for enticing her back, AC.

Love the sound of your new series. Am also interested in your experience with Carina as I've heard great things from them.

I'm a fan of series, both those with recurring characters and a different focus couple and the ongoing series with the same couple.

For me, the latter only works in a romance sense if the couple's relationship arc develops over the course of the books. JD Robb does this extremely well - in each book Roarke the Yummy and Eve have another facet of their relationship explored/challenged. Lisa Gardner does this very well too in her series.

Relationships change and grow over time and with a continuing couple, that's what we need to see.

I know some authors who have written series like this where they've paid lip service to the central couple's relationship in later books and it really doesn't work ... for me.

Marie Force said...

Hi Anna,
Waving madly back at you! Looking forward to seeing you soon! So glad to hear you'll be there.

I have loved working with Carina. There is a team of sharp, savvy women running this show and they have seriously thought of everything! I couldn't believe all the promo they did not just for the launch of the line, but for each individual book, too. I'm thrilled to be involved in the start of what I think will be a major player in the digital marketplace. Everything is moving in that direction, and it felt like the right move for me and my books! I've also been very pleased with the quality in-depth editing that has served to make the first two books much stronger than they would've been otherwise. So it's ALL GOOD!

I agree about keeping the relationship sizzling and fresh in every book. I'm actually looking forward to that challenge. I'm looking forward to the day, perhaps, when Sam and Nick realize they've lost the spark a little and what do we have to do to get it back? I want them to be like a normal couple that goes through highs and lows. Keeping it real is a high priority of mine as I dig into book 3.

Thanks for the insightful comments, Anna!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Marie! I moved from the DC area last summer, so your book would be a treat to read and relive the hustle and bustle of our nation's capital.

Yes, I would read a series with the same couple.

Beth said...

Welcome back, Marie! Congrats on your new series - sounds fantastic! And thanks for posting that wonderful excerpt *g*

I haven't read many series that focus on the same h/h but I'm always willing to try something new :-)

Minna said...

I definitely like series with the same couple. But I can't recall reading very many of those.

catslady said...

I don't see why not. Like others mentioned, if you like the characters, you'll want to read more. Of course I would definitely have to make sure I read the books in order!

Marie Force said...

Hi Beth,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! One of the reasons you haven't read many is because the romance editors tend to stick to the different book different couple formula. I'm told that we're breaking some new ground with this series, but to me it's just the way I saw it, if that makes sense! From what readers are telling me, they love the idea! Yay!

Marie Force said...

Aloha Kim!
I hope you enjoy the DC setting. I loved living in that area, but I don't miss the traffic! I'm sure you don't either!

Marie Force said...

I hope you'll enjoy Sam and Nick! I sure do love writing them!!

Marie Force said...

I'm working hard to make each book "stand alone" so if readers get to them out of order they won't feel lost. In fact, the acquisition committee member who read Fatal Justice (without having read Fatal Affair) said she didn't feel lost for a minute, which I was really glad to hear!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning everyone (Aunty rubs sleep from her eyes) and Greetings Marie!

Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your wonderful news about Fatal Affair and the upcoming books in the series!

It is GREAT to hear all the positive things Carina press is doing to promote both their line and their authors.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Barb! I mean, good afternoon/evening for you there DownUnder. Please send a little cool air my way! California is sweltering. We were 103 yesterday and forecast for 104 today! UGH!

I'm sure you'll enjoy Marie's new series. She's a fabulous writer. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Kendra and Cheryl!

So great to see you both in the Lair! I couldn't agree more about a romance needing to last (esp. the sexy stuff!). In a mystery/suspense plot, the h/h can still be deeply in love but the villain can be trying to tear them apart (in oh so many ways). I think that makes for a very compelling read.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Guess I should have read you comment before I made my last one. You said just what I was trying to convey but much quicker. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi VA!
Thanx for dropping by when I know you have a plane to catch. ;-)

You are soo right about the main couple's relationship needing more than lip service. Like Kendra said, we need to see the sexy stuff still going on! LOL!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Kim,
I'm sure you'll enjoy Marie's setting in DC. It's almost as fun to visit as Hawaii. ;-)

I'm with you, try anything once. Then, if I like it, more than once! ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You're right. I can't think of very many series that follow the same h/h.

Catslady, you make a good point about reading the books in order. I'll admit I did not read all the In Death books in order and was a bit confused a few times.


MaryC said...

I agree that this is a terrific story about perseverance. It's also what I love about Carina. This sounds like just the sort of story I'd love. Heading over to B& to buy now.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Mary,
Thanks for popping by! I agree that Carina appears to be a wonderful new option for getting some great books into the hands of readers!

When Marie gets a break from her day job, maybe she can tell us more about it. ;-)


Linda Wisdom said...

Hey Grasshopper!

You know me, ADD with my characters, except for a few times. You just have to keep the momentum going.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Linda!
Thanx for popping by! Yup, it's all about momentum, isn't it? ;-)


Marie Force said...

Hi Mary C,
Thanks for buying Fatal Affair! I really hope you enjoy it!

Marie Force said...

LOL Linda, Wise Owl, you are too funny!

Cindy, funny--today I'm on kid duty, not work. I am on a post-conference mini-break before going back to work on Monday. I've got Emily, four of her friends and Jake (and my dad) out on the boat today, so I'm playing head counselor at camp run-amok!

As far as Carina is concerned, I can't say enough about how awesome it's been to work with the savvy team behind this new venture. These ladies know what they're doing and it's amazing how far they've come in a short amount of time. I'm delighted to be a part of the digital revolution. I really think things are going to continue to change very rapidly in the publishing business, and it's great to try some new things. I'm also very excited to be working with a team that really believes in this series and are all for the same h/h in every book. Yay!!!!

Pat Cochran said...

I enjoy reading about the same couple in a series of books. I
would keep several secondary
characters just below "the line"
and ready to move up if you wish
to continue the series. Just an

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, congrats on the rooster!

Marie, welcome back! These books sound wonderful, and I love that excerpt.

AC, I am the wrong person to ask about same-couple series, as I have a ms. circulating I hope will kick one off. Naturally, I love them! *g*

As several people have noted, continuing couples series are common in mysteries or thrillers. The JD Robb books say RS on the spine but are shelved in mystery in the stories, thus being put in front of an audience that isn't as set on HEA and moving on. The only romance field where they seem to be gaining ground is paranormal.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Marie! I know I'm not the only one to say this but I immediately thought of Eve & Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series. I also love the Scarpetta stuff from Patricia Cornwell, though it's not overly relationship-focused.

I loved the sound of your excerpt, though, & I adore a good story about a book that couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't sell...and then did.

Mucho congratulations!

Marie Force said...

Hey Pat,
I have some secondary characters who are getting top-shelf billing in some of the sequels. For instance, Sam's partner Freddie Cruz finds himself embroiled in a too-hot-to-handle romance in Fatal Justice, which was really fun to write. Other members of Sam and Nick's support cast will be prominently featured in future books, but Sam and Nick will remain in the starring roles--for now anyway!

Marie Force said...

PS--Nancy, you said you're circulating a same-couple series. I'm curious as to whether you're attempting to sell it to romance publishers and how it's been received. I was told straight up that in romance, you have to have a new couple in the second book. Keep Carina in mind if you're determined to write a romance series with the same couple front and center!

Marie Force said...

Hi Susan,
I love Eve and Roarke and often find myself skipping thru the police stuff to get to more of them. I'd love to see her write a book that features them doing something other than hunting down a killer. I always crave MORE of them.

Keeping that in mind, I'm trying to make sure Sam and Nick get plenty of stage time together in the Fatal books. I'm also trying to give equal parts romance, suspense and politics.

Hope things are going well with Money Honey's launch. I look forward to checking it out!

chey said...

I like having the same couple in all the books. I think it just depends on the characters.

flchen1 said...

A belated hi, Marie! While having the same couple at the center of a series isn't my first choice for all the books I read, I think it really depends on the author and how s/he handles their relationship and their development. And if I like the writing and the characters, I'm sure I'd enjoy it! And since you're writing these, I'm in!

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