Our guest today is my good writer-buddy and frequent visitor to the Lair, Marie Force. Here are a few things you might not know about her:
Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to RWA. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of Emily, 15, Jake, 12, and a feisty dog named Brandy. Marie is the author of a romantic suspense series, FATAL AFFAIR (June 2010) and FATAL JUSTICE (Jan. 2011), Books 1 and 2 in her new Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press. Book 3, FATAL CONSEQUENCES, is coming in July 2011, FATAL DESTINY in September 2011 and FATAL FLAW in February 2012.
AC: Welcome back to the Lair, Marie!
We’re thrilled to have you here to celebrate the release of your latest, Fatal Justice, the second book in your romantic suspense Fatal Series for Carina Press. Please tell us what your two lead characters Sam and Nick are up to in this latest story.
Sam and Nick return for another adventure in Fatal Justice. They’re newly in love and working out the boundaries of their relationship in the context of two high-pressure jobs: she’s a D.C. homicide detective and he’s a U.S. senator. In this book, Sam investigates the murder of a Supreme Court nominee with the added caveat that she and Nick were two of the last people to see the victim before he was killed. Also in Fatal Justice, Sam pursues a new lead into her father’s unsolved shooting that leads to danger for her. I’m really excited to get book 2 out to readers!
AC: And I can't wait to read it! What particular challenges have you faced in writing a series with the same couple as the main characters?
Marie: While writing Fatal Justice, I was enduring the roller coaster ride of Fatal Affair being on submission. I was disappointed that romance editors weren’t interested in a series featuring the same couple in every book. Boo! Thankfully, the ladies at Carina Press love the idea, and readers are telling me they do, too! I had a feeling they might…
The primary challenge as the series continues is keeping Sam and Nick’s relationship conflicted enough that it stays interesting but no so conflicted that it’s unrealistic. I found that to be a particular challenge in the third book, Fatal Consequences, which I finished in November. I’ve decided that readers don’t want to see them “fighting for their survival” in every book, so they will grapple with a lot of the stuff everyone deals with but in the context of their high-profile Washington lives.
AC: Sounds juicy! (rubs hands together with glee) What were some of the rewards?
Marie: I love slipping back into the Fatal world. It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of slippers. I’m working now on Fatal Destiny, the novella that will feature Sam and Nick’s wedding, and it gets easier with every book to submerge myself in the new story. I know the characters very well at this point. I said to someone recently that the scenes featuring Sam and Nick almost write themselves because I know exactly what each of them would say in most situations.
I’m also really enjoying the secondary characters, including Sam’s partner, Detective Freddie Cruz, Detective Tommy “Gonzo” Gonzales, Sam’s father Skip Holland, the O’Connors and the rest of the cast. I gave Freddie, Gonzo and Detective Jeannie McBride major subplots in Fatal Consequences and expect to further develop their characters in future books. Freddie is also prominently featured in Fatal Justice. He’s a trip to write!
AC: Since you also write contemporary romance as well as romantic suspense, do you use a different process?
Marie: I wish I could say my process is different for the suspense books, but I tend to fall back on the same chaotic seat-of-the-pants madness that has fueled all my books. I sold Fatal Consequences and book 4, Fatal Flaw, on proposal, which required synopses. While writing Fatal Consequences, I never once referred back to the synopsis
However, one of these days my head is probably going to explode from keeping all this stuff locked up in my brain! That’s why I recently hired one of my Beta readers to index books 2 and 3 for me. I did the first book, Fatal Affair, myself and it took an entire weekend. Since I’m staring down a Feb. 28 deadline, I’m very grateful to my friend Aly for taking over the indexing job for me. As I write the fourth story, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep track of all the details, so it will be great to have a series “bible” to refer back to while working on future books.
In reference to the differences between contemporary and suspense, they don’t require different techniques mostly because the Fatal books are also contemporaries. However, it does take a significant amount of brain cells and bone marrow to keep the suspense portion of the Fatal books moving along at a good clip and to end up with a reasonable conclusion to the murder mystery.
AC: Where can readers find the Fatal series?Marie: They’re available at Carina Press http://ebooks.carinapress.com (just look under "romantic suspense" on the sidebar) and everywhere e-books are sold. I’ve been asked a lot about where Nook users can find Fatal Justice if it’s not yet available on barnesandnoble.com, where it will be eventually. Nook users can download the ePub format from Carina.
AC: What’s next for you?Marie: I have a print book out on Feb. 1, Everyone Loves a Hero. Also in February, I’ll be running a promotion to give readers the opportunity to plan Sam and Nick’s wedding. Watch my website at www.mariesullivanforce.com for details about how you can participate and win some great prizes.
Fatal Affair will be released in print by Harlequin in July via the eHarlequin website. Also in July is Fatal book 3, Fatal Consequences. The free wedding novella, Fatal Destiny, is out in September as part of Harlequin’s romantic suspense week. Book 4, Fatal Flaw, will be out in February of 2012.
I also recently posted two of my unsold contemporaries, True North and The Fall, to Amazon and have been blown away by the response from readers. That’s been very exciting!
AC: WOW! My head is spinning! 2011 promises to be a very busy year for you. Did you make any resolutions? Or do you have plans or wishes you hope to see fulfilled?
Marie: I never make resolutions and tend to avoid writing goals. I don’t like to set myself up for failure. However, I do hope to exercise more in 2011 and I have set just one goal for my writing career: to finally sell the book of my heart, Treading Water. We’ll see if either of those things happens! Let’s put it this way—the slim chance of a book sale is probably far more likely than the exercise! LOL!
I’m looking forward to chatting with the Banditas today! I’m always curious about what readers think of romance series featuring the same couple in numerous books. So let me know what you think of that, tell me some of your resolutions and the most important question of all: will Bachelor Brad actually choose one of the women this time around? Inquiring minds want to know! I’m happy to give away a copy of Fatal Justice to one of you!
Thanks again for having me.