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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marie Force talks about the book of her heart


Happy Monday, everyone! I’ve asked Marie Force to join us today to talk about her new release TREADING WATER. During the months that I’ve known Marie, she’s talked repeatedly about this book and how it is the book of her life. I found her journey from writing the first page to the books release to be very moving. I thought you’d find it moving as well.

So please welcome Marie Force.

Marie Force: Thanks so much for having me, Pamela! I always love visiting with you and your readers.

Pamela Clare: I’m so glad you could make time to stop by and answer some questions. Tell us about the plot of your latest book.

MF: Sure, here is the brief synopsis for Treading Water:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance.

After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

PC: You’ve told me this is the book of your heart and shared journey behind this book with me. Can you share it with my readers?

MF: It is most definitely the book of my heart, Pamela! Treading Water was the first book I wrote, way back in 2005. Jack Harrington was the first character to show up fully formed in my imagination around 2002. We had a long flirtation until I finally put fingers to keys to write his story. It’s been a long journey since the day I wrote “the end” in May 2005 to last week when Treading Water was finally available for sale. I laugh all the time at how I totally overwrote the first draft of TW. It’s now 60,000 words “slimmer” than that initial version. However, I learned from that experience and it hasn’t happened again. Two sequels to TW are coming soon, Marking Time (Nov. 29) and Starting Over (Dec. 27). These three books are my favorites of all my books, so this is a very exciting time for me!

PC: I think your books are a clear example of outstanding writing and storytelling that just doesn't fit in the NY box, for example, the hero and heroine being relationships with other people at the beginning of Love at First Flight. What advice do you have for other writers whose work likewise challenges some of those rigid rules of romance?

MF: I definitely don’t fit in the NY box. That used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. Now that I’ve had a taste of indie publishing and enjoyed full control over every aspect of the process and made a lot of money doing it, I’m grateful for all the rejections I received over the years. Every one of them led me to the place where I am now, and I’m in a very happy, indeed. As for those rigid rules you mentioned, I refer to Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over as the books I wrote before I “knew better.” I believe my ignorance made them better books than they would’ve been if I wrote them today with all my knowledge of “the rules.” I strongly advocate that authors write books they are passionate about. If we don’t love our own books how can we expect that anyone else will? The good news is that if your square-peg book doesn’t fit into traditional publishing’s round hole, you have many options you wouldn’t have had even a couple of years ago. (I didn’t intend for that metaphor to get dirty, but hey, I’m a romance writer!)

PC: Much has been made (and justifiably so) of your success as a self-published author. Certainly, you've been a huge help and inspiration for me and others. Where do you see publishing a year or two down the road?

MF: Oh boy, that’s a loaded question! In light of economic realities, I think traditional publishing will have no choice but to focus on their bestselling name-brand authors. I predict a long, cold winter ahead for mid-list and debut authors who are hoping to break out or break in. I’m not sure where this strategy will leave publishing in the long run as the name-brand authors won’t be writing forever, and with little attention given to their successors a vacuum of sorts will be created.

I’ve noticed hardly any new romance deals are being reported to Publisher’s Marketplace these days. I’m not sure if that’s because no one is reporting them or because there’re none to report, but that’s an interesting and worrisome development. Authors looking to break into publishing may have to try alternative routes to find their footing, and I think more and more new authors will skip the query stage to strike out on their own as independent publishers.

That said, I don’t think anyone should put the first book they write up for sale and expect it to jump-start a career. Authors far more successful than me who’ve been leaders in self-publishing recommend that you write two to three books before you even CONSIDER self-publishing. I agree with that advice. I also believe that quantity and momentum are as important to an indie author as quality writing and editing. Just like in traditional publishing, the more books you have for sale the better your chances are of breaking out. However, be very, very careful posting a book that’s not ready for prime time. You can do so much more harm than good to your career by posting a book before its time.

PC: So if a traditional publisher came a’calling next week and offered you a million dollars for your next book, what would you do?

MF: LOL! Another loaded question! My response to an offer like that would depend ENTIRELY on ebook royalties and whether there would be a time limit on how long the publisher would own my ebook rights. I’d be very wary of signing any contract that would more or less ensure that even my grandchildren wouldn’t be able to get the rights back to my books. Back in the day, books went out of print and rights reverted back to authors rather neatly (well, sometimes it was neat). Ebooks never go “out of print,” so as long as they’re still selling in reasonable numbers, an author has no hope of ever again owning the rights to her work. To make a long answer longer, like anyone I could be seduced by the lure of big money, but I’m far more concerned these days about royalties and rights reversion than I am about a big advance.

PC: What's your next project?

MF: I expect to spend much of 2012 working on the McCarthys of Gansett Island series that began last June with Maid for Love and continued with Fool for Love and Ready for Love. I’m working on Book 4, Falling for Love, now and hope to have it out early next year. I have at least three more books in mind for that series, maybe more. I’m also looking forward to getting to work on the next Fatal Series book, tentatively titled Fatal Attack, which would follow book 4, Fatal Flaw, which is due out February 6.

PC: How does a busy working mom find time to write?

MF: Ummm….well, nights, weekends, holidays, vacations, before work… It’s a tough balancing act, especially now that I’m running a growing business as a writer. With a busy day job and two teenagers to supervise, I find myself juggling a lot of balls all the time, but somehow it all gets done. I keep waiting for my head to explode! LOL! I’m also in favor of any legislative measure that would add a few more hours to the day!

Thanks again for having me and for the great questions!

Thank you, Marie! And best of luck with Treading Water, as well as your writing.

Now, Marie is exceedingly busy. However, if you have questions for her, feel free to post them. She’ll be checking back to answer as she has time.

17 comments:

landipan said...

This is was an awesome interview ladies! Very interesting and in-depth,I never really thought about how the economy would effect the publishing business but what Marie points out makes sense! Very interesting to think about! Great tips by the way for new writers!

Marie, I saw your comment the other day on the PAN loop about the book of your heart finally getting out there. It's so inspiring to hear that those first books can find a home, even if it's not with NY.

Question: when you finally decided to make the jump to self publish, what kind of scrubbing of the numbers did you do? Did you set an upper limit and say I'm not going to spend more than x to publish this book? I guess I'm fascinated by the decision making process that went into your move away from NY and to the wonderful success you've experienced.

Great interview!

Fantastic interview, Pamela and Marie.

Marie, I've loved the Fatal series and can't wait to dive (no pun intended) into TREADING WATER!

Mary G said...

Awesome interview! As a reader, I guess I don't understand the NY box thing. I've read Marie's self-pubbed books and I don't see what the diff is between those & her pubbed books. The quality, depth, emotion, hotness are all consistent & wonderful. Publishers are going to have to trust readers' intelligence that we can handle the difficult subjects. I read a lot of wonderful books but sometimes they all run together. There's no getting Marie's books mixed up.

Great interview! Can't wait to read the book. I've enjoyed every one of Marie Force's books. If this one is her favorite, it must be fabulous!

Bex said...

Nice interview, Marie! I never get tired of hearing the story about your road to success!!

Gail said...

I love reading books by new authors. This book sounds wonderful. nicholsterry27@yahoo.com

Landipan,
Thanks for stopping by to check out our interview!

Jessica,
No, I didn't go crazy scrubbing numbers. I did what I needed to do to get the first book (True North) ready for publication: I had it edited and proofed and a professional cover designed. The investment was more than returned once the book went on sale, which has been the case with all 8 (soon to be 10) of my self-published books.

The decision to move away from NY was made easy by the fact that NY didn't want me or my books. Now I look back and see what a blessing in disguise all that rejection turned out to be. I always knew my readers would love my unpublished books, and I have been proven right on that point. I don't give NY a single thought these days. That ship has sailed for me.

UniquelyMoi,
Thanks for reading the Fatal Series. Hope you enjoy your "swim" into Treading Water. :-)

Mary,
That might be one of the nicest compliments you've ever paid me, and you've given me quite a few over the years.

I agree that publishers need to have some more faith in readers, but they are in business to make money and risk taking is not always prudent for that. I get it, believe me. And I've benefited from their unwillingness to try new things, so I'm certainly not complaining! Thanks for coming by to say hi.

Eliz,
Thanks for reading all my books. I really appreciate that. This is without a doubt my favorite, and it probably always will be. You never forget your first, right? :-) Thanks for coming by.

Bex,
Thanks so much! You've been with me for most of the highs and lows, so you've had a front-row seat to all the crazy stuff that has happened. Very happy to have you riding shotgun on this crazy trip!

Thanks Gail! Hope you enjoy it!

Kay said...

Marie, I love all of your books. You are one of the best writers out there, comparing to both traditional published or self published. Your stories and characters are consistently so well done. It's hard to find such a great combination. And you led me to find Pamela, so I'm doubly happy, because she's also one of the best. (And my list of "best writers" is very short.)

Thanks so much, Kay. I know Pamela will agree with me that it's a huge honor to be among your favorite authors!

Sorry to be chiming in late. Marie, thanks so much for taking time to visit my blog and chat about TREADING WATER. I really appreciate it! I hope everyone had fun while I was away. As some of you know, things are pretty crazy here right now.

Marie, I love your books and hope to have you back again!

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