Spotlight On Author Marie Force
With more than 2.5 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling McCarthys of Gansett Island Series has sold more than 1.3 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin's Carina Press, as well as the Treading Water Series and numerous stand-alone books. Marie was gracious enough to take time out of her incredibly busy writing schedule to answer our burning questions. Enjoy the spotlight!
- Tell us what your former day job working at magazines taught you about writing in general, and writing fiction?
There’s really not much connection between the kind of writing I did for my former day job and the kind I do now. It’s a very different sort of writing. The job that best prepared me to write fiction was that of a newspaper reporter where you learn to write lean and economically on deadline. Those lessons are extremely applicable to my current job as an author.
- You lived in Spain with your husband, Dan, for three years while he was stationed there with the Navy. How has living abroad influenced your writing and stories?
Living in Spain and traveling around Europe, as well as living in different parts of the U.S., after we returned from Spain opened my eyes to the wider world around me. For example, I don’t think I would’ve set a series in Washington, D.C. if I hadn’t worked in and around the city for a number of years. The places we lived while my husband was in the Navy and the people we met as a result of our travels have been very useful to my career as a fiction writer.
- You have some very loyal readers! How do you keep the lines of communication open with your readers, and how much do their suggestions and requests inform your story?
Mostly through Facebook where I run more than 30 reader groups—one for each series and one for each book. It’s great to be able to have a one-on-one rapport with many of them, although their comments don’t really influence what I write. Every so often there will be a spark that leads to an idea but most of the plot twists are mine and mine alone. I do listen to them when they say they want more of a character, which is how I ended up writing Coming Home, the fourth book in the Treading Water Series that finishes a story started in book 2 of that series. It was nice to be able to give them what they wanted with that story.
- What has writing and publishing success allowed you to do that you couldn’t do before?
It allowed me to quit my day job about ten years earlier than expected with my kids heading for college right around the time I left my job to write full time. It’s allowed me to hire several of my friends to help me with all the details of running a business so I have more time to write. It’s allowed us to buy an awesome new house that we all love. And it’s given me the confidence to continue to write the books that are calling to me because I know my readers will be there to buy them. There’s tremendous comfort in knowing they are out there and they are pleased with what I am doing. That’s the best part of all this, by far. The readers!
- Your best writing mentor or resource?
I always enjoy Nora Roberts’ chat-with sessions at the annual Romance Writers of America conferences. She tells it like it is and encourages authors to stop their bitching and put their fingers on the keys and write the damn book. I love her attitude toward writing and storytelling and relate to much of what she says. Such as “I don’t have critique partners. I’d swallow them whole.” I feel the same exact way. LOL! I look forward to signing with Nora on November 1 at her bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. I’m planning to be on my best behavior that day. Gulp. :-)
- You’ve said that “There are no words to describe the thrill of becoming a [ New York Times ] bestseller after so many years of hard work.” Can we challenge you to try and describe the thrill in under 10 words?!
There was a lot of screaming that day. LOL! I honestly didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Check a box and move on with my life. Turns out it was a pretty big deal and one of the most exciting days of my life. It took 25 books to get there, and the best part is it was one of my own self-published books that hit the first time—at no. 6 no less. It was an incredible thrill. The best part is my dad and his friends and people outside our business know exactly what that means, and they are enjoying it, too.
- Finally, what three elements do you believe make for the perfect contemporary romance?
A sexy hero who is devoted to his heroine. A heroine who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to follow her own path even if it conflicts with his. And lots and lots of sexy chemistry between them.