I adore Marie Laval’s historical romances and find it very exciting that she’s turned her hand to contemporary romance. Rest assured, that just like her previous published works, this one will have an elegant French touch, as Marie is a Frenchwoman. I’ve taken the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions about her latest release, A SPELL IN PROVENCE.
MARIE LAVAL ON THE WEB:
Thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today Maria to talk about my first contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE which was recently published by Áccent Press.
What made you decide to write contemporary romance, Marie? I’d always thought your forte was historical…
I love writing historical romance, but when I got the idea for a contemporary story whilst on a family holiday in the South of France, I just knew I had to write it. Provence is a wonderful setting for a novel. There are so many quaint hill-top villages and old farmhouses. The skies and the landscapes are beautiful and very atmospheric, not to mention the little coves and the bright blue sea. What particularly inspired me were the fountains. They were everywhere. Some were very grand like in Aix-en-Provence, others ancient and plain, a rough stone basin with just a tap spurting fresh water.
It is obvious when you travel through Provence that fountains were – and still are – very important for locals. There is even an old Provençal proverb that says that ‘water is gold.’ One fountain in particular captured my imagination. It was in the little town of Cassis where we had stopped for an impromptu picnic. As soon as I saw it and read its inscription in Latin, I knew I had the basis of a plot. I immediately went to the local ‘bureau de tabac’ , bought a notebook and started writing. The initial title was The Lady of Bellefontaine,
because this is the name of the farmhouse my heroine Amy buys to start her new life, and her hotel venture.
Did you find it hugely different, writing a different genre?
I do find writing a contemporary romance very different indeed, but I enjoyed just as much as writing a historical. My big problem with a contemporary setting is modern technology. I am completely rubbish with the latest gadgets and know very little about mobile phones, apps, computers and etc…, so I am always afraid to make a mistake!
Did it take you longer to write, or did you find writing contemporary romance quicker?
It was just as fast for me to write A SPELL IN PROVENCE than it was to write my two historicals, but it took me a long time to edit it because I am now working full-time as a teacher and my writing has to take place at night or at weekends. It would be heaven if I could have more time to write, but then I am sure I am not the only writer to think that!
Which is your favourite genre to write in?
I can honestly say that I love both and do not have a preference. Both genres are very different, with the historical requiring a lot more research, but I do enjoy researching settings, plots, historical backgrounds and anecdotes, so it’s no hardship to me. At the end of the day, both genres are about love stories which I very much enjoy writing.
Will there be more contemporary romances to come? More historicals?
My new historical romance, DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, should be released some time this year by Áccent Press. I am currently working on a contemporary romance set in Scotland, and I am researching four new projects – all historicals! I only hope I will have enough time to write them all!
Thank you very much Maria for inviting me today. It was a pleasure talking to you.
A SPELL IN PROVENCE
With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal 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 handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie Laval studied History and Law at university, before moving to Lancashire in England. There, she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teaching 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 recognise overwhelmed her and made her dizzy.”