Hi everyone! We’re changing it up a bit this time round. Instead of Kat , it’s me, Veronica. 🙂 Our feature author is Marie Johnston and since I’m a massive fan of hers, we decided it would make more sense for me to do the interview with Marie.
Marie has five books out for her paranormal romance series, Sigma Menace, and two books for her contemporary romance series, Fleet Week. I haven’t read her Fleet Week series although I’ve heard great things about it. My love is with her Sigma Menace series, stories full of rich, complex characters. Werewolves, vampires, and enhanced humans; shadowy organizations, possible corrupt governments, and guardians fighting to maintain the peace. *sigh* What’s not to love?
We met Marie through our Goodreads group – Read Romance, Write Romance. On a whim, I had read her first book Fever Claim and couldn’t put it down. Slowly, but surely, she’s being pulling into our crazy world which I’m excited about. It makes it easier for me to stalk – *cough* I mean… nope, who am I kidding? It’s stalk. I can’t help it.
Marie just released her latest book in Sigma Menace – Lawful Claim – which I had recently reviewed for this blog. As soon as I heard it was out, I bought and devoured it. I may have told my husband not to talk to me until I finished reading it. Oops.
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When and why did you begin writing?
“I’m bored.” Whenever I’d hear my kids say that, I’d tell them to make up stories in their head, that’s what I do. They’d look at me like I was delusional. After I began writing and talking about it with others, I quickly realized that not everyone drifts off into their own created worlds. That ties in nicely with arbitrarily saying “one day, I’m going to write a book.” I was serious, but I wasn’t. I didn’t think I had the chops.
A couple of years ago, I saw a news program highlight Jacinda Wilder and her success in indie publishing. That stayed in my brain until a year later when I was trying to figure out my husband’s travel schedule vs kids’ summer vacation vs no daycare vs my part-time work vs all their activities vs appointments; I darn near went crazy. I sat staring at my calendar, thinking of how much worse it’ll get when all the kids are in school and I need to increase my work hours. And do I really have to go back to the same career? I started wondering if I could really become a successful author, if it could be a career where I could make my family a priority. I knew it most likely would take years and almost shrugged it off. Then I decided I would rather write than regret not even trying.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The other books were too hard. Fever Claim is the first book I wrote, but I started on two others and quickly postponed them. The first paranormal romance I started has a lot of intrigue and is based off paranormal creatures that aren’t written about as often as vampires and werewolves. The other book would be classified as some other fictional genre (not sure what type though!). Both books I felt I needed more experience at writing, crafting a story, expressing emotion, and all that jazz before I could do the books justice. So, I wrote what I knew since all I read is PNR. I picked shifters to be the main supernatural creature because there’s a ton of vampire stuff out there. Truth be told, I wish I went the vampire route since that’s much of I what I read. I often forget that my characters have an alternate form.
What books have most influenced your life most?
My first adult book was The Diamond Throne by David Eddings. I remember asking my mom what some words meant because I was only in fourth grade when I started them. “Look it up in the dictionary.” (I never did) But I devoured the book, then the rest of everything he’d written. That started a long relationship with the fantasy genre, until I realized I was always looking for the love angle. Romance was a natural transition.
Dark Lover by JR Ward was one of the first vampire romances I’d read and I really enjoyed it. The more I read by her, the more I really admired her work and writing style. When I would entertain the notion of writing, I would think that I couldn’t, because I would want to be as good as her. My husband kept encouraging me, telling me she had to start somewhere, too. As much as I loved her books, they were intimidating. Still are, but I have to start somewhere.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’m probably going to get a cease and desist letter from JR Ward’s people because I mention her in everything writing related. I love her paranormal romance and how expressive her writing is. There’s so much I’ve learned reading her books about keeping the plot pretty simple and slowly building any intricacy and intrigue; making alpha males with feelings and problems; bringing back past main characters and diving further into their relationship; spending time with a character and their inner monologue makes them so much more interesting. I feel like her work is gritty with light-hearted moments that make for such a real read. Someday, I would love to write like her.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Agent X is getting her story told in Pure Claim, book five of The Sigma Menace. I love her character and I really, really hope to do her justice. The book took a different turn than I was expecting, but it’ll open up a new plotline nicely. I’d like to turn toward vampires and I’m not ready to leave the world I created yet, so I’m thinking of doing an offshoot series, starting with Demetrius.
Tell us your latest news.
I broke down and joined Twitter! @mjohnstonwriter I resisted for a while because I wasn’t sure how it would help me network, but it’s soooo cool! There’s so many connections to be made and so many updates, and I can really get to know other authors. The best part was the first day when I was playing around, and JR Ward favorited my tweet. I still have a major fangirl moment whenever I think of that.
I’m working hard to get Pure Claim done by the end of the year, and I have one more short story to write in the shifter world before I switch to the fangers.
I also have two more Fleet Week Romances planned, but contemporary is a lot more difficult for me to write. With no action, I need to gain the confidence to spend time on the characters in between the steamy scenes. But I have two shorts waiting in line to get told, so I must oblige.
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That’s great to hear! I can’t wait to read more for Sigma Menace. Agent X has fascinated me since the beginning. You can find all of Marie’s books on Amazon. And if you read them, don’t forget to leave a review. Authors love hearing from their audience. J And thanks Marie for chatting with us today. I can’t wait to see more from you.