Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interview With Shirley Marks

I first met Shirley at the 2009 RWA conference in Washington. She had organised all the Avalon authors to exchange mobile phone numbers so that we could find each other in the hordes of strangers. My phone rang and there was Shirley waving from across the crowded registration foyer. As a first timer and a foreigner to boot I was truly delighted to meet her. She quickly became a friend—especially after she took me to her room and brewed the best cup of coffee of my whole US stay.

Shirley has been writing for Avalon for a number of years. She writes contemporary and historical romance but I thought we could learn more about her current release and the series she is working on at the moment.

Perfectly Flawed (with a most beautiful cover) is your latest release for Avalon. I see it's part of a series so tell us about that. Where did the ideas come from? Perfectly Flawed is the second book in my Gentlemen of Worth series. It follows the first book The Suitor List. The third book, A Grand Deception, should be out sometime next year.

I’d been thinking about doing a series for a while. The spark of inspiration was a set of twins: Gusta and Char-Char, my cousin’s granddaughters. The girls were so adorable and their names just sparked the idea of two sisters, which turned into three sisters. The youngest sister’s name is Muriel.
Their widowed father, the Duke of Faraday, and his late wife’s sister, Mrs. Penelope Parker, soon joined the cast. I had originally thought of writing a trilogy and sketched out the story of all three sisters. I began to wonder about the Duke and Mrs. Parker. Didn’t they deserve their own Happily Ever After?
So my Worth sisters trilogy became five books.
It wasn’t until the middle of writing The Suitor List, Gusta mentioned to another character something about her brother Frederick. This was the first I learned of a brother. I took a few minutes and thought about Frederick’s appearance. I decided to keep him. This makes my five book series six! I'm very happy I have the opportunity to write stories for all the family members.

If anyone is interested in the development, sale, and writing of the series I’m blogging about my experience at: www.CitrusParlor.blogspot.com

You write contemporary as well as historical romance for Avalon. Do you have a preference? Are you working on a contemporary at the moment?
I feel that the Regency period is really where I belong. I do, every now and then, get a contemporary idea.

I’m working on the fourth book of my Gentlemen of Worth series, The Duke Dilemma. After its completion, I’ll move on to the last two books in the series.

I've enjoyed your historical clothing articles on the Blog. Is that a particular interest of yours? I understand why historical writers must do a lot of research in that area. Is research something you enjoy?My blog entries about men’s clothing barely scratch the surface of Regency fashion. I’m not an expert in fashion by any means. Did you see my post on banyons? I searched for hours, looking for the name of the garment… in books and online. Then I ran across them months later.
I really have to be careful about research. There’s always something that’ll catch my interest. I can get lost . . . sidetracked and waste a lot of time. The internet is bad, one click can lead to another. It’s so easy.

I know you live in California but have you always been a California Girl?Always. Born, raised, and live. I have travelled around the US, Canada, Western Europe, Britain, and Japan.

Do you work fulltime or part time at another job or is writing your work?I would hardly call writing work. I’m very lucky I can devote most of my days doing something I’m passionate about.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself? Got any secrets? :)Oh, I’ve got secrets. Unfortunately I’m getting to the age where I can’t remember them anymore.

Shirley’s work area:
This is a photo of the writing area I'm currently using. It's my old desk in my son's room. He's away at college and I've moved in! Picture 2 is the "spot" I use when the kids are home for the summer. The mouse, keyboard, and desktop machine are not there... can you imagine how much it shrinks after the technology takes up residence? I think of it as my "Jane Austen" desk near the window... the 21st century version. 



Heidi said...

I haven't seen Shirley's writing spot since she moved out of the temporary office in the family room. It looks great, Shirley. Great interview, Lis!

Carolyn Brown said...

Great interview! The first time I met Shirley was when RWA was in Dallas and we've been friends ever since. I can't imagine going to conference without her!

Shirley Marks said...

The only downside to the "new" office, Heidi, is I'm not in the same room with my books. However... I have lots more elbow room which is very, very nice.

Shirley Marks said...

You are one of the highlights of my conference too, Miss Carolyn. :)

Carolyn Hughey said...

I met Shirley the same way. She's a born organizer and I'm even more fortunate to have had her stay at our home for a visit.

Your office looks like mine--worked in. I have five different projects going on at once. I stop one, and start another and there the stuff lays until I get back to it. LOL

Great interview, girlfriend!

Beate Boeker said...

Loved the interview and the pics of your work space! It looks so tiny - just goes to show that big ideas don't need a lot of room to develop!

Shirley Marks said...

Worked in . . . I like the sound of that, Carolyn.