Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview with Blanche Marriott

Sometimes in this crazy publishing world you meet someone who makes you glad you became a writer.  Blanche Marriott is one of those people.  She was the first to welcome me to Avalon Authors loop and sat beside me when I attended my first Rhode Island Romance Writers meeting.  It is my pleasure to share this warm, funny and gifted writer with you today, along with her latest Avalon Romance release, April’s Fool.

Blanche, I think it's incredibly clever how your main character, April Vaillencourt, is caught up in an April Fool’s joke that involves a fake wedding album with pictures of the very real (and unknowing) investment advisor named Michel Goode as her groom.  When he gets his hand on the album, the trouble begins.  This all begs the question, which came first, the premise or the title? 
It was the premise. I saw a story on the local news about a wedding album that had been found and they asked if anyone knew who it belonged to to call the station.  My first reaction was, "how could someone lose a wedding album?" And then the "what if" wheels began to turn and APRIL'S FOOL came at me in a flash. From that point forward, it was nothing but fun.   

Every good character has a flaw.  What is April’s? 
April is clutzy, disorganized, and emotionally fragile because she fears she'll never find true love.

What is it about Michael that makes him irresistible? 
Michael is charming, smart, and successful.  But he becomes irresistible when his confirmed bachelorhood falls victim to April's lure, faults and all.

What method’s do you use to get to know your characters while writing a book? 
I try to play the hero and heroine against each character...the old "if he's a fireman, she must be an arsonist."  I rarely go to that extreme, but their characteristics must be somewhat opposite. I also like to create characters from people I do and don't like. Take the best from the best, and use the worst for a flaw to be redeemed later

What is your favorite scene? 
I love the scene when Michael has a room full of balloons delivered to April's office. She is determined not to like him, but who can't like a guy who sends you balloons?

I read an excerpt from April’s Fool  on your website, and found your “voice” very engaging.  Does this come naturally to you or does it take lots of intense editing to come off so carefree and funny? 
I'm sure any writer you ask will say they have no idea what their voice is.  I sure don't.  But I know that I like to write funny, sensual and little bit sassy.  Hopefully, it came across that way. 

Do you plot your novels carefully before writing the first word, or do you sit down at the keyboard and let the character’s tell the story their way? 
No!!!!!  I have no idea how to plot, except for a rough sketch of where the story begins (lost wedding album), where it goes (Michael is determined to find out who put him in a wedding album), and how it ends (he'll do anything to make sure April doesn't get away.)  Everything in between just came out when I sat at the keyboard.  It can be harrowing and exciting all at the same time.

Aprils’ Fool is not your first book.  Your other Avalon books Kaleidoscope and Way Out West picked up some impressive awards.  You have 14 novels under your belt, one of which (His Brother’s Baby) you recently released as an e-book, along with a non-fiction book titled Born to Bitch:  Volume 1 Confessions of a Bitch-a-holic (a fast and funny read, IMHO).  What writing project(s) are you working on now? 
I'm polishing a book about a crystal gem that brings the hero and heroine together in a mystical way. She's a career woman who hates it when she breaks a nail.  He's a rugged man of the desert who knows that a high maintenance woman is the last thing he needs in his life. But Mother Nature, a mysterious Indian, and a meddling psychic aunt have different plans for the reluctant couple. 

According to your website, you started writing about 20 years ago.  What was the trigger that got you to sit down and start writing a story?  
The characters in my head wouldn't keep quiet!!  Of course, that story will never see the light of day, it was soooo bad. But it got me started, and taught me a lot of mistakes not to make again. 

What inspires you to keep writing? 
I think the need to see my stories in print is my motivation.  I usually fall in love with my characters and I want others to do the same.  My favorite compliment is when someone says they loved my story. 

What book (or books) are in your TBR pile right now? 
Unfortunately, I don't get to read much.  I work full time and my free time is usually spent writing, gardening, or playing with the grandkids.  Right now, I have 3 Avalon authors in my TBR pile and I hope to get to them soon. 

As a reader, do you have a preference for tangible book or an e-book? 
I like both. If I read in the day or early evening, I prefer a book in a comfortable chair.  If I read at night, in bed, I like an e-book. 

What do you do when not writing or working as a payroll accountant? 
When the weather permits, I'm usually out in my yard gardening, mowing, trimming, cleaning up. I like physical work after being in an office all day. I spend my summers fighting the groundhog battle!  Hubby and I also like to take day trips in the summer with no particular destination.  We get in the car and drive the lesser traveled roads to see things out of the ordinary.  That's how we found the fork in the road...we came to a fork in the road, and there literally was a FORK in the road!  Someone had erected a huge fork, and of course everyone stops and takes a picture of it. The locals love it.

Looks like I’ll be taking a road trip this weekend!  Thanks so much for your time, and happy sales to you with all of your publishing projects!

For anyone wishing to learn more about Blanche, you can find her at her website  


Sandy Cody said...

Delightful interview! Kudos to both Blanche and Jayne. Blanche, I love your "opposites attract" approach to creating your hero and heroine. Reading this was a real day brightener. Thanks.

Lisa Norato said...

Great interview and I'm looking forward to reading April's Fool, Blanche! Your story ideas are all so creative. I love the concept for your work in progress. Happy writing!

Jeanne said...

Awesome interview. I did love this book. Blanche has a great way of telling a story. Her next book sounds even more interesting. Can't wait.

Eden Elgabri said...

Great interview. And I agree with Lisa, all of your work is very creative. Can't wait to read April's Fool.

ROni Denholtz said...

Great interview! I'm looking forward to Blanche';s new book having read her other Avalons (which were great!).

Gina/Katherine said...

I loved April's Fool, and Blanche is right. The scene with the balloons is sweet. April's a fun character who shines on the pages! And Michael is a worthy hero for her.