About Marie Laval
Originally from a small village near Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher, and in her spare time she loves going for a walk and dreaming up romantic stories. Her contemporary romantic suspense A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical novels ANGEL HEART, the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and her Scottish trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL are all published by Áccent Press. She has also contributed to SHIVER, an anthology of Hallowe’en stories published by Áccent Press, LETTERBOX LOVE STORIES and the soon to be released ESCAPE TO AFRICA by international authors The World Romance Writers. Marie’s stories are filled with romance and always have what she calls ‘a French twist’.
About The Book
After losing her job in England, Amy Carter uses her redundancy payment to start a new life in France, turning Bellefontaine, an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, 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 the nearby château.
As romance blossoms in the beautiful Provençal countryside, disturbing events at the farmhouse hint at a dark mystery — a destructive, centuries-old attachment between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste. As Amy struggles to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too
Our Q&A With Maria Laval
Describe yourself using three words?
I suppose the words change depending on my mood and on how happy with myself I feel. Right now, I would say: creative, insecure, and chubby. (I am hoping to lose ‘chubby’ sometime in the next few months…maybe!)
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I was already writing short stories when I attended a creative writing workshop in Tordmorden, Yorkshire. It was a great, inspiring day organised by Calderdale Libraries, in the days when libraries still had enough funding to not only stay open but also run events to foster and promote writing and reading. There were wonderful speakers such as Jean Fullerton, one-to-one manuscript critiques, and a romance writing workshop. The teacher got us to think of a plot and write the first scene…And that was it. When I got home that evening, I carried on writing, and A Spell in Provence was born.
What time of day do you like to write?
When I work, I can only write in the evenings, after my youngest daughter had gone to sleep, but then I fall asleep at the keyboard and it’s not very productive at all. My absolute favourite time is early in the morning, either at weekends or during the holidays. I love it when everybody is asleep, and I can enjoy the quiet and a cup of tea. That’s when I usually feel the most inspired.
What is your favourite book and why?
Can I cheat and give you two books I just finished and really loved? The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman, and Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey. Both were superbly written, and had very attaching characters and were very emotional stories. They are wonderful novels and I highly recommend them.
How did you pick the title of your book?
I am lucky that titles seem to just pop into my mind, usually at the very beginning of the writing process. With A Spell in Provence however, things were a bit different. My editor thought that the title I had chosen sounded too much like the title of a historical romance and wanted me to change it. I was driving to work one morning and saying out loud a few title ideas when suddenly I got it. A Spell in Provence. It was perfect!
If you were a colour what would it be?
Blue, all shades of blue except electric blue. I have a predilection for navy blue.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
I usually have the outline of a plot with a couple of subplots in mind before I start a new story, but after that, I make it up as I go along, which often causes me to backtrack and waste quite a lot of time!
Who is your favourite Author?
The French nineteenth-century novelist Barbey D’Aurevilly, without a doubt. His stories are dark and atmospheric and his characters terribly tormented. I devoured all his short stories and novels when I was a teenager.
Are you working on a new project?
I am writing a romantic suspense novel set in Paris, in the world of auction houses and ancient manuscripts. I am very excited about this new project and probably boring all my family talking about it non-stop!
I also have a short story coming out in an anthology at the end of March. Escape to Africa is the second anthology I contribute to together with a group of international and best-selling authors called ‘The World Romance Writers’ and I am absolutely delighted about it. My story is called The Ravine of the Wild Woman and is set in Algeria in 1865. North Africa, and Algeria have a special place in my heart because it’s where my mother was born and brought up, and where I set my historical romance The Lion’s Embrace.
You can purchase your copy here ~ Amazon UK