Welcome to my blog tour stop of The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea by Elise Marion brought to you by Bottom Drawer Publications.
Kathy: Ms. Marion, Welcome to Book Reviews & More by Kathy and thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer a few
nosy probing questions for us!
I always have to begin by asking what motivated you to become a writer? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
Ms. Marion: I wasn’t so much motivated to write as I was born to do it! It’s truly how I feel about writing. It began as a love of reading when I was a kid. From there it became a flair for storytelling because of my overactive imagination. I penned my first piece of fiction when I was 12 years old and have been writing ever since. Everything from teenage angst filled poetry to romance, which I settled on as my genre of choice.
The process to becoming published was definitely long and hard. Rejection is a hard thing for anyone to have to deal with, and with writers it can be like having someone look at your newborn baby nestled in your arms and call it ugly. I mean, how can someone not see what you see? How can someone call your baby ugly when you love it so much? That’s how rejection from agents and publishers can feel. However, I have never been one to take the word ‘no’ lying down and in the end, perseverance has paid off in the form of independent and small press publishing. Now, a little over one year after I published my first book, people are reading my work and asking for more. It’s a heady feeling for sure, one that has not diminished with time!
Kathy: You have published novels in many different genres: erotic, paranormal, historical, and contemporary. Do you prefer one genre over another? Did your paranormal books begin as regular novels and morph into the paranormal world?
Ms. Marion: I love all romance, but I will say that Historical is my first love. There’s just something so beautiful about times gone by and the setting of the past is easily given to Romance because of the romantic nature of past times.
I do like to dabble in other areas, though, because I am a person with eclectic taste. I began thinking I was going to stick with Historical, but soon found myself full of ideas for other subgenres. I love the versatility that Romance has; you can fit a love story into just about any subgenre and I like the idea of being able to do that.
As far as Contemporary and Paranormal go, The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea is my first Contemporary that is not a Paranormal as well. With a Paranormal book, the idea definitely began as Paranormal. I knew going in that that’s was what it would be. With Secret Life, I wanted to write a simpler story. I wanted to concentrate on the romance and conflict as opposed to creating the Paranormal elements that define those particular stories. It is the most simple formula for a story I’ve ever written, but I find that this is where the book gets it charm…in its simplicity.
Kathy: Is there a genre you won’t write? Why? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to give a try?
Ms. Marion: While I do write some Erotic Romance, there are certain themes within the Erotic genre I am not comfortable with. Everyone has their niche and while I like to dabble in many areas, I know that there are some things that I just wouldn’t do well in and I wouldn’t want to force it. Themes like Menage or Polyamory just aren’t for me. I also don’t think I’d do well with Horror. I love a good scary movie or book, but just don’t think I could do a very good job of scaring people.
As far as genres I haven’t written and would like to try, I think maybe Sci-Fi and Dystopian would be fun. I also have an idea for a Historical Western that I plan to write next year. I love the idea of having titles on many subgenres.
Kathy: Plotter, pantster or a combination of both?
Ms. Marion: I am definitely not a plotter! I just cannot do it. I typically start off with an idea of who the characters are, the meat of the story, and where I want it to begin and end. I have really surprised myself with the direction of some stories because I allow things to happen organically. I just write and let the story unfold until it’s finished, I don’t try to force it in any one direction. I like to think my writing is better for it, because I have found myself in places I could have never imagined and I like the adventure of it.
Kathy: What types of books do you like to read? Do you re-read books? If so, what is your comfort read?
Ms. Marion: I like to read all types of books, but my favourites are Romance and Young Adult. I definitely have a lot of re-reads. My comfort reads are the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn. I adore those books and could read them again and again. I feel like the Bridgerton siblings are my best friends.
Kathy: Where do you find inspiration for your novels and characters? Real life events? Imagination? Or a combination?
Ms. Marion: I think my characters are equal parts real life and imagination. I don’t like to base them off people I know, but I do like to put a bit of my own personality in each of them. Many of them are coffee lovers like myself 🙂
Kathy: What is a typical day like as author Elise Marion? Do you write every day? How long does it typically take for you to complete a book?
Ms. Marion: I do try to write everyday but I’m also a stay at home mom of 2 so they keep me pretty busy. If I can’t write during the day, then I wait until everyone in the house has gone to bed and get some done then. My house can get pretty chaotic, but I’ve found that 2 a.m. is the quietest hour of the day!
The time it takes to finish a book depends on the length of the book, as well as other projects I’m doing at the time. I tend to work on multiple projects at a time because I find it keeps my creative juices flowing. A novel will take me between six and eight months but I can write a shorter novella in one or two months.
Kathy: Could you tell us a little about The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea?
Ms. Marion: Secret Life is about a movie star named Avery who is living a lie in order to maintain her public image as ‘America’s Sweetheart’. Her lies are exposed by photographer Dominic, who moonlights as a paparazzo for extra cash until he gets his big break as an art/fashion photographer. He seems Avery as a quick way to make a buck and a spoiled celeb who gets everything she deserves because of her lies. When the two encounter each other again after Dominic’s photos expose the truth, sparks fly and Dominic realizes he is wrong about Avery. Avery realizes that her pampered life is no longer enough that she wants more from life than just her career. She wants more and she might just find it in Dominic.
I love this story because I think it speaks to our culture and our obsession with the rich and famous. We like to elevate them in our minds and see them as perfect and lucky to be who they are. At the end of the day, though, they are people just like we are and have the same hopes, dreams and insecurities as we do. I loved the idea of being able to explore their world and portray a famous starlet as a normal girl with a normal girl’s wants and needs.
Kathy: What projects are you currently working on? What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?
Ms. Marion: Right now I am working on the 4th book in my Historical/Fantasy series, and just published the third and final book in my Paranormal trilogy. I plan to take a nice break over the Holidays and then hit the ground running in 2013. I am so excited about a series of books I plan to write about Tuskegee Airmen (first African-American pilots allowed to fly in the Army Air Corps during WWII). I have noticed this trend of Romance novels based on heroes in uniform, and I loved the idea of going there with these historical heroes. Nothing is hotter to me than a man in uniform. One who is making history at the same time just adds to his appeal!
Kathy: I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Ms. Marion: Thank you so much for having me! I really enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to seeing people’s responses. I hope that you and your blog readers will take the time to visit me on my website, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as check out some of the other great books by my publisher, Bottom Drawer.
Kathy: Ms.Marion, congratulations on your new release and thank you so much for visiting with us today. Feel free to drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Title: The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea by Elise Marion
Publisher: Bottom Drawer
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 29,000 words
Photographer Dominic Ramsey is having a bad year. His car won’t start, the rent is weeks overdue, his girlfriend dumped him, and photography jobs have been few and far between. Moonlighting as a paparazzo to scrape up some extra cash isn’t exactly going well; there’s only so much money to be made in photos of tacky celebrity outfits.
Avery O’Dea has led her life in front of the cameras since shooting to stardom in her first romantic film. When her on-screen romance becomes something more she and her Hollywood beau are, at least the way the magazines tell it, a match made in heaven. So what if Avery’s had to convert to Ryan’s vegan lifestyle publicly in order to solidify the relationship to the public eye? So what if she’s had to make a few sacrifices in order to achieve the Hollywood dream?
When a daring photographer catches her in a lie and exposes the truth of Avery and Ryan’s relationship to the world, Avery realizes just how tired she is of being ‘America’s Sweetheart’, and the elaborate cover-up becomes a burden that she no longer wishes to bear. As she locks eyes with the photographer that set her world on fire with a single photo, she begins to long for more from life; passion, love, and the freedom to live her life as she pleases.
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