AGE: When I'm in the middle of revisions or among teenagers, I feel about 105.
MARITAL STATUS: Married
PETS: 2 dogs
WHERE DO YOU LIVE: A very tiny town in rural Tennessee. That’s as specific as I’m willing to get. I know YOU are a nice person, but have you heard about those stalker types? I have several family members in law enforcement. I’ve heard the stories. Repeatedly. Stalkers are on my list of things to be avoided.
In Random Order:
LIKES: Romance books, humor, mysteries, movies, forensic shows, chocolate, intelligence, generosity of spirit, vacations, romantic gestures or good deeds for no reason, dogs, cats, kids, fishing, writing, the color green, the ocean, my family, and happy endings
DISLIKES: Liver, golf on TV, cruelty of any kind, snobbery or pretentiousness (or any other word that means stuck-up), technical difficulties, The Goodyear Blimp, large crowds, bureaucratic nonsense, funerals, spiders/snakes/creepy crawlies, the rat race, and bad hair days.
MEASUREMENTS: Hey! This isn’t some centerfold section, you know. No measurement info. No favorite turn-on/turn-off. <rolling eyes> Let’s get back on track.
BOOK TASTE: Well, you must have guessed that one. I love hot romances. Frequently, I joke that I started writing for Ellora’ s Cave to pay for my orders. In addition , I like mysteries, especially forensic ones. I would have made a great forensic scientist, if I weren’t prone to fainting at the sight of blood.
MUSIC TASTE: I like a lot of different kinds of music. It depends upon my mood, much like my reading choices. I like rock, country, and alternative rock. I’ve never learned to appreciate jazz , blue grass, or heavy metal. For me, listening to those three is like overindulging in too much cheap wine – a lot of confusion, very little feeling good, and a headache in the end.
WORK FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will you read my manuscript? I’d love to read it, but I can’t. To be brutally honest, I don’t have time. I have a kid at home who seems determined to use the couch as a trampoline and the coffee table as a landing strip. He’ s active, inquisitive, and mobile (three of the most terrifying words in a mother’s dictionary). <grin>
If I’m not chasing him, I have to grab that little window of opportunity to do my own writing so that I meet my deadlines and contracts. If you’d like an opinion on your manuscript, I’d suggest joining a critique group either in your area or online. A critique group can provide wonderful support and advice. Another option is to join RWA (Romance Writers Of America). The organization is comprised of both published and unpublished writers who can give you the full benefit of their time, writing experience, and expertise.
Do you have an agent? Could you recommend a good agent? No, I don’t have an agent at this time. I can’t give you the name of a good agent because I don’t have one either. Hey…if you know the name of a good literary agent, please email ME with the name. <grin>
How did you decide on the pen name “MARLY CHANCE”? I really love answering this question because there’s a story behind it. Coming up with Marly was easy. Marly is my real nickname. I picked it for simplicity’s sake<smiling>
As for why I picked the last name “Chance”? It’s a long story but bear with me please because it’s funny. If you’ve read my biography, you know that I submitted my first manuscript (OATH OF SEDUCTION) to Ellora’s Cave Publishing due to my husband’s prodding. He was convinced it would be published. I was highly skeptical because of the tough odds of actually ever getting a book published.
After I’d sent the manuscript to EC and hadn’t heard back from them yet, my husband asked me, “When they publish your book, what will you choose for your pen name?”
He’d been driving me crazy with questions like that one. He refused to believe the book wouldn’t be published. I fired back, "I'll call myself Marly Chance. Because there’s not a chance in HELL that this book will get published.”
But he was right and I was wrong, thank goodness. And when I picked a pen name? I did what I said I’d do. I picked the last name “chance.” <grin>
<suddenly becoming serious> I did have another reason though that’s actually serious. I picked that name not just because of the joke with my hubby. I picked it, too, so that I’ll always remember that it’s important to take a chance in life sometimes in order to reach your dreams. It's okay to risk. I picked that name so that I’ll never forget to take a chance. <shrugging and smiling> And now that I’ve told you, I hope you’ll always remember it, too.:)
Are your characters based on real people? I make them up. My characters feel real to me but they’re not based on anyone I know. They're strictly imaginary.
How do you create characters? What’s your writing process? I “hear” the characters in my head. <laughing> And before you think I’m totally crazed and need medication, let me explain that statement. Have you ever been in the process of doing something you shouldn’t and you suddenly hear your mother’s voice in your head telling you that it’s a bad idea? <nodding> Yep. She’s not actually there but you somehow know exactly what she’d say and how she’d say it. You can HEAR her in your mind. And you can hear other people’s voices in your head, too, I’ll bet. Your best friend. Your sibling. Your child. Anyone really that you know very well. <shrug> You have a whole cast of real people in your head. We all do. And I do, too. My cast is just made up of all of those people I love PLUS some imaginary ones.
That’s how I hear my characters and create them. I imagine a new voice in my head and I live with that voice on a daily basis. Or voices really. <wincing> I hear them comment on my life just as you hear your loved ones in your head, commenting on your life at times. <grinning> I hear them. Over time, I hear them more and more clearly. And then I put them together in various situations for fun. I hear how they talk to each other. I hear dialogue and I can imagine the scenes in my mind, like an ongoing play that I’m watching.
Everyone daydreams. My daydreams just happen to be incredibly detailed (with full dialogue <groaning and laughing>). And as I think about the characters and live with them and daydream about them, they become very real to me. I know they’re not real. But they feel real. Then I put them in the story situation (the plot) and take it from there. I generally have a beginning and an end in mind. But I let my characters find their way from beginning to end. <laughing>
That’s the best way to describe how I write and how I create characters. It’s like having a whole bunch of imaginary playmates gone wild. <big grin> And yes, my brain gets awfully crowded at times. Writing is hard, frustrating, horribly complicated work. But it’s also very rewarding. When I get it right? When I really fall into the story and it flows out of my imagination, pouring through me like the Mississippi River, and out onto the page? That’s a fantastic feeling. It’s a special kind of joy.
And my greatest wish when it comes to my writing is that I can somehow give that same joy to you as you read the story. I consider it a tremendous compliment when someone says, “Your characters seem so alive and so real.” That’s when I know I’ve truly written a story right. When I hear that statement? I know for a moment in time, through the sheer magical power of words, somehow my imaginary playmates have become yours. I LOVE that idea, don’t you? <grin>
I have a GREAT idea for a story/a GREAT idea about your work in progress. Should I send it to you? No, please don’t. For legal and ethical reasons, I can’t use any material from readers in my work. I appreciate it very much when I hear from readers. I’m incredibly grateful when someone takes the time to write to me about any of my previous work or even any other subject. But please don’t send specific plot suggestions about future books or about an upcoming book while I’m currently working on it. Thank you.:)
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? I'd say tell the story. That sounds simple, but it’s definitely not. So many times an aspiring writer will write half a book and suddenly get frustrated or stuck. He/she will go back and start revising and polishing previous chapters, over and over, censoring and correcting. It’s a natural impulse to go back over what you’ve already written when you’re having problems. And I also think it’s the very reason there are so many people out there who have half a book in a drawer somewhere that they’ve never been able to finish. (I was one of those people for a long time.)
I think it’s important to tell the story first, all the way through, beginning to end, without censoring yourself in any way. You can fix problems later. You can correct grammar and mechanics later. You can revise to your heart’s content, pick it apart, make it better in any way that you need to make it better. LATER.
But get the story down FIRST while you’re excited and you have the drive to push past the frustration that comes naturally when you’re struggling. Every single author reaches a point in the story (usually the middle) when writing feels like nothing but an uphill climb. Like you’re pushing a boulder up a mountain and you suddenly feel you can’t possibly do it. There’s no way. It’s too hard. It’s too far. It’s too much work or too impossible. You have no idea how you’ll get there and you’re so blasted tired of trying. This is the critical point and it’s where most people flounder and give up. But don’t give up and don’t go backward. Finish it first, fix it later.
When you finish the story? Take a week or two off from writing, don’t look at it, rest, and celebrate. Because you’ve done something very rare and wonderful. You’ve written a BOOK. Whether it gets published or not doesn’t matter right now -- no one can ever take that accomplishment away from you and it deserves celebration. So take the time to celebrate what you’ve done. It’s important. It matters.
And then go back with fresh eyes and enthusiasm. Revise and polish the story until it shines. When you’ve finished making it your best, submit it to publishers. Read and learn as much about the craft of writing as you can. Keep writing stories and submitting them to publishers. Never ever give up on your dream of becoming a published author. You really CAN do it. Believe in yourself and go for it. I did it and believe me, if I can do it? You can do it, too. I wish you all the best.:)
How and when did you start writing? I’ve been writing creatively since I was in about the fourth grade. It’s always been a creative outlet for me. I write bad poetry (still), but most of my efforts are now channeled into my books. I have a good imagination and I have loved books from the time I started reading. In college, I majored in English literature. I love words and I love to daydream. I think those two things make writing natural for me. I write because I love it. I’ve always done it. It’s part of who I am.
Where do you get your ideas? I get ideas all of the time from everyday events and conversations around me. I think, “What if…” or “I wonder what this would be like…” Eventually, a character will show up and start talking to me, demanding that I tell the story. I’m not crazy in the traditional sense <yet>, but I do “hear” the story through the characters within my own imagination. I start writing and the story unfolds. When it works, it’s a very special feeling.
When will OATH OF CAPTURE be finished and why is it taking so long? This is the question I get the most often and the one I find hardest to answer in just one or two sentences. <wincing and smiling> Let me see if I can tell you honestly and yet condense the explanation down so that IT isn’t book length. <laughing>
First of all, I’m working on OATH OF CAPTURE but I don’t have a current release date yet.
Now. To answer the WHY of it. <gathering my thoughts here>
Ever had a time in your life when everything slammed into you all at once? You barely catch your breath from one hard knock before you get smacked with another unexpected blow? Life becomes total chaos, and painful chaos at that. <nodding> It happens to all of us every now and then.
That’s what happened to me a couple of years ago while I was working on OATH OF CAPTURE. I was absolutely reeling for a while there, just trying to take care of my family and myself. Real life didn’t leave a lot of time or energy for my writing. There are only so many hours in the day and I made a deliberate choice to put my family first. I don’t regret it. I also made the choice NOT to just sling out a book that would have been written fast, poorly, and without any heart. I can’t say that I regret that either.
The only regret I have is that readers have had to wait so long for the story. I hate it when an author writes a series and leaves me hanging for years. I swore as a reader that if I ever became an author, I would never do that to readers. And yet, in this case I’ve had to disappoint you. I’m truly sorry for the wait.
When my life began to settle down from all of that turmoil, I took a long look at what I’d written on OOCapture during that chaotic time and absolutely HATED the story. The partial draft was awful. I made the decision to scrap the draft and start from scratch. Basically, I went back to square one until I could find the joy and heart of the story. <shrugging>
Since that time, I’ve written other stories/books outside of the series successfully -- and I've gone back to OOCapture several times, writing and rewriting. Each time, I’ve made some progress and learned from it. I’m finding my way back to Jadik and Cass. And it’s working, slowly. When I finish the book? I’ll post the news on my site and in my newsletter. Until then, I can only tell you that I’m doing my best to make it a fun story of hope and laughter and very hot sex. <grin> And above all else? A story of love:)
Why do you write erotic romance books? Well, why not write erotic romance books? They're fun. I enjoy reading them. I don’t write these books for children. I write them for adults like myself who enjoy a romance that is a little hotter or less confined by sexual euphemisms and conventional formulas. At some point I may try writing in other genres. Who knows? I’m not closed off to that idea at all. I enjoy challenging myself and exploring my craft. But I truly love romance books (of all kinds) and always have. I write erotic romance books because I love them. Basically, I write what I enjoy reading. It’s that simple. <shrugging and smiling>
Do your books reflect your own sex life? Good grief! You’re getting awfully personal. No. It’s called fiction for a reason, isn’t it? MY sex life is…<long dramatic pause> not up for discussion. <grin> Next question?
How do the people in your life react to your being a writer and about the fact that you write erotic romance? I’ve had some negative reactions from strangers occasionally regarding the sexuality level of my books. I’ve been hurt, angered, and shocked at various times by some of the rude or nasty comments. However, I’ve also been surprised, amazed, and dazzled by the generosity and kindness of readers who enjoy my stories, too. That’s what I focus on and really value.
I’m very lucky because my family and friends are wonderfully supportive. They go around all over the place bragging that I’m an author and persuading people to buy my books. My parents are especially good at embarrassing me to death by randomly announcing I’m an author to any poor unsuspecting soul who happens to be in the line of fire. <groaning and laughing> But it always touches me when I find out that someone bought a book because a friend or family member told them about it. Word of mouth means a ton in this business. Between my family and a lot of kind readers, I have some of the very best promoters around. <grinning>
The funny thing is a couple of my relatives have read my books, but the majority of them haven’t. As one of my brothers once put it, “Sis, I’m so proud of you. I tell everyone I know that my sister is an author and then I ask them to buy your books. But I'm sorry. I can’t read your books. I can't read some sex scene knowing the whole time that my SISTER wrote it. Euuuuuuuu. That’s just wrong.” <cracking up with laughter> So most of my family and I operate on a “Don't read, don’t tell” policy. They don't read my books and in return I don’t tell them any story details that might bring up the icky topic of sex. <grin>
It’s enough for them that I’ve made my dream come true and am a professional author. If I'm happy, then they’re proud and happy for me. And when I weigh the support of my loving family and wonderful readers against the negativity of strangers? That support wins out every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I consider myself blessed. :)
Thanks for killing time with me. I appreciate the interest. I hope in spite of my ramblings, you’ll be willing to try one of my books. If you do, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)