An Interview with Marie Laval, author of The Dream Catcher

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I’m delighted to be supporting Brook Cottage Books in bringing you the first in the Dancing for the Devil Trilogy series, The Dream Catcher, by Marie Laval. This historical romance was released on 28th December 2015 by Accent Press and is available from AMAZON UK and AMAZON US.

Not only do I have an interview with Marie, but you have the chance to enter to win a paperback copy of The Dream Catcher at the bottom of this blog post.

The Dream Catcher

The Dreamcatcher FINAL

Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum.
Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

An Interview With Marie Laval

Hello Marie. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

You are very welcome, Linda. I am delighted to be here!

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?

I am French but have been living in the north of England for a long time now – long enough to have got used to the rain (but not long enough to have lost my terrible French accent)! I was brought up in a small village near the beautiful city of Lyon and I try to go back every year to visit my sisters and my friends. I teach modern foreign languages (French and German), I have three children – two boys and a girl – who are growing up very fast, and I love dreaming up irresistible heroes and romantic stories in my spare time. One word about my heroes…they are usually French but for the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy, I have chosen a very Scottish hero – Bruce McGunn!

When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?

I suppose I always knew I wanted to write. When I was a teenager I scribbled down plays, short stories and very, very bad poetry. I used to make up stories before going to sleep which would be just like films in my mind, and the following morning I would write it all down.

If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead as a creative outlet?

I’m not sure, to be honest. I don’t have artistic many talents, unfortunately. I enjoyed playing the piano when I was younger, and I used to do some cross-stitching when I was expecting my three children! That’s about it.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

That’s a very difficult question. No story is the same for me and they have all caused me different kinds of thrills and headaches – or heartaches. I suppose that being French and writing in English I always have to make sure that what I write makes sense and that I haven’t just invented words! Also I don’t plot very much at all so I sometimes get stuck in a dead end and have to backtrack and delete characters and plot lines.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I don’t really have a writing routine. As I work full-time and have a family I have to fit in my writing whenever I can. Having said that, I do try and do something ‘book related’ every single day even if it’s editing, writing a few hundred words, or again doing some research. I feel it’s essential to stay in touch with my characters.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?

I read romance, lots and lots of it. But as I have very eclectic tastes, I also like non-fiction, such as biographies, and travel guides which are great for researching settings of future stories.

Do you have other interests that give you ideas for writing?

I love walking in the hills near my house at the weekend and even if I only manage an hour at a time I always come back with at least one or two fresh ideas or lines of dialogue for my work in progress. It’s really wonderful how inspiring being alone in the countryside can be.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?

All my heroines! They are all very different but all very strong and determined.

If  one of your books  became a film, which would you choose and why?  

I always thought that THE LION’S EMBRACE would make a wonderful film. I know I’m not at all objective here, but I think it has everything – love and passion, adventure and mystery, treasures and deceit, and of course the breathtaking scenery of the Sahara desert. My contemporary romantic suspense set in France, A SPELL IN PROVENCE, would make a darker, more mysterious film.

What made you choose Scotland as the main setting for The Dream Catcher?

I have a confession to make, Linda. I wanted to write a novel set in Scotland for a long time because it is such a beautiful and romantic country, but I didn’t really know where exactly I should set my story. So I bought a map of Scotland, spread it out on the carpet and looked for inspiring names, and then I saw it: Cape Wrath, in the far north of the country. That was it! I just couldn’t resist. My hero had to live there, and be just as wild and brooding as the name.

The Dream Catcher is set in 1847. How did you carry out the research to ensure the time period was authentic?

I read a lot of different articles about the clearances, biographies, books about life at the time, including folklore and legends…I researched common sayings and dialects, and watched lots of documentaries about Scotland, and Sutherland in particular. As usual, researching for the novel was wonderful.

What techniques did you use in The Dream Catcher to make sure the story appealed to a modern audience whilst being true to the mid 1800s?

That’s a very difficult question, Linda. I don’t really think about techniques when I write, so I do hope a modern audience will enjoy the story!

In The Dream Catcher, Bruce Mc Gunn is suffering from what we would now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Why did you choose to use such an emotive aspect as part of your characterisation?

I wanted Bruce McGunn to be haunted by his life in the army and tormented by some of the decisions he had taken which had caused his men’s death. He was a very proud man who believed himself invincible during the military campaigns in the Punjab – hence the tattoo on he had engraved on his chest with the word ‘Ahankar’, which means ‘pride’ or ‘excessive ego’ in Gurmukhi, and which is the worst of the Five Evils in Sikh beliefs. He is plagued by guilt and nightmares which are partially imputable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (but I don’t want to reveal too much…). We are now very aware of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but it wasn’t something that was identified, and named as such, until quite recently – the 1980s, I believe. However many heroes in literature appear to suffer from it. Shakespeare’s Henry IV for example appears to meet many, if not all, of the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that A Dream Catcher should be their next read, what would you say?

I am really rubbish at blowing my own trumpet, so I will quote from my 5 Stars reviews, if you don’t mind! ‘A gripping story that had me turning the pages’, ‘atmospheric writing’, and a ‘wonderfully likeable heroine’. That’s 14 words!

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

It was a pleasure, Linda. Thank you for all those great questions.

About Marie Laval

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Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years and likes nothing more than dreaming up romance stories and handsome, brooding heroes. She writes historical and contemporary romance. Her contemporary romance A SPELL IN PROVENCE, as well as her historical romances, ANGEL HEART, together with the award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE, and the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL Trilogy (which includes THE DREAM CATCHER, BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE) are all published by Áccent Press.

You can follow Marie on Twitter and find her on Facebook.

Click here for your chance to win a paperback copy of The Dream Catcher.

20 thoughts on “An Interview with Marie Laval, author of The Dream Catcher

  1. Rae Cowie says:

    Lovely interview, ladies and I enjoyed the fact you chose Cape Wrath simply because you loved the sound of it, Marie. Good choice – wild and romantic!

    Liked by 1 person

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