Monday, September 6, 2010

Getting to know Marianne Evans

CONTEST: Comment to be entered to win an Autographed Print Edition of Heart's Crossing, the story that won White Rose Publishing's Hearts Crossing contest and launched the Woodland Series. It's the prequel to Hearts Surrender. Contest ends Wednesday Sept. 8th.

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?

Absolutely, and first things first: Thanks for having me today!

My latest release is Hearts Surrender. Hearts Surrender is the follow up to my Christian romance debut, Hearts Crossing, and tells the story of Kiara Jordan and Ken Lucerne.

As you’ll see, in the blurb and excerpt I’ve included with today’s interview, Kiara is modern, chic, a successful businesswoman. Her life is glamorous, high-energy, but empty of meaning. As she realizes that fact, her life comes into orbit with that of Woodland Church pastor Ken Lucerne. Ken is young, charismatic – a powerful and engaging man, but his life is mission centered, service oriented, and he’s dealing with the death of his wife, two years ago, to cancer. They attend a mission trip together. Friendship and affection, which had always been in place between them, blooms into love, but not without the question: Can a vivacious, super-model modernista find contentment within the quiet, service-centered life of a parish pastor?

Hearts Crossing, my first book with White Rose Publishing, launched the Woodland Series, which is what I’m at work on now. The Woodland Series tells the story of a faith community not unlike your own place of worship, where people of all kinds, all backgrounds, all different needs and hopes and dreams, come together. I loved the idea of walking through the lives of these people, and telling their stories, and the Woodland Series was born! Books 3 and 4 – Hearts Communion and Hearts Key, will be coming very soon from White Rose!

What makes a book great in your eyes?

Authentic dialogue, an evocative sense of scene, plot points unfolding in such a way that you just can’t help but keep turning those pages! Those kinds of books are my favorite!

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Oooooh! Going to have to plead the fifth on that one! LOL!! Seriously? My guilty pleasure is having the opportunity to simply indulge in the things I love to do most. Whether it’s writing, reading, gardening, taking a ‘chick’ day with friends, etc. Life is so busy it seems we can never grasp the things we want to do, and enjoy doing, as often as we’d like. Plus, we feel almost guilty when we do. So, every chance I get to sneak into seclusion and write, or just escape into something other than the ‘day to day’ of life, I’d consider that my ‘guilty’ pleasure!

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I collect antique salt cellars! For those of you who don’t know, salt cellars are what were placed on dining tables in the era before pourable salt. Cubes of salt were placed in small, bowl-like containers, accompanied by a small silver spoon so that your dinner guest might chip off some salt and sprinkle it on their food. My two prized pieces are an art glass salt-cellar by Tiffany & Company and a sterling silver salt cellar with inlaid cloisonné hallmarked from Russia in 1883!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love to travel, and I’ll travel about anywhere in the world and thoroughly enjoy it; but I love where I’m living. Michigan is a wonderful state with the best of everything: Big cities, the primitive Upper Peninsula, and then there are those fantastic Great Lakes. Love it here!

What authors are on your virtual or literal keeper shelf?

Nora Roberts, Karen Kingsbury, Stephenie Meyer

If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?

I guess I would ask that you start with Hearts Crossing, the contest winning Novella I debuted with at White rose Publishing. Hearts Crossing launched a dream of mine into reality, the dream of writing a Christian inspirational book series, based upon a single place of worship, where you get to know, and love, the people you meet and mingle with.

If there was a soundtrack to your latest novel, what genre/songs would be included?

Hands on a Miracle by Foo Fighters, Daughter of Grace by Twila Paris. Ken and Kiara’s story is full of rich longing, and tantalizing discoveries – of faith, of love, and embracing all life can bring. That mood of music would suit this release beautifully!

Which of your characters would you most likely fall for if they were real?

Without a doubt, Ken Lucerne. During the creation of this series, Ken kind of snuck up on me out of nowhere (Actually, he kind of does the same thing with the heroine of Hearts Surrender, Kiara Jordan!) Ken has come to be the true ‘bedrock’ of Woodland. His role was secondary, yet vital, to Hearts Crossing. He gets his own story in Hearts Surrender, of course, and in Books 3 and 4 of the Woodland Series, you continue to realize his tremendous gifts and attributes both as a church leader, and as a man. He’s handsome and charismatic, wise, he’s tender and compassionate. He has the ability to engage people on deep levels, and is all about showing God’s grace in action as well as word. He’s simply awesome.

Besides the bedroom, what's the sexiest part of your home in your opinion and why?

My family room, because it has a snuggle-up-in-front-of-me fireplace, comfy ambiance, and a window overlooking our backyard, which I just love – lots of towering old trees and green grass. I love it!

What are you working on now?

As I mentioned earlier, Hearts Communion and Hearts Key are coming soon from White Rose. I’ve just completed Hearts Communion and turned it in to my editor, so for now, I’m deep into the world of Hearts Key, and I’m very excited about both of these upcoming releases!!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

What a great question. I’d have to say once I started getting positive feedback in contest entries, and, of course, when I sold my first book to Kate Duffy at Kensington Publishing.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Characters, scene ideas and dialogue just seem to come alive on my heart and in my head when a book idea takes hold of me. From there, I’m just not happy until I commit them to the written word. It can be a simple ‘what if’ or it can be a dream, or even just a flash of an idea that sets it all off. The key is whether or not it strikes a chord in my heart and ‘demands’ to be told.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m a former pantster who has transformed into a plotter as the result of now being contracted on proposal. It changes your whole methodology, but for me, it’s been an extremely positive change in my writing style!

How did you come up with the title?

The title for Hearts Surrender seemed a natural extension of the “Hearts” series that would go along with the creation of the world of Woodland Church. I imagine I’ll carry the ”Heart” theme through any book I write that’s tied to the Woodland Series, simply because it all began with Hearts Crossing. J

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Hearts Crossing: When you turn your back on God, God never, ever turns his back on you.

Hearts Surrender: Starting over, with a completely clean slate, what would you choose to create in your life?

Hearts Communion: Finding God’s hand when your dearest prayer is destined to go unfulfilled.

Hearts Key: Being given a second chance – at life and in love – is God’s most luxurious grace.

How much of the book is realistic?

I hope all of my books are seen as realistic, and relatable. I may have never experienced divorce, abuse, infertility, or the murder of a family member – but my characters live through these circumstances, and I live it along with them as I build their stories. I laugh and cry right along with them.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Hearts Surrender

Marianne Evans

Inspirational Romance


Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.

Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church ; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.

A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.

After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?


“I’ve been the wallflower who bloomed. But I’ve never believed in myself enough to give up the fancy trappings. I've clung to vanity-centered ideals for too long, I suppose. I’ve worked hard to fit in, and finally I succeeded. Problem is, that kind of success is a double-edged sword. That pathway, once you start to follow it, is hard to leave.”

In an unexpected, graceful motion, Ken caught her swing by the chains. He held her in place, suspended backward, with nothing but a cushion of air between them. All at once Kiara went dizzy, tempted once more by that full, supple mouth, and the satiny-looking fall of his thick brown hair. He was close enough to touch. In this moment, she wanted nothing more than to do just that.

“Some time – at some point – I’d like to hear more about that, Kiara. I’d like know how you became the woman you are.”

“I’d bore you to tears. It’s nothing extraordinary.”

“All present evidence to the contrary.” He set her gliding once again and Kiara’s stomach performed a sparkling fall-away. She delighted in his words but forced herself to brush them aside before they could take root and sway her into believing he saw richness to her spirit. After all, it was part of Ken’s persona to be gracious and encouraging.

He continued, “You're moving forward in directions that are not only admirable, but eye-opening – not just for you, most likely, but to everyone who's part of your life. Don't hold to what other people see, or expect of you, Kiara. Be who you are. And while you're at it, create the best version of yourself you can imagine. After all, the only question, with the only relevance that matters, is this: Who are you now?"

When she sailed back his way, he caught the chains of her swing once again and whispered in her ear, "I believe in you."

With that, he released her on a push, sending Kiara on another dizzying spin of sensation. He walked away, retracing his steps up the path to the cabins and mess hall. She swung to a stop then sat in silence for long moments after he left, absorbing, shivering in a way that had nothing at all to do with the cool of the encroaching night.

Thanks again for having me at the Love Romances & More Blog today! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here!!


Linda Henderson said...

I really enjoyed the excerpt. I haven't read any of your books yet, but I will definitely be looking for them.

seriousreader at live dot com

Marianne Evans said...

Thanks for a wonderful visit! I enjoyed myself very much!Hope you all enjoy Hearts Surrender! Blessings - Marianne

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Marianne, I already love these folks! Thanks for letting us get to "live" in Woodland longer and longer. I love contiuity series. If HS isn't Kindle-ready soon, I'll get the PDF. I've been checking, as I dearly want to read this followup to Hearts Crossing. God bless you, my friend, and keep 'em coming.


Donna B said...

Ooh, lovely excerpt! Very nice interview too. My only question on earth could you switch from a pantser to a plotter. Plotting kills my story every time! (But obviously not yours :-) I love 'em!)

Marianne Evans said...

Linda, thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy meeting the folks at Woodland! Blessings!

Marianne Evans said...

Tanya, you are such a blessing! Thank you so much for the love and friendship!right back to you!

Marianne Evans said...

Donna,transforming from pantster to plotter only happened out of necessity! I am adjusting but it still scares me a bit to write on spec! If I can do it, believe me, you can, too!! Blessings and so glad you dropped by!

SiNn said...

i enjoyed these excerpts and that cover with that lil girl is soooo sooooo sooo adorable ty for posting they sound great

your a new to me author def fbe addingyouto my to buy list

Ann Lee Miller said...

Please enter me in the drawing:)

Jo said...

I haven't read any of your books yet, but did enjoy reading the excerpt and know that this is a book that I do want to read.


neecy said...

Great interview Marianne, wishing you the best on your series.

Laurean Brooks said...

OOh! This is wonderful. Love your writing style, story, and characters, Marianne.

Gotta have this book! Put my name in the hat.

JBlanton said...

I love the message in the novel, Hearts Crossing- when you turn your back on God, God never, ever turns his back on you. So true!
I haven't read any of your books but after reading your "getting to know Marianne Evans" they all sound wonderful.


Andrea I said...

Include me in the giveaway. It sounds like a great book.


Sounds like a good read which I will get.


LoRee Peery said...

Terrific interview, Marianne. I so look forward to digging into this series. Best to you.

LoRee Peery said...

Terrific interview, Marianne. I wish you the best as you finish out according to plot. I so look forward to digging into this series.