Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh YES, I Can!

My guest is romance author, Marie Force. Readers may be familiar with Line Of Scrimmage and Love At First Flight. Marie writes with humor and creates memorable characters.

Recently Marie branched into Romantic Suspense. She had a particular premise in mind for a series but was told it wouldn’t work. Never tell a stubborn Celt it can’t be done, as she explains:

“You can’t write a romance series that features the same couple in every book. You just can’t.”

I love the word “can’t.” I really do. Telling me I can’t do something is like dangling a red blanket in front of a bull. It just makes me want to scream CAN SO at the top of my lungs. But rather than getting mad after everyone and her sister told me I couldn’t do it, I decided to get even. I wrote FATAL AFFAIR, intending for it to launch a series featuring Washington, D.C. Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her love interest, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano. I worked hard in FATAL AFFAIR to surround Sam and Nick with a rich cast of supporting characters, and I put them in a city that will provide endless sources of story and conflict for my fearless duo as well as their friends and family.

I wrote that book, I loved that book, and my agent loved it, too. Knowing the series idea would be a tough sell to romanceland, I decided to start book 2 just to make sure I could get this plan to work the way I thought it would. (Another no-no in the writing world: starting book 2 before you sell book 1. Did someone say, “can’t”? Hmmm, thought so.)

We put FATAL AFFAIR out on submission and guess what we were told? You just can’t write a romance series featuring the same couple in every book. You can’t. Ouch. I mean, I knew it, but I still hoped someone might be willing to take a teeny tiny risk that maybe, just maybe, I COULD write a series featuring the same couple in every book. That maybe, just maybe, rabid romance readers would connect with this couple and want more, more, more! That maybe, just maybe, as a rabid romance reader myself, I knew what it took to make this work.

Meanwhile, back at book 2, I was finding it downright difficult to keep up the conflict in the relationship of my newly in love couple. You know that stage—the rose-color glasses phase when everything is hunky dory? Well, of course I couldn’t let them be TOO happy, now could I? I was 50,000 words into FATAL JUSTICE and being challenged like I’d never been challenged before when I got the official word that FATAL AFFAIR hadn’t sold.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, scream and yell and punch a few things (not people, don’t worry, although I did give my kids a heads up that it was a good day to steer clear of Mom :-). After the hissy fit subsided, my mulish Irish pride kicked in, and I set out to finish that second book.

After a significant amount of bone marrow and brain matter was donated to the cause, I finished with a scene that is probably my all-time favorite in any of my books. It took me a full year to write FATAL JUSTICE—four times longer than it took to write FATAL AFFAIR—and I finished with tears on my face because before I even wrote the words “THE END,” this book I loved with my all my heart was dead on arrival. No one would ever see it.

A year later, I sold FATAL AFFAIR to Carina, which opened its doors promising to blow the lid off the publishing world. And last week, on the fifth anniversary of the day I wrote “THE END” for the very first time in my life, Carina bought FATAL JUSTICE—eighteen months after the DOA day.

Guess what?


I couldn’t be more delighted to have found a home for these two books, and hopefully more to come in this series. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with editors who can see the potential and possibilities for Sam, Nick, and their cast of supporting characters (yes, I’m talking to you, Angela James and Jessica Schulte!). I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with the savvy, professional, incredibly author-centric group behind Carina as well as the Harlequin team supporting this effort. Every aspect of my association with Carina has been a delight.

And how about that cover?

Whoa! They gave me everything I asked for and then some!

When someone tells you that you can’t do something? Do it anyway. You just never know where it will lead you.

What about you? Have you ever been told *it can't be done*, and proven them wrong?

~ * ~ * ~

Fatal Affair

On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O'Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator's killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.

It soon becomes clear that the senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term.

Marie Force’s first romantic suspense, FATAL AFFAIR, will be out June 21, 2010 from Carina Press. Book 2 in the Fatal Series, FATAL JUSTICE, is coming soon from Carina. She is also the author of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE and LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT. Of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, Booklist said, “With its humor and endearing characters, Force’s charming novel will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, reaching far beyond sports fans.” Wild on Books said, “LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!” A third contemporary, EVERYBODY LOVES A HERO, is due out Feb. 1, 2011. Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two children and a feisty dog named Brandy.
and on Twitter at Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at


~Sia McKye~ said...

Marie, welcome to OVER COFFEE. I can understand the whole Celtic stubborness thing very well.

Pull up a comfortable chair and grab something good from the coffee bar.

Glad you're here. :-)

Cheryl Brooks said...

Speaking as one of the earliest readers of this book, I can honestly say "I knew you could!" Big congrats on proving the naysayers wrong!

Jill Lynn said...

What a great article! Just goes to show determination is the secret to success. Congratulations!

Kat Sheridan said...

Love that determination! Since I'm one who writes the kind of thing that is currently out of fashion,I totally get the idea of wanting to write what you love and to the devil with anyone else. Glad it worked out for you!

VA said...

I get a lot of "shouldn't do's", still a bad idea. I have a tendency to get into my five year old Your-Not-the-Boss-of-ME mode.

Concurring with others, an author really should go with the story their gut is telling them to write. Of course there are factors that will make something more "sellable", but the story itself is the spark of creative genius.

Desperately seeking coffee.

Marie Force said...

Hi Sia,
Thanks so much for having me! It's great to be with you today. I just got a second cup of coffee, so I should be good to go!

Hi Cheryl,
My dear friend! Yes, you read one of the first versions of Fatal Affair. Thanks for your support on the long road to publication!

Hi Jill,
I've learned that more than anything else determination and perseverance are the keys to success in this business. Thanks for coming by to say hello!

Hi Kat,
That which is out of fashion will one day be back! Keep writing what you love and eventually the market will shine its light on you! The big thing for me was the knowledge that if I said yes to a different series plan, I'd still have to write a book I didn't really want to write. That just wouldn't work for ME, no matter how much I wanted to sell Fatal Affair. Does that make sense?

VA, say pashaw to the should't dos and bring out that inner five-year-old. I am a big fan of the you're not the boss of me and NANNY NANNY BOO BOO works on occasion, too! :-)

Will be in and out today. Working this morning and then taking the kids to the beach for a while. Will check back later!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nanny nanny boo boo? *Snork

Depends upon what I want. I'm not a Don Quixote. If it's something I KNOW is good and will work and it gets shot down? You know that moment when you feel the blood drain from your chest to your feet? My philosophy is there's a reason for that. It stiffens the spine, keeps you on your feet so you can show it does.

I've been shot down for various things. One of the last things was a marketing/promotion platform I knew would work. Or it would once they got their heads out of their a$$ and *yesterday*. Chin went up, not only did I prove it but in less than the projected time. *Will never work*? HA!

Oh, I so need coffee.

VA said...

Great excerpt, Marie. Loving the set up here.

And trust me when I say I have no problem getting in touch with my five year old self. Some people wish I were a little less so.

Dana Fredsti said...

Marie, I love the way you think! And I love hearing stories like yours where you ignored the 'you can't' and nanny nanny boo boo'd (Sia, I'm stuck on that too) your way to publication with these books.

I hate being told I can't do something. IF you tell me that, give me a really good reason. Like it will cause death to a loved one or something...

JC Alexander said...

Nothing gets my back up like 'You can't'.

Says who? I say it's people who think they know more but usually know less.

Marie Force said...

Glad you all like my nanny boo! One of my more "mature" moments. LOL! If someone tells you no, prove them wrong. That's the best revenge. LOL! Thanks so much for all the great comments today! Sorry to be in and out--crazy day!