Friday, June 14, 2013

FILLING THE CREATIVE CUP






My guest is author, Mia Marlowe, who is a prolific writer. Her topic today is how to regroup and refill the creative cup.  
For the past couple years, I've been writing like a house afire, producing 4-5 full length novels plus the occasional novella in each cram-packed 12 month period. Since I have two publishers (Sourcebooks and Kensington) to please, plus releasing a number of self-pubbed novels, it’s been necessary. However, now that I’m ready to start another couple of contracts, it became clear that I needed a bit of time to regroup. We also had an anniversary and 4 years of me being cancer free to celebrate. My DH of many years suggested we run away together.

So toward the end of May, we did.

We booked a 12 day cruise around the British Isles. The weather was on the coolish side, and we made good use of our umbrellas more than once, but it proved to be just what I needed. We rested. We played. We soaked up the sights, sounds, smells and tastes (ask me about haggis, neeps & tatties sometime!) of the UK. I know I’ll use so much of what I experienced in my upcoming books.

Still, I felt a bit self-indulgent about the trip. I should be able to conjure up Regency England and 16th century Scotland purely out of my internet/library research and imagination.

But then at our last stop, I realized there’s no substitute for actual experiences. And we writers aren't the only ones who need to prime the creative pump from time to time. When we visited Claude Monet’s house just outside of Rouen, France, I was treated to a peek inside that genius’s head. His home was very simple, and not at all spacious considering that eight children and two adults lived there. Perhaps that was its charm. Monet wasn't distracted by a plethora of “things.” He had what he needed to be comfortable and no more. The lack of extraneous “stuff” freed him to be creative. 


It gave me a fresh appreciation for our Boston condo. At 1100 square feet, it’s not going to win any prizes for expansive living space, but it provides all that’s needful. And it’s easier to keep clean than a big place, which is important when I’m deep in my “bookhead” and can’t come out for mundane things like housework. 

But the real treat at Monet’s home was his garden. It was a riot of color. Fortunately for us, Europe is experiencing a late spring and all the irises were in full bloom. I’d never seen so many different colors. In addition to his French garden, he also created a water garden, diverting a bit of the Seine onto his property to meander through his stands of bamboo and drooping wisteria. It was heavenly.

I discovered even Monet needed more than his imagination. He needed the shifting play of light on the surface of the smooth water. He needed the twitter of birdsong and the soft ruffle of the stream. He needed the intoxicating fragrance of green growing things.

If an acknowledged creative genius needed those things, how much more do I?

So now that I’m home again, I’m ready to start my new stories with fresh vigor and sensual memories I can bequeath to my characters. My imagination is fully primed and ready to churn out experiences my readers can enjoy through my words as if they’re wearing in my heroine’s shoes.

Speaking of trying on someone else’s life, let me invite you to slip in Lady Georgette’s...

                                                                                                                                                        

BUY: AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND
ONE NIGHT WITH A RAKE – IN STORES JUNE 2013
BY CONNIE MASON AND MIA MARLOWE

For King and Country, Three Notorious Rakes Will Put All Their Seductive Skills to Work.
After All, The Fate of England's Monarchy is in Their Hands.

Since the death of his fiancée, Nathaniel Colton's polished boots have rested beneath the beds of countless wayward wives and widows of the ton. He's careful to leave each lady smiling, and equally careful to guard his heart. So seducing Lady Georgette should pose no problem. But the beautiful reformist is no easy conquest, and Nate's considerable charm fails to entice Georgette to his bed. To woo her, Nate will have to make her believe he cares about someone besides himself--and no one is more surprised than Nate when he realizes he actually does. Excerpt





                                                                                                                                   

Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews in 1994. She currently lives in Florida.
Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston. Together, they are working on the next book in the Royal Rakes series, Between a Rake and a Hard Place, which will be in stores in January 2014. For more information, please visit www.miamarlowe.com

You can also find Mia on Twitter and Facebook!  

28 comments:

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

A most enjoyable post, interesting and a joy to read,

Yvonne.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. how lovely to read that Mia is cancer free and her DH delighted her with a cruise around our little island and into France to see Monet's home ...

You can feel the creative spirit raising it's writing pen here - saying let's go ..

Good luck to Mia and you with your writing times ... 'One Night with Rake' sounds a fun read - and I love those sorts of novels .. and I'm sure many others do too .. cheers Hilary

Yolanda Renee said...

Love reading about the creative genius of other authors, inspiring in itself!

Who doesn't like a Rake!

Sia, please come on over for my 3ups post all about you!
Defending the Pen - http://yolandarenee.blogspot.com/2013/06/i-salute-sia-mckye.html

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We all need a change of scenery to freshen the inspiration. And I'm impressed with how many books you write a year!

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah a change of pace on should every once in a while surely embrace.

Mia Marlowe said...

Yvonne, thank you. Glad you enjoyed my visit to Monet's home.

Mia Marlowe said...

Hilary, I adore the UK and all things associated with your "little isle." I've enjoyed many happy hours strolling though London's museums and exploring your castles and country homes. This was my first trip to Scotland though and I was enchanted by the Highlands.

Mia Marlowe said...

Yolanda-Actually, I don't much like a rake unless I can reform him. Fortunately, my heroine is up to the task!

Mia Marlowe said...

Alex, my output will be less this year--only 3 full manuscripts. I needed a breather. ;-)

Mia Marlowe said...

Pat, I especially love a change of pace that comes with a swaying deck beneath my feet!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mia, I agree with Hilary. What a wonderful way to celebrate being cancer free and how very productive you've been.

You write some wonderful stories! And they only good rake is a reformed one.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yolanda, what a wonderful surprise! I'm touched with your thoughts on my blog over at Defending the Pen. Thank you!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Your beautiful pictures added a lot to my creative cup this morning. So glad I stopped in to say hi!

I'm a new visitor, but I'll be back. Loved your post.

Al Diaz said...

I love Monet and I also seek for ways to refresh my creativity. Gardens work really well. I wish I cold write as many books as you do in a year.

Jo said...

I cannot imagine cruising around Scotland, not noted for its nice weather after all. I was 2 the last time I was there and apparently it was thick snow. Monet's home looks great.

Regency England really catches hold with some people. I am a devotee of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.

Enjoyed your post. Also enjoyed Yolanda's shout out about you Sia.

Mia Marlowe said...

C.Lee--I'm always moved by beauty and Monet's water gardens were like a spiritual retreat.

Mia Marlowe said...

Al, I've been known to base characters on paintings, though I can't claim to have used any of Monet's canvases yet.

Necessity is the mother of productivity as well as invention. I had deadlines to meet and I was determined to meet them.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lee, this was a great article on filling up the creative cup. Glad you enjoyed it.

Al--Mia has been phenomenally productive this year and I tip my hat to her for it!

Mia Marlowe said...

Jo, I'll admit it, the weather was chilly. We only squeaked out of the 50s on one day and made frequent use of our umbrellas. It was far too cold to sit out on our lovely veranda and I so wanted to as we slipped between the Hebrides on our way to Orkney. But it was still a wonderful trip and I'll probably dress my characters a bit more warmly because of it!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mia, I think gardens and just being outside enjoying the beauty can be almost spiritual. I do love my flowers and all the birds and butterflies flitting about.

Rouen has fabulous light for art and gardens. Glad you had the chance to visit Monet's home. Honestly, we don't NEED a lot to be happy, do we?

~Sia McKye~ said...

I had to giggle a bit at Jo's comment on cruising Scotland. It's certainly a unique place to visit and there are sunny days and gorgeous scenery that just lends itself to telling stories. Anytime I've visited it's been decidedly cool, even in the heart of summer and the midges in the summer--yeck. Those little bloodsuckers are nasty. Makes our mosquitoes look tame in comparison.

Mia, smart move to dress your characters warmer. I always laugh when I see books featuring Scottish men with bare arms and chests and a little teeny plaid scarf across it. Looks great on a cover, but not very realistic. lol!

Mark Koopmans said...

Wow!
Congrats
Mia! all those books that's amazing!

Mia Marlowe said...

Mark--Don't blame me, Mark. It's my characters. They just can't wait to get their stories out there!

Mia Marlowe said...

Sia, I LOVE Scotland! It was wild and quaint and heartbreaking (we visited Culloden) all at the same time.

Thanks so much for having me today! I'll pop back again tomorrow morning to catch up on the evening crowd. Cheers!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Sia, Hi, Mia,

How cool to visit Monet's house and GARDEN!!!! I have my degree in art and I LOVE MONET. The French impressionists counted on LIGHT and their surrounding to create such wondrous works of art.

Artists at that time traveled from all over to travel to France because of the amazing light.

As artists WE ALL need to have outside stimulants to fire up the muse. I know I need my walks through nature to set my imagination into overdrive.

I write with lush details and I pull them from all my years of travel.

SO happy to hear you are cancer free, MIa.... STAY WELL. Cancer is horrible. Both my parents had it and my dad died from it. SO I CHEER for those sweet people who manage to KICK it out of their bodies.

ALL THE BEST with your newest novel!

Carol Kilgore said...

Mia, your trip sounds amazing! And truly a celebration. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Waving to Sia! Thanks for hosting such an inspiring writer.

Mia Marlowe said...

Michael--I'm in awe of artists and would love to see your work. Do you have a website? You're right about Monet. He was absolutely drunk on light and the way it changed his perceptions.

I'm very thankful to be cancer-free and I can only credit God's grace and early detection. Don't ever skip a screening. What you don't know CAN hurt you.

Mia Marlowe said...

Thanks, Carole. It was a wonderful getaway. My DH and I will be talking about it for years. I'm already afraid I'm boring anyone else with it, but it was such an amazing time. For example, two of our table mates each night were WWII vets. It's so unusual to find any of these heroes still walking around, let alone TWO of them who are hale and hearty enough to still be traveling in the 90's! Of course, I blogged about them on my website.