I am beyond excited to welcome one of my all-time favourite authors; Marie Laval to the blog for an exclusive author interview. I have been a huge fan of Marie’s books for a few years now so I am thrilled to be sharing this interview with you all.
Hello Marie, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.
Thank you very much, Frankie, for welcoming me on your blog. I am delighted to be chatting to you today.
It’s lovely having you here, Firstly, can you tell us a little about your latest book?
QUEEN OF THE DESERT is a historical novel full of adventure, treasure hunting, betrayal… and romance, of course! It is mostly set in Algeria where the hero Lucas Saintclair is hired as a guide by Harriet Montague to travel to Tamanrasset, in the South of the country, in order to rescue her archaeologist father who she believes was captured by Tuaregs.
QUEEN OF THE DESERT is first and foremost a love story between a brave and unconventional heroine who inherited a passion for archaeology from her father, and a hero who hides a broken heart and a broken soul under a harsh and roguish exterior.
However it is also the story of their journey through a captivating country, and my inspiration for both the plot and the setting was my fascination for the history, cultures and landscapes of Algeria, especially the Sahara desert and the people who live and travel across these vast, harsh but beautiful regions – the Tuaregs, or the the “Kel Tamasheq” (those who speak Tamashek) as they call themselves.
I absolutely adore this book, I love everything about it!!! When not writing, what do you like to do to relax?
When I find a little time, I love reading and going for a walk. I haven’t been as active as I used to these past few months but with the return of spring and hopefully the nice weather I am hoping to be able to get out more in the evenings after work. I love listening to the birds, and looking at the wild flowers in the fields. Even half an hour walking on the hills near my house helps clear my mind from my day to day worries. Walking often also helps me work out plot problems for my stories.
If you could have a holiday home anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to have a house in France, close to one of my sisters who lives in the Massif Central region. It’s a very beautiful and unspoilt part of France, with lots of chateaux and quaint villages, with fascinating history and stunning landscapes. Since losing my husband last year, I have been thinking more and more about moving back to France to be closer to family, but my children aren’t ready for that yet, so I’ll have to wait a few years…
Other than France, I would happily buy a house near Lyme Regis, which is where we spent many happy summer holidays as a family.
If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead characters?
It would be a dream come true to see one of my stories adapted for the cinema and I think that QUEEN OF THE DESERT would make a fantastic film. I picture someone like Emma Watson for Harriet Montague and Richard Armitage for Lucas Saintclair. They would be perfect together.
Oh my goodness, yes, they would be perfect for Harriett and Lucas!! When writing, do you plot or just go with the flow?
I never plot, Frankie. I have a general idea of where I want to go, and of what the relationship between my main characters is. Sometimes I also have the title and the last line of the novel in my mind when I start my new story, but mostly I see where my characters take me… which sometimes leads to happy surprises – or dead ends!
What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Write what you love. Write as much as you can, every day if possible. Never give up.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun; What is your favourite snacking food?
I have a weakness for cheese, biscuits, cakes and chocolate, but I am trying to be sensible with my diet. I have discovered rice cakes covered with dark chocolate and they have become my favourite snacks. Rice cakes are healthy, aren’t they?
Thank you, Frankie x
About the Author
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling LITTLE PINK TAXI was her debut contemporary romantic novel with Choc Lit. A PARIS FAIRY TALE was published in July 2019, followed by BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC in November 2019 and bestselling romantic suspense ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award. HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is her latest contemporary romance. QUEEN OF THE DESERT is Marie’s second historical romance, following on from ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE which features another member of the Saintclair family.
She also writes short stories for the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her novels are available as ebooks and audiobooks on Amazon and various other platforms.
About the Book
Sometimes the most precious treasures exist in the most barren and inhospitable of places …
Harriet Montague is definitely too much of a gentlewoman to be frequenting the backstreet taverns of Algiers. But her father has been kidnapped whilst on an expedition to the tomb of an ancient desert queen, and she’s on a mission to find the only person who could save him.
It’s just unfortunate that Lucas Saintclair, the man Harriet hopes will rescue her father from scoundrels, is the biggest scoundrel of the lot. With a bribe in the form of a legendary pirate treasure map, securing his services is the easiest part – now Harriet must endure a treacherous journey through the desert accompanied by Saintclair’s band of ruffians.
But on the long, hot Saharan nights, is it any wonder that her heart begins to thaw towards her guide – especially when she realises Lucas’s roguish façade conceals something she could never have expected?