Marie Sexton on Romance, Characters, and her new release Promises (author guest blog)

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Promises by Marie Sexton
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press

Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to interview Marie Sexton, here today on tour for her re-release of her novel Promises. Welcome, Marie!

 

STRW Interviews Marie Sexton!

 

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today celebrating the re-release of my very first novel, Promises. Promises was first released back in January of 2010. The new version has been re-edited, features one expanded scene, and also contains a brand new Coda short story called Meant to Be.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Not a ton, but there’s certainly a little bit of me in each of my protagonists. Probably Angelo from the Coda series, Cody from Trailer Trash, and Trey from Family Man are the most “me.”

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Well, any character based on my life experience probably wouldn’t be a Mary Sue (or a Gary Stu). I make way too many mistakes and bad decisions for that. LOL.

Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I hate research. As an author with a degree in history, I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. I find it mind-numbingly boring. Which is why most of the time when I start out writing historical, I end up with some kind of weird AU. (My Oestend series being the primary example.)

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Nope. Didn’t read them back then and I don’t read them now. I always felt like a fraud at romance conventions because I had no idea who any of the other authors were.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Yes and no. I read SFF almost exclusively in my teens, and yet I mostly write contemporary. But I think I always gravitated towards stories with quirky characters and questionable narrators. One of my favorites as a kid was the Great Brain series, where the reader watches a young genius/con-man through the eyes of his adoring (and naïve) little brother. I love the idea that the exact same story can be vastly different when seen through the eyes of a different character, which is probably why most of my early books were written in first person. 

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I have a few, actually. First and foremost, I love my Oestend series (Song of Oestend and Saviours of Oestend). These books have everything I love to write — opposites attract, friends to lovers, redeeming a bad boy, macho cowboys, role reversal, and BDSM — all with an AU, paranormal twist. I love Trailer Trash, because it captured so much of the joys and heartaches of my teen years. I love Winter Oranges for being outlandish and yet (hopefully) believable. And as far as complexity, I think Release is probably my best work.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually he becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I think this is more about the reader than the writer. Some readers can’t stand to read about characters who make choices they wouldn’t. For example, if the character smokes, or if he and his partner aren’t monogamous, some readers will immediately DNF the book. I can’t really do anything about that. I have to write the character the way he is, smoking and all.

  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes. I did this with Trailer Trash. I originally started it way back in about 2011. Then I realized I was writing about the AIDS era, and I knew the story was going to get heavy and angsty, so I put it aside until 2015 or 2016, I think. But I did finally finish it, and I personally think it’s one of my better books.

I also kind of did this with Damned If You Do. I originally had the idea for that story when I heard the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and I started wondering what would happen if, after that first duel, the devil became a bit obsessed with Jonny and kept going back for more. But my original idea for the story would have stepped all over copyright, so I kind of put it away until a new idea came to me about a year later.

And I guess The Well was also similar. I knew for several years that I wanted to write about a group of teens who spend a night in a haunted house and wake up to find one of them has disappeared without a trace. But it took me several years to figure out what exactly had happened to Elise.

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’ve probably done this to lesser degrees multiple times, but the one instance that was HUGE was when I wrote Family Man with Heidi Cullinan. I wrote Trey’s POV, and I dumped every bit of my rage at growing up with an alcoholic parent into that book. It was awful and painful and raw, but when it was all said and done, it was incredibly cathartic. That being said, I tried doing the same thing recently with a different issue in a different work in progress, and it’s a hot, unpublishable mess. It’s been anti-cathartic, if that’s a thing. It left me even more frustrated than I was before. So… time will tell how that situation works out.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m still trying to finish book three in my Heretic Doms Club series. And I have a Tucker Springs novel to wrap up. (And because Tucker Springs and Coda are now with the same publishing house, Matt and Jared might drop in for a visit.) 😉

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check out the re-release of Promises. You can also join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts for having me here today.

Blurb

Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

About the Author

Marie Sexton is the author of over thirty published works. She’s written contemporary romance, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, historical short stories, and a few
odd genre mashups. Marie lives in Colorado , where she recently fell head – over – heels in
love with the Colorado Eagles. She’s happily married, with one teenage daughter, one adorable dog, and one very stupid cat.
You can find Marie on Twitter (@mariesexton, where she mostly talks about sports), at
http://www.MarieSexton.net , or in her private Facebook group,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/
.

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