With a number of authors of suspense, mystery, and thrillers on the list of "suspense sisters," we can usually find one of them with a book about to release. In this case, I'm pleased to host author Marji Laine.
Q. Marji, it looks to me as though you constantly perform a juggling act—family, writing, teaching, your involvement in the publishing industry, and goodness knows what else. Want to let us in on the secret of how you do it?
A. I make a lot of lists. SERIOUSLY! I have a weekly schedule (meals included) posted on the fridge that is a duplicate of the more extensive one on my internet calendar. I also have a task pad dry erase board next to the calendar to list details that would otherwise fall between the cracks. The highpoints of both the calendar and the to-dos are also on a sticky note on my computer desk top. I highlight the “must get dones” for every day. I know … I’m a little over-the-top about planning. I’m even giddy over the aspect of getting a new desk calendar. All those empty boxes just waiting to be filled. I think I’ll get a set of colored pens to use on it!
Q. I honestly didn’t realize there was a business in scrapbooking, but apparently you were quite successful at it. What made you go from that to your involvement in writing?
A. Scrapbooking became the “new quilting bee” in the 90’s and through most of the first decade. I love working with my hands, and with 4 kids all needing graduation books for their receptions, it was an easy choice of jobs. I did enjoy it, especially all of the folks I got to meet. But when my mom asked me what I would do if time and money were no issue, I said, “Write.” I surprised myself, but I didn’t surprise Mom. She knew I’d always loved to create stories. A month later, I actually pushed through and completed my first novel. From then on, I knew the path I needed to pursue and jumped into writing with all of my energy.
Q. You’ve been the Suspense Sister who deals with reviews and “what’s new” in the genre for some time now. Doesn’t that take a lot of your time? Why do you do it? And how?
A. I have learned so much from reviewing and critiquing other books. What better way to see what works in romantic suspense than to analyze and go deep into what I loved about the last book I read? It does take a lot of time, but I tend to listen to books when I’m driving. (And with teenagers, I’m driving a LOT!)
Q. Your latest novel, Counter Point, released October 30. Can you tell us a bit about it?
A. It’s my latest and also my first full novel, almost five years in the making. I had a weird dream one night with a pretty gruesome scene in it. I realized that my dream-self had come upon the crime scene where a hit man had been murdered. Well, the plot just ballooned after that, though the scene itself didn’t actually make it into the book.
My main character, Cat, is in the midst of life-changing lost. The final straw is the news that her former boyfriend, now a missionary, has gone missing. Not only is the man, Ray, on the run from revengeful drug lord, he learns that the cartel leader intends to kill the people he cares about the most, the first being Cat.
Q. And what message would you like to give the readers of this blog?
A. The folks that frequent the Suspense Sisters’ site have always been so gracious and supportive to all of the authors who visit. I would give a big thank you, first. I’d also encourage readers to give the authors they love a special gift. A positive review. It’s the nicest five minutes you can give an author if you’ve enjoyed his or her book.
And thanks to you, Doc Mabry, for hosting me and supporting my journey! Blessings on yours!
Marji will provide a copy of Counter Point to a person whose comment is randomly selected from those left here. Please don't forget to include your email address with your comment so we can contact the winner. And remember, books are a great Christmas gift.
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