Today we have the opportunity to chat with White Rose Publishing author Marianne Evans, winner of last year’s WRP contest with her book HEARTS CROSSING. This Friday she has a new release debuting, which we’ll tell you more about in awhile. Before we get to that though, let’s find out a bit more about the person behind the stories she writes.
Marianne, can you tell us where you were born?
I’m a complete and total Michigan native. I was born in Flint, spent my childhood in Grand Blanc (a little town between Flint and Detroit) and am now happily settled in suburban Detroit.
Can you tell us what some of your favorite things are?
I love peaceful Saturday and Sunday mornings on my deck with a cup of coffee and the sun coming up. That’s bliss!! I love getting together with friends and family – that’s always a highlight for me. I’ve worked at the same place for over 10 years now, and am very close to several of the wonderful people I work with, so we socialize as friends as well as colleagues. I love travel, I love being near the water in summer, and near a fireplace in winter. I love the smell of baking bread (my mom’s onion bread is a recipe I can replicate, and have enjoyed sharing!) munching fresh-made, stove-top created popcorn with my husband, but most of all, my favorite thing is sharing the truth of God’s love and grace through the written word, in the genre of romance. After all, love celebrates what’s best in all of us. Being able to create stories based on that truth is a huge blessing I don’t ever take for granted!
Uh no, before I get hungry with thoughts of fresh bread and popcorn tell us, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Know what? I love living in Michigan. The “Mitten” state has the best of everything – the bustle of the big city, if you’re so inclined, the Great Lakes, the primitive seclusion and peace of the northern half of the state. That said, however, I’m a big-time lover of travel. My dream place to visit is, without question, the Holy Land. I haven’t been there yet, but hope to visit someday. I get shivers even thinking about it!
Visiting the Holy Land has been my husband’s dream as well and I can understand your love for travel and home. Can you tell us what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?
Well – I was married only six months or so. I wanted to make my husband this delicious spinach/butter/garlic sauce to dip crusty Italian bread in. Typically, this sauce is served over escargot, but since the DH and I both detest escargot, but love the sauce, we made it without the squiggly occupants. Anyway, the recipe called for three cloves of garlic. I mistakenly created the sauce with three HEADS of garlic. Needless to say, it tasted pretty foul – but DH choked some down and complimented my efforts (that’s when I knew our marriage was a forever union!!) I’m ashamed to say that I disgraced my Italian heritage that day, however, it gives my family wonderful ammunition for family dinners. The story never dies – unfortunately! LOL!
That’s a riot! Of course, with the smell of garlic permeating everything, you probably didn’t want to get anywhere near him for the next week, but we’ll save that story for another time. Do you have a favorite color?
That’s the color I just painted my mudroom last week! Lets talk a bit about your writing and what inspired you. What was your favorite book growing up?
Anything by Nora Roberts, from her days as a Silhouette Romance author, is what kicked me off as an inspiration. Stephenie Meyer’s style and the ‘sweet’ yet rich, and evocative sense of romance she created in the Twilight Series brought me back, inspiration wise, after a very long dry spell.
What or who inspires you to write?
May sound a bit creepy, but the voices in my head. My characters begin as scenes/dialogue in my head, or a dream that remains with me in vivid detail. After that, the ideas refuse to leave me alone until I put it all down on paper (or, computer chip, as it were! LOL!)
I’ve heard of other artists who have that same experience, so it doesn’t sound creepy to me. What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Touching people’s hearts with something that began as nothing more than an idea in my head. Pretty amazing stuff! I love portraying God’s love, mercy, and redemption in the world of romance.
And we love reading how you portray all those things in your books! I’m curious, what music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
Too many to mention!! I love using music as a means by which to inspire my writing. It evokes so much emotion, and great lyrics can put you right into the head and heart of your characters. I’m a fan of The Fray, Five for Fighting, Billy Joel. Michael W Smith, Mark Schultz and Twila Paris are favorites I go back to time and time again. Really, though, it depends on the atmosphere I’m trying to create. If my characters are in a tough spot, I want something playing that gets me to that ‘place.’ Music is so powerful!
Okay, so tell us, I know your next book is due out on Friday. What’s it about?
Right now I’m supporting book two of the Woodland Series, Hearts Surrender. The Woodland Series came about as the result of my White Rose Publishing debut, Hearts Crossing. Books 3 and 4 of the series are titled Hearts Communion and Hearts Key. Hearts Communion revolves around Collin Edwards’ brother, Jeremy, and Monica Kittelski, the owner of a daycare center. Did I mention Jeremy (JB) comes from a large, tight-knit family? And that his lady-love, Monica, is unable to have kids of her own? Their dilemma is finding God’s hand when it seems their most dearly held wishes and prayers are destined to remain unfulfilled. Hearts Key is all about second chances at your first-ever love, and the role-reversals life can throw at you. You’ll meet Amy Maxwell and Tyler Brock in Hearts Surrender. Amy is the High School cheerleader and leader of the pack, and she’s fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, Tyler, the shy and gangly sweetheart of a boy who has loved her forever has become a Christian music phenom with a star on the rise. They’ve never forgotten one another…and Tyler is headed back to town for a benefit concert at Woodland…
About Hearts Surrender:
How did you come up for your premise of Hearts Surrender?
True story: When I wrote Hearts Surrender, and submitted it to White Rose for consideration in the Hearts Crossing contest last year, I couldn’t get two of the secondary characters, Kiara Jordan and Ken Lucerne, out of my mind. I set up a bit of groundwork in Hearts Crossing that Kiara is on the hunt for meaning, and deeply respects Woodland’s pastor, Ken Lucerne. Plot ideas formed, and both characters spoke so strongly to my heart that I began to create Hearts Surrender – a sequel to a story that I had no idea would even end up going anywhere! Pretty Risky on my part, but I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I had to write it!
For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?
Absolutely! Here you go!
Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.
Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.
A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.
After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?
How did you decide on the setting?
Well, since Hearts Surrender is book two of a series, the setting was already in place. However, I will say that choosing St. Clair Shores, Michigan as a location was very deliberate on my part as the setting. I love this area of Michigan, and Lake St. Clair is stunning!
What is the purchase link (and cost)?
$4.99 Digital / $11.99 Print
Marianne, it’s been great having you here with us today and I look forward to seeing your book out on Friday. (Make sure you folks check back here and I’ll put up the special promotion code for this weeks release day offer right here!)
Have a great week~