Bio: Schooled by experts such as Perry Mason, Jessica Fletcher, and Dr. Mark Sloan, Marji Laine writes the mysteries she craves with a touch of romance and a thread of faith. Her series are made up of stand-alone stories with satisfying endings where justice prevails. She sets most of her books in and around the
area, where she has lived all of her life, or in the small towns of East Texas that she adores.
A homeschooling mom of four, she loves to discuss possible book scenarios with her daughters. Their conversations have even been known to alarm waiters and store clerks. At which point, one of her girls will roll her eyes and say, “My mom's an author.” That pretty much explains the way her mind works.
Dear Readers, Marji Laine is a dear, dear friend. I’m thrilled to share her first full-length novel with you. She’s a member of the critique group that meets in my home, and we were privileged to critique most of this book. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT!!
Welcome back, Marji. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I write a lot of my faith into my characters. My heroine’s tend to pray as they think things through. I do the same thing, inviting the Lord into my day and staying aware that He’s there. Cat and I also share a fondness for Diet Pepsi and legacy. She doesn’t think she’s the right person to fill her father’s shoes. Boy, can I appreciate that feeling and the self-doubts that go along with it!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I talk for my dog and the trouble is, he’s a lot funnier than I am. Probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done was in college. One summer, the high-rise dorm was empty and my soon-to-be hubby’s roommates were the night security guards. So on Friday nights, we’d get a huge group together and play a stone-age version of laser tag, with water guns. Some outlandish things happened with that, I can tell you!
You just reminded me of what probably was my craziest, and most dangerous, thing I ever did. And it was in college. On our campus undeveloped land, which was in the foothills of the
Ozark Mountains, there was some kind of
pipe that stretched from one hill to another over a deep small valley. It had
to be over seventy feet in the air. The pipe was less than 12 inches in
diameter. I walked across that thing one time. If I’d have fallen, it would
have killed me. (grimace) When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always loved writing. Co-wrote my first screen play at the age of seven, with my best friend who was eight. But I realized God’s call on my life to this career almost six years ago. My mom asked me: if money and time weren’t issues what would I want to be doing. I answered, “Write!” I surprised myself, but not my mom. She’d always seen it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
That has really opened up with my new role at Write Integrity Press. If I’m simply selecting a book for free time (That is still a thing, right?) I’ll lean toward the romantic suspense novels or funny cozy mysteries. But I also enjoy a great historical romance, like mail-order bride series, and I have a few fantasy authors who write some of my favorite books! And then there are the straight romance novels. Those are pretty standard! In fact, I guess the only genre in the Christian realm of books that doesn’t really interest me is thriller. Wow, I like a lot of books!
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I laugh a LOT! In fact, I posted a joke the other day after I’d spent at least five hours (No, I’m not exaggerating!) in my car, spread over the course of the daylight, transporting teenagers to jobs, classes, and various activities. I posted the definition of a mother of teenager’s life = I do run-run-run. I do run-run! (Only folks who remember the 70’s will appreciate that quote.) Stress can break anyone, so I try to always do my best and not sweat the times when my best isn’t enough.
Good advice. Before my children got their driver’s licenses, I saw a bumper sticker that I wanted. “If a woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in the car?” How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes, the characters come with names. Then there are a few characters that I dub victim, hero, best bud, or meanie face. There have been a few of those tags that have become names. And then, there are those that I’ve researched and examined. Googled and sought the meaning of to make sure they match the character. Those names aren’t really any better than the ones I’ve named after their character tags.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Proud isn’t exactly the word. I’m pleased to be releasing this, my debut novel, that has been almost six years in the making. I’m excited to learn what people think of this. (And terrified.) I’m giddy that it will finally be in people’s hands in just over a week!
It took eight years before my first book was published. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
This makes me think of an old saying that made the rounds as email was becoming more and more used. I wanna be a bear. They get to sleep half the year. They can do tricks like catching fish in their bare hands – bear claws. Getting fat is normal, expected, and attractive. Females have babies the size of a large peanut while they are sleeping, and the kids know better than to tick-off Mom. Yep, I’d choose a bear.
What is your favorite food?
I don’t have a favorite. I really don’t. I love sugar free Hershey’s chocolates with caramel fillings, but other than that, I’m a fan of food. I like toffee cookies and snickerdoodles (sugar free), chicken enchiladas, queso, biscuits and gravy, filet mignon, fettucine alfredo, chicken parmesan, and chili with rice and Fritos. Does that narrow it down at all?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest issue was that I thought I knew what I was doing. I had a teaching degree with an emphasis in English and knew when to use semi-colons. I was set, right? You and some of the other wonderful people from the DFW chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers gently informed me that I was a dunderhead. Lol! Not really, but you did an amazing job of training me through weekly critique groups. For more than a year, I attended two per week and learned as much from listening to critiques on other manuscripts as I did from the comments on my own.
Tell us about the featured book.
This was one that you critiqued on,
Finally coming in print. Squee! Here’s the short version:
Cat McPherson felt she’d lost everything when her father died, but as the target of a madman bent on revenge, she still has much to lose. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart.
Keeping Cat safe from a fallen cartel leader might prove impossible for Ray, but after seeing his mission destroyed and several godly people killed, he knows better than to ignore the man’s threats. Cat’s resistance to his protection and the stirring of his long-denied feelings for her complicate his intentions, placing them both in a fight for survival.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“A boy.” Sevilla clapped his hands. The smack echoed against the bare adobe dome. “He will be a fine boy.” He beat his boot heels on the marble floor. His black beard bounced against his white tunic. “Ha. Go upstairs, wife. Lie down. Rest.”
“I have plans for the afternoon.” Oleta took a step backward, putting the leather sofa between them. Her large eyes wary. But her middle already showed evidence of his child.
“You will do as I say.” He snapped in her direction and put his back to her. His child would be the heir to his business. His kingdom. He must be strong and healthy. “Go now and take care of my son.”
“He is my son, too.” The woman’s voice cracked. She pressed her back against the wall.
She tested his good humor. His eyes hardened as he shot her a glare. His hands fisted at his side, prepared to take action on her insolence.
But this was supposed to be a joyful time. He relaxed his muscles and applied a measured smile under his black whiskers. “Be careful, Oleta. I cannot guarantee that my gratitude will last too far beyond my son’s birth.”
She stiffened. Good. She should be scared. She’d seen enough to know her fortunate circumstances and to be thankful for them.
Sidestepping out of his study, she scurried up the stairs. Her heels clicking like the little mouse she was. Popping in a hollow manner. The sounds grew louder. She gasped as glass broke, echoing in the entrance of his villa.
“Oleta?” He stepped toward the great hall.
“Señor Sevilla.” Two from his security. Good. He needed answers.
“Go, check on Oleta. Make sure my son is all right.”
Captain Ortega gestured to the other man. “We must get you to safety.”
“Another drill? These are getting tiresome.”
“They prepare your security team to keep you safe, sir.” Ortega ushered him through the thick hallway to his helicopter hanger.
The other man had seen to Oleta. “Make sure my wife comes.”
The captain touched his earpiece and issued the order.
Sevilla climbed aboard the revving bird and looked back.
Ortega grew pale. “We must go.” He climbed aboard.
“Not until Oleta arrives. She is carrying my son. My heir.” His humor returned. A young prince to carry on his legacy.
The angled roof sections lifted.
“Stop. I will not leave without her.”
“We have to go, Señor.” Ortega strapped a belt around Sevilla and shouted at the pilot.
“I will have your head.” Sevilla kicked at the man, willing him to fall out of the gaping side of the transport. No such luck.
I don’t remember this scene in the first draft. I love it. How can readers find you on the Internet?I’m pretty easy to find. I’m always around my website and blog, http://MarjiLaine.com, and I usually have Facebook open so I get notices when folks comment on my page, /MarjiLaine. I’m also on Twitter and Goodreads, but nowadays I also hang out at the Write Integrity Press website: http://WriteIntegrity.com. Anyone wanting to chat can email me from the contact page on either website.
Thank you, Marji, for sharing this new book with us. I absolutely love the cover.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Counter Point (Heath's Point Suspense Book 1)
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