CG: Hi Marie! It’s great to have you here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
MH: Cindy, thanks for having me as your guest. A little about myself, you say? Well, I’ve been around the writing world a long time, so I’ll try to make this quick. lol I’ve been writing since I was a junior in high school. My first real writing experience was when I was asked to write a skit for my church’s youth group. I was very excited, and received an award for “Funniest”. A few years later, I wrote another skit – for the adults. I won an award for “Best Written”. That’s all it took for me to know I loved to write – and I loved romance – so that’s what pushed me to where I am today. On a personal note, I’m married with three daughters and three grandchildren, and I’ve lived in Utah all my life. I work full time for the state of Utah, and dream about when I can quit and write full time.
CG: Why did you start writing Christian romances?
MH: Because I love romance so much, I’ve been an avid reader for years. Not very often did I find a Christian romance that I really liked. When I read, I have to have adventure, mystery, humor, and romance (of course) in my stories. I could never find a story that gave me all of these. This is how I like to write my books – and since I consider myself a faithful Christian, I thought I would try to start a new trend in Christian romances and write what I know! (grins)
CG: Tell us a bit about your new Christian publisher.
MH: Walnut Springs Press is out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They have been around (under a different name – Leatherwood Press) for several years. They publish several genres, and release approx 20 books a year. Their books are available in most bookstores, Walmart and Costco. They don’t have a website, but a blog instead. Here are their submission guidelines –
http://walnutspringspress.blogspot.com/2010/02/submission-guidelines.html One of the things I love about this publisher is the editor and Marketing Director are so easy to work with and help me out whenever I need it. Another thing that impressed me about this publisher is they not only take Christian romances… but they take sweet romances. I definitely can help them out in both areas!
CG: What kind of books do you write?
MH: The first book Walnut Springs Press published was Winning Mr. Wrong, which is a contemporary romantic comedy. The second book, Heart Of A Hero, is a historical romance. My third story (which we’re in the process of editing now) is a ghost story, mystery, time-travel – My Heart’s Desire. So, as you can see, Cindy, my writing is all over the board. Although…I must mention how much I love historicals, so you’ll see a lot of that genre from me.
CG: We all know that writers started as readers. What do you like to read? Any favorite authors?
What are you reading now?
MH: The first book I read and fell in love with was from Kathleen E Woodiwiss, A Rose In Winter. I love books that have a lot of adventure, a bit of mystery, and definitely some humor. I also enjoy reading Anita Stansfield, Rachel Nunes, and Josi Kilpack. The only thing I’m currently reading is stories from my crit partners, Melissa Blue, and Melissa Dawn Harte. (yeah, I know… I just love the name Melissa, right? lol)
CG: Tell us about your books.
MH: Winning Mr. Wrong is a romantic comedy – an LDS novel. Here is the blurb:
Whoever said the quest for love wasn’t comical never met Charlene Randall. Charley is looking for a man who wants to start a family, and a man who will take her to the temple. Problem is, she has never dated a man for longer than three months. When she reads an internet article called “Ten Ways to Win Your Man,” she decides to try it on her new coworker, Maxwell Harrington. Max was her crush in high school, but the superstar sports anchorman doesn’t even remember her.
Enter ladies’ man Damien Giovianni, Charley’s handsome neighbor, who agrees to help her win Max over. What follows is a hilarious story of mishaps and misunderstandings where Charley learns that what she really needs may be right in front of her.
Here is the blurb for Heart Of A Hero, my historical romance:
There's a new hero in town . . .
When Summer Bennett returns to Richfield after a five-year stint at her aunt’s finishing school, she discovers a lot has changed. Her father has suffered a crippling injury, and Summer is desperate to get the money to pay for surgery that could allow him to walk again. She hears of a reward offered for the capture of a cunning gang of bank robbers, and her years of etiquette training fall by the dusty roadside.
What Summer doesn’t count on in her quest to capture the bandits is the competition from her family’s longtime friend, Jesse Slade. Now a deputy marshal and local hero, Jesse keeps thwarting Summer’s plans, just like he did when she wore pigtails. She would like nothing more than to use Jesse’s head for a slingshot target, but soon Summer finds her aim shifting from his head to his heart. Problem is, Jesse is engaged to her sister Violet.
For seven years, little Summer Bennett was the burr under Jesse’s saddle. Now he feels a different irritation as Summer is always on his mind—whether he wants her to be or not. But Summer’s father expects him to marry Violet, and he won’t let him down. So why does Jesse find himself encouraging Summer’s attentions, and why do sparks fly every time they are together?
Here is the blurb for my ghost story, My Heart’s Desire, (coming out the first of 2011):
When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so taking on a client who insists she’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost. Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily ever after happen when she’s already dead?
CG: What do you like most about being an author? What do you like least?
MH: There are so many things to love about being an author. Writing is my getaway and I enjoy creating new stories – and making my characters do what I say (since my children don’t know how). Being an author just means I’ve accomplished something that I love to do anyway. I love hearing from readers, and when they tell me how much they enjoy my story and how they can’t put it down… I swear my smile is permanently fixed to my face for days after that!
What do I like least? Well… I’m an impatient person, so I want my stories out NOW! I want the money NOW! And I want the bookstores to order my books NOW. That’s something I definitely have to work on because it’s not happening the way I want it! lol
CG: How can readers get in touch with you and follow your work? Where can they buy your books?
MH: I have a blog - http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com/ And I can be found on Facebook. I would love to have readers email me – firstname.lastname@example.org My books can be ordered online through my publisher’s distribution company - http://brighamdistributing.com/search.php?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=marie+higgins Or my books can be ordered at any store if they haven’t ordered them already. (grins) Walmart and Costco carry my publisher’s books as well, but for some reason they take a little longer to get in their stores. Or, if you’re a Goodreads fan, my books can be found there as well. http://www.goodreads.com/
CG: Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
MH: Right now Goodreads is having a contest and they’re giving away three copies of Heart Of A Hero. Here is the link – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9462264
Here is an excerpt from my newest release – Heart Of A Hero –
The deputy marshal must be the one holding me. Summer Bennett let her body relax against the contours of his body. Normally, she wouldn’t want to be protected and cared for by a man, but at the moment she was reluctant to break the spell.
She dared a peek at his face. His deep blue eyes grabbed her attention. Kind eyes. Sunlight glinted off the golden tones of his light brown hair. He must have sensed her watching, for his square jaw changed shape and a soft smile bracketed his mouth.
He was very handsome. She couldn’t have dreamed up a better vision of a hero, and dream it must be because things this good just didn’t happen to her. Safety and security spread over her like a warm blanket and she melted against him, closing her eyes while his long fingers continued to stroke her cheek. It was the first time in her life she had allowed a man to touch her like that—a soft stroke, a gentle caress—and the first time she had ever really relaxed in a man’s presence.
She sighed. Wonderful.
“How do you feel, Summer?”
The soft baritone voice rumbling in his chest seemed oddly familiar. Summer frowned and took a second peek at his hair and his mouth. He gave her a full smile. Awareness tugged at her memory and a large knot formed in the pit of her stomach. When recognition came, it struck like a thick piece of wood right between her eyes. She jerked, moving off the comfortable nest she had made of his chest.
A crafty smile claimed his face. “The one and only, darlin’.”
She widened her eyes. “Darlin’? I’m not now, nor will I ever be your darling, Jesse Slade.” She couldn’t believe her rotten luck. She fought to move from his grasp, batting his hands away. “Get your hands off me.”
“Be still Summer, or—”
“Let me go,” she demanded.
“Tarnation, Summer.” His hands moved to her waist. “You’re as slippery as a wet weasel.”
“Quit touching me and put me down.”
Although he tried to hold onto her, she managed to slither from the horse.
“Of all the confounded foolish female stunts.” He pulled the horse to a halt and dismounted.
The moment her feet touched the ground, dizziness overtook her and she plopped down on her bottom. When Jesse reached for her, she slapped at his hands.
She glanced up at him from her undignified position and clenched her teeth. “You. Of all people, it had to be you.” Holding onto a stirrup, she pulled herself to her feet and gazed into the heavens. “Why Lord? Why me?”
“There’s no need to get your feathers ruffled.” Jesse looked at the blood oozing from her shoulder wound. “Look what you’ve done. You’re bleedin’ again.”
She glanced at her injury. It was worse than she thought, but she’d die before admitting it to him. She was not riding into town perched on Jesse’s lap for the whole town to see.