Thank you very much, Lynda, for your kind invitation to feature on your blog and talk about the release of LITTLE PINK TAXI, my contemporary romantic suspense published by Choc Lit. I have been so looking forward to this day. It is lovely to celebrate it with you and your readers!
What was your inspiration for Little Pink Taxi?
I had two main sources of inspiration. The first one was the setting – the magnificent Cairngorms in Scotland. A few years ago I used to watch a television series called ‘Monarch of the Glen’ which featured a beautiful castle facing a loch and surrounded by a forest. It was called Glenbogle Castle, and I loved it so much that I knew I would just have to set a story in a very similar kind of castle one day. In my mind, Raventhorn – the fictitious castle in Little Pink Taxi – is almost identical to Glenbogle castle. There is a loch and a forest, and of course, the dramatic backdrop of Cairngorms.
My other source of inspiration was a pink taxi I saw a few years ago in Manchester city centre. I know that they are quite common these days, but at the time, it was the first I had ever seen, and I thought it would be fun to have my heroine drive one of them. The story developed from there.
How and when do you find time to write?
There is nothing I would love more than be a full-time writer and write all day, but I have a day job, like most of us, so my writing has to take place in the evenings or early morning at weekends. I do have the school holidays though, and I always make the most of them!
Which character is your favourite?
Rosalie is my absolute favourite, although I loved writing about all her friends in Irlwick, as well as stuck-up hero Marc Petersen whose cold heart she manages to thaw. Rosalie is a kind, warm, bubbly young woman who is very loyal to her friends and family and set up Love Taxis as a testimonial to her late mother. She is completely at odds with Marc. Even their tastes in music clash since she loves to sing to pop music, and he only appreciate jazz or classical music. Another favourite couple of mine are friendly Fergus, who operates the switchboard at Love Taxis, and his outspoken wife Marion, who works as a cleaner at Raventhorn.
Are any characters based on anyone you know?
I made them all up, even if by sheer coincidence my eldest son’s lovely girlfriend is called Alice, is a vegetarian and loves baking, just like Rosalie’s best friend. She even has dark brown hair too!
Do you ever become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them? Or are you happy to let them go and move on to the next project?
I always grow attached to my characters, but I suppose it’s only natural, having spent months, if not years in their company. It takes me a long time to complete a novel, and I am not even talking about the editing phase… In that time, I usually have been spending more time with my characters than with many of my friends! However, I will keep in touch with Marc and Rosalie since my next two novels which feature Marc’s childhood friends, journalist Cédric Castel, and secret agent turned wine-grower Luc Peyrac.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
I can honestly say that all three are linked, although being a pantser, the story only really develops as I go along. For LITTLE PINK TAXI, I knew that I wanted to write about Scotland again (I had just finished a historical romance set near Cape Wrath in the Far North of Scotland). I wanted my heroine to live in a castle based on the one in ‘Monarch of the Glen’ TV series, and drive a pink taxi. And the plot developed from that.
How long does it take you to write a book and what sort of research do you do?
Being a full-time teacher and a mum of three (even though my two elder sons are now quite grown up), I don’t have much time to write during the week or in term-time. Therefore I would say that it takes me about a year to complete the first draft of a novel. Then of course, there is the re-writing, and the editing!
I spend a long time researching background information to make sure my facts are as accurate as possible, although I will confess that I sometimes use what we writers call ‘poetic licence’. Researching is one of my biggest pleasures, but it often leads me astray, and I can waste quite a lot of time experimenting with new ideas and subplots, before reverting to my original ideas. That’s the prob
What part of writing do you find most challenging?
It depends, Lynda. Every story, and almost every day is different. There are times of intense happiness when the words flow, the story works well and the characters talk to me. Then there are times of frustration, despair and gloom, when I feel like giving up.
Can you describe the moment when you realised you were a real ‘author’?
I am still not sure I am, Lynda!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
To write what you love, and persevere. I often say that I could have easily given up submitting work after receiving my first rejection letters. I am so glad I didn’t.
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for a number of years. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors, she writes contemporary and historical romance. Her native France very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!
LITTLE PINK TAXI is Marie’s second contemporary romance and is published by Choc Lit. It is available here.
Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.
Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.
On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …