Hi Marie, welcome;)
Hello Kay Dee and thank you for welcoming me on your blog today!
Love having Muse It Up sisters and brothers as featured guest authors…thanks so much for agreeing to the interview…and thanks so much for offering a giveaway (details below). Marie pens amazing historical romances, she’s here with The Lion’s Embrace, her second novel. Before we begin, here’s a bit about Marie:
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie Laval studied History and Law at university there and developed a passionate interest in historical research and the study of ancient civilizations. The beauty and mysteries of the Sahara desert always fascinated her and provide the background for THE LION’S EMBRACE, a story of adventure and romance set in 1840s Algeria and England. Marie Laval now lives in Northern England with her family.
THE LION’S EMBRACE is Marie Laval’s second novel.
Okay Marie…let’s get started;)
What drives, motivates, and/or inspires your hero, Lucas Saintclair?
Revenge and remorse. I can’t say anymore without giving the plot away, sorry!
Wow! Sort of feel left in the dark here *smiles*
Tell us what Lucas Saintclair first means to Harriet Montague?
Saintclair is the best scout in the whole of the Barbary States and Harriet needs him to lead her expedition across Algeria to Tamanrasset where her father was captured by a gang of Tuaregs – or so she believes. The daughter of a British Museum historian and archaeologist, she is used to courteous and well-mannered scholars and Lucas’ apparent ruthlessness and selfishness shocks and repels her.
Can you give us a bit about the first time Harriet meets Lucas Saintclair?
Dressed as a Tuareg, her head and face covered with a blue scarf, Harriet sneaks out one evening of the palace where she is staying while in Algiers. She just had word that Lucas Saintclair is in a tavern in town and she wants to hire him as her guide. As she reaches the ‘Seventh Star’ on the Algiers docks, she witnesses a man being attacked by a tall, dark-haired stranger and flies to his rescue. She doesn’t know it yet, but the tall, dark-haired stranger is none other than Lucas Saintclair.
This is a mini-excerpt from the scene.
“Oh, my God,” Harriet breathed out. She glanced around, but nobody was paying the two men the slightest notice. There was no time to think, a man’s life was at stake. With a muffled cry she hurled herself at the tall stranger, jumped on his back, and hooked her arms around his neck.
He let out a roar of anger and swirled round to shake her off, but she wrapped her legs more tightly around his waist.
“Bon sang! Qu’est-ce que...”
He dropped the dagger, twisted his body, and managed to grab her waist to slide her to the front so she was now against his chest. Aware she was losing her grip she lunged forward and sank her teeth into his shoulder.
He growled, held her at arm’s length, and threw her off. She fell on the cobbles. The man swore in French. Although she only caught a few words, she understood he was angry. Very angry. His victim had escaped.
She let out a sigh of relief. She had done it. She saved a man’s life. Her joy, however, was short-lived. The Frenchman leaned over, picked her up by the collar of her tunic, and lifting her as if she was no heavier than a bundle of cloth. The savage glint in his eyes dried her throat; her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Please, don’t hurt me,” she pleaded, breathless.
His eyes opened wide in shock.
Why this location? Anything in particular in real-life that made you select it?
I was always fascinated by Algeria and the Sahara desert. My French-Italian mother was born and brought up near Algiers. She left when Algeria became independent in the 1960s but she told us so many stories, and showed us so many photos, that my sisters and I grew up dreaming of going there one day.
Algeria is a huge country with many different landscapes. The Sahara is not only breathtakingly beautiful, but it has an incredibly rich history too. It wasn’t always a desert, as testify the thousands of rock art paintings and engravings that can be found there.
Whilst researching the background for the story, I fell in love with the Tuaregs’ poetry and legends, and with their music and the ‘imzad’ - the monochord violin which women play and which produces poignant, haunting melodies.
I’ve never thought of a desert as beautiful, but after listening to the emotion in your virtual voice as you describe it…has given me pause. Amazing, Marie.
Is The Lion’s Embrace included in a series? If so, what series and can you give us titles and a tagline for other books in this series?
Although the book is a stand alone novel, it is a kind of sequel to my first historical romance Angel Heart, also published by MuseItUp Publishing. Angel Heart is the story of Lucas Saintclair’s parents, Hugo and Marie-Ange and mostly takes place in France, and the Lyon are where I come from.
What are you working on now?
I am working on my third historical romance, Dancing for the Devil, which is the story of Rose Saintclair – Lucas’ sister – as she travels to the North of Scotland. Unfortunately (I really shouldn’t say that, I hope my boss isn’t reading this!), I started a full-time teaching job at the same time as I got the idea for the story.
I also completed the content editing and the line editing of both Angel Heart and The Lion’s Embrace, so it has been very difficult to find the time to write. How frustrating it is when the characters are talking to you, when the story is bursting to get out, and you don’t have enough time to do anything about it!
Where can we find you? List all of your links.
Getting to know Marie Laval…
Favorite sport to watch: rugby, except when France is losing, which unfortunately has happened quite a lot recently.
Favorite places to write: anywhere, as long as I am alone
Favorite breakfast drink: tea, black, no sugar (I limit my sugar intake to cakes, lots and lots of cakes!)
Favorite season: Spring, definitely, because the days are becoming longer and I can go for a walk in the hills or around the lake after work. There is nothing like it to put whatever happened during the day into perspective.
Thank you so much Kay Dee for welcoming me on your blog today. I look forward to reading comments and answering questions! Please include your email address when leaving a comment as someone will be selected at random to win a pdf copy of The Lion’s Embrace.
Is there any particular era/historical event that comes to your mind as a favorite for historical romance?
Drawing 8:00 PM English time (1:00 PM EST time on Sunday)
Click Cover for Buy Link
THE LION’S EMBRACE
by Marie Laval
Arrogant, selfish and dangerous, Lucas Saintclair is everything Harriet Montague dislikes in a man. He is also the best guide in the whole of the Barbary States, the only man who can rescue her archaeologist father from the gang of Tuareg fighters that has kidnapped him.
As Harriet embarks on a perilous journey across Algeria with Saintclair and Archibald Drake, her father’s most trusted friend, she discovers a bewitching but brutal land where nothing is what it seems.
Who are these men intent on stealing her father’s ransom? What was her father hoping to find in Tuareg queen Tin Hinan’s tomb? Is Lucas Saintclair really as callous as he claims—or is he a man haunted by a past he cannot forgive?
Dangerous passions engulf Harriet’s heart in the heat of the Sahara. Secrets of lost treasures, rebel fighters, and a sinister criminal brotherhood threaten her life and the life of the man she loves.
Does forever lie in the lion’s embrace?
Marie, thank you for sharing so much about your story and story-stars, loved it. The Lion’s Embrace, sounds like an excellent historical romance read. Congratulations on its release and I wish you many more successes :)
Thank you everyone for stopping in and visiting with Marie ~ show her some love ~ leave a comment/question or a question and follow her links :0)
Until Next Time…Warm Hearts & Hugs,