I’m very excited to be hosting the amazing Marie Sexton for this Q&A session. Marie is one of my favorite m/m writers, her book Promises was the first m/m romance I ever read and I was instantly hooked.
Her latest book, Between Sinners and Saints, is already available from Amber Allure, you can buy the electronic version here, and eventually you will be able to buy it on paperback as well.
This book sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to read it. In the meantime let’s give a warm welcome to Marie who is fantastic, awesome and a little bit fearless since she agreed to be interviewed by a newbie blogger like me…
Marie: It wasn’t really a decision at all. I had a sudden inspiration for a story. I’d never written anything before, so I felt like a fraud, but I kept writing. I spent a few months working on it, and it turned into Promises. Once it was done, I figured I may as well submit it. I wasn’t sure it was good enough to be published, but I figured I had nothing to lose by trying. The first publisher I sent it to rejected it, but the next one, Dreamspinner Press, accepted it, and suddenly, I was an author! It was all very sudden and very surreal.
Were you always a fan of the genre?
Marie: I’d only been reading m/m for about a year when I started writing it. Before that, I read primarily fantasy. I could count the number of het romances I’ve read on one hand, but there was something about having two men involved that really intrigued me.
Do you see yourself mixing it up and writing f/m or f/f romances in the future?
Marie: I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future. However, I’m a big fan of the phrase, “never say never.”
Since I started reading m/m romance I have noticed that there are a lot of female writers and a lot of female readers. Why do you think that is?
Marie: You could probably ask a hundred female fans or authors in the genre and get just as many answers. I think for some, it’s a way of escaping the restraints of male/female sexual roles and expectations. For others, it’s a matter of not having to deal with those heroines of het romance, who are sometimes a little too spunky or a bit too perfect. For some, it’s a way of exploring their own sexual preference or gender identity (I don’t think gay/straight or male/female are black and white - I think most of us are shades of grey in both areas). I think some people just like to see men opening up and being vulnerable with each other. And I think for some, it’s simply that two men together can be unbelievably hot.
I have read and enjoyed every single one of your books, but my all-time favorite is One More Soldier. That book has a different tone than your other books and it deals with some very serious issues. I don’t know if you were trying to make a statement, but you sure did, at least with me, and I believe that everyone should read it. How did you come up with that story? The characters felt so real to me that I was wondering if they were based on someone you knew?
Marie: One More Soldier is actually a story I stole from my good friend Ethan Stone. Ethan and I have been friends since before either of us was published. One day, he sent me a story he’d written years before and said, “Do you think this is any good?”
His story was quite a bit different from mine. It was set in current-day and had nothing to do with Vietnam. It had a traditional HEA ending. It had TONS of sex. But there was an idea there that intrigued me. He and I talked about it for a bit, and we debated trying to co-author something, but in the end, he said, “I’m not feeling it. You should write it.”
Even then, I didn’t know quite where it was going, but once I realized it was set in the Vietnam era, the story took on a life of its own.
Your new book, Between Sinners and Saints, takes place in Miami and introduces us to a new couple, Levi and Jaime. What else can you tell us about the book?
Marie: Between Sinners and Saints started because I wanted to write about a playboy and a bookworm. In the end, Jaime didn’t want to be a bookworm, so I scrapped that part. But it turned out that Jaime was a very damaged person. He had a lot of personal demons.
For Levi, I knew he came from a big family. I knew his family believed his lifestyle was a sin, but I also knew they weren’t a bunch of homophobic assholes. There was something else there at work. I realized the obvious answer was that he was Mormon. From there, the story really began to grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated.
This book was also my first venture into 3rd person, and I still find it a bit odd when I read it.
Are you a Sinner or a Saint?
Marie: Ha! Definitely a sinner. However, like Levi, I come from a family of Saints. My immediate family is more of a mixed bag, but my extended family are all LDS. I don’t consider myself Mormon, or even Cristian, for that matter, but I’ve always been sensitive to the number of misunderstandings surrounding Mormonism.
Are you working on a new book? Will we see Levi and Jaime again? Will they be part of their own series?
Marie: It is VERY possible you’ll see Levi and Jaime again, but I’m not working on it yet. I currently have a novella about space pirates that’s about 90% finished. The problem is, it’s been 90% finished for about a month now, so I’m not sure what’s going on with that. I have a brand new, top-secret project that’s in the very early, contemplative stage. I don’t know where that will go either. I also have a novel coming out in August called Song of Oestend. This is my first non-contemporary m/m novel, and I may end up writing more in that universe eventually as well.
And last, since we are a blog about romance novels, we have to ask: what’s your favorite romance novel?
Marie: Oh, that’s tough, because I honestly haven’t read very many of them. I like Jane Eyre. I liked the first Outlander novel, although I never read the rest of the series. And although it’s been twenty years since I read it, I loved Gone With the Wind.
Thank you very much for taking the time to visit us and answer the questions. I can’t wait to read Between Sinners and Saints! It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
Marie: I had a great time. Thanks very much for having me!
That’s it folks! I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did, and I hope you read the book and let me know how much you liked it!
If you want to know more about Marie, and more about her backlist, you can visit her webpage, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Levi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing. Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.
Jaime is used to being alone. Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly. He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.
Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something that they can only find together. Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints.
Amber Allure. May, 2011.