I’m excited to have had the chance to go behind the scenes with #CMCon21 Featured Author Marie Long. She talks about who her characters are, how they relate to each other, and what she’s looking forward to creating next. And stay tuned for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Eden Books.

Your website says you love snowy weather, the mountains, and white hot chocolate. Do you share any favorites with your characters? Pretty much all of my characters share a small part of me in some way. The Anderson brothers (Dominick, Kevin, and Michael) share most of my favorite hobbies and skills, from sports to music, to riding motorcycles!

Which of your characters would you get along with best/least? I’d probably get along most with Michael. We’re both fitness buffs and martial arts practitioners, and we understand the disciplines of life and that it takes hard work to achieve your goals. While Dominick would make an awesome motorcycle-riding partner, he and I are lone wolves. We’re very particular in what we want, and that can make life difficult. We’d clash in that sense.

Have you ever intentionally written something against your own instincts? For example, a scenario where the characters do something you would never do. It fits for them, but all the while you’re typing you’re saying, ‘nope, no way, no how’ because of your own personality, comfort level, or phobia? As a romance writer who identifies as aro-ace, I would be considered a walking contradiction. LOL I enjoy writing relationships and companionships in my fictional stories, despite my own wants and desires. 

Describe the perfect day for a couple of your characters. I think Dominick and Denise would share the cutest, most romantic day. They would ride on Dom’s motorcycle up to the mountains (maybe Mt. Rainier National Park), and enjoy a picnic while they’re surrounded by nature.

The Anderson Brothers and the Secret Royals are both New Adult series. In what way are they alike and in what way are they different? Both books are alike, as they follow young college-aged men and women looking for love. And they all get their happily ever after! The Secret Royals series is very sweet, fairytale-esque, while The Anderson Brothers is much darker and raw. 

How do you think the lead characters in each would react if they found themselves in the other series? Haha! Culture shock, for sure! Michael would sure go crazy that he couldn’t let loose and punch things. 

What draws you to the New Adult genre? How is it different from YA or Adult? I love the genre, because I feel I can identify with that particular age group of characters and situations more than YA or Adult.

The Whitetide Streak series is Paranormal, set in the Paranormal Dating Agency multi-author universe. What drew you to the idea of the project? How tied are these books to the others in the series. The Whitetide Streak series is not tied to any of my other series outside of the Paranormal Dating Agency world. I wrote these books specifically for the world. I met the author (Milly Taiden) at a local conference, and she and her team told me about the world. I was pretty excited to join, and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to write in a new-to-me genre. I had an idea for a series and the rest is history.

How was writing paranormal different from writing contemporary, New Adult? The Whitetide Streak series was my very first attempt at writing Paranormal Romance. I actually have an extensive background in writing in the Fantasy genre, so Paranormal Romance didn’t feel entirely too foreign to me. I really enjoyed writing the series, and have learned so much, which has helped me in becoming a better storyteller. 

You’re studying to be a personal trainer. With the gym being a center point of the series, has your training influenced your writing in any way? For example, in developing your character’s self-esteem, habits, and discipline. Especially since some of your female characters are described as plus-sized. I wrote the Whitetide Streak series long before I wanted to become a personal trainer. However, I’ve always been passionate about fitness. A lot of my characters’ self-esteem, habits, and discipline stem from my martial arts background.

As for writing about a plus-sized heroine, I wanted to challenge myself and write about someone different from me, but also I want to be able to write all different types of characters so every type of reader can find themselves in my stories by identifying with the many different types of characters. I believe that everyone deserves a happily ever after.

What are you working on now? You mentioned finishing something recently. Yes! I just finished the first draft of my next book in my Once Upon Academy anthology series, entitled Perle of Love. This is a story featuring the daughter of Beauty and the Beast. Think of this story as Disney Descendants meets Harry Potter! Perle of Love will be a part of Volume 2 of the Once Upon Academy anthology, which will be released next year! I can’t wait to share this story with my readers!

You’re part of an anthology coming out in September. Yes! This is a charity anthology called Love Me Always. It’s a multi-author anthology featuring stories about Black love. Stories range from sweet to spicy. All proceeds from this anthology will go toward the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The anthology comes out September 15, 2020.

My story included in the anthology is entitled Peaches & Rahim. It’s a short, fun, enemies-to-lovers rom-com about two next-door neighbors. I’ve never written a story like this before, but it was definitely fun to challenge myself. I hope you will consider checking out this anthology!

You teased a FB post about a new pen name. Are you planning a reveal at some later date or can you share that now? And what genre(s) will you be writing in under the new name? Yes! My new pen name is coming soon! It will mainly be fantasy romance and reverse harem genre books. I’ve already finished writing two of the books, they just need some editing love. I’m not ready to reveal the new name just yet until I get my website finished and the first book will be ready to be released. But stay tuned! I will make the announcement soon enough.

Do you have a favorite line or scene that you’ve written? One of my favorite scenes was in Scorned when Lexi hacked into Michael’s phone (numerous times) and was messing with him, telling him how ‘naughty’ he was. He had no idea what was going on.

Are there any ‘Easter eggs’ or references you’ve written into your books that you hope readers pick up on? I put a few quotes from my martial arts grandmaster in Scorned. The book was dedicated to him. 

What question do you wish someone would ask about your books, but hasn’t? “When is the movie/TV/Netflix show coming?” haha

You mentioned seeing your books in libraries. Talk about the feeling you had first seeing your book in print? Your first reviews? Seeing people in your life respond to your work? And then strangers? My eyes were burning, actually, when I found my book in print in a library all the way across the country. My dream has always been to share my stories with the world, and I’m so blessed that someone at that library took a chance on me.

I’m trying to get my books into more libraries so that new readers can discover me. I always encourage readers to request my books at their library if they don’t see them there. There’s no better time than now to utilize your awesome local library! 

I’ve run into readers who have said they loved my books. I’ve seen reviews from people who said that the stories I wrote were things that happen in real life and was grateful for knowing that there is always hope no matter how bad the situation gets. I love each and every review I get, good or bad. It is all a learning experience for me, and I am always grateful and blessed that a complete stranger decided to take time out of their busy schedule to read one of my books.

My job and passion as a writer is to help people escape the chaos of real life and delve into a good story with a happily ever after.

To enter to win the $5 gift card for Eden Books, follow Marie on Bookbub. Then share a screenshot of the follow on this blog post or on the Coastal Magic Convention FB post this interview is posted on by Saturday, August 1st at 9pm ET.

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