1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
I’ve always lived in New York, most of the time on Long Island where I live now. I taught high school Spanish and started writing novels for kids when my two sons were growing up. More recently, I’ve also been writing mysteries and romantic suspense. This past year was a very difficult one for me because my husband died after a long illness. On a happier note, I’m about to become a grandmother for the first time.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love reading, traveling, knitting, doing Sudoku, watching foreign and indy films. I exercise though I don’t love it because I know it’s good for me.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
The story perks in my head as I go about my errands and chores in the earlier part of the day. For some reason, my most productive writing time is late afternoon into dinner time. That’s when I finally settle down and get to work
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
My ideas come from wherever—a newspaper article, a discussion, a thought, an overheard comment. They often come when I’m in the shower or driving somewhere.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
I love all of my novels. I couldn’t have spent all the time and effort they require if I didn’t love each and every one of them. That said, my favorite novel is Getting Back to Normal, which I recently sold to Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads. I suppose you’d call this book a young YA, as Vanessa Taylor, my protagonist is a sixth grader. Vannie’s mother has just died, and her father has moved her and her brother to a dinky cottage on an arboretum where he manages public events. This book has everything: romance, secrets, sadness, a ghost, and recovery.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
Funny? I really can’t think of anything.
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
My kids’ book, And Don’t Bring Jeremy, is loosely based on my two sons. My older son has disabilities that he deals with beautifully. Jeremy is fiction, and none of the events are real. But my characters’ emotions are authentic.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Alas, I have no muse.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
Writing in three genres is quite enough for me, though I do have an idea for a play.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
I’ve been reading a lot of Tess Gerritsen lately. I also love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
I adore Cam, the ghost in Giving Up the Ghost. He’s a scoundrel, a romeo, and a wheeler dealer. Cam doesn’t realize he’s in love with Jill Leverette until he’s dead. My sleuth, Gabbie, gives the lovers a chance to say a final farewell. Even though I wrote this, it makes me cry.
I love all my sleuths, but I find Lexie Driscoll especially appealing because of her flaws. Lexie is very bright, but the men in her life have always proven unreliable. Her second husband burned down her house with himself inside. Which is why in Murder a la Christie, the first book in the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series, Lexie finds herself housesitting in an upper-class neighborhood that reminds her of Agatha Christie Land.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Writing. I love to write, but creating a world, a story, out of nothing takes a good deal out of you. Getting the words down takes effort—at least for me.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Keep on writing. Join writing groups, especially a good criitique group, And when you receive rejections, don’t give up. Read the negative comments, see if they work, and write on.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I’d be retired. Only writers work until they’re senile or die.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
Ah. A cruise, stopping at ports in the Far East. This is a part of the world I’ve yet to visit.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
After Ardin Wesley's cousin Suziette is murdered, her widower, Brett, asks Ardin to help him adopt Suziette's little girl, whom he's grown to love. Trouble is, no one knows the identity of the child's natural father. Ardin realizes she wants to adopt Leonie, and take her to home to Manhattan.
Although she is drawn to Brett, an abusive husband has turned Ardin against love and marriage. Brett feels betrayed when he learns of her plans to adopt the child. When someone sets fire to Ardin's aunt's house, she barely escapes with her life. Despite their differences, Brett offers her shelter and together they work to create a secure home for the bereft little girl and to discover the identity of her father before someone else dies to protect his terrible secret.
His lips brushed hers, gentle as a butterfly. "What do you say to an early dinner? About six-thirty?"
"Sounds good to me."
He grinned, clearly pleased with himself. "I made reservations at a cozy country inn twenty miles from here. We'll have plenty of time to first wander through the grounds."
And plenty of time to make love afterwards. As though reading her thoughts, he ran his hands down the front of her body, raising her nipples and her need for him.
Laughing, she pushed him away. "Go and work on your weekend project, whatever it is."
"It's a playhouse for Leonie. I got the idea when we took her to the climbing playground the other day." His green eyes gleamed with enthusiasm. "It's half a story high--like a tree house--and large enough for her and a few friends to play in, even sleep in when she gets older."
Ardin felt as though her heart were being crushed between two boulders. He looked so happy and hopeful, and she was about to wreck his plans, send them dashing to destruction.
He was too caught up in his enthusiasm to notice her distress. "I thought tomorrow we could pick up Leonie together, and then have dinner at my house. It will help keep her from missing her home too much, until everything gets straightened out."
She gulped in air as she prayed for strength, strength to say what she must in the way that would hurt him the least.
"Brett, I have to tell you something. I should have told you as soon as I'd decided. The problem was, I didn't want to upset you--or make you hate me."
He shook his head, totally mystified. "Ardin, dear, I don't understand what the hell you're trying to say." His eyes blazed with affection.
She turned from their gaze to the scuffed wooden floor. "Brett, I want to adopt Leonie."
He touched his cheek as though she'd struck him. "You're trying to take Leonie from me."
He flung her hand aside and began to pace. "Stupid me! I thought you understood that Leonie and I belong together. That she considers me her father and is best off living with me." His fist pounded the dinette table, making Ardin flinch. "But all this time you've been plotting to take her for yourself."
He spun around, glaring like a madman. "My God, Ardin, you're just as deceitful and double-crossing as Suziette. It must run in the family."
She pressed her hand to her pounding heart. "Brett, I love Leonie. I want to take care of her."
"Love her? Love her!" He loomed over her, forcing her to step back. "You don't even know her. To you she's a beautiful doll. The little princess in a fairy tale. Well, let me tell you, she's no such thing." The green eyes squinted. "Do you know what she's afraid of? Do you?"
"Well, not yet. I'm first getting--"
"Have you taken care of her when she was sick? Or frightened? Of course you haven't."
"And where were you planning to set up your fairy-tale life with your fairy-tale child?"
When she didn't answer, he shook his head in disbelief. "You want to take her away with you to New York?"
"It's my home."
"Thornedale is Leonie's home, and mine as well. And if you think the judge is going to approve of your moving her away after all she's suffered, you have another thought coming. You'll win this one over my dead body."
Ardin hugged herself as, for the second time that week, Brett stormed out of her mother's apartment.
Her first impulse was to chase after him. Her second was to drink a glass of water and calm down. After all, she'd known it was only a matter of time before Brett found out she intended to adopt Leonie. And his reaction was as predictable as the rotation of the seasons.
Brett wanted Leonie and so did she. One would win, and the other would lose. Ardin, who knew how to fight for what she wanted, would make sure she became Leonie's legal guardian.
Dangerous Relations is available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B009PQ3JD0, Barnes & Noble,
Murder a la Christie, will be coming out with L&L Dreamspell later in 2013. Lexie Driscoll is leading the first Golden Age of Mystery book club discussion when someone is murdered. More members of the group are killed, and Lexie sets out to investigate. She discovers each of the wealthy members of the group is hiding a secret. Using Hercules Poirot’s skill and Miss Marple’s keen observations, Lexie manages to ID the murderer.
Visit Marilyn Levinson at her website: www.marilynlevinson.com
Marilyn blogs on MakeMineMystery.blogspot.com the first and third Monday of each month.