Click on for a look-see inside Marie Lavender’s latest novel, UPON YOUR LOVE. I now turn the mic over to Marie for some  some insights into the mind and heart of this extraordinary author. 

Marie Lavender

A frequent question writers hear is, “Where do you get your ideas?” What’s your answer to that one? 

Well, I get ideas from new people I meet, or sometimes I’m inspired by something I observe in public, and other times I get inspired by a news article I came across. Most of all, I’d like to think that life experiences tend to store impressions in one’s subconscious. This jumble becomes a soup that eventually dumps itself out in other forms, and that’s when a new idea pops up.

You bill yourself as a Multi-Genre author, and one glance at your book list [ note: see below] proves you live up to your billing. What do you love about switching modes, and what is it like? 

Honestly, it was never intended that way. I began with the aim of staying in the mold of a romance author. Soon, though, I noticed that my 119+ works in progress lent themselves to other genres, and it was simply easier for me to stop boxing myself in. I found that with an open mind, my creativity flowed better. I am often surprised by where the muse takes me (I never imagined writing a children’s fantasy or a science fiction tale, for example). Heck, recently I did an interview, and the host inspired me to try writing a horror scene. Quite interesting.

With all of my projects, I usually change things up and try a different genre than I just published or submitted a story for. Let me tell you, there’s never a dull moment.

You say that your upcoming Upon Your Love (Nice title, by the way) is the final book in a trilogy. How can you be so sure? What if you feel the urge to write a fourth? Will you be able to stick to stopping yourself?

Thanks! Excellent question, and normally I’d agree with you on a good day. I learned that lesson the hard way when I wrote Magick & Moonlight, and during the release party I told readers there probably wouldn’t be sequels. I ended up biting my words. Not even two months later, I had ideas for books two and three going.

However, with UYL, I pretty much wrapped up all the angles I could (I answered the questions readers had about the series and the characters in general, and I think it works well).

Here’s a chicken-egg question. Character or plot? Obviously, you have one in mind at the same time you’re thinking of the other, but do you like to give yourself an action outline and more or less follow it? Or do you keep it rather vague and let your characters lead you where they want to go?

I think I am a character-driven storyteller. I try to let the characters guide me as much as possible. If I try to affect the plot too much, it ends up sounding rushed or shallow. I write as many random scenes as possible, and then I fill it in with more character details. I also have to sit down and organize a full outline at some point before I continue writing. But I leave myself open to changes, in case the characters decide to take the story in a different direction.

Many writers and critics lay down prescriptions they think make for producing the best writing. Mark Twain famously suggested, for example, substituting “damn” for every time you want to use “very.”  Do you keep any of those kinds of things in mind as you create?

Have I learned techniques through the years? Of course. I think the key is that I’ve become comfortable with my writing style, yet I always make sure I know my characters deeply. No matter how short or long a story is. Obviously, a reader will never know all the tiny details about a character’s life, but a majority of it is important and will come out naturally on the page.

Some writers like to let the prose pour out, then go back and revise and polish. Others like to refine as they go. Do you belong to one group or the other? Or somewhere in between?

I do a majority of my edits after the story is already written. However, it is hard at times to hush a writer’s internal editor. So, of course, I correct some glaring issues as I go along. As a Libra, I’m always right in the middle on most things.

What’s your most productive time of day/night? Michael Chabon likes to write between about 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. He’s an extreme example, but most of us have our favorite hours. What are yours?

I am a night owl, so my heavy writing often comes out in the wee hours before I go to sleep. I often can’t shut my mind off, so there’s no way I can fall asleep if an idea is ticking away in my brain.

What do you do to clear writing time, and what are the environmental elements you need to do your best work?

Silence is usually helpful, though I have been known to play certain types of music softly in the background. When I’m heavily focused on a project, I try to work a little on an aspect of the book every day until it’s finished, even if I’m only researching.

All right. Here’s one I bet you can’t answer. Who are the three favorite characters you’ve created, and why do they top your list?

Oh, that is tough! I’m going to use two characters from the Heiresses in Love Series. Hands down, I must say Fara Bellamont (Hill) – she appears in all three books – has always been dear to me. Honestly, I think it’s because I’m a lot like her. I can totally relate. The second is Adrienne Hill from Upon Your Love. She is strong and totally fearless, a woman born out of her time (the Victorian era), but also has this secret vulnerability that most people, with the exception of those closest to her, never see. I greatly admire her. I only wish I was so brave.

The final character I need to mention is probably Caitlyn Johnson. She’s a very special young woman who has been through hell and back, but still manages to find enough courage to make a life for herself. She is very special to me. Caitlyn will be featured in a book I’m currently editing, titled Directions of the Heart, a modern romantic drama collection.

You’ve now reached the end not only of a book, but a whole trilogy. What’s next, and what genre will it be?

Well, I’m finishing up the writing on Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy. It’s book two in the series. Second Nature, the first novel, came out in December of 2014. Beyond that, I hope to fully focus on a paranormal romantic mystery/thriller collection, Awakening, this year. And with my numerous works in progress, the muse always has a way of surprising me. I’ll just know when the next project comes to me.

Thanks, Marie. I’m grateful for your taking the time to stop in to I enjoyed this interview, but most love your answer to that last question because it demonstrates that you not only create your characters  but live them. They are an organic part of you. Delicious.

Readers, I’m certain, will be hungry for more, so I hope the short bio that follows and links to your many, many publications will help satisfy their appetites.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 25 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 24 other books. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors. Where can you find all this wonderful stories? Just visit the sites below.



Amazon author page:




For 22 years before she moved to Solvang in June, Sandra Perez Gluschankoff had been visiting America’s Danish capital, and falling in love with everything from its vistas to its windmills. The imprint was such that when she wrote her second novel, “Franzisca’s Box,” she set the opening scene in Solvang.

“There are two characters in the kitchen. They are looking out the window and into the hills,” she said. “The day we came to see this house, I looked out that window,” she said pointing to her own large kitchen window, “and I said, ‘This can not be’. It was exactly what I had in my head when I wrote that passage.”

“Franzisca’s Box” is fact-based fiction with numerous elements of the seven-generation story coming from Gluschankoff’s own family history.

“I mix present time with historical times,” the Argentinian-born author explained. “It starts here, goes to Poland in the early 1900s, to South America, and then back to the U.S. There is Jewish historical fiction and background, and lots of drama.” Included is World War II in Romania and the post-war immigration of Nazi criminals into Argentina.

“I grew up in a family of immigrants,” she said. “My grandparents on my mother’s side spent World War II in Romania. Once the war was over and the Red Army came in, they escaped Romania and fled to an American refugee camp in Italy where my mom was born. The Americans offered for them to come to the U.S. but they’d heard so many wonderful things about Argentina — how you could find gold on the streets that’s where they went, only to find after they got there that the gold was what the criminal Nazis had stolen from the Jews.”

Sandra Perez had a far less dramatic reason for leaving Argentina, the country of her birth. In her 20s, she met her husband-to-be, Sergio Gluschankoff, through a mutual friend during a trip to the U.S.

“Apparently, I am unforgettable because six months later he came knocking on my door and asked if we could go out that weekend,” she laughed. After another six months of a long-distance commuter romance, she relocated to the U.S., and a year later they married. They are the parents of two sons: One is a UCSB student and the other is going into his third year at Georgetown Law at Georgetown University.

Gluschankoff admittedly had to reinvent herself when she came to the U.S., speaking no English and a few months shy of her university degree.

She became an English-Spanish interpreter for medical and legal offices. She taught Hebrew at a Jewish day school in San Diego where the Gluschankoffs lived for 14 years. Then one day, she said, she woke up knowing she wanted to write, specifically, screenplays.

“I bought every book on screenwriting I could find,” she said. She completed a dozen of them. Several finished well (although none won) in various screenwriting competitions. One was optioned for a movie but never produced. She worked as the script supervisor on a small film shot in Santa Barbara.

That led her into a reality series now airing on the FYI channel, “Life. Matters with Dr. Michelle Gordon.” Gluschankoff co-wrote and co-produced the 13 episodes of the first season, and appears in several of them.

The show follows Gordon and her friends as they ride through the hills of Mallorca, Spain, and discover Spanish cuisine and immerse themselves in Spanish culture and the arts, while discussing the health and lifestyle issues that women face in aging.

“Life.Matters” premiered earlier this month and has already been renewed for a second season. It is seen locally on DirecTV, Dish and Comcast.

Gluschankoff is also kept busy doing the administrative work for Synergy Organic Farms, a company she owns with her husband. They farm 212 acres along Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc.

Her next book is a stand-alone short story, “Wednesdays with Maria.” It will be published as an e-book in September and is the prequel to her next novel.

The Gluschankoff home in Solvang still has a bit of that “we’ve just moved in” look, unpacked but with empty spaces here and there and walls awaiting artwork. The couple is still in the process of figuring that out, and in no rush. After moves from San Diego to Calabasas to Santa Barbara and now the Santa Ynez Valley, they’re planning on staying put for a long time.

“We’d come to Solvang on weekends and I remember thinking how really nice it would be to live here. Now that we’re here, I love it. There is a certain vibe to the place, a certain energy. I love walking down Alisal, down to where it becomes a narrow winding road. I love seeing people taking pictures of windmills and the horses pulling the carriage. It makes me smile.”



history banner

[Credit to A.B. Funkhauser for the above banner. First appearing on her own website along with her companion piece to this one.]

Sounds funny, I guess, to say I write historical novels partly in order to create a window into the present, and that reading fiction set in the past will do the same for you. I haven’t yet written about presidential politics (though my The Second Vendetta covers a hot campaign for the 1912 California State Assembly), but politics is in everyone’s face now, so if you doubt my word, how about this?

The pundits say no one has ever before seen the scurrilous likes of the insulting, name-calling, barrage that’s been loosed upon us lately. We hold our founding fathers in reverence and imagine that they, unlike our current political crew, engaged in mature and intellectual deliberation as they went about fleshing out the institutions they created in the constitution. Well, uh, no. Check out the slings and arrows that flew during the contest between our second and third presidents.

Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Even Martha Washington succumbed to the propaganda, telling a clergyman that Jeffersowas “one of the most detestable of mankind.”   [Kerwin Swint, professor of political science at Kennesaw State University and the author of Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time]

With apologies for the racism–that’s been part of the culture since before the 4/5-of-a-man clause which the originators used to bequeath the solution to the slavery question to future (Civil War and beyond) generations. It’s important to understand that savage rhetoric has been around from the beginning, so why are we surprised about today’s hoopla? We have no sense of the past. As if the world started yesterday. Or this morning.

Cure for that? Read some history. No, not that bare-bones eleventh grade textbook. Take a peek at for my take on the  juicy past-as-present California and Texas. And there’s plenty beside my (excellent) works. The Shaara novels about the civil war. Max Byrd’s novelized biographies of Grant, Jefferson, and Jackson. Plus the vast sweep of historical fiction full of characters and cultures which provide insight into who we are, were, and where we’re going even though it may seem like you’re reading about people in weird costumes and funny accents. It’s all about you and me, really. Don’t think it’s not.