Monday, March 10, 2008

Author Marianne Arkins & One Love For Liv

Liv is out to prove her high society fiancé is cheating on her. Can she do it without breaking a nail—or falling in love with Mike the mechanic?

Olivia “Liv” Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. Drastic steps are required to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy-but-sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness world records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what’s a nice guy to do?

Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who’s never been less his type.

To purchase click here.

I am thrilled to be able to celebrate with Marianne on the release of her newest story. She has graciously agreed to answer this nosy reader's questions.

As a reader, there’s nothing I like better than a good romance. Can you tell us a little about your own true life romance? How and where you met? How he swept you off your feet?

LOL… don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but he’s the least romantic person EVER. For my birthday (after we’d been dating about two months) he bought me seat covers for my truck. And his proposal? We went ring shopping and he handed me a ring and said, “Here.” OTOH, he was more than ready to fix my car, and catsit for me, and help me learn a new city. Even now, his best way to say “I love you” is to make sure my truck has tires with tread and that the lawn is mowed. And he works at a job he hates so that I can stay home with our daughter. I’ll take that over romance any day.

However… if you’re curious, our “cute meet” is told in a short story I wrote here (with a few slight changes):

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? When did you begin writing seriously?

I think I always wanted to write, with a short detour in junior high when I wanted to be a veterinarian. I’ve always written. The first time I pursued publication was at seventeen (unless you count a poem I had published in my junior high school newsletter) when I entered a novel writing competition. I didn’t win, but it made me realize how much I enjoyed writing.

This last time, though? I joined a place called Writers Village University ( five or six years ago…I don’t remember exactly when, and really started learning the craft of writing. I had no idea how bad I really was!! I had good ideas, but my writing ability? Awful. I owe any success I have, however large or small, to those ladies (and a gent or two) who patiently put up with my stumbling about blindly. You know who you are.

What was the first story you ever wrote, published or unpublished?

“A Horse Called Mystery” when I was in fourth grade. It was a novel of eighteen chapters—and for a while I thought everything I wrote had to have eighteen chapters, like it was mystical number or something. Of course, all my heroines were nineteen, because that was such a grown up age, too. What did I know? LOL…

Do you have a favorite place you like to write? Do you like silence when you’re writing or do you listen to music? What type of music?

I can write just about anywhere if it’s quiet. I don’t like noise or music or distractions. I’m very easily distracted. The worst thing that happened to me was getting my laptop and working in the dining room instead of the basement. There’s too much around me that I look at and think, “I should be doing that thing over there instead of writing.” I find it terrifically difficult to focus. Someday, I’ll have a new desk in my new office upstairs, and that won’t be such an issue.

What does “A Day in the Life of Marianne Arkins” typically look like?

Up around 4 a.m. Lately, the dog wakes up at about 1 or 2 a.m. and needs to go out, and if I put her back in her crate, she cries and cries, so we go downstairs and sleep on the couch for a couple hours. For the first time in as long as I can recall, I have to set an alarm (I actually use my cell phone). I think the middle of the night interruption really messes up my internal clock and I don’t wake up on my own. It’s frustrating.

The moment I get up (after pouring coffee with chocolate soy milk…yum), I upload all the website pages for The Long and the Short of It, as well as the reviews posted that day. I also clear out the messages in the inbox that belong to me (as opposed to my business partner) and make sure things are running as smoothly as possible. This takes an hour or more.

Then, I do my personal blog post and clear out my personal inbox… this takes quite a while as well, as I typically have many irons in the fire and thus have many emails. I also have four personal email addresses I use for different purposes.

Then, if I still have time (I wake the house at 6:30 a.m.) I work on my writing. Oh, and I squeeze in breakfast now and then.

Bored yet?

The rest of the day? School with my daughter (I homeschool her) for about 2 hours and then we run any errands we need to run or do chores. After lunch, she goes upstairs to her desk to do her seatwork, and I work on the LASR site and also, try to squeeze in some more writing. I do that until it’s time to make dinner. My DH works LATE, so DD and I eat and hang out. Then showers and bed for her… and bed for me. I do try to stay up until DH gets home, but I can’t always manage. Then at 1 a.m., the puppy wakes me up and I start all over.

With few exceptions (like waking DH up and no school on the weekends) this is my schedule seven days a week.

Tell us a bit about this story. Where did the inspiration come from? How did you come up with the characters’ names? Is there a message behind the story you want readers to understand?

“One Love For Liv” was my 2005 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) story. I’d been working on another novel previously and had originally intended for Liv to show up as my hero’s ex-fiancée. After a great deal of thought, I decided she didn’t work in that story, but despite the fact that she was a snob and terribly unkind, I really loved (LOVED) the character, so had to use her.

Names? I wanted a clever title and spent a good couple of hours during storytime at the library while my DD was busy trying to think of one. I did: “Isn’t She Liv Leigh” (which was the working title of the story, but my publisher didn’t like it… so it was changed). I also wanted her fiancé to call her something silly that sounded like a bad sorority name (like Fifi or Bambi) so her full name is Olivia Leslie Leigh and Geoff calls her Lee Lee, thereby making it Lee Lee Leigh.


For the hero, I wanted something as simple as hers was complex. Short. Quick. Basic. Mike Peck fit the bill exactly. He’s not Michael, ever. His given name is Mike (I got this idea from my oldest brother, Rick, whose name is NOT Richard).

A message? Not so much. Maybe “find yourself”? That sounds silly and simplistic, but the fact is that Liv never knew who she was at all. She always let others make decisions, from what to wear to what to eat and even who to marry. I liked watching her learn who she was.

Thank you, Marianne, for the interview. If y'all are looking for a nice, funny, romantic read, then click on the link above to purchase One Love For Liv, or check out Marianne's website to find out how to get her other stories.


Becky said...

This book sounds like fun, Shauna! I'll keep an eye out for it!

Good job on the interview, too!

Diane Craver said...

Great interview! Thanks, Shauna and Marianne! Good luck on book sales, Marianne. I haven't had a chance to buy it yet, but it's definitely on my list.

Amy Addison said...

Great interview. The books sounds wonderful, Marianne!

Dru said...

Great interview.

Marianne Arkins said...

Hey, Shauna. Thanks so much for having me over to visit at your place.


The Daily "B" said...

Great interview, Shauna!

Travis Erwin said...

Nice interview. I'll look for One For Liv the next time I'm out book shopping.I know I'm in the minority as far as men go but I too enjoy a romance novel from time to time.

Jen said...

Have put this book on my To Be Read list. Looks great!!