The Jaunty Quills are thrilled to welcome Marie Ferrarella to the sisterhood today. She and I are chatting about her new book, FORTUNE’S VALENTINE BRIDE, the second book in the brand new Special Edition series Fortunes of Texas – Whirlwind Romance.
Nancy: Welcome, Marie! Please tell us about your latest book.
Marie: In a nutshell, it’s about a woman who has been in love with the hero forever. She even went to college and majored in business so that she could come to work for him and show him how indispensable she was to him (men can be so dumb). When the hero has his near-death experience, he decides to live life to the fullest, which in his case means winning the woman he let slip though his fingers in college. He comes up with a campaign to make her fall in love with him and to help him, he decides to utilize the heroine. He uses her as his sounding board. Because she loves him and wants him to be happy, the heroine goes along with this—much to the horror of her best friend, the hero’s sister.
NRT: What life lessons do the hero and heroine of FORTUNE’S VALENTINE BRIDE learn before they earn their happily ever after?
MF: The hero discovers that what you wish for doesn’t always turn out to be what you actually want. In his case, he thought the woman he’d been with in college was the woman of his dreams—but she was everything he didn’t want—and the woman who could make his dreams come true was right there beside him all along (Like the Taylor Swift song You belong with me). As for the heroine, she realizes that wishing and hoping that the man she loves will come to his senses and realize that she’s his perfect match isn’t “just” going to happen. She has to take a proactive stance with him. And, in the end, she does.
NRT: Why will readers enjoy this story?
MF: Ah, it’s the eternal girl-next-door-in-love-with-the-handsome-but-blind-popular-boy story—with enjoyable banter (I hope). We always root for the girl next door because most of us arethat girl. And who doesn’t love a happy ending?
NRT: Why will they enjoy the Fortunes of Texas series?
MF: This particular installment of the Fortunes of Texas series deals with the family coming to terms with and recovering from having a near-death experience because of a storm and Mother Nature’s wrath. They’ve all gone through an ordeal and we watch how that ordeal has affected them and how it makes them grow as people.
NRT: Marie, you are amazingly prolific. You write for three different Harlequin lines, and you have books out every month this year. How in the world do you do it?
MF: I don’t sleep—and there are family members stuck to my kitchen floor. (Okay, maybe I exaggerated the last part, but I only sleep between 4 and 5 hours a night). By my standards, I’m slower than I used to be because back when my kids were little, I took care of them, my husband (men require care and feeding and occasional watering) the dog, the house and my mother-in-law who lived with us and needed to be taken to most of the doctors in the lower half of the state. Still got the husband and the dog, the kids are mostly taking care of themselves, my mother in law still requires daily servitude, but sadly, my house no longer looks as if it belongs to Martha Stewart. All I can say is if I wasn’t lucky enough to have editors and a publisher who want me, I’d still be writing and trying to find a market—it’s an addiction. I love escaping into the worlds I create and having a scene come together or a page of dialogue “pop” is one of the greatest natural highs I’ve ever had.
NRT: What was your journey to becoming a romance writer?
MF: It was a very bumpy journey fraught with self-doubt. I collected my first rejection slip from Children’s Digest at 11 and enough rejection slips after that to decorate two of the walls at Grand Central Station. I wrote musicals, historicals, teleplays, poetry, you name it, I wrote it—the only thing I’d never written was a flat out romance because I’d never read one. The agent I had suggested I try my hand at that. I did and we sold my first book 4 months later (November 15th to be exact). My agent called to tell me the good news—and my then 3 year old daughter threw up all over the kitchen floor right after I hung up. Things like that keep you grounded.
NRT: What advice do you have for aspiring romance writers?
MF: The best piece of advice I can give them is to never give up. If you believe in yourself and want this badly enough, hang in there no matter what anyone says. I had an English teacher in college spend half an hour once telling me that anyone who ever said I had any talent in writing had lied to me; and the editor who eventually bought my first book at Silhouette initially told my agent she really didn’t like my writing (I have the letter to prove it). She also told me (after buying several Desires) that I didn’t have what it took to write a larger book (like a Special Edition). But you see, you never say never in this business and if an editor says “No” take it as a “Maybe” and keep hammering at Heaven’s door. It’ll open eventually if you just keep trying (and don’t pay attention to your bleeding knuckles).
Please leave a comment or ask Marie a question for a chance to win a copy of FORTUNE’S VALENTINE BRIDE!
Born in West Germany, arrived in the U.S. at four, I began writing when I was eleven. I began selling many years after that. Along the way, I acquired a Masters in Shakespearean Comedy from Queens College in N.Y, a husband and two kids (in that order)—the dog came later. My first romance was bought by Second Chance At Love November of 1981. The road from there to here has two hundred and six more sales to it. I’ve been published by Silhouette, Harlequin, Zebra, Harper, Bantam and Berkeley. I’ve been fortunate enough to have received several Rita nominations from the Romance Writers of America Association over the years, with one win for FATHER GOOSE (in the Traditional Romance Category). I’ve also been nominated several times in various categories by Romantic Times Magazine. I hope to be found one day—many, many years from now—slumped over my computer, writing to the last moment. But before then, I would dearly love to write a successful screenplay. My goal has always been to entertain.