In The Chair 41: Marie Laval

Welcome, Marie Laval.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Marie: Romantic. Evocative. Suspenseful.


If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Marie: Tricky question! I love all my heroes. They all have a strong sense of duty and they are all haunted by some terrible event from their past, but I have a particular weakness for Hugo Saintclair, the hero of ANGEL HEART, because he was my very first…

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Marie: I would slip into THE LION’S EMBRACE, and I would simply have to be Harriet Montague, my heroine, to experience first-hand the beauty and magic of North African landscapes.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

MarieLaval (2)Marie: It would be a Franco-British affair, and all my guests would have to be recalled from the ‘Otherworld’. For the French side, I would invite comedian Raymond Devos, poet Jacques Prévert, and writers Colette and Isabelle Ebehardt. For the English side, I would ask Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde and Emily Brontë. I would serve one very large dish of chicken couscous so that I don’t have to get up all the time and miss out on the wonderful conversation.  For pudding we would have exotic fruit salad and French pâtisseries.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Marie: I love writing romances, both contemporary and historical, but if I had the talent for it I would be a poet or a song-writer. In a few words, they can conjure feelings and images that stay with you forever.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Marie: The realisation later on in my story that my plot isn’t working or that I have forgotten something very important. That stems from my inability to plan ahead and is entirely my fault. When I start a new story I resolve to plan and plot more, but then I get carried away and it never happens.

Favourite word?

Marie: I love North-African words my mother, who was born and brought up in Algeria, used all the time. My all-time favourite has to be ‘scoumoune’. Basically it means ‘bad luck’, something to be very much feared and that you can attract or catch like a disease!

Marie Laval was in the chair, author of: A Spell in Provence, The Lion’s Embrace & Angel Heart.