Author Conversation #5: Marie Force

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Marie Force is a “force” to be reckoned with and a self-publishing poster child. She cranks out multiple books each year, and more than half fit into the #coastalfiction genre, thanks to their settings in and around Newport and Block Island.

She is the only author I’ve met who employs a team of people to promote and package her books—and the only single author (self-published or otherwise) who’s earned her own bookcase (several shelves) in our local independent bookstore, Island Books. Somehow, she also manages to make time for helping out other authors.

I first met Marie when she came to speak at the Jamestown Philomenian Library. For two hours, without any props, she entranced a large group with the stories behind her stories—how she made it, and how she keeps what she calls The House that Jack Built going. Recently I reached out to ask her some questions, and here’s what this generous woman had to say.

How many series have you published?

So far, I’ve published six series: Gansett Island, Treading Water, Fatal, Quantum, Green Mountain/Butler, Vermont, and Gilded.

How many have coastal settings?

Three of them. Gansett Island is a fictional version of Block Island and each book takes place on the island. The Treading Water Series begins with a book set in Newport, and Gilded includes a historical romance, Deceived by Desire, that is set in 1903 Newport, during the height of the city’s tenure as a summer playground for the wealthy.

In addition, I have several books that aren’t part of series that are set in and around Newport and other Rhode Island towns, including True North, The Fall, Georgia on My Mind, The Wreck, and parts of Love at First Flight.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in publishing?

I’ve been published since 2008, and the biggest change I’ve seen is the advent of self- or indie-publishing, which has allowed authors to publish direct to the various retailers without having to have a publisher. This has been a true game-changer for a lot of authors, including myself, who initially struggled to get published under the traditional model. Although I’ve worked with five publishers during my career, there’s nothing quite like the freedom that comes with being my own publisher. 

Why do islands and the coast “speak” to you?

I grew up in Middletown, RI, and my parents always had boats when I was a kid. In fact, I inherited my dad’s nearly 40-foot boat when he passed away in 2018, so now I’m a boat owner, too. I’m happiest when I’m on my boat or at the beach or anywhere near the water. Beaches, boats and the coast have played a bit part in my life, and I enjoy writing about coastal locations.

Does this type of imagery sneak up on you, or is it consciously included?

It’s something I did intentionally. We’re told to “write what we know,” and since the water and coast is such a big part of my life, bringing that to my fictional characters was a natural leap for me.

If you could change one thing about characters or career, who/what would it be?

I can’t think of anything I’d change. It’s been an amazing ride.

Thanks Marie, this was fun!

Visit Marie’s website for links to her books and some free samples. And if you have another #coastalfiction author you’d like to see interviewed, add a comment below or send me an email. Thanks for reading!

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