Writer Wednesday – Meet Marissa St. James

The Heart RemembersToday I’m featuring Marissa St. James, who has written several time travel and contemporary romances. Come join us and get lost in the mists of time.

What’s your favorite thing about writing time travel romance?
I think time travel opens up a whole lot of possibilities. You can write fact, fiction or something in between. You can do things with your characters that other genres wouldn’t allow. You can plunk down a character in a situation that doesn’t have to be logical, and what they do with it can be a lot of fun.
Many time travel romance writers stick with one time alternate period, but you’ve written stories set in two, one on Scotland and one in the early American Revolutionary.  What are some of your favorite research techniques?
Actually, I also have set a time travel story in medieval England.
 I try to keep the research to a minimum for two reasons. Authors are always told to research their stories before getting into the writing. I get an idea for a story but I never know in what direction it’ll go or what will be involved. I’ve had stories that did a total turn-about so that whatever research I’d done early on was no longer valid. The second reason is that researching can be ‘dangerous’. Imagine doing research about a specific battle. You find the information, then a side note distracts you. After reading that and making some notes, something else distracts. It might keep going that way until you’ve completely forgotten what you were originally researching. I tend to research the point I need exactly when I need it. This way I avoid the distractions. If it’s something I’m really interested in, I’ll make a note of it and return another time.
If you could go back in time, what period would you choose and why?
LOL. Now that’s a tough one.  I’d probably want to be like my namesake character, Meryl Spellbinder, from the Highland Eyes books. Different situations put her in different times, although she is kind of tethered to the early fourteenth century. There are two time periods I find fascinating. One deals with the Plantagenets, family of Richard the Lionheart and the other deals with the Tudors, Henry VIII, his children and his wives — all eight of them.
Of the books you’ve had published, do you have a favorite?
My favorite would have to be The Heart Remembers. (set in England) This story deals with a young woman who is subtly prevented from marrying the love of her life. Sylvia and Aubrey are sent back in time during the reign of King John. They have no memory of their contemporary lives. The romance in this story deals with two couples, one middle-aged, the other, teens. Both couples have trials they must face if their love is to survive and grow. It was fun, as well as a challenge to write.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
During the winter months I do a lot of knit and crochet. I’ve got quite a collection of afghan patterns and I’m trying to get the hang of lace knit/crochet. The afghans go to a couple groups to be auctioned off.  I’ll also be working on a quilt for my son and his wife. In between the craft work, I read as much as I can. There’s never enough time for that so I try to fit it in wherever possible.
What’s next in store for Marissa?
LOL  Even Marissa isn’t sure of that.  I’ve been working on several projects: the sequel to Band of Gold, called Ring of Truth; book 3 in the McKinley’s Jewel series, A Diamond In the Rough; and a paranormal western trilogy, Those McAllister Girls. One story involves a shape-shifter, but all three stories involve some time travel.
Where can you find Marissa? All of her books are listed on her bookshelf, and you can also check out her blog.

Thank you for stopping by, Marissa. I’m a sucker for a time travel romance, so I’m definitely adding The Heart Remembers to my reading pile.

If you’re a romance writer and want to be featured on my Writer Wednesday meet and greet sessions, contact me through the contact page above.



Books I Read in January 2014

I’ve been meaning to do these monthly posts, but the months have gotten away from me. So here is January and expect February soon.

January was a light reading month for me. I finally picked up Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I had never read, and it’s a big one, coming in at 896 pages according to its Amazon page. Then I stuck my toe into serial fiction, but that didn’t quite go as well.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon –

Have you ever had a book that too many people told you it was good, so you refuse to read it because you didn’t think it could be THAT good? That’s how I felt about Outlander. I look time travel romance, but the book description put me off. How could you have two love interests? I failed to realize that Outlander started a whole sub-genre.

Time travel is a familiar trope, and reading one is usually like settling into a favorite sweater. This book pushes the romance genre to its edge and back. Women’s rights  have come a long way since 1743, and many books time travel back to this era. However, often when they do, we find that amazingly enough, the male characters have modern sensibilities when it comes to women. This book doesn’t do that.

Time travel, whether through a magic stone, potion, or an existing portal,  is always complicated, but the trope usually goes like this: a young woman, not well established in life, travels back in time, falls in love, and stays with her new life. But what if she is leaving behind a life she was happy with? What if she happened to be already married and happy with her husband? If she falls in love with another man while she is in the past, is it adultery? Very few authors have the guts to go there. Diana Gabaldon went there. Well done. I don’ t think I gave too much away here, but if you haven’t read it yet, do it. Although I think I’m the last person who reads time-travel romance who hasn’t read this one. You can find an Amazon buy link in my store.


Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt, David Wright – I hate to admit that I did not finish this one. The book was billed as similar to LOST, which it may be, but I couldn’t get far enough to tell.

The thing about LOST (which people who say their thing is like LOST forgets) is that the island started out fairly normal. Sure, we saw a polar bear, and there were some strange things, but nothing that could be defined as paranormal or alien happened until after season one. By the time the weird stuff really started, generally viewers cared about the characters and stuck around. I didn’t care about any of these characters.

This book tries to be similar to The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic book, which has multiple groups all over the country that eventually come together. The authors may eventually get these groups together, but I couldn’t stay with it long enough to tell. There were too many different character groups, and I couldn’t remember which was which. The writing itself was well-edited and there weren’t any issues there, but the jumping around between different threads was too much for me.

On to February. Book count for the year: 1.5

I’m going by the purchases on my Kindle for my official count for the year.

Writing update: I m sending Under His Protection to my editor a chapter at a time, and I’ve send ten chapters so far. I’m still hoping for a May release date. No Strings Attached is now available on the Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes bookstore if you don’t do Kindle.