Hello Penny and thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to talk about my new novel, A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which will be released by Áccent Press early in January.
A SPELL IN PROVENCE is a contemporary romantic suspense, a new genre for me since I usually write historical romances.
I first got the idea for the plot during a family holiday in the South of France. It is obvious when you travel through Provence that fountains were very important for locals. 'Water is gold' says an old Provençal saying, and true enough, there are fountains everywhere - some were very grand like in Aix-en-Provence, others a plain stone trough with only an old tap spurting fresh water. One fountain in particular captured my imagination. It was in the lovely small town of Cassis near Marseille, where we had stopped for an impromptu picnic. As soon as I saw it and read its inscription in Latin, I knew I had the basis of a plot.
Provence is a wonderful setting for a novel. There are so many hill-top villages and old farmhouses the French call 'mas' or 'bastides' , ancient Roman ruins, and of course lavender and sunflower fields and olive groves...
One of the most peculiar sight in Provence are 'bories' - dry stone constructions with an arched roof, which were used by farmers or shepherds for shelter. Some of them date back to the Bronze Age, others are far more recent. There are everywhere, in fields and in pine forests, or again on hill tops. You can find a whole village of bories near Gorde in the Luberon, which affter decades of neglect, was renovated and turned into a museum. I couldn't resist featuring an abandoned village of bories in A SPELL IN PROVENCE.
With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.
A SPELL IN PROVENCE will be available from Amazon early January 2014
He looked down. The light of the rising sun played on his face and made his green eyes seem deep and warm. Time slowed down. The noise from the crowd became muffled and distant, and all she could hear was the crystalline spring water trickling in the old fountain. The spring that ran through the forest between Manoir Coste and Bellefontaine and bound hearts and lives together, or so the spell said … Her heartbeat slowed, or maybe it stopped altogether. It was as if Fabien and she were alone. Desire, fear and another feeling she didn’t recognise overwhelmed her and made her dizzy.
Marie Laval Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press.