Cara Connelly chats with CR-RWA’s own Marie Lark
Cara: I met Marie Lark when she joined our chapter in 2013, and since that time I’ve learned that she’s scary smart, incisively funny, and totally passionate about romance. Her latest book—Third Take is the Charm—released in August, and I persuaded her to stop by and tell us about it, and to give us a window into her journey to publication. Welcome, Marie!
Marie: Hello, and thank you so much for inviting me to the blog! I joined RWA and the Capital Region chapter in November of 2013, just before my first book (Indelible Ink) released. It was, without a doubt, the best career decision I’ve made since taking a writing class in college. Not only I have I learned a ton from all the workshops my chapter has hosted, but I’ve had the opportunity to attend conferences where I met and learned from writers, editors, agents, and other industry professionals. I cannot emphasize enough what a resource the RWA network is.
But beyond that, joining the chapter introduced me to about three dozen ladies (and a few gents) all doing what I’m doing—making a go of this professional writing gig. I’ve made so many friends in the group and been enriched both personally and professionally by everything they have to offer.
As for how I ended up writing romance, I’d never been particularly drawn to the genre as a young reader or writer. I studied political science in school, so I’m very used to writing for an academic audience. But in my favorite genres—YA, SciFi, and Fantasy—I am always drawn to the relationships, be they romantic, platonic, or a really well done set of siblings. I love stories about all the messy ways people relate to each other.
And it doesn’t get much messier than sex and love.
Currently, I write LGBTQ contemporaries, with a sprinkling of New Adult themes, but I’d love to branch out into other subgenres of romance, particularly more speculative ones. Sexuality—who we’re attracted to, who we love—isn’t as sharply defined as it used to be and exploring how people, particularly young people, experience attraction, love, and sex will never go out of style, whatever genres are selling well at the moment.
In my new book, Third Take Is the Charm (on sale now with Loose Id!), the heroine, Melody, sets out to capture on film the kind of love story she’s never had. In the process of creating the movie, in working with the two men she’s cast as her leads, Melody learns that she’ll never be able to tell the perfect love story unless she can also experience it herself.
I like Melody for a number of reasons. First, she’s an artist, which means she’s an excellent observer—to the point that she doesn’t always understand how to interact and be in the world she observes. So, second, she’s a bit like an author herself, attempting to create something that didn’t exist before. I tend to over-identify with my primary POV characters, and I sympathize with all the contradictory feelings she has—introversion and voluntary hermitage right alongside the deep desire to be known and loved. Third, I like that, to her, the obvious solution is—sleep with both of them and see where we get! Melody is unafraid of sex and unapologetic in her fascination with it, which leads to misunderstandings, more than a little trouble, great sex, and eventually her own Happily Ever After.
Thank you again for having me!