I am so excited and happy to have YA author Marni Bates here with us at Teatime Romance today! I had the pleasure of meeting Marni back in July at the RWA conference in Anaheim.She is a fun, sweet, lovely person, and we hit it off right away after sitting together with Regency romance author Sara Lindsey at the Awards Luncheon. I knew right away Marni was someone I wanted to keep in touch with and get to know better! When I got home, I immediately bought and downloaded the first book in her series Awkward, which was a laugh-out-loud funny book with a lot of heart-I devoured it and couldn’t wait to read more of her books. I totally loved it and highly recommend the book.
Marni is here today to talk about her new holiday book Decked With Holly which releases TODAY! 🙂 Congratulations, Marni! *Throws confetti and pops the champagne cork* Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
Holly Dayton is about to go way out of her comfort zone. . .
Spending Christmas vacation on a cruise with her two cousins from hell isn’t Holly’s idea of a good time. And when in a moment of seasick-fueled desperation she lurches into an open suite–she’s greeted with an eyeful of pepper spray. The culprit? A gorgeous guy calling himself Nick. But when Holly goes to make her exit, she gets the shock of her life: a corridor crammed with screaming teenage fans. Because Nick just happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for ReadySet–one of the hottest bands in America.
Suddenly rumors are swirling, and Holly’s face is captured on countless phones and plastered all over the Internet. But the band can’t risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend–just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be fauxmantically involved with one of the cutest rockstars on the planet? Holly’s about to find out. . .
Sounds awesome right!!!?? Now without further ado, I’m going to turn this blog post over to Marni.
Lisa: So Marni, tell us a bit more about Decked With Holly?
Marni: Decked with Holly kind of happened by accident. I got the call from KTeen that they wanted a spin-off holiday novel and would I be willing to write one?
Two minutes later I was freaking out over the phone with my mom.
Me: What have I done?
Mom: It’ll be fine, Marni.
Me (hyperventilating): How? HOW WILL THIS BE FINE?
As you can tell, I always keep my head in times of uncertainty.
But the project came together for me as I fell head over heels in love with ReadySet drummer Dominic Wyatt. Even though I never planned on writing half of the book from the perspective of a guy, I had the best time in his head.
Holly and Nick were an absolute pleasure for me and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I loved writing it.
Lisa: I’m sure all of us will end up falling for Dominic too! 🙂 So what’s up next for you after Decked with Holly?
Marni: Next up is Invisible, which comes out next year (release date TBD). The story centers around Jane, who is having a rough time handling life as Mackenzie’s best friends post-Awkward. And because Chelsea always has to have the last word, the fourth book in the series, Notable, is written from the perspective of the most popular girl at Smith High School.
Marni has also kindly agreed to answer the infamous six “get to know you” questions we all used to introduce ourselves:
(1) What was the first romance novel you ever read?
Hah, the first straight up romance novel I ever read was Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann. I was stuck waiting in the airport with my family for what felt like forever, so naturally I started whining. Nothing particularly inventive: just your average 13 year old stuff about being soo bored and wanting to be home instead of waiting in the lousy, stinkin’ airport. Hoping to shut me up, my older sister passed me one of her books.
I took one look at the military guy on the cover and got all snotty.
“Prince Joe?” I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, that sounds good. Not.”
Except I had nothing else to do so I started reading and . . . it really picked up quickly. I mean, there was danger and terrorists and excitement and a super sexy guy and then things started happening.
Beyond kissing things.
I turned bright red and became convinced that everyone in the airport knew what I was reading and that all the other bedraggled travelers waiting for our flight were secretly judging me for it. I became so paranoid I couldn’t read the sexy parts without nearly hyperventilating. So I skipped them.
That was my first experience with romance novels and after that I was pretty much hooked.
And I know that the sex scenes are what most people associate with romance novels, but I think it’s still the happy endings that keep in love with the genre.
Lisa: Here here! The happy endings are definitely why I read and love the romance genre. And LOL-I started reading romance around the same age and felt the exact same way when I first started reading love scene.
(2) Your house is on fire – which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?
Back in my childhood room in Oregon, I have a shelving unit overflowing with my favorite books. And if that house was on fire I would probably grab a whole bunch of young adult novels. Gordon Korman, Meg Cabot, and Julie Andrews Edwards books would probably be my first round picks.
Right now, however, I am living in an apartment in LA away from all my old favorites but surrounded by all the free books from the Romance Writer’s of America conference that I could snag.
And I snagged a lot of them.
So I would have to choose:
1. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare. It’s a fabulous book that completely deserved to win a RITA and Tessa is quite simply the nicest author ever.
Plus I got her to sign my copy with the most brilliant line from the book!
2. Tempting the Marquess by Sara Lindsey. Love the book. Love the author. Fans of Julia Quinn will adore it! Speaking of whom…
3. Minx by Julia Quinn. I know that Julia Quinn is technically a person, but I’m still convinced that she is part unicorn. There is no other explanation for how all her books can be so entirely composed of awesome.
4. Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean. So. Freaking. Good.
And last but not least . . .
5. Playing Dirty by Susan Anderson. I haven’t read this one yet, which is part of the reason I need to take it with me. (If I’m going to be waiting for the firefighters to arrive, I’m going to want fresh reading material!) Plus I loved talking with her at the RWA…
Lisa: I knew there was a reason I liked you! 🙂 Your list includes many of my favorite authors and books. And yay a fellow Tessa Dare fangirl! I agree she is one of the nicest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet. I haven’t read Susan Anderson so thanks for the recommendation! I too lugged a suitcase full of mostly free books home from RWA. I’m lucky it came in under the weight limit!
(3) What is your secret passion?
I have a number of them. I love rollerblading, coming up with fake stories behind famous paintings, singing along to cheesy songs that were cool when I was in elementary school, roasting marshmallows over scented candles . . . among other things.
That’s all that comes to mind right now.
Lisa: I definitely want to hear one of your fake stories! They sound fun, as does roasting marshmallows over scented candles.
(4) Why do you write romance? (Or in your case, why write YA 🙂 )
I know I’ve spent most of my time talking and recommending romance novels but I really do love young adult books. There is a lot of pressure in high school to have a planned trajectory. Guidance counselors tend to advise students to study like crazy for standardized tests so that they can get into the right college to set them up for a life of future success. They often tend to make it sound like your whole life is riding on those four years.
It’s a lot of pressure when you are also trying to figure out who you want to be in the first place.
In my opinion, the college stuff tends to be blown way out of proportion. I didn’t apply to any Ivy League schools (let’s be honest, with my math SAT scores I wouldn’t have been accepted) and things have worked out pretty darn well for me so far.
But I think part of the reason I love writing young adult contemporary is the insane academic and social pressures tend to collide in high school. And I love making my characters face their insecurities. Nothing like high school to make you do that!
Plus I still get to swoon over really hot guys . . .
Lisa: There is no better setting for a book than one which is naturally rife with tension and conflict like high school. 😀 There is definitely nothing easy about the teen years. I think you are right on about how hard it is for kids these days to navigate and handle everything that’s thrown at them. Unfortunately for them but great fodder for books right? lol
(5) Is there anything in your book that comes from personal experience?
Erm, this is hard to answer. I definitely connect emotionally with my characters by channeling my own moments of embarrassment, happiness, discomfort, excitement, etc. And there are plenty of things that I share with my characters: Mackenzie and I are both AP US history geeks from Oregon who enjoy rollerblading. But I think people want to believe that the majority of it is based on my own personal experiences–which is so not the case.
I haven’t yet become an overnight YouTube sensation.
I also haven’t pretended to be in a relationship with a super hot rockstar.
But if anyone wants to help me make those come true, I am definitely interested!
Lisa: LOL! I think we all put part of ourselves into our characters and stories and incorporate our own personal experiences, whether we intended to or not. But like I told you, I still totally want a rock star tribunal to give me advice for my love life-I need Ready Set to help me out!
(6) What is your favorite kind of tea, and how do you drink it?
I love getting a good iced chai or a Starbucks green tea frappachino. *packs backpack* *walks to nearest coffee shop* Mmmmm….
Lisa: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Marni: Since Decked with Holly is a holiday book, what is your favorite holiday song? Tell me in the comments below!
Thanks for interviewing me! I hope everyone will check out my young adult novel Awkward (currently $2.99 on Kindle!) and it’s spin-off holiday sequel Decked with Holly!
Thank you so much for visiting with us Marni!
Marni Bates still can’t believe she falls in love with fictional characters for a living. Her career began during her freshman year at Lewis & Clark College, when she wrote her autobiography, Marni, for HCI’s Louder Than Words series. By the time she graduated, she was on the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List and had made her fiction debut with her young adult novel, Awkward.
Marni is still adjusting to life in sunny Los Angeles, California. When not writing in front of her air conditioning unit, she can be found rollerblading, bargaining at garage sales, reading romance novels, and watching copious amounts of TV—strictly for artistic inspiration, of course. She loves hearing from fans and hopes that you will visit her at http://www.marnibates.com.