Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Interview with L. Marie Adeline, Author of the S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Trilogy + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

I'd like to welcome the stunning L. Marie Adeline to the blog today to celebrate the publication of her newest novel, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed from Broadway Books, a division of Random House. Stick around until the end for a fabulous giveaway that you don't want to miss!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Marie! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

The S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T erotica trilogy is published in more than 30 countries, and is a bestseller in many of them. They’re written by L. Marie Adeline, a pseudonym for Lisa Gabriele, who has also written Tempting Faith DiNapoli and the Almost Archer Sisters, both bestsellers. She also writes and produces for television and radio, and was the show runner on the Gemini and Screen award-winning CBC reality program, Dragons’ Den. Her essays and articles have appeared in several anthologies and in the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, the Washington Post, Salon, Nerve, Glamour, Flare, Elle, and Chatelaine. She was the original Dear Diary columnist for Vice Magazine.

Readers, here's a bit about the scintillating series, the last installment of which hits shelves TODAY!

S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T (Book 1)

Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed.

The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies.

Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately.

Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google PlayPublisher

Still wounded from a recent heartbreak, Cassie Robichaud throws herself into service with S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, the mysterious organization that changed her life last year by bringing her deepest sexual fantasies to life, one step at a time.

Now, it’s Cassie’s turn to guide the group’s newest candidate, Dauphine Mason, recruiting men to execute a new set of fantasies. While it gets Cassie’s mind off Will, the man she truly loves, it also gives her the chance to help watch S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T work its magic on someone new.

At thirty-one, Dauphine is the proprietor of a New Orleans vintage clothing store—the kind of buttoned-up career woman who has no idea how attractive she really is. In order to reignite her sexual flame and reawaken her dormant heart, she must leave behind her bitter past.

As both Cassie and Dauphine navigate the rocky path between their hearts and their passions, they discover what they truly want in life and in love. S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Shared is a liberating, passionate and sexually charged sequel to one of the hottest new series in erotica.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google PlayPublisher

S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed bares all—the final book in the hot bestselling series.

The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and devotes herself to helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even if he can never love her as deeply as Will did.

Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T candidate before her. Will Solange find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he’s made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him? In the end, As both women blossom sexually as sexual beings, they also discover that ecstasy and true love is are closer than they ever imagined.

S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed is the explosive, sensual and sexually-charged finale to the bestselling S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T trilogy.

Describe the S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T trilogy in six words.

Woman has sex, finds true love.

How did you arrive at writing erotic romance? Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?

I’ve always written about women and sex, just rarely had I written women actually having sex. It wasn’t such a big leap, and it’s a lot of fun.

As a big fan of the Game of Thrones books, oh how I’d love to tackle a big, fat sprawling dystopian fantasy saga. But who has the time? Or George R.R. Martin’s brain?

That's what I ask myself every day! It's what's keeping me from writing the next "world's greatest novel" ;) Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

Truthfully, conversations with my single friends who say it’s really hard to find someone you trust, with whom you’d just like to have a little sex now and again. I imagined an organization dedicated to just that task. I threw in the love and romance for good measure.

As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
Had it been only a week? A week since I put on that black-and-white lace camisole with the matching panties? My ear pressed to the door, I listened to him take the steps in twos, forcing myself to count to five after he knocked lightly, trying so hard to appear a little less excited to see him than I actually felt. I only made it to three seconds and then whipped open the door.
This is Cassie looking back at the happier moments just before her breakup with Will. Who hasn’t done that? Replayed things over and over again, in an attempt to not only relive them, but to redo something to prevent the breakup? Poor thing. But happier times do await her.

That's definitely relatable, and a line that hooks me from the start! Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

I published my first novel almost 12 years ago, Tempting Faith DiNapoli, and since then I’ve written and published four more novels, including this trilogy and three non-fiction books. But it’s difficult for me to give writing advice as I broke in stupidly easily. I wrote for a magazine called Vice, which grabbed the attention of an agent, who secured me a book deal before I wrote more than one chapter. And since then, I’ve had a smooth ride. For that, I am eternally grateful and ridiculously lucky. My timing has been really good, too. My career is a testament not just to talent but to luck and timing. So much of publishing is luck and timing, and no one can “learn” how to do that. I know a lot of great works probably will never see the light of day. That said, I write almost every day, and most of what I write is never published and isn’t meant to be... I write because I always have and always will, regardless of whether anyone reads what I write. It’s just how I am.

Are the characters from your books based off anyone you know in real life? If not, how much else of your actual life gets written into your stories?

I used to write more autobiographically, and thankfully I don’t really do that anymore. My life is very boring. It has to be to get the work done. There are always bits and pieces of me in every character—style, hair color, ways of speaking; most writers will admit to that. But none of them is based solely on me. It’s a natural process as you mature as a writer. You stopping looking inside yourself and you start to observe the wider world. Self-centeredness just kind of slips away, if you’re doing it right. And thank god for that because I would quickly run out of material.

Which character from S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed was most difficult to write?

Cassie, hands down. Her meekness in the beginning rattled even me. And her slow and steady growth was really important to document carefully. She changes the most of all the characters. The other character I struggled with is Pierre who becomes increasingly dangerous as the books progress. But it was a great challenge.

She sounds like a very dynamic character. What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

Strengths: Discipline, focus, work ethic, and I love writing women; I think I’m pretty good at that...

Weaknesses: I tend to go for the funny, or the stylish—my ego gets in there, and I get in the way of the character. Luckily I have an amazing editor who keeps me in line.

Name the top five novels that have made the biggest impact on your life or on your writing.

  1. Anagrams: Lorrie Moore
  2. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  3. The Liar’s Club, Cherry, and Lit by Mary Karr (memoirs, not novels, but novelistically written)
  4. All of Jean Rhys’s books (After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie, in particular)
  5. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
What’s the greatest thing you ever learned?

It’s not personal.

Simple, but so, so valuable to keep in mind, always! How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

God, they used to floor me. They just don’t anymore. Partly because—see previous answer—it’s not personal. And everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Listen, I have given out harsh book reviews, and looking back, I know I was sometimes just showing off, or I was probably in some ways jealous. I don’t review books anymore for that reason. It’s too hard to write books to turn around and criticize them anymore. Also, karma!

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out what kind of kid Marie was in high school, her best writing AND personal advice, and the best comment she ever received about her books. We're also hosting a giveaway for a print set of the entire series at the end, so you don't want to miss that either!

- - - - - - - - - - -

Some randomness...

Favorite kind of chocolate? Dark, milk, white, coffee-flavored, the kind with nuts or berries inside?? Milk chocolate, almonds.

What kind of kid were you in high school?  A funny loner with usually just one friend. Not a joiner.

All-time favorite quote? “The harder I worked the luckier I got.” — Variously attributed to Thomas Jefferson or Coleman Cox.

How do you get over heartbreak?  I try to remember that even though they rejected me, I can’t and don’t reject me. Sounds corny, but it’s true. Also, I don’t look back; when it’s over, it’s over.

So, so true. Currently reading? After Claude by Iris Owens, a funny little acidic book published more than 30 years ago, that I can’t put down.

Currently wearing? Sweat pants, t-shirt, glasses. The sexy outfit of the average work-at-home writer.

What a coincidence! Me too ;) Most visited websites? New York Times, Twitter, Entertainment Weekly, Gmail, Facebook (for L. Marie Adeline—I’m not on there personally)... and I love Instagram so much.

Favorite vegetable? (yes, you have to pick one) Kale! Seriously.

Kale chips are divine. Biggest celebrity crush? Mark Ruffalo.

The hunky Hulk ;) Guiltiest pleasure? The Bachelor TV shows... every iteration. But I don’t feel the slightest guilt over it. It’s a well-made show.

The Bachelor is indeed addicting! What did you want to grow up to be when you were little? Always a writer. But for a while I thought I’d be an artist. I did go to university for drawing and painting, though only lasted a year.

Go-to comfort food? Kraft Dinner from a box.

Oh, electric orange Mac & Cheese of my childhood... Charity or cause of choice? Public libraries, anything to do with reading or learning, I will give. Oh and the Human Society. I am a contributor.

- - - - - - - - - - -

What are you involved in when you aren’t writing?

I’m lucky that when I’m not writing I have a “day job” that not only pays the bills, it’s so much fun. I produce TV, and I love that I get to go back and forth between projects. It means I’m not as prolific as other authors, but I just can’t walk away from TV. I enjoy it too much.

Your fabulous series is success enough! It's awesome that you get to do two things you love. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

I wish I was less afraid to promote the hell out of my own books. I still feel a little uncomfortable doing it, but you have to nowadays. You have to get over that reticence and get out there. I’m getting better at it.

You do have to get over your pride a little bit, but it's what makes a lot of breakthrough authors these days. Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

My mother used to tell me, “You’d be surprised how little other people are actually thinking and talking about you.” She was right. We go through life sometimes mired in assuming other people are thinking critical thoughts about us, but 9 out of 10 times, they’re consumed by their own lives and problems. Plough through. Don’t worry about other people.

That's extremely insightful advice. A lot of the time we are so worried about how we look to others but they're too busy worrying the same thing to even notice! What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?

Question: Why do you write?
Answer: I keep writing to find out.

What would you say are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Taking care of yourself. I quit drinking almost a decade ago and it was the single best decision I have ever made, not just as a writer, but as a person. I don’t have a dramatic story, it was just time, and it unclogged everything and freed my mind. I had no idea how much of my productivity was lost in hazy hangovers. Also, take care of your body. Sitting all day is hell. I walk on a treadmill now, while writing!

Very practical tips! What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

Well, the best comment I ever received about my writing was from a review of my first book, which included this line: “explodes with raw, bawdy, chaotic intemperate life force rarely found in Canadian literature…vitally alive.”

I was so moved and grateful, and when I doubt my voice, I remember that. Crap reviews also haunt me a little, but this one acts as an antidote, dissolving negative thoughts about my so-called talent. Every writer doubts themselves, but I have this to help me through.

It's amazing how elemental reviewers are in motivating authors. What is the message in S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T Revealed that you want readers to grasp?

Love yourself first, the rest will follow. It’s corny but damn true.

What are your goals as a writer?

To find meaningful, enjoyable work, and to earn a living doing it.

Seems like you've already achieved that :) What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I have to say, all of them. Anything else after this is gravy. I am one of those lucky writers wherein prizes and accolades have never been my motivating force. Good, fun work, that pays well—that’s what I’ve wanted and have found. I love waking up in the morning and going to work, regardless of whether it’s writing or working on a TV or radio show. How lucky is that?

Incredibly lucky. Not many people have that in their lives. What’s next for you?
I have so much on the go, it’s hard to say what’s next: the TV series for S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T? The one based on my first novel, Tempting Faith DiNapoli? The radio show I’ll be writing or the Christmas Special I’ll work on? Or the two novels I’m writing? I don’t know... but I’m plugging away at each of them and whatever breaks first is what I’d devote the most time to. That’s how I roll now.

Your life is full of prospects and excitement—so happy for you, Marie! Where can you be found on the web?

Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

If you had to pick just one: would you want to be a reader or a writer? You can’t have both.

Me, I’d pick reader. I will always be a far more talented, committed and passionate reader than writer. It would be hard to give up writing, but impossible to give up reading. I can’t imagine it.

It was an absolute pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Marie! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Books à la Mode is giving away a print copy set of all three books of the S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T trilogy—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Marie's question:
If you had to pick just one: would you want to be a reader or a writer? You can’t be both.
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Marie and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to Sullivan & Partners!
Giveaway ends May 20th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US/Canada residents only. Sorry, rest of the world! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently-running giveaways that are open internationally.
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!