Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Tuesday Treat! An interview with Marie Sexton by Heidi Cullinan

To celebrate our Christmas romance releases, Heidi Cullinan and I are interviewing each other as part of our promotional tour. The following is her interview of me; you can catch my interview of her at Ever After Romance.

Tell us a little bit about your current release, Winter Oranges.

Winter Oranges is about Jason, a child star turned disillusioned B-movie actor who’s fed up with his failing career. Jason is in love with his best friend, tired of Hollywood, and plagued by tabloid photographers, so he buys a secluded house in rural Idaho, hoping to escape from it all. Instead, he encounters a man living in his guesthouse who nobody else can see or hear. Winter Oranges is a whimsical little friends-to-lovers tale with a magical twist, and I’m really excited about the way it turned out.

Winter Oranges is part of Riptide’s Love for the Holidays charity bundle, which also includes Christine D’Abo and HelenKay Dimon. 20% of the proceeds go to the GLBT National Help Center.

How did you get the idea for the story?

I’d agreed to write a holiday story for Riptide’s annual charity bundle, but I honestly had no clue what I was going to write about, so I tweeted and asked if there was a particular story people were dying to read but hadn’t found yet. Only one person replied (@Jen@2468). She said she’d always wanted to read a story about two men trapped in a snow globe together.

I admit, my initial reaction was, “that’s ridiculous!” But I found myself thinking about it, wondering how it could work, imagining the rules of the snow globe, and it wasn’t long before the story started to take form.

Where can we buy it?


And you can find the entire Love for the Holidays Charity Bundle here: 


You’ve written gay romance for several years now, and like me, you’ve written all over across different genres. Do you have a favorite type of story, or does it depend on what story is speaking to you at the moment?

It’s really a matter of where I am mentally and which characters are being the loudest in their demands. Sometimes it’s fun to settle into a cozy contemporary. Sometimes I like mixing things up and playing in new worlds.

One of my favorite things about your writing is how it always seems to have fallen effortlessly from your fingers, yet I know that’s very much not how it comes out of your head and onto the page. Can you share a little bit about your writing process?

Man, it definitely doesn’t feel effortless on this end, that’s for sure! On the contrary, I often feel like I’m the only author in the world who doesn’t have a billion little plot bunnies stored up, waiting impatiently for their turn. I’ve also been told multiple times over the past year that I have no hope of staying visible or viable in this genre if I’m not producing a release every eight weeks, minimum.

Wow. Well, uh, I guess we’ll both fade into obscurity together, then. I couldn’t keep that pace up either. I have to say, my stories would suffer if I kept to that schedule. I can barely do three new stories a year. And funny, I find myself sitting staring at a screen even with a corral full of potential stories. It’s not just enough to write a story. It has to be the right story.

Exactly. It’s frustrating, because the simple truth is, I will never, ever be able to produce stories at that pace. It’s not even so much that I can’t write that fast as that I need time to regroup between stories. It takes weeks, or even months, for each idea to take form in my head. Once it does, it takes me a couple more weeks to work up enough courage to dive in. The tipping point is very often finding a song that either captures the overall tone I’m going for, or captures one of the characters. In the case of Winter Oranges, my theme song was One Republic’s “Counting Stars.” I must have listened to that damn song a thousand times between January and March.

As for the actual writing process, I’m all over the place. I write out of order, often starting in the middle, then jumping back and forth to whichever scene feels the meatiest at that moment. The end usually consists of going back and writing all the transitions between scenes, making sure I didn’t mess up the timeline somewhere along the way.

I love your stories, so I say keep your process as it is. Which likely works out well, as I doubt you get much say in the matter. So…what are you working on next?

I just finished a fun little novella called Damned If You Do. It’s about a devil trying to win the soul of a sweet, young, bible-thumping revivalist. I didn’t want to go too heavy on the religious tones though. (Been there, done that, in Between Sinners and Saints.) Damned If You Do is light-hearted and a bit silly. It’ll be available from Samhain next June.

Right now, I’m finishing up a novel I started several years ago, but never finished. It’s called Trailer Trash. I guess it qualifies as “new adult.” It’s about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the late 80s. I plan to publish it in March.

That all sounds great. I look forward to reading it. I bet your readers do too! Thanks for the chat, Marie. Let’s do it again sometime.


Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after.

Winter Oranges

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Winter Oranges is one of Riptide's 2015 charity titles.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

About the Author

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:

·Website: MarieSexton.net
·Twitter: @MarieSexton


To celebrate the release of Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $50 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!


  1. Thanks so much for letting me hang out at CoP for the day! I should note that I apparently mistyped Jenny's Twitter handle in the interview. It should be @jenw2468.

    Thanks again!

  2. How cool that this fantastic novel came from such an oddball (but cute) idea! I absolutely loved this book--and I have to agree that taking time to write your books definitely works for you. :)


    1. Thanks so much, Kelly! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :-)

  3. Thanks for the excellent interview! I love that you got the idea for Winter Oranges from a tweet. The "every 8 weeks" advice seems hard core. Who is reading all those books? I feel like I read a good amount, yet have an extensive "backlog" that I want to read. If all the authors I like released at that pace...


    1. My TBR pile is huge too. Part of it is that if I'm reading, I end up feeling guilty, thinking I should be writing instead. LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I tend to look askance at the writers who just churn 'em out constantly...it sometimes feels like a money grab to me. There's something to be said for waiting until you really love an idea!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  5. You could never fade into obscurity! As someone who has failed repeatedly as NaNoWriMo I say write at your pace and we'll be here waiting patiently for the next fantastic story. :)

    Buttononthetop@ gmail.com

    1. Thank you for that! I appreciate the encouragement. :-)

  6. Great interview! Thanks! slickreads1100 at gmail dot com

  7. I loved the interview and omfg, yes! I am so looking forward to more of your works Marie! <3 I don't care how long I wait because in the end what you give out is always 100% Satisfactory for me. <3
    Love, love~


    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate that. :-)

  8. nice interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  9. Thanks for the great interview! I love that the idea came from a twitter comment!
    Toni violet817(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Thanks for the great interview and I can't wait to read more of your books.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  11. I am so intrigued by the blurb. I want to read this book. And I loved the interview.


  12. Great interview. I have to admit when first hearing about two individuals trapped in a snow globe it does sound a bit funny but I guess it's kind of similar to Honey I Shrunk the Kids(movie)? except in a confined place?

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  13. Wonderful interview! Thank you.

    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. Marie, thank you so much for another lovely story. You turned a 'ridiculous' idea into a sweet and magical Christmas story.

  15. I's love to read this book. Thanks for the chance!

  16. Congratulations on the release! This sounds like a very cute and funny book! Also a great interview.


  17. Love the interview. Looking forward to reading.


  18. Congratulations on the new book!
    annmarief115 at gmail dot com

  19. Congrats on the new book! allesonl@gmail.com

  20. Loved this interview! You guys are so great together. Already have Winter Oranges on top of my tbr pile and looking forward to your upcoming releases!
    seritzko AT ptd DOT net

  21. Loved this interview! You guys are so great together. Already have Winter Oranges on top of my tbr pile and looking forward to your upcoming releases!
    seritzko AT ptd DOT net

  22. I've picked up the bundle & am looking forward to reading it. I love Marie's books! legacylandlisa (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. Looks good :)


  24. It was fun to see you two as interviewer and interviewee. :) I think that pace is so ridiculous, and honestly, I'm overwhelmed by people who seem to have a new one coming out before I can get to their last one. I say every story is different, and ever author is different and no one should keep or try to keep to a schedule that doesn't suit them. Thanks, you two!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  25. Can't wait to dive into this book! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!