FYI: This is My 2nd Blog

Hi there! You're here at my second blog where I do interviews and book reviews.

In case you're looking for my 1st blog, where I share my IWSG posts and other musings, just go to "The Musings of a Hopeful & Pecunious Wordsmith, SittieCates".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SittieCates Interviews Harlequin Author Marin Thomas

Bestselling Author of Contemporary Westerns for Harlequin American Romance

SittieCates: Hello, Marin Thomas! So pleased to have you here. Thank you for acknowledging my request for an Author Interview with you.

Marin Thomas: Cates, it's a pleasure to be here—thank you for having me!

SittieCates: You're most welcome, Marin!

First off, I’m sure most people would like to know who you were before you successfully published 23 bestselling books at Harlequin. Could you give us a short background of yourself back then?

Marin Thomas: I'm a small-town girl at heart—and that's why I love writing stories that take place in small towns. I was born and raised in the same town, which today has increased in population quite a bit from when I lived there. After I graduated from college with a broadcast journalism degree I worked as a customer service rep at AT&T until my husband received a job transfer out of state. At that time, we decided to start a family so I became a stay-at-home mom. When the kids entered school full-time, I became a substitute teacher and began writing my first romance novel—a historical with a wickedly sexy pirate hero. Fortunately, that book will never see the light of day!

SittieCates: At one of your online bios, particularly, at the Harlequin site, you mentioned that (as I quote) you were “positive the world had more to offer”. Could you give us an inkling of what your dreams or expectations were back then when you were still young and living at Janesville, Wisconsin?

Marin Thomas: My family traveled very little. We had one car and I was rarely allowed to drive it, so you can imagine how small my world was the first eighteen years of my life. Most summers I never left town. The library became my best friend and it's where I hung out several days a week reading. Books were my escape and transportation to faraway places I'd only seen on TV or in the movies.

It wasn't until the summer I turned fifteen that my parents took a real "driving" vacation to Colorado to visit our farming relatives and the Grand Canyon. That two week trip was an eye-opener and when I returned home, I knew that one day I had to see more of the world.

As I grew older, I'd decided I had to find a way to see what was "out there" and knew one way to do that was to go to an out-of-state college. Since my parents didn't have the means to pay for my college, I had to find a way to earn a scholarship and that's when I concentrated on becoming the best basketball player I could. And luckily, I succeeded. I took my first plane ride when I went on a recruiting trip my senior year of high school—until then I had never been to the Chicago O'Hare airport and I only lived two hours away.

SittieCates: Thank you for sharing that, Marin. It's great to have a peek at your world back then.

Now, unto the next question... I heard you fell in love with fiction writing. What prompted this sheer affection for this?

Marin Thomas: In college, I took "Creative Writing" as an elective and fell in love with the whole process of writing a story…creating characters and their worlds. Add falling in love to that and it's the perfect kind of story to write!

SittieCates: Could you describe how you felt during that first time you achieved publication? What was running in your mind when one of the stories you've submitted was finally accepted and will be readily available in the market?

Marin Thomas: At first I was numb. I’d been writing and submitting for eight long years and it took a while to sink in that I had finally succeeded. The first person I told was my mother—my biggest fan and the one person who wouldn’t allow me to give up when the going got tough. It became "really real" when I walked into a Barnes and Noble store, and saw my book on the shelf for the first time.

SittieCates: May I ask what your secret is in producing 23 bestselling romance books?

Marin Thomas: I love what I do and I believe I have the best job in the world! Real life is tough, but I hope my stories convey the message to my readers that no matter what happens in life, the power to overcome things is within them and that they deserve their very own happy ever after and should never doubt that.

SittieCates: I believe that it's books like yours that can help give them just that, Marin.

Of all these books, which one was the most challenging to write?

Marin Thomas: For me, the first book in a new series is always the most challenging to write because I'm introducing the other characters and their conflicts for future books, establishing the setting, secondary characters that might or might not appear in all the books and I have to find a way to keep track of all these details.

SittieCates: That sounds like a lot of work. But a happy, fulfilling one, if I may add because based from what I've heard lately, your book, “No Ordinary Cowboy”, has been nominated for the Best Harlequin American book for this year at RT Book Reviews. Congratulations for being in the list, Marin! Such a great achievement! How are you taking this wonderful recognition for your work?

Marin Thomas: Thank you, Cates. It was a nice surprise to hear about the book's nomination and I hope it will inspire readers who haven't tried one of my books before to grab a copy and check it out.     

SittieCates: Oh, I'm sure, they'll do, Marin. Why don't you share
a short description of Lucy Durango and Tony Bravo’s relationship, and how this has somehow been affected in the story for the benefit of those who would like to know more about this book? 

Marin Thomas: This is a deeply emotional, complicated story. Tony was Lucy's brother's best friend and her parents blame Tony for the horrible tragedy that took their son's life. What Lucy's parents don’t know is that she and Tony were secretly dating before her brother died. They'd just decided to come clean with their families when tragedy struck and tore them apart. Now, Lucy is back in town after several years away, and she and Tony are forced to acknowledge that what they felt for one another all those years ago stills burns hot. Their attraction to each other only complicates Tony's job as a border patrol officer when he's assigned to investigate a human trafficking ring. Tony believes the Durango ranch is being used by the human smugglers and is forced to deal with Lucy's father—a man who doesn’t bother to hide his contempt for Tony. 

SittieCates: I believe you’re working on the final edits of Book 4 in The Cash Brothers series. If I may ask, how’s it coming along?

Marin Thomas: I love the final editing stage of a book because I finally get to see how all the revisions, re-writes and changes I've made during the writing process have all come together.

SittieCates: That's great. Will there be a Book 5 for this series?

Marin Thomas: Yes. Merle Haggard Cash's book doesn’t have a title yet, but his book is scheduled to be released August 2014. The sixth and final book in The Cash Brothers series will be released sometime in early 2015 and is Porter Wagoner's story—he's the youngest of the Cash brothers.

SittieCates: Aside from The Cash Brothers, are you cooking up another series or are you thinking of creating a stand-alone novel instead next time?

Marin Thomas: I love writing series and the readers love them, too. I'm brainstorming a new series which involves the three Hispanic juvenile delinquents from my book, A Rodeo Man's Promise (Dec 2011). The delinquents are all grown up now and ready for their own stories.  I'll have to wait and see if my editors like the idea.

SittieCates: I hope they would so we could all look forward to that one.

Let's talk about work habits, Marin. When do you make time to write? Do you do it everyday? Every morning? Or when everyone’s asleep?

Marin Thomas: Now that my kids are in college and out of the house I hit the computer as soon as I get up in the morning and walk the dogs. First, I do social media then check my to-do list and start there. Mid-morning, I take a break and walk outside, then, I spend the rest of the day at the computer. Often, I end up back on the computer for a couple of hours after supper before calling it quits and watching a little TV with hubby. Depending on deadlines, I work 5-7 days a week.  

SittieCates: Have you experienced problems or writing challenges along the way as you write your books?

Marin Thomas: Sure, but to tell you the truth I don’t always see the "problems" until I get the revision letter from my editor. I can honestly say my background in competitive sports has helped me handle the stress of overlapping deadlines or tough revisions. Whether I'm writing or revising a book, I keep at it until I get it right. It’s been drilled into my head since I was a kid that winners don’t quit and at the collegiate level that message is reinforced with punishment—I did not like to run suicides when we lost games.

SittieCates: That's a great way to motivate yourself—"keeping at it until you get it right".

Now, I'm sure, Marin, you're aware that there are so many aspiring authors hoping to carve a niche in writing romance stories. As a bestselling author of this genre, what's your advice for them?

Marin Thomas: Nike says it best—Just do it! And believe in yourself—don't let the naysayers get to you. When everyone tells you that you’re wasting your time or you could be doing something more productive than writing those "silly" romance books, you have to persevere and follow your dreams.

SittieCates: Nicely said. Truly motivational. Thank you for that, Marin. Anything else you would like to add?

Marin Thomas: I love to connect with new readers… You can find me all over the web….
The Cash Brothers

SittieCates: Thank you so much, Marin! I had a lovely time interviewing you.

Marin Thomas: Thank you, Cates! 

SittieCates: You're welcome, Marin.

For those who would like to get in touch with Marin Thomas, you've seen the links, so click on them, say hello to her and check out her books. Thank you!


  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Amy! Thank you for dropping by here. I love Marin's stories as well. :-)

  2. A very well written interview! I like the pictures of the book covers. I don't write romance stories, but I have heard the same negative comments about the topics that I do like to write about. It is great to hear a successful author talk about the importance of sticking things out and being true to your craft.

    1. Thank you, Tara. Yes, I agree. Marin Thomas has given us an inspirational gift to motivate ourselves.

      While writing romance stories are being frowned upon by others, she has kept at it, and has successfully carved her niche. Her story is inspiring. Whether or not we try our hand in writing romance stories or choose to write a different genre, keeping at a goal is something that we, as authors, should all share. I really thank Marin for that wonderful advice.

  3. Amy, you're so sweet--thank you for taking the time to stop by Sittie Cates blog! Hope you're having a great weekend :-)

    1. Hi, Marin! Thanks for the visit and thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story here. Truly appreciate it. :-)

  4. Great interview, SittieCates! I love Marin's positive take on the "challenges" of writing. This interview made me see things in a different perspective. I also like how she puts it - Just do it. I have been trying to write since I was in my 20's and never really got anything done until I did. :) Awesome, Sittie and Marin!

    1. Thank you, Trish! It's nice to know that you did. :-) Yeah, I like that part in the interview, too. She serves as an inspiration to other authors like us (and, of course, to others in various careers as well). As Marin mentioned, "winners don't quit". I love that so much! Will keep that in mind. Thanks for visiting, Trish!