harpy and the dragon book cover author spotlight
Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight with Marie Lipscomb

Happy Saturday, lovelies!

I’m very grateful to finally be here today. This post is a couple weeks late because my life was life-ing so I’m very excited (and loudly fangirling!) to FINALLY have Marie Lipscomb on the blog today. To tell you a bit about my super, ultra-talented and all around gem of a person guest, Marie is a romance and fantasy author with a penchant for unlikely heroes, fantastical creatures, and finding romance in the midst of chaos. She has a particular fondness for big, squishy, cinnamon-roll heroes, especially if they’re beardy. Her newest release The Harpy and The Dragon is out in the world now so get it NOW! 

In the meantime, get yourself a cup of tea and let’s chat!

Hi Marie! Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for being here. How are you celebrating your release week?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! My husband got me some 14 Hands unicorn wine so I’ve been celebrating with that. And I revealed the cover of my next M.L. Eliza story on Friday, so things have been kind of a blur.

Elevator pitch: Describe this collection in a few words.

Two plus-sized, morally-gray grumps running from the law and desperately trying not to fall in love with each other.

What was your inspiration for writing this book? Do you remember the moment when the idea first sparked?

Henry was the villain in the first three Hearts of Blackmere books, and to be honest, I hated him. But there were a couple of scenes toward the end of the trilogy where he was coming across as a little bit charming, and letting a little vulnerability seep through the cracks,  and since I have always written sweet cinnamon roll heroes, I thought it might be a fun challenge to write his story and see if I could make myself fall in love with him. Someone told me that he was irredeemable, and they weren’t sure I could pull it off, so I wanted to prove them wrong.

I have to say, I love that! What was your favorite scene to write? You can choose multiple with different POVs.

I loved writing all the banter between Henry and Annora. They’re always either bickering or just all over each other, and it was so much fun to write. For specific scenes, I do have a huge soft spot for the moment when Henry first steps outside after being imprisoned in a dungeon for ten years. I choked up writing that. And the epilogue was fun and emotional to write too.

Which MC was the easiest and the toughest to write and why?

I found Henry very easy to write as I’d known him for three books already. I knew exactly what would make him tick. Annora is a completely new character though so it was a bit more of a challenge getting to know her and having her be this force which even Henry struggles to reckon with.

One song that fits the aesthetic of your characters.

Let us Burn by Within Temptation. I think it captures the passion and chaos of their relationship.

If these characters (primary and secondary) were your friends, which of them would you choose in the following scenarios:

  • To enjoy a rainy day: Probably Henry. I think he would appreciate the rain as long as he was out of it. 
  • To talk to in a moment of emotional crisis: You know, for all their bickering and general thorniness, both of them have moments in the story where they’re fiercely protective and also tender with each other. I think they both might be alright in that scenario, but they would 100% give you terrible advice. 
  • To crash a wedding: Both. It would be chaos!
  • Start a book club with: Oh goodness… Henry. I think he’d enjoy steamy romance reads.
  • To tag along to a pet store:  Annora. She’d pretend to be uninterested at first, but she’d find something fluffy and reluctantly fall in love with it. 

As writer’s we often straddle the line of making up new worlds as well as adding/subtracting from our present or past scenarios. Which part, scene, memory from your personal life, if any, has made it into the stories?

This is super specific, but for the first 31 years of my life I lived in north west England, and neither me nor my mum can drive, so I used to walk everywhere, often in torrential rain. So, the scene when Henry and Annora are trudging along in the rain and Henry can feel himself getting sick was pretty relatable. 

Also, Annora is constantly told to smile more and it just makes her grumpier, and I relate to that very deeply.

If you were given the opportunity to take the Heart of Blackmere world and combine, co-write new stories with another author, who and which series would choose?

This is such an interesting question, and to be honest I have no idea. A year or so ago I had plans for so many stories in Blackmere, but the trajectory of my writing career has changed so much lately and I don’t know if those plans will ever come to fruition. I

If this collection was being opted for a movie or television series, what would be your dream cast?

I think about this so much, and unfortunately, I don’t know. There are so few plus-sized actors to pick from. I’ve never really had specific actors’ faces in mind when writing the characters. 

What do you hope your readers will get out of this romance? What feelings do you want to leave them with?

I hope people have fun. I hope they laugh and find themselves falling in love right alongside Henry and Annora. So far the best feedback I’ve had is “how dare you make me fall in love with Henry!” and honestly, I live for that.

As a fellow writer and a reader who happens to be your ardent fan, I have to ask: What’s your favorite part about writing romance? When did you know you wanted to write romance?

So, I’ve been hiding this for a while because I thought it might invalidate me as a romance writer, but I came to romance very late. I read my first romance, which was Grace Draven’s Radiance in 2019, and I just fell in love with it, and then the genre and I’ve been hooked ever since.  

Prior to that, I wrote fantasy with romantic subplots, which were always my favorite parts to read and write. It never occurred to me to just make the romance the plot, but once I did, there was no going back for me. I adore it so much!

My favorite part about writing romance is writing banter. For me, forming a friendship is a huge part of falling in love with someone, and I love moments where the characters are bantering and they both crack up laughing at each other. One of the things I like most about The Harpy and The Dragon is that Annora doesn’t smile for anyone but she finds herself laughing with Henry. He never tells her to smile. He knows he has to earn them and he loves that she’s so grumpy, so all her smiles and laughter with him are just because she can’t keep them hidden, and I loved writing that. 

Do your characters, worlds tend stay with you after finishing a story? Or do you move on to newer settings and find it easier to close the gate on the one’s that came before?

I definitely miss the characters and there are some which stay with me longer than others. Henry and Annora have stayed in my heart. I was writing their story during a very tumultuous time in my life, and at times I think I was clinging to them during the uncertainty. Not to go into too much detail, but there was a period where I wasn’t sure I had the funds or the ability to self-publish the book. So I was writing it with the mindset that no one but me would ever see it and it might be the last story I ever wrote, and that made it all the more personal. I definitely got attached to them.

What does you writing process look like? Are you a plotter, panster, do you stand somewhere in the middle? Do you cry when writing emotional scenes?

My process is all over the place. Generally I will attempt to fill out a beat sheet, get about halfway through and get distracted, start writing, leave bullet points at the end of my document of plot points I want to hit, and then just pants and go entirely off plan haha. 

I cried while filling out a beat sheet yesterday for the final Vixens Rock book though. I think that book is going to be a tough one to write. I’ll miss the Vixens so much. I want to plan that one a bit more thoroughly to make sure all the loose ends are tied up, so if I never get the chance to return to the series it’ll still be a satisfying ending.

What’s the difference, if any, when writing medieval/fantasy romance vs. contemporary? Which one do you enjoy more? Is it easier, difficult to switch? Can/do you write both simultaneously?

I’m usually writing two different stories at the same time, so I find it easy to switch, although I use music to get into the mindset of each world. 

I definitely find myself putting much more thought into bathing and cleanliness in my historical stories. In The Harpy and The Dragon Henry has been in a dungeon for 10 years and it isn’t long after his escape before he and Annora begin a physical relationship, so while I was writing it I was thinking “Okay, he definitely needs a bath before anything else because that’s extremely unsexy.” So I had to figure out where he would get hot water from, how he would trim his hair and  beard which had been growing for a decade, and how desperate he would be to get clean. And then, of course, I had Annora steal his bathtub before he could get in it.

What does Marie Lipscomb perfect writing/reading retreat look like?

Honestly, it would have to be an empty gray room with no windows because I get distracted by EVERYTHING. My writing desk is in front of a window looking out over a stream and some trees, and I get really distracted by birds and squirrels. If I went to a cozy retreat by the ocean or in a forest I’d be a goner. But there has to be snacks too.

BUT if it’s a retreat where we say we’re going to do work but know we’re definitely not, then it would be a big lodge in the mountains with an open fire, a lot of wine and gin, a heated outdoor pool, and cozy places to recline comfortably. And snacks.

100% YES to snacks! Okay, so, here’s a question I personally have a very time answering, so naturally, I’ll ask you. If you had to choose one trope and/or sub-genre to read and/or write for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Forced proximity! I find it so irresistible in fiction (although in real life it would be my literal nightmare.)

Which books have you been enjoying lately? What’s the last book that made you cry in a good way?

I’m reading Beverly Jenkins’ Tempest at the moment and it’s just stunning. She paints such vivid worlds and characters, and makes it look so easy.

Is it okay to say my own book made me cry? I was proofreading The Harpy and The Dragon, and I won’t spoil anything but I got to the epilogue and seeing the character’s so complete and in love after everything they’d been through made me tear up.

I want romancelandia to embrace and defend marginalized voices and under-represented stories with the same determination and passion as we defend the requirement that romance has to have a happily ever after.

Forced proximity! I find it so irresistible in fiction (although in real life it would be my literal nightmare.)

Thank you for giving me this opportunity and taking out to the time to chat with me! I can’t wait for the world to read more of your work.

Thank you so much! These questions were so much fun <3

Connect with Marie Lipscomb at:

Lovelies, I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you haven’t checked out Marie’s books yet, I hope you will do so now. Have a wonderful weekend!

salaam red box introduction

About Perveen

Perveen is a South-Asian Muslim, an introvert who daydreams about love-myths, monsters, and magic during my day job and occasionally binge-watch period dramas at night. Most of her time is spent reading, writing & talking to the cats in my backyard.

You can connect with her at:

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