Catching up with Author Marie Laval

So pleased to welcome Marie Laval to talk about Angel of the Lost Treasure, her historical romance which will be released by Choc Lit this week! And look at that cover!

Cover of Angel if the Lost Treasure
Wooden rafters of an old building; a dove flying to land on a rafter; a gold medallion hanging from the rafters

Tell us what inspired you to write Angel of the Lost Treasure.

Thank you so much, Sandy, for welcoming me on your blog today. I always loved historical fiction, and stories about secret societies, Knights Templar, lost treasures and of course romance! I grew up in a village near Lyon in France, a beautiful city with a fascinating old quarter full of meandering cobbled streets and Renaissance buildings… a city with many secrets and links to the occult. I always thought Lyon and surrounding Beaujolais and Pilat regions would make a great setting for a historical romance.  

When did you start writing seriously?

I have written short stories ever since I was a teenager in France. When I came to England I carried on writing, this time in English, and I was overjoyed when three of my stories were shortlisted for various competitions, and one of them won first prize. This was when I started thinking that I could write in English and make a success of it. Of course, it took me many years to actually complete my first novel and get my first publishing contract. Things haven’t always been easy or straightforward. I have three children, changed jobs several times and retrained as a teacher in my mid-thirties, and struggled through difficult periods in my life, but writing is what I really love doing and I have never let negativity put me off…

What do you love most about being an author?

There are so many wonderful things about being an author! Seeing my book cover for the first time is always tremendously exciting, and of course reading people’s comments when they enjoyed the story is the best feeling ever. What I love the most is when I can ‘hear’ the characters speak and ‘see’ them interact and when they become real people I think about and talk about all the time… a bit crazy, but true! I have been very lucky to make great friends in the writing community too, and meeting some of them for a chat, and attending workshops or the RNA conference is always a joy.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on two projects – a contemporary romance and a short story.

The contemporary romance is set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and has been an absolute joy to write but has taken me far longer than anticipated. I hope to finish it and send it to Choc Lit in the next few weeks.  I always start with a fairly simple idea… then as I never plot anything things get terribly complicated!

I am also working on a short story for the Miss Moonshine anthologies to which I am a contributor along with eight author friends. This will be our third anthology together and it should be released in the spring. I also have two other projects in the pipeline and research is ongoing! It’s busy, and at time stressful to manage my writing along with my teaching job, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There should also soon be another historical romance, this time featuring Hugo Saintclair’s son, but this isn’t for just yet!

What do you hope readers will take away from Angel of the Lost Treasure?

I want them to fall in love with Hugo Saintclair and Marie-Ange, be fascinated by the dark secrets and mysteries of the plot, be curious about the history of the Knights Templar and intrigued by Lyon -perhaps even book a plane or a train ticket to explore the city when travel restrictions are lifted!

More about the book

An ancient secret hidden within a mother’s song …
When young widow, Marie-Ange Norton is invited to Beauregard in France by the mysterious Monsieur Malleval to collect an inheritance, she has no choice but to accept.
But when she embarks on the voyage with her fiery-tempered travelling companion Capitaine Hugo Saintclair, little does she know what waits for her across the sea in turbulent nineteenth-century France on the eve of Napoleon’s return from exile. When she arrives, she is taken aback by Malleval’s fascination with her family – seemingly inspired by his belief they are connected to a sacred relic he’s read about in coded manuscripts by the Knights Templar.
As it becomes clear that Malleval’s obsession has driven him to madness, Marie-Ange is horrified to realise she is more the man’s prisoner than his guest. Not only that, but Hugo is the only person who might be able to help her, and he could represent a different kind of danger …

Where can you get it?

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Kobo

More about Marie

Blonde woman wearing blue and white floral dress, smiling

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire for the past few years. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels are published by Choc Lit and include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, shortlisted for the Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense category of the 2021 RNA Awards, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC.

Her latest novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, will be released in February 2021. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Yorkshire and Lancashire

Follow Marie: Twitter | Facebook

Thank you for joining us Marie and all the best for this new book!

Romance Must-reads

I was a romance reader long before I was a romance writer – actually, since I used to sneak Mills and Boon books from my mother’s beside table at the precocious age of 12.

By 13, I’d graduated to Shirley Conran and Jackie Collins, and she’d ‘graduated’ to just handing them to me.

At high school, I read every Sweet Dreams book ever written along with all the other teenage girls in existence. As an adult, I discovered chicklit – mostly romcoms, but also the more heartfelt side of the genre.

And when I read my first Lindsey Kelk book in January 2013, I knew two things. First, I wanted to read all her books (there were 5 then; there are soon to be 13). And second, I wanted to write romance novels.

I still read widely across the genre and wanted to share some (old and new) favourites with you.

AAG - LKThe first in the Tess Brookes series (my fave chicklit series ever) – this book is hilarious.  Buy it here. Kelk’s book that started my love affair with romance writing is I Heart New York, and you can now pre-order the 8th ‘I Heart’ book, I Heart Hawaii.


Outlander is, simply, one of the most beautifully-written books I’ve ever read; the prose is sublime. Couple that with a love story that transcends time, it is an absolute must-read. And if you’ve been living under a kilt, there’s also a television show – perhaps the sexiest one on air. I am up to #7 of Diana Gabaldon’s series.

Penny Reid

Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City series is terrific, and I devoured book 1, Neanderthal Seeks Human. I am only 3 books in (there are 8, each focussing on a different member of the knitting circle), but the way she crafts distinct characters through first person is just terrific.


How I adore Frances Mayes’ writing. She evokes place like no other. Women in Sunlight is not your typical romance novel, as it’s not the primary theme, but I love the approach in this novel which explores love, sex and romance in your 60s.


The Time Traveller’s Wife is one of my favourite books – ever. This story will simply take your breath away.


The 3rd in the trilogy, this was actually my favourite of the moving, yet hopeful ‘Me Before You’ series. An original concept brings Louisa and Will together in a the most devastating ‘meet cute’ ever. Buy the first one here.


Traversing generations, Allende has woven a beautiful and epic love story in The Japanese Lover.

Some other lovely romantic reads I’ve loved over the past few months are: Her Brooding Scottish Heir (my first foray into M&B in decades) by Ella Hayes; French Kissing (sexy, funny, dreamy) by Lynne Selby; A Room at the Manor (heartfelt and lovely) by Julie Shackman; A Village Affair (laugh out loud) by Julie Houston; One Way Ticket to Paris (rekindling true love) by Emma Robinson, and Lottie Loser (romance with a dramatic twist) by Dana L. Brown.

I’m making myself stop there and if you think that’s a lot of books, you should see my TBR (to be read) list!

Happy Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day or just plain old February 14th.

Sandy xx