PaperBackSwap Blog

Author Interview with Marie Sexton


Author Interview with Marie Sexton by Mary (kilchurn)

Mary: I will shamefully admit that Promises sat on my bookshelf for MONTHS.  I would occasionally pick it up and start the first page and then put it down.  *shudder* written in first person *shudder* After some arm twisting by a good friend of yours, I huffed and puffed grumpily to my bookshelf and picked it up and began to read.  In the ensuing hours, I fell in love with Matt and Jared.  A lot of the readers I know have similar feelings about 1st person narratives, so I have to ask, why 1st person?

Marie: I’m always surprised when people say they don’t like 1st person. I’m exactly the opposite. As a reader, it’s absolutely my first preference. I’m really not a fan of 3rd. I only enjoy reading 3rd if it’s nice and tight and very specific, like Harry Potter, but frankly, that’s hard to find. The very minute the POV starts jumping around (which seems to happen way more often than not), I put the book down and never go back. Omniscient 3rd drives me up the wall. To me, it makes the book feel very distant, like I’m not actually engaging with the characters or the story at all. When I read, I like to be completely immersed in the thoughts and life of the main character, so when I started writing, it never even occurred to me to write in anything other than 1st.

That being said, I did break my cycle. Between Sinners and Saints and Song of Oestend are both written in 3rd. In Saints, we really needed to see both Levi’s and Jaime’s POV. It was funny, because I kept emailing Heidi saying, “It’s all messed up! I’m doing it wrong! I hate writing in 3rd!” And she’d read it and sort of pat me on the head and tell me, “It’s fine. Keep going.” And for the most part, I think it worked. Oestend is written entirely from Aren’s POV, though, and in hindsight, I kind of wish I’d used 1st. ~shrug~ Oh well. 🙂

Also, for the record, writing a m/m (or m/m/m) sex scene in 3rd person is much more difficult than writing it in 1st!


Mary: Your “Coda” series is set in a fictional town called “Coda”.  Is it based on a real town?

Marie:  Not quite. It’s sort of a combination of Lyons and Allenspark. But mostly, it’s fictional.


Mary: Who has been your favorite character to write? Why?

Marie:  Probably Angelo, because he’s so damaged, but also so tough and angry and outspoken. He’s very much the voice of my petulant inner-child.


Mary: Which character has been the most challenging for you?

Marie:  Jon was really hard, because he was just so uptight and dry. I tried at one point to write Strawberries from Cole’s POV, but he’s too verbose. I wrote about half a chapter before giving up and going back to Jon. But Jon really is such a straight man (no pun intended). I had to add George and the emails from Cole to Jared to lighten that book up a bit.


Mary: There are some critics out there who think that it is impossible for women to write “authentic” Male/Male romances.  As a woman writing in the genre what are your thoughts?

Marie:  I would say, I get emails from gay men all the time telling me otherwise.


Mary: Song of Oestend is due out in August 2011.  Until now you’ve written “contemporary” novels.  What was your reason for approaching another genre?

Marie:  I think a few different things converged here. First, I’ve always been a fantasy reader. I read fantasy almost exclusively for many, many years before I found m/m romance. I was only reading romance for about a year when I decided to try writing one. My one unfinished novel (which I started between A to Z and The Letter Z) is also fantasy. I think I was just longing to do something new. Truthfully though, what I really wanted to write (for some reason I can’t really explain) was a haunted house story.

Song of Oestend started because I was at a little house concert. I’m sorry to say I don’t even remember the name of the musician, but she sang a song called Barbed Wire Men. Suddenly, I wanted to write a story about a cowboy and an artist. But I also still had the haunted house bug, and I couldn’t figure out if cowboys in a haunted house would be contemporary (which made the haunted house seem like less fun) or historical (which presented other problems I didn’t want to deal with). Then, I read Warded Man by Peter Brett, and I was really intrigued by this idea of very dangerous things running around in the night. And somebody (maybe Heidi, or maybe my husband) said, “Put them all together.” It seemed sort of crazy, but in the end, that’s what I did. I set it in an alternate universe, and voila!


Mary: What made you start writing?

Marie:  It was a whim. I woke up one morning with a vision in my head of two men in a hallway. I sat down and started writing it, and it turned into Promises.


Mary: Do you write in a structured environment, i.e. an office or do you start writing wherever the mood strikes you?

Marie:  I generally move all over the place, although I think I’m most productive when I make myself stay in my office.


Mary: You have a partner in crime these days, Heidi Cullinan.  How did you meet and do you think you will ever collaborate on a project?

Marie:  Sometime in early 2010, Heidi sent an email to the Dreamspinner author loop saying she wanted to host a booth at Des Moines Pride, and asking if anybody would like to join her. I checked the drive time from Colorado to Iowa and said, “Why not?” The first time I met her was when I showed up on her doorstep in June of 2010. After that, we were emailing or chatting almost every day. A few months later, she said, “I don’t suppose you’d want to drive to McAllen, Texas with me?” And again, I said, “Why not?” So we embarked on a massive roadtrip together.

Suffice it to say, once you’ve peed in a ditch together, or been lost in the bowels of a downtown Memphis parking garage and emerged again into the light, you form a bit of a bond.

Will we ever collaborate on a project? Hmmm…. How to answer that…. Let’s just say, anything could happen. 😉


Mary: What does Marie do for fun when she isn’t writing?

Marie:  I watch a stupid amount of TV these days.


Mary: What was your favorite book as a child?

Marie:  I was a huge fan of the Great Brain books. I think that’s where I learned to love 1st person narrators – especially ones who aren’t entirely reliable.


Mary: What has been your favorite book as an adult?

Marie:  Harry Potter, and the Doctrine of Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette. The first two Labyrinths books, Melusine and The Virtu, just blew me away. I absolutely love Felix and Mildmay. They’re so messed up and damaged and unbelievably codependent. They’re amazing.


Mary: Many of the male/male romance books are primarily available in eBook and it seems like portable reading devices are taking over.  Do you own a kindle/nook/kobo/other?  Why or why not?

Marie:  I do own a Kindle. It was my present to myself when I received my first publishing contract. It’s convenient, but I’m not a total ebook convert. What I am is CHEAP. If I can get the paperback cheaper (or better yet, free from PBS), I’ll still choose to do that rather than pay for the ebook.


Mary: How did you find PaperBackSwap and how long have you been a member?

Marie:  I had to check my profile, and it says I’ve been a member since October 2006. I’m trying to remember how I first found PBS. I have a really horrible memory. I do remember being VERY excited to find it. My daughter was two at that time, and going to a book store with her was completely out of the question. Plus, I had shelves and shelves and shelves of paperbacks to trade. I do remember it as being sort of love at first sight. (Love at first site? LOL. Sorry. Bad pun.)


Mary: What book(s) are at the top of your To-Be-Read pile?

Marie:  On PBS, the ones at the top are:

Amazonia, by James Rollins

Babel-17, by Samuel R. Delany

Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie

Honestly though, I haven’t been reading nearly as much since I started writing. I used to be a voracious reader, but these days, I tend to start lots of books and never finish them.


Mary: How has PaperBackSwap impacted your life?

Marie:  The biggest impact has been the people I’ve met. Back in early 2009, I met a girl named Amy via PBS, and we became very good friends. We’d swap m/m books, and she was my biggest cheerleader as I wrote Promises. And then a few months later, we contacted Troy via PBS. Since that time, I’ve unfortunately lost contact with Amy, but Troy and I still talk almost every day.


And now for some fun things –

Onion Rings or French Fries?

French fries, with ranch dressing. I don’t like ketchup.

Coke or Pepsi?


M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces?

M&Ms, but my favorites are the peanut butter ones.

Anchovies or No Anchovies?

I’ve never had a pizza with anchovies on it, but I’d absolutely be willing to try it.

Bugs Bunny or the Flintstones?

Bugs Bunny

Early Bird or Night Owl?

Early bird, but not by choice. It’s all my daughter’s fault. I was a night owl until she came along.

Steak or Chicken?


Red Wine or White Wine?


Folgers or Maxwell House?

Either one, as long as I have some of that CoffeeMate flavored creamer to go in it.


Marie Sexton was always good at the technical aspects of writing but never had any ideas for stories. After graduating from Colorado State University, she worked for eleven years at an OB/GYN clinic. She quit the clinic at about the same time she started reading M/M romances. At some point in the ensuing months, the static in her head cleared, and her first story was born.

Marie 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. Matt and Jared 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.

Visit Marie’s web site at http://www.MarieSexton.net or find her on Facebook.


Marie’s Books:

The Coda Series:

  1. Promises
  2. A to Z
  3. The Promise and The Letter Z  [ebook only] (doesn’t matter which one you read first – they take place at the same time)
  4. Strawberries for Dessert and Putting Out Fires [ebook only] (also take place at the same time)
  5. Paris A to Z [ebook only]


Other Stories:

One More Soldier [ebook only]

Between Sinners and Saints


UpComing book:

Song of Oestend (due August 2011)

Marie Sexton has generously offered an autographed copy of one of her print books to a member who comments on this interview. The winner will get to choose which book!


Thank you Mary and Marie for a great interview!!

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19 Responses to “Author Interview with Marie Sexton”

  1. Courtney (coco1019) says:

    Great interview Mary and Marie. I have heard a lot about your books so I bought Promises not too long ago. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to for a reading challenge this summer.

  2. Misty (millywv) says:

    Fantabulous interview! Marie is a wonderful author and I absolutely loved learning more about her!

  3. Maragaret (ladystyx) , says:

    I loved the interview. I love reading about authors who use and enjoy PBS. I have heard many good things about her and look forward to reading more.

  4. Susan says:

    I’ve been a fan of Marie’s since Promises came out in paperback. I wonder if she lives in the same town as my brother in Colorado and if I’ve ever seen her by chance there. I just wish she would write faster!

  5. Jamie(2lilmonkees) says:

    Great Interview girls!!!! Love reading about behind the scenes 😉

  6. Maria (SassenachD) says:

    Great Interview! I love discovering new authors and their books!!

  7. Anne (booklover6) says:

    Great interview. I love Ms. Sexton’s books. Reading Between Saints and Sinners right now!

  8. Julie D. (ecomama) says:

    Ha! I loved the answers specifically outside the box. I just got Strawberries in a game, so I’ll have to move it up my TBR!

  9. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Great interview Mary and Marie, I love it when we find authors are also members at PBS!

  10. Richard C. (Richard-luvs-Reading) , says:

    Another Great Author being interviewed, and it’s Fun to Learn Marie Sexton is a PBS Member too! Also, Mary, Great Job, and Thanks for Hosting the LGBTQ Virtual Box (and so we have a way to share Marie’s Books). Marie, also Thanks for the recommendation of the Labyrinth Series, as it also looks like a Good Read (I always love to see Author’s recommendations!). Finally, Marie, I am looking forward to the New Book! 🙂

  11. Laura B. (rureadinganotherone) says:

    Awesome job ladies!! Marie you know I love your writing! To those that have Marie Sexton’s books sitting on those TBR’s got 5 words for ya “Move it to the TOP” you will not be disappointed. As most of you know I am a huge m/m fan and Marie is one of my number 1 authors (yes Ethan you too), when it comes to her I am never disappointed. I am so excited for Songs of Oestend.

  12. Marie Sexton says:

    Thanks to everybody for your comments, and thanks also to PBS and Mary for allowing me to be on the blog! The interview was a lot of fun. 🙂

  13. Issa S. (Issa-345) says:

    Okay, I am way late to reading this but thanks to Marie and Mary for doing this interview. Promises was great and one of my first m/ms in first person that I truly liked.

  14. Melissa H. (missyh) says:

    Great interview! Marie i love your books!

  15. Marie Sexton says:

    Issa and Melissa: Thanks very much! 🙂

  16. Angela (angelinagrl) says:

    Fun Interview. I have been dipping my toe into the MM genere so I have not read any of Marie’s books….yet. FF w/ ranch gonna have to try that. I was doing FF with Mayo dunno why other than that was the way you got them in France and I suppose I got used to it!

  17. Denise L. (fangrrl) says:

    Good stuff ladies. French fries and books, two of my favorite things! Unfortunately can’t do them together or the food spots make books unpostable 🙁

    Will Song of Oestend be released in print? I read e-books on our PC, but prefer to be a bit more portable while reading (procrastinate alot for e-books).

    Keep up the good work!!!!

  18. Marie Sexton says:

    Angela, the fries are much better with ranch!

    Denise, Song of Oestend will be released in print, although I don’t know the exact date yet. It will probably be a couple of weeks after the ebook release.


  19. Marjana K. (kalynnick) says:

    nice interview!

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