MLT: I grew up on the sunny shores of South Florida! I love the sea and spent my childhood on the beach dreaming of swashbuckling adventures upon its vast waters. My home life was rocky so I tended to live in another world inside my head, always creating adventures and heroes from another time and place to come and rescue me. Sometimes that world became more real to me than the world around me. But, I never had the confidence to write it down in stories. Besides writing, I love to oil paint and have several paintings hanging around my house.
BG: Tell us about your writing journey.
MLT: Because of my shaky childhood and because I wasn’t a Christian until my late 30’s, I spent many years going down the wrong path. Although I always had the urge to write, I never had the confidence. Like the prodigal son, I spent my time and money on worldly pleasures and just like him, I ended up in a pig pen. When the Lord lifted me out of the mud, He had a mighty work to do in me for the next six years before I was ready to write for Him. I was a mess, spiritually and emotionally! ☺ After that, He gave me the idea for a Christian Pirate, the time to write, and the rest is history.
BG: What is your favorite movie? Favorite book?
MLT: I have so many favorites, it’s hard to choose. Besides the pirate movies, I loved Titanic, Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Last of the Mohicans, Pride and Prejudice (The one on A&E)
My favorite all time book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, but other favorites include Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, and Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini (don’t be dissuaded by the name, it’s a great book!)
BG: I love the pirate movies. (but I hated the ending of the last one. After all we’ve put into the romance, and they can only be together one day out of ten years. SCREAM) Can you share if they played a part in the inspiration for your books, and if so, how?
MLT: It was after I saw the first pirate movie that the Lord gave me the idea of a Christian pirate. So, I would say that film had a big part in inspiring me. Besides dear sweet Johnny Depp, the other pirates were so hideous and so depraved that I wondered how cool would it be to create a pirate who was a Christian? What a grand dichotomy between profession and beliefs.
By the way, if you ever rent or buy the last pirate movie, wait until all the credits are done at the end and you’ll be treated to a little scene that will make you feel better about the way the story ended. ☺
BG: I did see the ending–the very ending– and I’m sorry to say that it didn’t feel any happier! Can you share the process of selling these novels? Were you surprised when you received the call, or did you suspect the editor would buy them, and why?
MLT: Surprised? More like stunned into silence. Then after I found my voice, I started screaming. ☺ I couldn’t believe it. You see I had only just submitted the manuscript to an agent the month before. Within 2 weeks of sending it out, Barbour expressed interest, and 1 week after that, my agent called me from the ACFW conference and told me they were offering me a contract! I had heard it could take years to break into the publishing world, if ever, so I knew right away that God had preformed a miracle and I give Him all the glory!
BG: With that experience, do you have any tips or thoughts on catching an editor’s eye?
MLT: You must have a very unique idea. Something that hasn’t been done before. I really believe that’s why my books were picked up. It wasn’t my stellar writing, it was the idea of a Christian pirate. Of course you must be a decent writer as well, but the main thing is the idea. Does it pique their interest? The whole time they are reading your proposal, they aren’t drooling over your grand vocabulary or eloquent writing, they are wondering. “Can I sell this idea?”
BG: Tell us about the latest release in the series, The Restitution.
MLT: The Restitution is a story of a young mother, Isabel, who has been ostracized from society for choosing to keep her baby—a child born from the ravishment of a pirate, Kent. When the child is kidnapped, the only one who can help her is the boy’s father. But Kent has changed. His love for Isabel and his shame at what he did to her have begun to soften his pirate heart. As the couple search for their son, they encounter many obstacles, sea battles, mutinies and betrayals. Isabel finds her fledging faith tested over and over, while Kent begins to believe in the powerful God she prays to. It is a great story of forgiveness and of forsaking all to follow Jesus.
BG: What is the message you hope to get across in this story? In the series?
MLT: Nothing in this world will bring you the fulfillment and joy you desire except a relationship with Jesus. You must lay everything down at the foot of His cross and put nothing before Him. This is the true road to real joy.
BG: Of the three, which is your favorite?
MLT: Actually, though it didn’t do as well as the other two, I liked book 2, The Reliance, the best. The heroine, Charlisse takes on the role of pirate captain as she searches for her wayward husband. It is the most action packed of the three and really shows the consequences of either trusting God or turning your back on Him when tragedy strikes.
BG: So, what projects are you working on now?
MLT: The next title I’m currently writing is The Falcon and the Sparrow. Set in 1803 London, it is the story of a young girl who arrives in England as a governess for a young son of a British Admiral. But in reality she has been sent by Napoleon to spy for France or they will kill her brother. Look for this in stores, September 2008.
BG: What does your typical day look like?
MLT: First thing in the morning, Bible study and prayer. I’ve grown to love this time with the Lord and it gives me the strength and guidance I need for the day. Next, I spend some time exercising, walking, doing situps..etc. I have a nutritional shake, get dressed and I’m on my computer. I go through my emails and address anything I need to and then I start writing. I try and write 2000 words a day when I’m under contract. I break for a small lunch and may run some errands or do a few chores around the house. 5:00 is quitting time. I make dinner for hubby and the kids who all come piling in around 6:00. Evenings are spent with my family.
Pretty normal, huh?
BG: What writing tips do you believe are the most important?
MLT: If you are going to be a writer, you have to be disciplined. You have to consider your writing to be your job and set aside time to devote to it every day. Study your craft. Read great books on writing, go to conferences and take workshops, join a great critique group. One thing I believe has really helped me improve my writing is to read the best-sellers, the award winners and try to analyze why they worked so well.
BG: Any marketing tips?
MLT: Marketing is not my strong suit. I think the best thing to do is network as much as you can with other writers, reviewers, and people who own websites and blogs who can brag about your book. I believe word of mouth is the best way to sell books. But, you must have a great book that people are willing to tell others about. So first write a great book! And then send it to reviewers, and influencers who can spread the word. Give away free books wherever you can. Don’t be stingy because every book could produce more readers. You never know. And most of all, trust God. If He gets you published, He’ll get your book into the hands of those He wants.
BG: Closing thoughts you’d like to share?
MLT: Don’t compare yourself with others. Don’t try and achieve what others have achieved. Just do what God calls you to do. He has a special plan just for you and if you put Him first in all things, you’ll be astonished at what He will do in your life!