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First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte with Coconut Milk 🙂 What would you order?

I love anything with Mocha. So, Mocha Latte, probably. I’m currently hooked on Dunkin Donuts iced mocha swirl coffee with cream. Yum.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today and Congratulations on your recent RITA nomination Best New Book – Altered.  

Thank you for inviting me! And thank you for the congratulations! It’s been an exciting few weeks. &#X1f60a

When you received the call were you with anyone? Who did you share the news with first?
The call for the RITA? Actually, my whole family was home to share with me. My kids started Spring Break on March 25, and my husband works from home every Friday. So, everyone witnessed my squealing, “Oh my Gods!” Right after that, I texted my closest writing friends. 
Can you tell us a little bit about your Altered that’s nominated for Best New Book? Aspiring writers want to know, did you enter this book in any contests before it was published?
ALTERED was actually a 2014 Golden Heart® finalist as well. The book is a New Adult sci-fi romantic thriller. It was so much fun to write. Before I signed with my agent and became contracted, I usually entered one or two contests per book I wrote. I would always recommend entering the Golden Heart®, if an author’s book is ready and able to be entered. I finaled in 2014 and 2015. The Golden Heart® experience is unique and worth the entrance fee every time.
How did you know that you wanted to write adult sci-fi romantic thrillers? 
I actually didn’t know that was what I was writing when I was writing ALTERED. LOL!  The characters showed up with the catalyst for their story–a flu that kills most of a small town–and I went from there.  I thought it was YA, because my main character, Blue, and some of the supporting characters are still in their teens. That’s how I marketed it.
Without giving away any spoilers the story starts off with Blue, the heroine getting violently ill and then waking up to discover everyone has died, well almost everyone.  Sounds exciting and very on-the-edge of my reading.
I think that ALTERED would appeal to any reader who likes action-packed, fast-paced reads. Though technically the book is a sci-fi romantic thriller, I think that the speculative aspects are accessible. The story takes part in our world, in our time. It’s not dystopian. It was sort of my way of playing “what if” about some scary things I read once.

When you wrote this story did you know what was going to happen or did it evolve as you were writing it? 

I did know what was going to happen when I started writing.  I’m a pretty serious plotter. I can’t go forward without know what’s going to happen.

What was your biggest obstacle or challenge while writing this story?

As far as obstacles or challenges, I guess there are hard parts of every book, or spots that need to be adjusted. Thank goodness I’m surrounded by incredibly smart people–critique partners, agents, editors, copy-editor–and all of them helped to mold this book into its best form.

For fans who are anxiously awaiting the sequel Avenged this June can you give us a peek? What can we expect?

AVENGED follows two of the characters who appear in ALTERED, Nick and Kitty. While Blue and Seth’s story reaches a happy place in ALTERED, Kitty and Nick are still in limbo. AVENGED gives them their chance.

I love your cover design and can’t wait to see the next book – Entangled Publishing has some very creative cover designers.

Isn’t that cover gorgeous!?  It was designed by the incredible Louisa at LM Creations.  I love it. &#X1f60a

Thank you again and I’m thrilled we had a chance to sit down and chat. 

Thank you for having me!

*** 8 Tantalizing Tidbits ***

1. What is your must read book and why?

Oh, good question!  I would say Perfect by Judith McNaught. It was one of my gateway to romance novel books, and it hits all the feels. 

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?

My hometown is a small town in Western PA. I’d suggest visiting the local truck stop. They make salads with fries on them out there. It’s a Western PA thing…and it’s delicious.

3. Castles or Beaches?

Castles. I’m the palest person you’ll meet, so most sunny-weather activity requires SPF 2847456.  But, even if that wasn’t the case, I love the history of castles and the interesting lives that live there.

4. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go?

Ireland. So much cool folklore, and the pictures are so gorgeous. 

5. What is your guilty pleasure?

Godiva chocolate bars, the kind you buy at the check out at Barnes and Noble. My hubs and I aren’t big card givers, but he will pick them up for me for Valentine’s Day or anniversaries…or if he’s just feeling sweet. Now that’s a real hero, ladies. &#X1f60a 

6. What are you afraid of?

Spiders. Or pretty much anything that jumps out at me.  I don’t like surprises at all.


7. Organized or Free Floating?

ORGANIZED. I’m a Virgo, so my spaces have to feel calm and orderly before I can focus. I’m also a scheduler and a listmaker.

8. What is one thing your can’t live without?

Blistex. I think I’m addicted.

Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another Latte 🙂
Happy Reading Dear Readers.
Happy Writing Marnee  

  Click to get your copy of Altered

To find out who wins head over to Romance Writers of America on July 16 at 8PM PT. Winners will be announced and be sure to follow #RITAGH and #RWA16 for all the news that night!

Good Luck to all!

Author Info:


Rita® finalist and double Golden Heart® finalist Marnee Blake used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn’t writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book.