Erika’s All About the Love

Guest House Final CoverI’m delighted to once again welcome my wonderful writer friend Erika Marks to my blog! Erika is one of the first writers I got to know in the Twitter-blogosphere, and we became fast friends over writing, birding, and Maine . . . Erika lives in North Carolina, but she grew up in Maine, very near where I live now. We met in person when she was here last summer, and it was a blast! Two years ago, when I first met Erika, she had just announced the release date of her debut novel LITTLE GALE GUMBOLast fall her second novel THE MERMAID COLLECTOR came out. Today, Erika is here to talk about her third novel THE GUEST HOUSE.

Erika has generously offered to give one lucky commenter a signed copy of THE GUEST HOUSE! You will definitely want to read this book (I loved it and concur with Erika about Cooper!), so please leave a comment by midnight on Saturday (7/13), and I’ll let you know next Sunday if you win!

Please welcome Erika Marks!!



So what’s love got to do with it?

Well, for me, everything.

I know there are many, many life-shattering and world-changing issues that make for incredible stories. I’ve read those stories and I’ve bawled my eyes out and I’ve thought, time and time again, why couldn’t I explore one of those issues in my next novel?

Call me a one-trick pony, but for me, writing always comes back to one topic: love.

Recently, I was on a panel at a book festival and was asked why I had tried writing in so many different genres before finally settling on Women’s Fiction. I had explained that through the course of writing 14 unsold manuscripts (and believe me, there was very good reason they were never sold!), I had tried my hand at possibly every genre out there. You name it, I wrote a book for it. Sci-fi, horror, westerns, Viking romance, time travel, among others. And yet, as different as the genres were, every agent I queried them with always remarked that the strongest element was always the romantic subplot. By manuscript 11, I finally listened and began writing stories that featured romantic relationships as the driving force in the novel.

So what’s so great about writing about love?

What isn’t?

There’s a reason 9 out of 10 songs on the radio are about love*. We’ve all known about love, we’ve all searched for it, we’ve all lost it, and we’ve all, hopefully, found it again.

I’m happy to say that my newest novel, THE GUEST HOUSE, is my most romantic book yet. While there is a bit of mystery in its plot, the core of its story revolves around the love and enduring passion that ties together two rival families at a rambling cottage on Cape Cod, summer after summer.

What amazes me is how each time I sit down to write a novel, I still get that same excitement knowing that I will be creating a new love story with new characters. Even though the course of romance is often a road travelled many times before, I know that each romance will be different, each courtship fresh and unknown because the lovers are fresh and unknown to me before I flesh them out in the story. Sometimes they shock me, sometimes they frustrate me, sometimes they even make me swoon (I’m looking at YOU, Cooper)—and I can say with absolute certainty, that I will NEVER tire of writing love stories, in all their thrilling, confusing, heart-breaking glory.

I certainly hope readers will never tire of reading them.


*Please note: this is not an actual statistic derived from any real source except my own obsessive radio playing in the car. I’m just guessing here.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAErika Marks is a native New Englander who was raised in Maine and has worked as an illustrator, carpenter, and cake decorator. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their two daughters. THE GUEST HOUSE is her third novel.







  1. Leah says:

    I always love to read about the very talented Erika Marks! Thanks for a great post.

    • Erika Marks says:

      Hi Leah! You are so kind to say that. It’s always such a treat for me to visit friends’ blogs and get to share in their wonderful community. I hope summer is treating you and your little ones well–I can’t believe how fast it’s flying by!!

  2. I’ll look forward to reading it. Keep writing. I’m running out of Nora Roberts’ novels.

    • Erika Marks says:

      Christine, I hope you are well and seeing some lovely feathered friends! My husband brought down the hanging fern yesterday to reveal some house finch babies just born–one egg remained uncracked so of course I am nervous about that one quiet egg 🙁

  3. Shary says:

    Sounds like a wonderful story… Another one for my TBR list!

    • Erika Marks says:

      Thank you, Shary! Hope summer is sunny where you are. Here in NC we have seen four times the amount of rain we usually see so we’re all feeling a bit soggy!

  4. I love this post and its honesty about love stories. It’s true: all of us gals love a good love story. And I started The Guest House already; can’t wait to see how things heat up with Cooper (things are already sizzling at the surface).

    And, Erika, I admire your fortitude and bravery: 14 manuscripts in all different genres! I’m not sure I have 14 ideas IN me, and I know I’m too chicken to try multiple genres!!!

    Keep up the great work. Have so enjoyed your first two novels, and am currently savoring the third. Can’t wait to hear what no. 4 has in store.

    • Erika Marks says:

      Hello, Melissa, dear! As I was saying to Julia, it feels like coming in to a room of great friends and sharing a meal when I get to guest on your blogs–I am very lucky.

      As for you not having 14 ideas in you?? Pshaw! Woman, I don’t believe that for a second! 😉

  5. Lisa Kramer says:

    I’m looking forward to reading THE GUEST HOUSE. As I was reading this post, I realized that the stories that speak to me the most always involve love in some way. Not always romantic love, but love. Character lives are so much richer if there is love.

    • Erika Marks says:

      Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you touched on that point. I agree completely. My books also explore family love and the love of deep friendships–and you are so right that characters are much more interesting when they have love to share, to explore–of many natures. Thanks so much for sharing that!

  6. How wonderful to have Erika here today, Julia!

    I’m so looking forward to reading your latest novel, Erika. You write women’s fiction so well I could never imagine you writing a different genre. Thankfully, love is a topic no one will ever tire of reading, and hopefully you will never tire of writing.

    • Erika Marks says:

      Good morning, Jackie dear! Just sent a tweet your way asking how summer is treating you and Sir Reggie in the city. Is NY getting the heat too? Has there been ice cream in Reggie’s world to cool off with??;)

  7. rhonda says:

    This book sounds wonderful on my tbr list.

  8. I totally agree! I’m so glad you “found” your genre because I think you are fantastic at it. I have a copy of this beautiful book waiting for me and I’m thrilled to know I get to fall in love with two more wonderful characters. It’s (romance) one of my favorite parts of many, many books. Swooning is like icing on the cake.

    So glad to see you on Julia’s blog again! Why must you all live so darn far away?!


    • Erika Marks says:

      Hello Hallie! I’m so grateful to you all for being so supportive–this community has meant the world to me as we all forge ahead with our writing lives. And I didn’t spill the beans yet that online you and I are *fingers crossed* hoping to meet up in KC next week when we are coming through–so how cool will that be????!!

  9. Sounds like a great summer read!! I’d love to read this book 🙂 Great author interview, too!

    booksintheburbs at gmail dot com

  10. Christi Craig says:

    Funny, how long it takes us to “listen” 🙂 I’m still working on that. I keep hearing great things about your book, Erika. Thanks for offering the giveaway, Julia!

    • Erika Marks says:

      Hi Christi! It really takes what it takes, doesn’t it? I find myself applying that motto to so many things in life–but certainly writing is at the top of that list. And of course, with every new manuscript, we are still learning which I love to remind myself too:)

      Hope you are well and finding your summer sun!!

  11. Your book sounds really interesting! I love a good love story. =) I totally agree with you. I can hardly imagine writing any type of novel without at least a love story in it.

  12. I love a good love story. I never actually thought about writing them, though, until I realized that the last two books I wrote, though technically not love stories, are still very much fueled by a love story at their core. It reminds me of when I was little, and I asked my mom why so many songs were about love. She said it’s because love is at the center of everything we do.

    Can’t wait to read The Guest House, and so happy to see Erika here!

  13. Fourteen unsold manuscripts and your third novel now. Wow. I’m in awe. I love women’s fiction. So many of the books I re-read every so often are stories of love — Pride and Prejudice topping the list. Can’t wait to learn more about The Guest House. Just finished an Anne Shreve novel Body Surfing set on the northeastern shore. I’m ready for more!

  14. Erika, I’m so thrilled about this third book of yours…THIRD! I don’t believe I knew you had tried your hand at so many other genres. I had a similar experience when submitting literary short fiction to journals several years ago. I would always get positive comments on the humor (and here I was trying to be all lofty, and academic, and trying to make the readers dig DEEP, man). Though my writing is pretty much on pause at the moment while I finish school, when I do write, I write what comes naturally…which I guess turns out to be quirky, funny middle grade/YA fiction. As you’ve seen, when you don’t force your stories to fit into some type of package, your best writing occurs. I’m so happy for you…congratulations! ~Amanda

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Amanda! Your comment was just what I needed today! I’ve been thinking about you and am so very happy to “see” you again! I agree that it’s wonderful to welcome Erika’s THIRD book! Thank you so much for dropping by, seriously made my day 🙂

  15. country wife says:

    Yes yes yes yes yes. Congrats Author Erika Marks!

  16. rhonda says:

    Loved chatting with you on lit New England.can’t wait to read your book