I was born in Southampton and until I left home I lived in a Victorian house with my parents and two younger brothers. The house had its own well, which was kept boarded up just in case my brothers or I took it into our heads to explore it. We had a couple of dogs, called Elliott and Lewis, who feature in A Girl’s Best Friend - along with the well!
I used to work as an admin officer for Hampshire Constabulary, which is why the characters in my books are often police officers.
I love visiting old houses (which usually end up in my books) and researching my family history. One branch of my family were fishermen and mariners, and they lived in the same Hampshire village for over 300 years. This inspired me to write Breathless. (You can read more about that here).
The first story I had published was a short story in Take a Break. It was about a dog (based on our own dog, Lewis) who liked to chase joggers. My first novel was published after I was a finalist in a competition run by Poolbeg Press to ‘Write a Bestseller’. This was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. My books have now sold over 130.000 copies, have been #1 in romance and romantic suspense and have spent over 7 months in the Amazon UK Top 100.
After living in a village just outside Bath (the setting for Why Do Fools Fall in Love) I now live in North Wales with my family.
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1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in North Wales with my husband and two children. I love exploring the countryside where I live and researching the stories of the old houses and castles – and then I blog about them and put them in my books! The 15th century cottage, Tu Hwnt I’r Bont, found its way into Something Wicked, and the ruined Georgian mansion, Baron Hill, ended up in Trust Me I Lie. I also love music – I can’t write without it – and I often create playlists for my books.
2. You write different kind of genres. Where do your stories come from?
My stories are basically romantic comedies with something else added, either a bit of a ghost story (Something Wicked), or a murder mystery. Inspiration can come from anywhere. The idea for Breathless probably planted itself way back in 1982, when I watched the raising of the Mary Rose shipwreck on TV as a child. With Nemesis I was walking through the garden of an old house and came across a sinister-looking lily pond. Trust Me I Lie came about because I’d recently watched a Heath Ledger/Matt Damon movie called The Brothers Grimm, which had lots of fairy tale references. I thought it might be fun to write a story in the same way.
3. I love your covers. Do you create them yourself?
Thank you! I created the covers for my early books myself but a very talented lady called Ravven designed the covers for Breathless, Nemesis and Something Wicked. Unfortunately she wasn’t available for Trust Me I Lie, so I did that one myself.
4. The house you grew up in and its surroundings sound amazing. Can you tell us some of your most treasured memories?
My parents bought a Victorian house when I was six years old. They renovated it with materials salvaged from local houses that were being demolished. This is why it has a Tudor fireplace in the sitting room and three-hundred-year-old ship’s timbers in the ceiling! There were apple trees in the front garden and a field at the back, so my brothers and I had a lovely time climbing trees and building camps. It was a very Enid Blyton type of childhood. I was very lucky.
5. I read on your website that a lot of your personal experiences end up in your stories
(police officers, old houses, your family history). Who or what is waiting to end up in your next book?
I find it hard to talk about my new stories until they’re actually written, but the book I’m working on at the moment is a romantic comedy, where the hero and heroine are both plagued by their interfering families. The one after that will continue on from Trust Me I Lie with the same characters. Desi, who we last saw in The Indecent Proposal, has bought and renovated King’s Rest, which is just asking for trouble! But to answer your question, sometimes I’m not aware I’ve put personal stuff into a story until after I’ve finished it!
6. If you could choose to be one of the characters from your stories, who would you be and why?
I know I’m not supposed to have favourite heroines but I did love writing about Milla from Trust Me I Lie. I’m not sure I’d want to actually be her though! Maybe Lainey, from Breathless? Because her job is to dive on old wrecks, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Or maybe Isabel from A Girl’s Best Friend, who gets to kiss Nico – one of my sexiest heroes!
7. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
No, I wanted to be a rock star or a movie star! I didn’t realise writing was something you could choose to do, or even make a living from.
8. I love your blog post about Trust Me I Lie (or, the true confessions of a writer on social media ... ). So please tell us, even though you are not great at lying, what is the biggest (white) lie you ever told?
My brother once gave me a pair of clippers and asked me to cut his hair. I’d never cut anyone’s hair before, or even used clippers, so of course I ended up taking a huge chunk out the back. When I’d finished, and he asked me if it looked OK, I said ‘Yes’ …
9. What does a typical day for you look like?
I roll out of bed at 7.00 am. I catch up with social media, read the news and all the blogs I follow. Then I have breakfast and do my chores, followed by answering email and checking social media again. I work through until dinner, breaking only for lunch. ‘Work’ can be writing my own book or critiquing an assignment from one of my students, writing a blog post, updating my website, sourcing images, designing a book cover, and liaising with book bloggers. After dinner I catch up on admin until about 9.00 pm. And that’s considered a good day!
10. In Trust Me I Lie you describe a vintage Dior gown. Gosh, this dress sounds so beautiful! If you could fill up your wardrobe with anything you'd like what would you choose?
The vintage gowns mentioned in Trust Me I Lie are all real! You can find pictures of them on my Pinterest board (https://uk.pinterest.com/louisemarley/trust-me-i-lie/ )The irony is that although I’m obsessed with vintage fashion, particularly Dior, in real life I spend all my time in jeans and T-shirts. I do love those 1950’s ‘New Look’ full skirted dresses though!
11. You also wrote a post about 'How I Write'. I love it that you share your own experiences with others. Have you ever had a writers’ block? If this is a yes, how did you get past that?
I have writers’ block every time I sit down at my laptop. The only way I get around it is to plan a book very carefully, chapter by chapter, and then sit down and write it, whether I feel like it or not, even if what I’m writing is rubbish – because I know I can always go back and re-write it later.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
More books! I have a whole host of new characters inside my head, just waiting to tell their story.
Review by Anniek
Milla has learned very early in life to lie. She has to lie about everything. Does that make Milla a pathological liar or a survivor? Milla doesn't stay long in the same place. She usually rents a place, moves from city to city and leaves in the middle of the night to avoid paying for anything. Milla is a journalist and writes about music events on a blog. On a stormy night she meets police officer Ben after he hit her with his car.
Milla has returned to Buckley. The place where her mother was murdered eighteen years ago. All Milla wants to do is to see that justice is done to the person who took her mother's life. To do that she has to lie once more, something that has now become a natural thing for her. Milla has prepared herself with all the right information and is willing to do whatever it takes. When an old friend of Milla turns up dead, she has to work together with Ben to get closer to the truth, whether she likes it or not.
Ben Taylor once had a family life. After his divorce, his ex-wife and daughter moved away. The police force is where he spends his days, only to return to an empty home when his shift is done. His life is predictable and boring. This all changes when he meets Milla. She is everything that he is not. When he is called into a murder scene he finds out that everything seems to be connected to Milla.
To get to the truth Ben has to cross a lot of boundaries. Sometimes he even has to step outside the law to get the information he needs. This could get him fired, but finding out the truth and protecting Milla is more important to him. Milla has awakened feelings inside him he thought were long gone, but he can't deny the attraction he feels towards her.
Milla is a girl who isn't really likeable straight away. You'll need to know the rest of her story to see the fact that she is actually wounded by the past. Because of that she has built a wall with lies and fabricated stories, just to keep her real self hidden from the outside world. When the truth came out I felt for her and I was glad that she could finally be herself again. Ben needs someone like Milla to bring him back into the world of the living. It felt like he was only existing instead of participating in life. He loves his daughter very much and I loved to read about the details of her room and furniture, which shows how dedicated he is as a father.
You'll be switching back and forth between the tragic night that imprinted on so many lives and the present day when the truth finally has to be brought to light. This will give you inside information from the perspective of a child, but also from the children who are now adults.
Trust Me I Lie is one of those stories that will keep you guessing until the end. Louise Marley has done a great job not revealing too much information at once. She gives you just enough to keep being hooked. I didn't figure things out until the very last chapters, when the full story is revealed. I love it when an author has the skills to surprise me. I also enjoyed reading about the scenery of this story very much. An old, supposedly haunted, house has my name written all over it. This gave an extra layer to the already mysterious events in this book.
Trust Me I Lie was my first book by Louise Marley but it certainly won't be my last. I love her writing style and I can't wait to read another one of her stories. I already have Something Wicked waiting on my Kindle, so you can certainly expect a review of that book coming up soon.