About Marie Force
After graduating from Middletown High School in 1984, I attended the University of Rhode Island where I double majored in journalism and political science. I graduated in 1988 and went to work for a small community newspaper, —the writing equivalent of boot camp. We worked like dogs for almost no money, but we had a lot of fun and learned so much about writing, editing and life.
I lived in Rhode Island until I was 26 when I did something I had vowed to never do while growing up in a Navy town——I married a Navy guy and moved from the smallest state in the U.S. to Rota, Spain, where he was stationed. To say the change in my life was dramatic is putting it mildly! We had the time of our lives in Spain from 1992 to 1995, where I also earned a master’s degree in public administration through a program offered to the military by the University of Maryland. Our daughter Emily was born there three months before we returned to the states with her and the two dogs we had rescued from the pound——Consuela and Roscoe. Consuela, —my office mate and constant companion—, died at 17 on May 5, 2009. Roscoe died at 14 in July 2006.
Next stop Maryland, where Dan was stationed at the National Security Agency. I answered a tiny ad in The Washington Post, which landed me the job I had until December 31, 2011, as the communications director for a nonprofit in Alexandria, Virginia. I served as editor-in-chief of a national trade magazine and supervised many other publications throughout the year. Our son Jake was born at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in October 1998. When Dan was transferred to the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, an aircraft carrier stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, in November 1998, my company retained me as a full-time telecommuter.
Dan spent a big chunk of the three years he was stationed on the Kennedy at sea, which was a barrel of laughs for a mom with an infant, a toddler, two dogs, a full-time job and one of those fabulous palatial houses you used to be able to buy for a song in Florida. Needless to say, the Jacksonville years passed in a blur of activity and late nights at work! Dan retired from the Navy in December 2001, and the following summer we decided to move back to Rhode Island where we reside today in Portsmouth, —the town right next door to Middletown. We sold the McMansion and paid twice as much for this old house in Rhode Island. Never go from brand new to old. Don’t do it. In the summer of 2012, we made the move to a newer home in the same town and we’re really enjoying the new place.
When we lived in Jacksonville, the kids and I would drive down to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my parents who spent winters there. My dad and I would take long walks through the marinas where he would show me the boats we were going to buy someday. “You need to get busy writing that book,” he would say. My reply was always the same: “When exactly do you think I could fit that in? Between changing diapers and publishing magazines?” With a big grin, he would say, “Three to six a.m. is available. What are you doing then?” A pipe dream. That’s all it was. But there was this character running around in my head. A man with thick dark hair, gray-blue eyes, an engaging grin, a quick wit . . . His name was Jack, and he was an architect. I’d find myself talking to him in the shower, when I was doing dishes or bathing babies. He’d crop up on days at the beach or on walks through the neighborhood. Someday, I said. Someday, I’ll write Jack’s story.
In 2002, I began to make some notes. Later, when we were getting ready to move, I stumbled upon those notes and laughed so hard I cried. It was God-awful. Clearly, I wasn’t ready. Once in a while, though, I’d reopen that file, take another look, and make some more notes. I vividly remember outlining the story I had in mind to Dan when we were out to dinner one night. He loved it and encouraged me to pursue it. I knew I wanted something to happen to Jack’s wife, Clare, something that would incapacitate her but not kill her. I had great plans to put Jack through the wringer, but inevitably, life would interfere, and he’d get relegated to the back burner.
After we moved to Rhode Island in August 2002, I started to get more serious about the book but still wasn’t able to get very far. A year later, in November 2003, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The next nine months were a roller coaster ride, during which I turned to the book more and more often, seeking an escape from the nightmare of my mother’s illness. By early August 2004, I had four solid chapters that my mother was the first to read. I made her cry, she said. She died on August 31, 2004.
Something that had lain dormant for years kicked into gear in the aftermath of my mother’s death. I asked myself——what are you waiting for? What meaning will it have to finally write that book if you wait until neither of your parents——the two people who always said you had it in you——aren’t around to read it? I firmly believe my mother is sending me these amazing characters who continue to pop up out of nowhere and lead me on one great adventure after another. How else can I possibly explain the incredible things that have happened in the years since she died?
I finished Jack’s book, “Treading Water,” on May 18, 2005, and published it along with its two sequels, Marking Time and Starting Over, in late 2011. (Read more about The House That Jack Built.) I’ve written more than 40 books since then, including “Line of Scrimmage,” which was the first to be published in September 2008, but no accomplishment will ever mean more to me than writing “The End” on that first one. You sort of expect the world to at least have the decency to tip on its axis in tribute to your enormous accomplishment. But alas, kids still have homework, there’s work and laundry and bills and dinner to make. Life goes on, but nothing is ever the same again.
Line of Scrimmage was my first published book in September of 2008. Love at First Flight followed in July of 2009. In early 2010, I sold Fatal Affair to Harlequin’s new Carina Press digital-first imprint. Fatal Affair was released in July 2010, followed soon after by Fatal Justice, Fatal Consequences, Fatal Destiny, Fatal Flaw, Fatal Deception, Fatal Mistake and Fatal Jeopardy, Fatal Scandal, Fatal Frenzy and Fatal Identity, with much more to come in Sam and Nick’s incredible journey. In late 2015, the Fatal Series moved to Harlequin’s HQN line in a major new deal that will take the series to book 13. As far as I’m concerned, Sam and Nick are just getting started!
Going back to 2010, authors were getting more and more excited about the opportunity to publish direct to readers via Kindle Direct Publishing. I decided to test the waters and published True North in November 2010 and The Fall in December 2010. Everyone Loves a Hero was released in February 2011, and I followed that with the release of the following books in 2011: The Wreck, Maid for Love, Fool for Love, Ready for Love, Georgia on My Mind, Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over. Many of these books were written years earlier and were sitting on my hard drive waiting for the right avenue to get to readers. At the end of 2012, I wrote another book in the Treading Water series called Coming Home, which picked up Reid and Kate’s story from Marking Time ten years later. This was a story readers asked me to write, and I was delighted to give them what they wanted.
When people ask me what led me to the decision to self-publish, my reply is always the same: “No one was interested in these books except my readers.” And boy have they shown me the love for my self-published books! The McCarthys of Gansett Island Series now also includes Falling for Love, Hoping for Love, Season for Love, Longing for Love, Waiting for Love, Time for Love, Meant for Love, Chance for Love, Gansett After Dark, Kisses After Dark, Love After Dark, Celebration After Dark and Desire After Dark with much more to come from the island. With more than 2.5 million sales of the McCarthy Series, it’s safe to say that Mac, Maddie and the Gansett Island gang helped me find my readers. Waiting for Love, Book 8 in the series and my 25th published book, was the first to hit the New York Times list, at no. 6 on the ebook list and also hitting the combined e-book and print list—with only an e-book. That was the first time I’ve seen my name on the New York Times list. There are no words to describe the thrill of becoming a bestseller after so many years of hard work.
All You Need Is Love, Book 1 in my new Green Mountain Series from Berkley, was released on Feb. 4, 2014 and was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. I Want to Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There, And I Love Her, You’ll Be Mine and It’s Only Love have all been New York Times bestsellers. Charley Abbott’s story, Ain’t She Sweet is up next. With 10 Abbott siblings and lots of cousins nearby in Vermont, I expect to write the Green Mountain Series for a long time to come.
Oh and by the way, my dad has read and enjoyed many of my books—but not the erotic ones!
Every day I’m thankful for the amazingly loyal and supportive readers who’ve embraced my books and made all my dreams come true. Thank you to each and every one of you!
For those of you who want to see my office mates, meet Louie and Brandy, photographed on my dad’s boat in August, 2012. As always, Brandy is the dominant one. LOL Click here to meet Team HTJB, the folks who keep everything running smoothly.
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