Author Interview: Mary Martin Devlin: The La Motte Woman



JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Mary. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

MMD-Hello, Jeanie.  For the past few years I have lived part-time in Atlanta, a very beautiful city, where I was born and grew up, but where I have never lived after I went away for college.  The rest of the year I live in France, in the Dordogne now after selling my house in Provence.

For the moment, I am relaxing with the publication of my latest novel, The La Motte Woman, scheduled for mid-June. Since I miss my regular sessions at the computer, I spend a few hours every day poking around the Biblothรจque Nationale website, browsing through obscure memoirs and public records.

A perfect day?  A sunny day, reading and an hour or so of exercise, a long, sniffing walk with my dog, Millie, and evening cocktails with friends on the roof terrace of our building


JMR-Whats your favorite historical time period? Why?

MMD- the eighteenth century in England, but especially in France.  I think of it as a very “brainy” century: the century of Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Johnson, Voltaire, Diderot, etc.  There  was a strong belief in science, in progress.  It was a period of great optimism for mankind, some of it foolish complacency, as Voltaire was quick to point out.


JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

MMD-Madame de Pompadour would be high on my list.  In an era when women were mere chattel, the property of fathers, husbands, brothers, she rose to a position of immense power, appointing ambassadors, approving treaties while the titular head of the country, Louis XV, sank deeper and deeper into depravity.  I would ask her: Was there ever a moment when you realized that you had more power than any man in the kingdom?

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

MMD-As a college professor I specialized in the American novel, but I also taught a course each year in creative writing.  With historical fiction I was able to combine my love of research with my imagination.

JMR- Would you describe your books as Romantic Historical or Historical Romance?

MMD-Romantic historical.  I look  for authenticity in historical fiction.  I want a compelling narrative, but I also want to learn a great deal.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

MMD-Yes, I visited the Chateau de Corcheval in Beaubery, France, where the heroine of my novel, Precious Pawn, was born.  This novel was inspired by the unpublished memoirs of  a provincial eighteenth-century countess. I had friends who lived near the chateau, and one day during a visit, almost on a dare, I called to ask permission to visit the chateau.  Luckily ,the owners were down from Paris and very kindly invited me to come over for tea and a visit.  In the lovely chapel on the grounds of the chateau  I felt such sorrow standing at the altar where my heroine was given in a marriage that would destroy her.

JMR- Mary, tell us about your new book, The La Motte Woman.

MMD-I wonder how much I can tell that won’t involve spoilers!  It is a story of obsessions, of love and ambition set against the background of the court of Marie Antoinette  and Louis XVI.  At the center of the novel is one of the most fascinating women in French history:  Jeanne de Valois-La Motte.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

MMD-I’m beginning to think seriously about writing another novel inspired by my years in Africa.  I keep getting more and more serious interest in and enthusiasm for Death in the Rainy Season.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

MMD-My only social media activity is Facebook.

JMR- What question were you hoping Id ask but didnt?

MMD- Actually, I’m happy that there were not more questions about my complicated life.

JMR- Well Mary, thanks for stopping by. Your new book looks wonderful and I'm putting it on my TBR list. Readers, I've included a link to Mary's book below, be sure to check it out!


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