Meet My BFF: Courtney Marquez

Photo credit: Eli Marquez

Photo credit: Eli Marquez

The blog challenge for this week is “Meet My Best Friend.” That would be fellow writer Courtney Marquez. We actually met through our day job (we work for the same company, but in different states), but quickly found out we share a love of all things books and writing. That was in 2009 and we’ve been friends ever since. We’re even planning on writing a book together. (I think that’s on the schedule for 2019.)

What’s one thing you’d like all our readers to know about you?
I’m going to tell you one thing which will give you some context for my answers to the other questions. I’m a pretty curious, nosy if I’m honest, person. I tend to have wide and varying interests. I like everything from R&B to bluegrass. Romantic comedy to foreign films. Classic literature to popular fiction. So, just keep that in mind as I answer!


  • Book
    It’s like picking which child is my favorite! I guess I’ll go with the book which has had staying power with me. L.M. Montgomery’s Anne series has been a long time favorite. Each book has been more meaningful at different times in my life. However, as a young girl, Anne proved I wasn’t as odd as some may have led me to believe.
  • Author
    Hmmm. I have a few authors where I pre-order their next book as soon as I hear about it. Like, I squeal when I find out the next book has a publication date and an Amazon page where I can go and say “take all my money!” Sooooo, I guess right now I’d say C.S. Harris is at the top of my list. Or maybe Deana Raybourn? But, who can forget Michelle Moran? Okay, I’m totally cheating and we all know it. C.S. Harris it is. And, just for your edification, her next book in the St. Cyr series comes out in March. Oh, I forgot about Margaret George…
  • TV show
    Honestly, I don’t get a whole lot of time for the TV. But, when I want comfort TV, I always go back to Friends. My family can quote them line and episode.
  • Movie
    I’m going with staying power on this one as well. Time is limited with kids and a busy life, so keeping up with movies is tough. I think I’d have to say Die Hard with a Vengeance. It’s Jeremy Irons, what can I say?
  • Color
    Rainbow! I love all colors. They all represent different emotions and memories for me. I gravitate toward blues and greens though.
  • Flower
    Gerber daisies for sure. They are so happy!
  • Food
    We have a saying in my family. “Do I look picky?” We love food! However, I think my favorite is probably this mustard cream sauce over chicken that I make. It’s amazing and only takes 20 minutes to make.

Tell us about your family.
I come from a pretty tight knit nuclear family. My mom, dad, younger sister and I moved a lot due to my dad’s job in the Air Force. When you move every four years and the only constant are those people, it really makes a bond. I have since moved to my parent’s hometown and get to live near a fairly large extended family. I’m married to a wonderful partner. We have two children. Kailen who will be 18 this year and graduates high school in May. And Eli who is 9, going on 25.

What do you do now and what do you want to be when you grow up?
I am currently a brand manager for a fairly large health care organization. When I was little, I had no idea what any of that even meant! For a few years, I wanted to be a marine biologist who studied sharks. Then it dawned on me that I wasn’t great at the STEM subjects. I have always loved to read, so I majored in English Literature. “Maybe a professor,” I thought. I may still be deciding what I want to be when I grow up! Ha!

What are your hobbies?
Reading and reading. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I do housework or computer work. I’m going to add my kids to this list as well. It’s where I am in life right now.

I know you’ve traveled all over the place. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Visiting is one thing. Living is whole other deal. I think living someplace really gives you a chance to understand a culture and the people. I LOVED living in Cairo in college. LOVED it. I’d go back there in a heartbeat. I loved the people. I loved the crazy activity of that huge city. I loved the mixture of modern and ancient.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Since we’re all friends here, I guess I’ll tell you. I love stroopwafels. They are this amazing little caramel treat from the Netherlands. You can sit the cookie-like creation on the top of your mug of tea or coffee and the caramel inside gets all soft.

If you could only read one genre of books for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
This might actually kill me. Go back to the first question for a reminder about why. I’m sitting here looking at my bookshelves and it’s so hard to decide. I guess I’d probably have to say historical fiction. Ugh. So hard.

What first attracted you to me? Or what do you remember about the day we met?
We sat next to each other at a large meeting. We had to do one of those awkward ice breakers to get to know everyone at the table. You said you were writing a book. That cinched it for me. You were too cool for school.

What do you think has kept us friends? (Read: How in the world do you put up with me?)
I’m always on the lookout for people who will challenge me or look at the world differently. We have some key similarities, but we’re very different. I think that keeps the friendship fresh and interesting. We challenge each other, but in an encouraging way.

Thank you, my dear! Be sure to check out Courtney’s blog and say hi in the comments below.

Five Summer Book Picks

So in case you’re tired of hearing about my writing (and don’t tell me if you are!) here are my top five book picks for summer, some of which I’ve read and some that are on my list:

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth – I. Couldn’t. Put. This. Book. Down. Seriously. Just finished it last night and I’m already wondering what the next one’s going to be like. The best way I can describe it is The Hunger Games meets Nikita (current TV version). Set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic version of Chicago, teenagers must choose in which of five virtue-based factions they’ll live the rest of their lives, and of course action and romance ensue.
  2. Juliet by Anne Fortier – No time for a summer vacation? Read this thriller and you’ll feel like you’re in Sienna, Italy. (In fact, I’m planning a trip there next year just because of this book.) Juliet and her sister Janice have just lost their dear Aunt Rose when Juliet finds out the family has been hiding a secret that may mean she’s related to the person on whom Shakespeare based his famous character of the same name. Juliet travels to Italy and uncovers the original story of Guiletta and Romeo (the one before Shakespeare’s version and, yes, there were ones before him) all the while unraveling her own family mystery. This is one of the most romantic (not graphic or raunchy) books I’ve ever read – tied for my all-time favorite book.
  3. The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips – Siena not your style? How about Venice? In this historical thriller a single letter unites a modern-day historian to a 17thcentury Venetian courtesan and murderous plot to overthrow the city. And the plot is based on a real conspiracy. The writing so rich you’ll be able to hear the waters lapping at the canal banks, guaranteed.
  4. Abandon by Meg Cabot – I just started this book because the author is coming to town and I won’t go to a signing not having read the author’s work. And I wanted to read it anyway. It’s a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter. Slow to start so far, but given that it comes from the author of the Princess Diaries, I’m hoping it won’t disappoint.
  5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – This one’s been big with the YA (Young Adult) crowd for a while now and the author is also coming to town, so I bought it. It’s next on my list. All I know is it is about werewolves (and I hate werewolves), but a friend of mine shared a few passages and the writing is lusciously lyrical. Here’s part of what said about it: “Told from alternating points of view, the narrative takes a classic Romeo & Juliet plot and transforms it into a paranormal romance that is beautiful and moving… A must-have that will give Bella and Edward a run for their money.”

What about you? What are your summer book picks? Or even your favorite books? Tell me in the comments below. We may have some favorites in common.