A short interview wherein one of my favorite authors answers three questions about the writing life.
What books do you recommend for an aspiring writer?
Reading a variety of books both within and outside of your genre is essential for any writer. For that matter, any book will do. There is no one best book to recommend to an aspiring writer. Read, read, and read some more. Every writer has their way of telling a story. Sometimes their inexperience shows. I have been writing for many years, but an experienced writer can also slip up and make writing errors. It’s the reason I align myself with an experienced editor. An editor makes all the difference when learning and honing your writing skill. But if a writer is looking for a book with good advice on the craft, then I recommend Stephen King’s, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. As his name suggests, he is the king! You can’t go wrong following his advice. Every writer will eventually find their own voice, but it takes time and practice to develop your own unique storytelling style.
Do you create elaborate outlines for your books? If so, can you explain the process (briefly)? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? If so, do you have any tricks you use to keep yourself from crashing?
There’s a term for that. A writer can be defined as a plotter or a pantster. I am neither. The overall plot or plan happens in my head instead of paper, but I am fully aware of how I want the story will develop before I write the first word. My stories evolve from a premise. I start with a “what if” statement. From that, an action or thought emerges from the perspective of a main character. That action or thought is usually my opening sentence that put forward a dilemma my protagonist is trying to overcome. To solve the dilemma, the main character must endure several encounters with an antagonist (AKA the bad guy) who starts and exacerbates the problem. But from one scene to the next, what subsequently happens is often difficult. The progression has to make sense. Sometimes an idea will hit me like a brick and other times I have one of those “duh” moments. That’s when I take pen and paper and scribble in a journal (I say scribble because my handwriting is a terror). I try different scenarios to move the story forward. For some reason, this strategy works like a charm. A writer puts pressure on themself when trying to come up with viable scenes that breed suspense. That leads to those famous “writer blocks” that writers experience. It happens and we must endure. The trick is not to give up. When it happens to me, I either wait it out or spend the time ‘scribbling’. The very act of putting words on paper is like a tonic that energizes. Yet some stories just takes its own sweet time to work itself out.
Do you have a funny/scary/quirky story about interaction with readers or other writers? We all want to know.
Friends and acquaintances are fair targets for book sales. Our (new writers) first book sales are usually people we know, people who are excited to buy our books because they know the writer. I have a good friend who I’ve been trying to convince to buy one of my novels. He claims that he has only read two books in his life. I know he’s read more than that especially during his high school years where there is a long list of required reading. He’s a successful business man, well into his forties at this time. But he admits that he doesn’t read for pleasure. I met him a few days ago and he asked me, “So, how’s the writing going?”. I told him that my latest book is available as an audiobook. I’m sure I had a “gotch ya” smile on my face. He doesn’t have to read – just listen. “So, you have no excuse now,” I said. A guilty smile scrunched his face. I’ll continue to ask him. “Have you listened to my award-winning book yet?” Guilt can be a powerful motivator. Some readers need more encouragement than others.
Underneath the Fireflies
No matter where Grace Walker goes, her extra sensory power goes with her. She’s an empath and she sees things — terrible things. After a tragic accident at the place where she works, she decides to take a mental-health break on a remote West Coast island. But she no sooner gets to Galliano Island when a vision of the murder of an Indigenous woman draws her into a disturbing and threatening dilemma.
Shadows in the Aftermath
At the safehouse in Southern France, Ruby Draker is stunned as she monitors the security system, when a photograph appears on the screen. Presumed dead, the photograph shows Robert Draker in a wheel chair at the Portland, Maine physio clinic. The Draker family immediately jump into action and fly to the US to save Robert. But they no sooner land when they realize that not only is Robert harder to find than they anticipated, there is a much larger situation of concern. Now they have to chose between saving their beloved family member or defending national security.
He’s a Cold War spy hiding from one of his own. His real identity is tied to a treacherous past associated with American intelligence operations closed down after the end of the Cold War, and his enemy is relentless. All he has to do is change his name. Right? Wrong. Very wrong. Felix has eyes and ears everywhere.
Finding Ruby Draker
“It all ended with the fire that took away my parents, my little brother, and everything I was or ever knew. That part of me is gone.”
On a day that was supposed to end in celebration, Kathleen Jones finds that her home has been torched and her family killed. In the chaos and terror of the moment, two men grab and drug her unconscious. As she awakes in a clinic with her face in bandages, more men with guns storm in and try to kill her but her abductors save her life, whisking her away on a private jet to France.
Now that everyone is calling her Ruby—Ruby Draker, she knows that her life will never be the same.
About the Author
Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently working on her fifth novel, a sci-fi/thriller. She is a graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied creative writing through Conestoga and Humber College. She has been the president of the Cambridge Writer’s Collective. She constantly works to improve her craft by engaging with other writing organizations and is a standing member of One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog. She is a full-time writer who lives in Hespeler Ontario.
connect with the author:
website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads ~ bookbub
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