It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.
I am honored to continue this series with fellow Florida author and blogger Marcia Meara
You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.
If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, please enjoy this interview with Marcia Meara:
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Honestly, I’ve never thought about it in either of those terms. I just want to tell the stories bouncing around in my head, and do so in a way that will appeal to readers. I spend very little time thinking about current trends or originality, I’m afraid. I tend to focus more on breathing life into characters readers will identify with, and become invested in, regardless of where the story heads.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Tricky, since I actually don’t have a “younger writing self” to advise. I didn’t write my first book until I was 69. I’m not sure I’ve gained enough perspective in the roughly four years since then to offer even my older self any advice. I’m trying to cram a lifetime’s worth of learning in the years I have ahead of me, rather than looking back, but ask me again in another ten years, and maybe I’ll have learned a few tricks to share. 😊
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Hmmm. Tricky. I’m not sure I read many books that aren’t appreciated by lovers of the genre in question. My reading time is limited, so I pay attention to reviews and make careful choices. However, I’ve been reading a very long time—over 65 years—and there are novels I read decades ago that I love just as much today, even though not nearly enough of today’s readers have tried them. For instance, Daphne du Maurier, who was very well appreciated at the time, wrote many books I’d love to see more people reading today. In fact, my favorite novel of all time is Rebecca, which was made into a wonderfully dark and noir movie by Alfred Hitchcock, and remains a classic, though under-read, today. So in that sense, you could call it under-appreciated.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Every single one of them, often multiple times. The good ones give me a lift, and inspire me to keep going. I’ve been very lucky not to receive many negative ones, but when I do, I read them extra carefully to see what I can learn. When a less than positive review is a case of someone having read the book as part of a book of the month club, rather by choice, I don’t worry about it. But when there are criticisms regarding my writing, I have to decide if it’s an area I need to work on, or if it’s just that my own style or voice didn’t appeal to the reader. That happens. Reading is extremely subjective, after all. But when it’s something I can improve on, though, I certainly want to do so.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Sometimes I include a private joke, or an event that really occurred, and is recognized by a friend or family member. I gave an eccentric character in Swamp Ghosts a vintage VW bus, painted primer red and gray, and I can tell you my husband recognized that vehicle immediately. He’s owned it for about 35 years! (And yes, it’s still primer red and gray, though it runs like a charm).
Do you Google yourself?
Not really. I did it once a couple of years ago to amuse my granddaughter, but in addition to my writing-related things, a photo popped up from 17 years earlier that I’d never seen before. It was kind of weird, and I decided I didn’t need to do any more of that. As long as readers can find my blog and books when they Google, that’s all I care about.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Oh, gosh. I read constantly from the age of five forward, and by ten, had read every book in the children’s library. All the classics were favorites of mine, from Black Beauty to Lassie, Come Home. I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Little Women. And I loved Mary Poppins. Even Treasure Island. But if I had to pick a favorite from that long ago, it would probably have been The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. (If I were a ten-year-old today, it would be Harry Potter, of course.)
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I’m not sure. I was always a straight A student in English, though don’t ask about math, and I read six or seven books a week, even as a child. I don’t think I could have studied harder or read more, so those are out. By twelve, I was reading everything from Poe, Bradbury, Lovecraft, and Wells, to the Brontes, Hawthorne, and my favorite, du Maurier. I was always a people-watcher and nature-lover, too, both of which have helped me with my writing. I guess I could advise myself to ignore my parents and pursue writing from the very beginning, but I think it probably would have backfired. I was very insecure, and probably would have given up after the first rejection letter.
I tend to believe everything happens the way it’s meant to, and at the time it’s meant to occur, so I think I was always supposed to start writing at this point in my life, when I was better equipped to deal with the time commitment, and when self-publishing was an option.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From draft to publication, six to nine months for most of them, though my Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary, was done in just over two, including editing. The first two years, I published a book in the spring and another in the fall. Last year was a bit slower, and this year is crawling, since we got hit by Hurricane Irma. For some reason, I find having workmen hammering and banging all day long for four months a bit distracting to the creative process. I’m still hoping for a spring publication of my current WIP, Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4, but it’s looking a bit iffy, even though the construction job is finally winding up. I’m going to give it my best shot, of course, but I won’t rush just to meet an arbitrary deadline I set myself.
Thanks again for having me, Don. I’m having the time of my life these days, writing from early morning until late night, and loving every minute of it. Belonging to this wonderful online community of supportive writers and bloggers has enriched my life more than anything I’ve ever done, other than raising my family, and I’m grateful to every single one of you good folks!
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Today, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia has published six novels, one novella, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:
Connect with Marcia:
You can reach Marcia via email at email@example.com or on the following social media sites:
The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com