I remember the first time I saw the cover for “The Mark” and thought right away “I try not to judge a book by its cover, but that looks interesting.” Marilyn is a fellow Fantasy author and Utahan, and I’m happy to say that I have a copy of “The Mark” and am enjoying it. Today I have an interview with Marilyn to post, and look out later in the month for a review of “The Mark.”
- How does it feel to have your first book hit the shelves?
It took a while for my book to actually make it to bookstores. I checked a few places but it was never there. So when I was in Deseret Book the other day and saw it for the first time on the shelf I was surprised—and excited. I took a picture of it and sent it to my husband. It’s exciting…and a bit intimidating. Now I worry that no one will buy it and they will just sit there…and sit there…until they get sent back.
- At what point did you decide that you wanted to write a novel? What did you do to stay motivated during the writing process?
It was always in the back of my head that I would like to write but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to produce something that other people would want to read. I finally decided that ultimately, it didn’t really matter how good it was or how many books sold, I wanted to do it anyway. In addition, I wanted to get more books out there that were safe for my own children to read. I think there’s an audience for clean books but it’s way too hard to know beforehand if the book will be clean or not.
So I sat down and started to write. With this first book I didn’t do an outline so I was anxious to see how it ended. I just let the characters be themselves. When I was 2/3 of the way through I put together a very minimal outline to keep track of where I was going.
- Are there any other genres you would like to write for? What influences led you to write Fantasy?
This is the kind of book I enjoy reading the most so I figured I’d better start there. Also my 14 year old daughter is a voracious reader of fantasy so I knew she would read it and tell me if it worked or not. In addition to the sequel to The Mark I am working on an LDS Fiction book (I also like those) and a middle grade book for my two daughters who love The Lightening Thief and Fablehaven. They are anxiously waiting for me to finish it.
- Fantasy is a field that easily falls victim to cliché. What do you do as an author to avoid falling into this pitfall?
I hope I have avoided it.
- What are your plans for the future? Is “The Mark” going to be a series, or do you have other things in the works?
I’m really hoping that the next book will finish this story completely. I don’t see myself as a series writer—but then again you never know.
- Do you have an ideal writing environment?
I have six children and I CANNOT WRITE while they are around. I don’t mind music, in fact that can help, but talking and questions and noises in the background are very distracting.
- Is there a target audience for your book? Is there a message that you hope your readers will glean from your writing?
My target audience is my daughter. To broaden that out a bit, teen girls and women who enjoy paranormal romance/fantasy. I’ve had a few boys read it and enjoy it but the mushy stuff gets a bit much for them.
- Do you have anything else to say for your throngs of adoring fans?
My books will never contain anything I wouldn’t allow my children to read. I’m tired of picking up a book only to have to put it down again because of inappropriate material. I think there’s a market out there for clean books but there are a lot that go too far.
When authors try to write to their observations of how kids are today, they often seem to hit the fringe extreme groups. We have this perception that teens are out there drinking, partying, and being promiscuous. That may be true to a certain extent but there are also a lot of kids out there who govern their lives according to a moral code. It seems to me that the number of books depicting normal life as amoral are outweighing reality and are actually creating an environment that tells kids that they can do anything and act in any way and it’s ok. It’s really bothered me for some time so I decided to do my part in getting more books out there that pattern moral living as the norm.
Oh, and to all my fans out there (both of you) thank you for reading my book!