Monday, November 24, 2008
Author Interview: Christine Marciniak
Christine Marciniak is more than just the author of two succussful blogs: The Simple and the Ordinary and Simply Put. She's also the author of upcoming book When Mike Kissed Emma. Recently, Christine agreed to do an interview for this blog and tell us all about it.
We can all read about your bio from the back of your book or your FAQ online. So, what's a completely random fact about you that most people don't know?
The book isn’t published yet and I’m still creating a website – so I don’t have a FAQ yet – but a completely random fact? I used to work as at Title Searcher during the summers when I was in high school and college. That is not someone who looks up titles of books or songs – it’s a person who checks records in the county courthouse to make sure that a seller of a piece of property has clear title to it – that they really own it and no one has any other claims to it. It involves looking at deeds, mortgages and sometimes copies of wills to see who owned a piece of property when.
As a child, what was your favorite book?
As a child I totally loved the Bobbsey Twins. I read every one the library had. But a book I loved as a child that really stood up to the test of time was Mandy by Julie Edwards. I was enchanted by that book and when I was an adult and found it again I read it with some trepidation – would I still love it. And you know what? I did.
As far as reading tastes changing over time. I’ve always liked stories with realistic characters that have a certain amount of adventure – but not a lot of horror type situations. And I love a good happy ending. I do read more non-fiction now then I did as a child, that would probably be the one place where my tastes have changed.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was very young I wanted to be a nurse – then I saw something on TV that featured an operation and I saw that blood was involved so that ended that.
Later I wanted to be famous. Starring in Annie on Broadway would have been nice.
In high school I planned on being a lawyer – but all the time I knew I wanted to write.
Is there a character like you? Is a situation in the book derived from real life?
I think there is always a little bit of me in all my characters. But other than the fact that my high school did the musical The Sound of Music when I was a freshman, there really isn’t anything based on reality. I didn’t act in any of my high school musicals – though I would have liked to. I did work backstage on them though – so I have a feel for the backstage workings of a high school show.
What was your timeline for the book? How long did it take to write, revise, submit, and finally, get published? How did you feel at these stages?
There isn’t a really clear timeline for this book. Several years ago I was writing another book entirely and a friend of mine was critiquing it for me and she brought to my attention that there was an entirely separate story within my book – one that could be removed and be a stand alone (turns out she was right).
In order to prove her point she pulled out all the parts of the file that were part of this story line and sent me that file. I took the file, changed the characters names and fleshed out the story line. When I was satisfied with it I submitted it to a few places. No one bit.
I revised it some more – changed third person to first and made some other changes and submitted again. This time there were a few bites. One agent requested I punch up the plot a bit – so I did. But in the end she thought it was too old-fashioned a story. I heard about Wild Rose Press and decided that their Climbing Roses line might be the perfect home for my book. I sent them the punched up version – but they wanted it toned down a bit. That was kind of the head banging stage where I went around mumbling to myself. “It’s too much for these people and not enough for these people.” But I got over it.
After one more revision I had a winner.
If your reader could only take away one emotion, theme, or idea from the book, what would you want that to be?
Don’t be afraid to find love in unlikely places. Look with your heart, not with your eyes.
What are your goals as an author? Where do you want to see yourself as a writer in 5, 10, 15 years?
My goal as an author is simply to have a lot more books published. I have several works in progress that I’d love to see in print. I’d like to find an agent to help facilitate the process.
What's the most surprising thing you've learned since becoming a writer?
This is a hard question to answer. I feel that I’ve always been a writer. And since having a contract to be published is so new I don’t know that I’ve learned anything from that yet.
Beyond the typical—never give up, believe in yourself—what would be the single best advice you'd like to give to an aspiring author?
Write. Write a lot. And don’t be afraid to change things. When Mike Kissed Emma went through three or four distinct revisions (as opposed to simply smoothing out an existing story line.)
What do you consider to be your strongest talent in writing? Your weakest?
I think I do dialog fairly well, but I find that sometimes I leave the description out. Perhaps I would have been good writing radio plays. I have to go back in and make sure my characters aren’t simply talking heads in a blank room.
What's a writing pet peeve that you have?
I’m not sure I have a writing pet peeve – but I do find question marks troublesome. Ask anyone who has read my works in progress – I tend to put question marks where they don’t belong and leave them off of the end of questions. I don’t know why I do this – I’ve been doing it since high school – but I can assure you I do know what a question is. It’s the punctuation that seems to throw me.