Today I am delighted to welcome Marilyn Messik to take part in my Q&A Interview. Marilyn’s latest novel Witch Dust and is available on Amazon right now.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
When my children were small and I was knee-deep in nursing bras and nappies, for light relief I used to write fiction and features for women’s magazines. I also set up a business selling party goods from home. Unfortunately, the husband said if he opened one more cupboard and a pack of Mr Men plates fell on his head – he was leaving. I gave the matter due consideration, decided I wanted to keep him so moved all the stock out, opened a shop and then subsequently a second one.
When I sold the shops a few years later, I moved into travel, specialising on B&Bs and Country Inns in New England, USA. I set up an advisory, planning and booking service and then (glutton for punishment!) launched a publishing company, producing an annual, full-colour accommodation guide which, after a good few years, I sold to Thomas Cook Publishing. For a while I dabbled in antique collectable illustrated books and then in 2007 I set up a copywriting consultancy.
I have to confess to generally being a bit of a busy-knickers and love nothing better than sticking my nose into other people’s businesses. I’ve written the Little Black Business Book series and the novels Relatively Strange and Even Stranger. I’ve now been married to the husband who stayed, for more years than he deserves and we have two children, five grandchildren and, somewhat to our surprise, several grand-dogs.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I was probably quite a revoltingly precocious child, because not only did I teach myself to touch type when I was about 8 but from then on churned out numerous short stories with which I proceeded to bore family and friends rigid.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My fiction books to date are paranormal thrillers with a hefty twist of humour and the audience I write for? Gosh, I guess that would have to be anyone who wants to read ‘em! I’ve been more than tickled pink that they seem to go down well with all ages from teenage to dotage.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
The writing process consists of long, long periods staring at a blank screen and moaning softly ‘Why, oh, why did I ever think I could do this?’ This is often mercifully followed by a frenzied attack of inspiration, followed equally swiftly by several cups of strong coffee and a surfeit of chocolate biscuits. There’s no doubt about it, us authors are an emotionally needy bunch and I never put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door because, trust me, I’m disturbed enough already!
The length of time to write a book is usually about a year, which is pretty slow. However, I should say in mitigation that I earn my living as a copywriter for businesses and that does often get in the way a lot of the time – clients tend to get pretty put out if their website text isn’t ready because I’ve had a brilliant idea for my own stuff and have missed their deadline completely.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
I suspect all my characters have their feet firmly rooted in real life, some are combinations, others are pretty much as they appear in the books. I’m dreadfully nosy and a huge eavesdropper in restaurants and hotels – other people’s conversations always being far more interesting that your own. Overheard phrases and their subtexts stick in my mind and almost certainly come out in my writing.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Ah that would be telling, but I should point out I’m not telepathic like Stella nor do I have Sandra’s family history – although I have noticed in recent years, people who’ve read my books giving me odd, sidelong glances and actually, at that point I probably do know exactly what they’re thinking about me!
What research do you do?
Quite a lot but of course nowadays we are so very spoilt by all the information that’s right there at our fingertips and instead of having to trot off to the library or to research ‘real-life’ we simply Google. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The jury’s still out.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
That’s really tricky because I suspect I’d swiftly drive round the bend, anyone who consented to work with me – I know I have heated arguments with myself when I’m writing so if you introduced anyone else into the mix, it wouldn’t be pretty. But, if push comes to shove I’d probably start right at the top with Shakespeare –I’ve always felt Romeo and Juliet could have had a more up-beat ending.
Oh Shell, what a rotten question! That’s like saying which is your favourite child isn’t it? There are so many – books I mean, not kids, but I’m going to opt for the Justin Cronin Passage trilogy (yes I know that’s three books but what can I tell you?)
Ha Ha Ha you all say that
What’s your favorite food?
Halloumi Cheese and Chocolate – not together, obviously. And I’m so sorry if you’re now shrieking cholesterol!
What’s your favorite film?
My Blue Heaven with Steve Martin – written by the great Nora Ephron.
What’s your favorite song?
Why Paddy’s Not at Work Today. And if you’re furrowing your brow, just take a look at the lyrics and see why it so suits my sense of humour.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
My website’s http://www.marilynmessik.co.uk/ and I love nothing better than hearing from readers, so am always more than delighted to receive emails and have a chat.
Thank you so much for joining me today