I am not a writer, as you guys can probably tell. I am a very scattered, passionate, grammatical nightmare who rants continuously about silly things. My bestest friend Katy over at The Suddenly Kate Show, on the other hand, as emerged in a big way, self-publishing her own ebook of two short stories (as well as a prequel of her upcoming novel) under the pseudonym of Marjie Myers! It is available on Amazon here.
The first, a romance called 12 Days - the official description being:
A romantic comedy; a man, a woman, a dog, a challenge, romance, laughter, memories, love & hope.
And the second, Young 80:
A horror; a young woman, a foggy night, a race home, trapped, scared, confused, crazy, an old woman, an empty room, a lost love and hope.
So let's get on with the questions!
Ok, let’s start off with the blandest question of all, but one that has popped into my mind more than once…where do you get your inspiration for your characters from? Is it all imagination, or do real people around you influence an idea for a character or have their actions influenced a storyline? Has anyone ever recognized themselves in your work (or thought they have)? Or is it a case of writing being an escape from everyone and everything you know, creating worlds and scenarios in your head and putting them on paper so that others can see what you see in your head?
The inspiration for my characters comes from the story itself in general but the main character usually has my moral compass or the exact opposite. It may sound odd but once I start writing the story the character sort of appears. I think subconsciously that people around me do influence some of the minor characters more and this is probably because I write as if I am the character, I envisage myself as them or in their heads at least, although I’m not quite sure why I still write in the third person. No-one has recognised themselves because I have yet to write about them, but my family recognise me in Millie (GBF Series). I think it’s her haphazard nature. When I wrote the scene about the lost bag people asked me if that happened when I took the trip. I think mainly its total escapism.
On to the stories… you decided to put together two completely opposite genres, romance and horror. Was that deliberate, as a sort of counterweight of light and dark? Or was it a simple matter of the first story being a beginning of love and the second an ending to love? How wrong was it I found the second story just as much a romance as the first? Or did you mean to make it that way?
When I decided to publish the eBook I knew that I wanted to include 12 days, and I did think what did I have or could I write that could go with this. I chose Young 80 because I thought as a reader it would be nice to get two genres in one eBook. Once I decided that I thought they made a nice balance and it made sense (at least in my head) to have a sweet and sour. I think because its two short stories I wanted variety. I hadn’t really thought about the theme of love in the stories but I think its inevitable for me as I am a romantic at heart. You saying that made me realise that Act of Love (novel tbr) is about love too and its many guises, yet it’s a murder mystery, so I must be channelling it.
I once read an interview possibly on a blog and the writer was talking about how he had been through a really traumatic experience at the time that he was writing his novel, and that it wasn’t until he had finished it and had read it in its final state and his wife had said to him how it had themes running through it related to the trauma, and which at the time he hadn’t noticed. I think I am very much like that. I don’t notice these things until I take a step back.
Which story came first, the romance or the horror, and what do you think that says about your views on romance…is a good thing turned to bad, or can good things come from the bad?
The horror came first because I had started it at Halloween and then the romance which I wrote at Christmas. I think it probably says more about my feelings on love and that it can conquer all, and now I sound like a cheesy movie or a hallmark card or something, but I do believe that love is blind to imperfections and if anything makes them reasons why you are more lovable. I think my own experience of romance in terms of gestures (12 Days) that they are few and far between. Good things can always come from bad, good conquers evil after all!
Then again, there were many other opposite themes between the two stories, togetherness and loneliness, light and dark, home and big bad world, I could go on. But both had a very common theme…varying tones of fear, fear of not knowing if the woman you loved was willing to spent the rest of her life with you and fear of not being able to spend the rest of your life (however short) with the man you loved. Was this the common link between the two…fear?
I think this is a really telling question and maybe says more about our outlooks than anything because where you saw fear, I saw hope. Both stories are connected by that common theme. Life without hope is no life at all. You say ‘fear of not knowing if the woman you loved was willing to spend the rest of her life with you’ but he hoped she did and that’s why he carried on, you say ‘fear of not being able to spend the rest of your life (however short) with the man you loved’ and yet she hoped that he would ‘see’ her. I think that fear and hope are synonymous with one another and fear would always win if you didn’t have hope.
In the end of Twelve Days, boy gets girl and the end of Young Eighty saw boy also getting girl, just the wrong one. I think this is the reason why I enjoyed Young Eighty more, there is another story there waiting to come out, what happens when boy figures out girl isn’t his true love? Does he go after her and save her? Did he ever really love her in the first place? It really left me wanting more! Did you feel the same, or do you see wedding hijinks in the future of Twelve Days?
I can see wedding hijinks in the future of 12 days, but I am not sure if it will have a future. My imagination did wonder what would happen after the end of Young 80 but I couldn’t allow it to go there or the eBook would never have happened. I don’t know that I will continue either of them but themes in them will undoubtedly reappear.
On to other things, as a fellow stitcher (and this is going to be a strange question, so bear with me) I find myself doing this and I wondered if you did the same…have you ever found yourself working on a cross stitch project (which takes up months of our lives sometime) and found yourself imagining a storyline based on the subject matter? I guess basically what I’m asking is if a cross stitch project has ever inspired a story? As I worked on my little Highland girl, I saw myself in her, small (in the metaphysical sense of course, I’m the size of a house), childlike, eyes filled with fear, surrounded by a world of nothingness and completely alone, all the while holding on to a source of protection that I couldn’t physically wield if I wanted to, but holding on for dear life anyway. My mind wondered to what different things could happen to her and how she would handle each obstacle. It helped pass the time getting through the project, but I won’t ever try to write it out.
I have not finished that many long projects, but I do think about various things when looking at the stitching. None have inspired a story…YET! I have seen other peoples stitching and thought less about what they were stitching but more about the life of the stitcher. Particularly with older samplers or those that people have stitched intermittently over the years, I wonder what life they had and what influenced their choice and why it took so long. I could definitely write a story about a stitcher and I am unbiased obviously when I saw that stitchers are such great people. All of those I have met online through my stitching have been at least and so talented and patient.
I think when life gets hard and we feel like we are drowning that we reach out for something to hold onto that will provide an anchor and some stability and I think stitching provides this routine, it never changes and it can never disappoint…..unless you have to frog!
And that's it! My first ever interview! Thank you so much Katy for putting up with me yet again and every one else go out and get Kate's ebook from Amazon...you'll be glad you did!!