Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Renee Marski

 Today's interview is with first-time author Renee Marski.

1.              When did you first start writing?
I started writing at a very young age, I would say probably around the 2nd or 3rd grade when I really realized how much I liked to tell stories.

2.              What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
The two books I have published currently are in two different genres. One is a murder mystery, inspired partly by the Nancy Drew books I grew up reading. The other is a fiction story about two sisters who wish for something that actually comes true, sort of loosely based off of my sister and I. Both are self-published through Createspace.

3.              What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
My love for literature started when I first realized that I could read whatever I wanted. I had a librarian that worked at my mom's middle school that would give her books for me to read throughout the summer. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Chance, actually took one of the stories I had written and "published" it for me, giving it a front and back cover, and binding it. My computer teacher, Mrs. Stall, always asked to read my stories during class and always set aside time to let me write.

4.              What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I outline first, brainstorming the ideas the way we were taught in school, bubbles and all. Then I write down specific details, whether that's scenes, characters, whatever is coming to mind. This is all done by hand, but when I get to the real story, I type it out on my computer, start to finish.

5.              What's your editing process?
I do a quick run through first, checking for spelling errors. I then do a hard read myself, looking for mistakes. I also have beta readers who then read the book for me, pointing out errors that I missed myself. This helps because it's hard to critique your own work.

6.              Any favorite apps / software / technology for writing?
Just Microsoft Word. I'm not big on the high tech thing and I use Word to get the story down onto paper.

7.              Any favorite apps / software / websites for marketing and promotion?
Goodreads. I love it. There is so much information and so many helpful people there. I also just discovered Reader's Legacy. I'm new to it, but I'm learning and really enjoying it.

8.              What did you find most / least useful in learning to write?
Most useful would be grammar. It really helps to have good grammar and know how to bend it the way you want it. Least helpful? People telling you that you can't do it. The nay-sayers never really had any good reasons as to why I couldn't.

9.              Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
Everything inspires me, from my dogs playing to the shows I watch. I get my ideas randomly. For my book Separation, the idea came after an argument with my sister. I just happened to think that if she wasn't my sister, we wouldn't ever associate with each other and the idea popped into my head, what would happen if two sisters actually got that wish? Thus the idea was born.

10.           When in the day do you usually write? For how long?
I write whenever I have a chance. That is normally early in the morning before I go to work or late at night after I get home. Sometimes I'm able to write a scene or two in my email and send it to myself, but that's not always the case.

11.           Do you have a writing routine / schedule? Any specific rituals?
I don’t really have a routine. I like to plan out the book and then start writing. Sometimes I will get so lost in the story I will forget what chapter I'm on and completely stop labeling them until the end.

12.           Where do you feel most inspired to write?
At home. Most of my ideas tend to come to mind at night, laying in bed. I keep a notebook next to my bed for this very reason.

13.           Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot.
It's just a normal writing desk, with a big comfy chair and a nice computer set up thanks to my hubby. I also like to write in my bed, with my laptop and my notebook.

14.           Do you listen to music while you write? What kind of music?
Depends on what I'm writing. There are times where I use music for inspiration, but other times where I need quiet. I more often than not have the TV on instead of music, mainly because that’s my husband's source of background noise.

15.           Do you ever get writers' block? What are some ways you get around it?
All the time. I have a particular story right now that I'm stuck on. To get around it, I work on other things, write other stories, hash out ideas on new stories, anything to get the juices flowing.

16.           Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
I still have a day job. I work as a full time veterinary assistant and I'm also a naval reservist. I don't feel that these detract from my writing, but add to it with the experiences I get to have on a daily basis.

17.           How do you make the time to write?
I just have to sit down and do it. Whether it's in between other things or after my husband has gone to sleep, I just try to slip it in where I can.

18.           How much research do you do? What kind?
Depends on what I'm writing. I like to research the town I'm going to be using and also any sort of information that myths may be based on. The story that is currently being edited, I had to do some research on Djinn, which actually come from Muslim beliefs.

19.           How much marketing do you do? Which platforms are you most active on? 
Facebook is my main go to for marketing. Between that, Goodreads, and Amazon, that's where most of my sales have come from.

20.           What's the most fun aspect of marketing? The most challenging?
The most fun is writing up the posts and sharing them, seeing people respond to them. The hard part is getting any reviews from what I have done. I can post a book for free for five days, have 300 downloads, and get NO reviews. That doesn't discourage me, but it can get frustrating at times.

21.           What project are you working on now?
Two, actually. The first is the first book in a series about supernatural hunters and how they are trained and the tasks they have to complete. Think Winchesters, but with fairytales. The second is an alternate story about Captain Hook and what his life might have been like if he had ever left Neverland.

22.           What books do you like to read? What are you reading now?
Fantasy and sci-fi are my go to. Currently, I'm reading a book called The Crown by Kiera Kass. It's part of the Selection Series and one of my favorite series. I just finished Beautiful Chaos, the third book in the Beautiful Creatures series. An amazing book that I didn't want to put down.

I'm a 28 year old writer who has been writing for years but only published her first book last year. The writing process is a learning process and I'm enjoying the journey I'm taking.

Separation is about two sisters who, while close in age, are not similar in any other way. The oldest, Taylor, is head strong and independent. Amelia, the younger, is girly and free spirited. Neither one can understand the other and in a fit of rage, both wish that they weren't related. What results is their wish being granted and the two girls waking up the next morning to realize they no longer have anything to do with each other.

What happens next is a bunch of secrecy and the realization that they truly can't rely on anyone but each other to make it in a school full of back stabbing people. Amelia's boyfriend is a double agent for the local popular queen who can't stand Taylor and wants to take her down, using Amelia to do so. The things the girls go through to help each other make them realize how much they really care about each other.

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