Good morning, and thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! I’m looking forward to sharing your knowledge and advice with the rest of the world (at least with the small portion of it that follows my blog). Please, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up on the bayou in southern Louisiana and read a lot as a child. It was a way to leave the bayou to cool and distant places. I’ve lived in Alabama and Texas. I currently live in northwest Colorado enjoying the mountains and the cooler temperatures. I worked for an oil company as a production accountant and an environmental technician. As a thirty-year-old, I went to college for the first time and got a degree in physical therapy. I began writing seriously in 2003 and got my first writing contract in 2012. For all you writers still waiting for a contract, don’t give up.
Why did you start writing?
As I mentioned above, reading was a way for me to visit other places and meet interesting characters so I read anytime I got the chance. Writing settled as a strong desire and I’ve been blessed to be able to live a life-long dream.
How did you start writing?
I started in high-school literature class. Kept journals growing up. Then writing got put on the back burner as life took over. In 2003 my writing dream was revived. I attended a writer’s conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I’ve been hooked ever since!
How did you select your genre?
I love reading stories about women who overcome adversity and grow through their experiences, so it was a natural progression for me to write those types of stories.
What is your writing day like?
Lately, it’s been random, but when I’m on a strict writing schedule I usually get up around seven, have breakfast, then write for at least two 45-minute sessions. I don’t do all day writing sessions. It’s not something that works for me. Smaller morning sessions usually produce the most useful words. Although, I have had those middle-of-the-night productive writing sessions when I’m unable to sleep.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)?
I use Scrivener, which makes organizing character sketches, photos, and other research so easy. I still keep a small notebook for each book that includes character information and tidbits/post-it notes of ideas that come during the day or night.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?”
“Let ME tell the story.”
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
Yes, there are characters lined up in my head waiting for their story to be told. I can see them and hear their voices. Usually they stay in my imagination until it’s time for their story to be revealed. At that point I conduct extensive characters interviews. I get to know them really well before I start writing the story.
What does your work space/office look like?
My office is pretty messy and crowded these days (taxes, mail, etc.), but my desk is two filing cabinets with a chopping block top. I wanted something easy to move but with ample desk space. When I’ve had trouble writing, I will sit at my desk, set a timer, and turn off my wi-fi. That’s usually enough to produce enough words to move the story forward. When the writing muse is alive and active, I can write anywhere—in the recliner in my living room, outdoors on my patio, at a park, etc.
What is your go-to snack when writing?
I don’t usually eat while writing. When I take a snack break it can be anything from nuts to sliced Mesquite smoked turkey breast deli-meat. That is one of my go-to protein boosts.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
Wow, that’s a hard request. The first novel in The Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I’m sure if you read the first you’ll read the other two as well. The slave girl, Hadassah, in the series portrayed Christianity in it’s true form.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King. An oldie but goodie.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for letting me interact with your readers today. I’d like to know what types of books sparks their interest. What say you—what is YOUR favorite genre and why?
Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains – Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. She is the author of Deep Freeze Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Southern Fried Christmas. Her latest release, a women’s fiction novel titled The Vigil, can be purchased at online retailers.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle. Connect with her through Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Marian P. Merritt’s Readers Group.