Thursday 4 July 2013

Author Interview: Marie Flanigan

About the Author:

Marie Flanigan is a long time book and video game reviewer for and is a blogger for The Motley Fool at She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three dogs.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

For the first draft, I let the story flow. In revision, I do more planning.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

No. I keep them firmly in hand. Otherwise, they'll willy-nilly do any old thing.

What is your favourite food?

I'm a big fan of eggs in any form.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I'm more of a night owl, although in general, I wake up 8 hours after I got to bed, whatever time that might be.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I'm really looking forward to visiting the Scandinavian countries. I'm a big fan of Scandinavian literature. Tove Jansson is a big influence of mine. I also really enjoy Scandinavian movies particularly those shot in the Dogma99 style.

Do distant places feature in your books?

My current book, One Big Beautiful Thing, takes place in Northern Virginia and somewhat in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the US. Whether or not that's distant depends on where you live.

Do you listen to music while writing?

No. I have to have silence when I write. I'm always amazed by people who can write in coffee shops.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

One Big Beautiful Thing is a story about starting over after loss. Kate, the main character, is an artist who is trying to pull her life together after the death of her live-in boyfriend. Ultimately it's about faith and love and grief and recovery.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

I've learned that both are a lot of work. Writing is really about rewriting. The editor is a critical component of any book and I don't know why they don't get more credit for their contribution. Without an editor you don't have anyone questioning you and I think that's bad for any writer. Good writing requires standing up to challenge. As for publishing, I think we're in a weird place with publishing right now. I feel like the next decade will bring dramatic changes in the industry and who knows how it will all eventually fall out.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I wish I had the discipline and work ethic that I have now when I started One Big Beautiful Thing. If I had, the process would have gone a lot faster.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

My friends and family have a huge influence on my writing. My family, particularly my husband, is incredibly supportive. My friends are a very talented bunch who offer great advice and encouragement. I'm very lucky in both regards. As for influences, I read a lot in a wide variety of genres. I love authors as diverse as Margaret Atwood and James Rollins and I consider them all influential to my writing.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Write what you know. Be disciplined. Manage your expectations. Persist.

What are three words that describe you?

Tenacious, funny, consistent.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

I have many, but if I had to narrow it down to one, it would be Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson. I think you'll find everyone you will ever meet in that book. It's startling.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.

List of previous books if any

Not yet.

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

I also write financial blog posts for The Motley Fool. Those posts can be found here:

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