Welcome to the four hundred and thirty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with multi-genre author Marion Grace Woolley. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Marion. Please tell us something about yourself, and how you came to be a writer.
Marion: I’ve been a bit nomadic over the past few years, from Australia to Africa, Armenia, and a few other places beginning with ‘A’. I’m now resident in Gloucester, a beautiful area of the UK, near the border with Wales.
I think that I’ve always been a writer, in much the same way that I’ve always been female. It’s just something that I am, rather than something I consciously set out to become. But I have been very lucky in that it comes naturally to me.
Morgen: I’m a late starter (I was in my late 30s when creative writing hooked me :)) but I think passion and determination help. What genre do you generally write?
Marion: My genre is the written word. That’s about as narrow as I’ve managed to define it. I’ve written non-fiction, creative non-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, science fiction – even tried my hand at fantasy. I see writing as an exploration of self; a constantly evolving communication. Nobody wants to talk about the weather all of the time.
Morgen: It’s usually what we fall back on when there’s nothing else to say… although our (English) weather is so varied that it’s often the topic of conversation; a few weeks ago we were complaining that it was too hot, now it’s too wet. See, I’m talking about it even when there’s plenty else to say… OK, back to why we’re here… what have you had published to-date?
Marion: I began writing seriously – that is to say, with the serious intention of getting published – whilst working in Africa. By the time I returned to the UK at the end of 2009, I had a stockpile of material. Nobody tells you how long it takes to get something published. Not just the submissions process, but then the editing, the arguments over cover art, the insecurities, inaccuracies and alliterations.
It took until April 2011 for my debut, Angorichina, to come out. In the past twelve months it’s been followed by Lucid and Georg[i]e. I can proudly say: three books, two publishers, one year.
Morgen: That’s some going. 🙂 Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Marion: I have rejection stories – some of them even funny. But very early on I realised that, if you’re serious about writing as a career, you have to learn to appreciate yourself. Einstein said: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” You must believe yourself to be that great spirit. The harsher the critic, the more mediocre the mind. It may sound bolshy, but the alternative is not something you deign to entertain without a very large bottle of scotch. Trust your own instincts. If you think your work is good, then the chances are it is. Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin was rejected thirty times, Harry Potter twelve. What more evidence do you need that an opinion is just an opinion – and opinions are often wrong?
Morgen: I heard Harry Potter was fourteen or sixteen, sufficient to be encouraged. 🙂 Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions?