Friday, October 29, 2010

Do you know Marieke?

If you don't know her, you should!  And lucky for you, today is Aspiring Author Friday.

I'll tell you a little bit about her, but if you want to know the in depth factoids, you should check out her website.  

Marieke loves to ramble about YA, writing, time travel and iced lattes.  She has an awesome master's degree in Medieval Studies and I don't think I could pronounce her name if I tried (*blush*)

She collects random pins and can read eight different languages to a reasonable degree of success.  She says, "I also collect swords. I once wanted to be a professional archer. Both of course because I still secretly hope to be a knight someday. I wanted to be a fighter pilot growing up, unfortunately my eyes got in the way. For years I also wanted to dye my hair silver. My mum, rightly so, understood that to mean gray and was less than amused *lol*" 

How long have you been writing?
 I'm afraid I have to go for the least original answer and say as long as I can remember. I was that kid who walked around with her nose in a book - from a very early age I devoured books. And that's almost literal - I remember being home sick one day and reading, reading, reading. I read seven books that day. (Wow!  Way to go!)  So I've always loved reading and I've always loved making up stories of my own, though they were half-formed ideas mostly. Fragments.There was one story that changed that.  (Ooo, awesome!)

What made you want to write?
One of my favorite children's books - a story about a young boy aspiring to be a knight in a land of adventures and happily ever after. I didn't want to finish the book. After the last page I started right over again. But then one day I decided to write my own sequel. So you could almost say my first actual story was a fanfic! The next story I wrote was in a world completely my own. At 13 I'd finished my first 'novel', one that hopefully will never see the light of day. Though I still love the story it was... not all that good. I did submit it to a publisher, who very graciously said no. 
Over the years I got to know more aspiring writers, still read widely, and became an active member of the fantasy community. I entered contests, won some, judged some, reviewed for a few small press magazines, published a few short stories, but most of all I swapped critiques, asked questions, and learned SO MUCH. 

Strangely though, I began to feel out of place. Most of my stories had young adult characters, but not the young farm boy saving the world. I started reading YA fiction again and... I fell in love. Head over heels.  
(YA got me falling too.)

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Any certain music or drink you just have to have to concentrate?
Nope, not at all. I can write anywhere, anywhen. Which is incredibly useful! Although, once I start writing I am likely to forget the rest of the world, so I have to be wary of that. (You know, so I won't miss trains, forget about work and other deadlines... details like that!)  (Okay, I'm COMPLETELY jealous about this one.  I totally get distracted.  Bummer.)

What is your favorite thing to write?
I think the logical thing to say now would be fantasy, right? At the moment, it isn't. I have two WIPs I'm working on. One is a retelling of Tristan and Ysolde, basically historical fantasy, and I love it to tiny little bits. But the other, LOVING ADELINE, the WIP I'm currently finishing, is literary YA. Writing that feels like... breaking my heart one bit at a time. It's hard, it's emotional, and I love it. (*Chills*.)  So for now my answer would be literary YA. :)

Though it changes with every story. I can't write a story well if I'm not completely emotionally invested. 

And there are always fantasy elements in my writing. LA is literary, but with a speculative twist. A little, perhaps, like Rebecca Stead's WHEN YOU REACH ME and Meg Rosoff's HOW I LIVE NOW, though I will immediately say in type of story only. I dare not compare them any further :) 

So there's always a spark of fantasy in every story I write, no matter the genre. There's always the little girl in me trying to find magic in everything. (That's awesome.  I love fantasy too.)
What other genres do you enjoy writing, if any?
Ooh, I've two WIPs I'm very excited about. One steampunk and the other dystopian. They're next on my list once I've finished LOVING ADELINE and YSOLDE. Both are YA, by the way. I do have some MG story ideas too, but I want to get a better feel for middle grade stories before I start on those :)

What is your favorite genre to read?
If it involves letters and words I understand I'll read everything and anything.  
What is your favorite blog?
Right now I would have to say the blog of one of my brilliant critique partners: Rach Writes... Rach is hosting the Writers' Platform-Building Crusade and it's amazing!! But she also has great insider scoops and great writing advice!
Have you been to a conference?  If you've been to more than one, which was your favorite and why?
Do fantasy conventions count? ;) (TOTALLY!)  My first writing conference, actually, was WriteOnCon.  I LOVED it. The girls there did such an amazing job and I met some very lovely people via the forums. Can't wait for next year. (That was mine too and I agree, it was so worth it!  I'm super excited for next year's too!)
Which authors do you admire?
Thankfully you didn't ask me about my favorite books, because I hate having to choose! Having said that, choosing authors isn't easy either!

A few very random names that come to mind - Neil Gaiman, for his amazing ability to create timeless stories. Rebecca Stead, for writing one of the best children's books I've ever read. Pat Rothfuss, because man, have you seen his beard?! Also for his ability to curse people through dedications in books :P Nancy Garden, for Annie on my Mind. 

And you know, the kidlit community at large. Especially the authors contributing to my 'How to' blog series. I love how people are always willing to support each other and cheer each other on. It's inspiring! 
How often do you write?
I try to write daily and I'm definitely always working on some story or other. There's so much that inspires me - I walk around in a world that consists of stories. Most of my blog readers will know this - I'm insanely curious and I always wonder what moves and motivates people. But it's not just that. It can be a beautiful sight in Ireland that inspires a love story. The feeling of standing outside in the snow when inside the houses are warm and light. A starry night. My world is full of stories and I can't do anything but write them down and hope I do them justice.
What do you prefer more, an iced latte or ice cream?
You're not seriously asking me that question, are you?! Shock! Horror! Gasp!



*whispers* I will have to go with iced lattes. 
(In my defense, I KNEW you loved these.  I just had to ask, since you mentioned in Factoid #2 that you love anything iced and you heart ice cream!  I heart ice cream, but apparently in a different way!  I loved your response to my question though.)

A HUGE thanks to Marieke.  It was a pleasure to learn more about her!  



  1. Great interview! It was great to get to know Marieke better.

  2. Fantastic interview, and lovely to learn more about Marieke (*blushes at the shout-out*) :)

    I must say, LOVING ADELINE rocks!!!


  3. Thanks for having me Michelle! Loved the interview :)

    Thanks Shallee! And aw, thanks Rach!

  4. Michelle,

    What a nice thing to do for a fellow writer. Great interview. I really enjoyed learning more about Marieke. I am one of her followers, and now I am one of yours.

    Great Job!


  5. Thanks everyone! I really do love having these interviews and I might actually break down and have them more often. Once a week just seems like such a long wait. Maybe I'm just a teensy bit impatient. :)

  6. Thanks Michael! And I completely agree! :)

    Michelle - they're great fun!

    Oh, by the way, my name is pronounced Mah-Ree-Ka :)

  7. Yay! I was hoping you'd put the pronunciation on here so I wouldn't keep saying it three times in my head every time I read it :) That's the way I said it more times than not.


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