Marianne: Thanks Scott. I do have more Parrish Plessis books planned but it isn’t in my current publishing schedule. Only time will tell, I guess.
Scott: Your Parrish books were the most enjoyable cyberpunk novels I’ve ever read, the characters were well developed and the action was intense. Have you been approached about making a movie of these books?
Marianne: Yes I’ve had numerous film enquiries and several option offers but nothing that ever developed into anything concrete. At first I was terribly disappointed, but I’ve learned that the motion picture industry is mainly smoke and mirrors.
Scott: Your writer’s forum, Vision Writers, must take up a fair whack of your time. What was the motivation behind creating a group like this?
Just an aside here. I don’t run the Vision forum. But I have my own forum – Parrish’s Patch, run by readers so I’ve answered this question as best can.
Marianne: I’ve found the online component of my work increasing all the time. Currently I run three four websites (the MDP site, my young adult site, my crime site and a separate site for my short story collection, Glitter Rose). I’m fortunate to have some great people helping me on some of them, but I do a lot of it myself. I have to constantly monitor that it’s not eating up too much writing time. That’s a challenge because the blogging and sourcing of guest material is fun and stimulating. I have to be firm with myself sometimes!
Scott: How did the Role Play Game based on your Parrish Plessis come about and what sort of involvement did you have in the process?
Marianne: I was approached by the game developer via email. It took a little while to sort the details but we eventually worked things through. I approved the game’s handbook content but Cary Lenehan did all the writing and devised the game rules. However, being a small independent games publisher, they suffered from a lack of distribution. It was a beautiful product but didn’t get enough exposure.
Scott: You also write a crime series under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt, which most fans know about already? What is the main reason for not writing the Tara Sharp books under your real name?
Marianne: My crime is humourous, light-hearted and contemporary. I didn’t want readers of the Sentients of Orion series picking it up expecting the same kind of socio-political drama with deep philosophical underpinnings. It was basically a clear, respectful signal to my loyal fan base that this is Marianne doing something quite different.
Scott: With the introduction of e-book readers, like Kindle and Sony Reader, there is a current debate about the piracy of e-books and the loss of the print media. How do you feel about e-books?
Marianne: I believe you can’t, nor shouldn’t, stop the evolution of things. The extent of E-books impact on physical books is hard to assess exactly. Maybe I’m being optimistic or unrealistic but I believe there’ll be room for both for a while at least. I love the transmedia opportunities opening up though. It’s quite an exciting time.
Scott: A lot of new writers often ask about the amount of pages or words that a published author produces each day. How much time would you spend writing on a typical day, (if a typical day exists for a writer that is)?
Marianne: I write between 500-1000 wds a day. If I slip, then I make up for it on weekends. Those numbers vary a bit when deadlines loom. But generally that seems to be a successful, productive enough quota for me. I’m not a binge writer.
Scott: At what stage were you able to concentrate on being a full time writer?
Marianne: Once I sold the Parrish trilogy I pretty much went to full time writing. I have three sons though, so I don’t ever really feel like it’s really full time!
Scott: How do you approach your writing? Do you tend to develop a story in your mind and then proceed to conduct some research or is more of an organic method where you write the story first and research any technical aspects later?
Marianne: I like to write first and research as I go. I’m too impatient to research for long periods of time and then start writing. The story always calls. Sometimes I’ll keep researching through each draft, making adjustments all the time. I always begin with an end in mind but know, and look forward to, the journey. That’s why I write, to find out how the characters reach their end.
Scott: As a writer it is interesting to hear what other writers read in their spare time. It is often surprising to hear the genres and variety of books other authors read. Can you tell us what are you reading at the moment and what you five favorite books are?
Marianne: I read fairly eclectically. My bedside table currently holds: Kitty Goes to Washington (UF) – Carrie Vaughan, Jonah Hex (graphic novel), John Connelly (crime) – Every Dead Thing, Nick Harkaway - The Gone Away World, and Jonathon Lethem’s latest, Chronic City.
Scott: There seems to be a lot more options available to authors to get published now compared to say a decade ago. What advice would you offer to unpublished writers in approaching publishers for the first time?
Marianne: The market is even more competitive than ever because the industry is changing and publishers are being careful. Concentrate on telling a story people need/want to read. NOTHING beats a good story. And make sure you read widely – non fiction as well as fiction. E-publishing now provides many opportunities to build you writing CV; reviewing books and writing fan fiction are a good way to cut your teeth in the writing world.
Scott: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five authors would you like to have as companions and why?
J.G. Ballard – to take me to other places
Ian Macdonald – because every time I read his prose I find new ideas and images
Sigrid Undsett – because everyone needs a family saga to remind them of humanities foibles
Carlos Castenada – just because its entertaining
Mary Gentle (specifically the novel Ash) – because I could read it over and over.
Scott: Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to your next book.
Thank you, Scott. It’s been a pleasure.