Our chat with Marisa…
Not until my mid 20s. I’d always been a book worm and could quite happy squirrely away a weekend to read. I often read to 3 or 4 am as a teenager. But it never occurred to me to try writing. My Dad and I used to talk about the theories of the universe and where we came from, other intelligent life etc, until the idea evolved into a book idea. With my husband working long hours before we were married, I decided to try my hand at getting it on to paper. I very quickly realized I needed tuition, but I was bitten by the bug and embarked on my long journey of learning to improve my craft.
Through the slush pile! But I did have the carrot of having two forthcoming books coming out. Stacey is my third agent and after two unsuccessful relationships it was really important to find the right fit. With my family being American and many of my novels set there, I knew I needed someone on the other side of the pond. Stacey is friendly and supportive and quick to respond to any of my messages. She is also very editorial and I can thrust ideas out with her, which is exactly what I wanted in an agent!
The parts that I found really hard were the emotion of querying. It takes a lot out of me and as much as I focus on other projects, I can’t help waiting for that ping. The rejection of a full request is particularly devastating. I could have pursued self-publishing, but I really wanted the agent relationship. I am fiercely determined and I won’t ever give up writing, so no matter how hard it got, I kept on going. And the knocks don’t end with finding an agent. Now I have to face the round of submissions to publishers again!
I had a young girl message me to say I was her favourite author and she couldn’t believe my imagination and couldn’t wait to read everything else I’d written. That was lovely to hear. Also, that a fifteen year old boy stayed up all night to finish The Unadjusteds. That reaction is why I write.
Ha! I haven’t done a full visit! It’s a bit harder to organize with YA and truthfully, I am the archetypal introverted author and am trying to avoid the whole thing!
As a young child I loved the Richard Scary books and Dr Seuss. I was obsessed with Nancy Drew but quickly found my way to Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I read The Watchers when I was ten and it has been one of my favourite books ever since.
Keep going! The ride is long and bumpy, but it won’t happen if you give up. Rejections are part of the journey and they are not personal. You can be an excellent writer and still get loads of rejections. Sometimes it’s just about timing. Also, find your tribe. Finding other writers who understand the sting of rejection and can buoy you along makes the journey so much easier to bear.
Not very well. I’m grateful all my kids are now in school so at least I get to write while they’re out of the house. Diner is a bit of a mish mash of what I can think up on the spot when they get home and I always curse the long summer when they’re around all the time. I love them dearly, but I don’t get much writing done. I’m really lucky that I work super-fast and can turn out a first draft in 4 weeks.
Ooo! Cool question. When I wrote The Unadjusteds, in my head I had Jessica Stroup in mind. She was in the revamp of Beverley Hills 90210 and her nickname was “Silver,” which is where the mane for my main character came from. She’s a little old for the role now but I could see someone like Marie Avgeropoulos totally rocking it.