A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. A writer of literary fiction, she taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark, harrowing, and gritty journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. Her debut novel, Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales, was published by Booktrope in December 2011.
When did you first know you wanted to write a book?
I’ve been a writer my whole life, but the desire to write a novel didn’t come until I was in college. I had plenty of *material* I just didn’t have the experience to put it all together.
What do you know now that you wish you did when you first started writing?
Don’t be afraid to curse, show the grit and the grime, and if you aren’t grossed out or blushing, the story isn’t dark enough. I could have saved myself two drafts if I’d had the confidence to show this all in the beginning.
Are you a traditionally published author or indie?
I’m traditionally published by Booktrope, a publisher based in Seattle.
How many novels have you had published, or is this your debut?
Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales is my debut novel.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I have addicts in my life and a particular situation occurred. It flattened me. I’d seen the different places addiction could take someone, emotionally and physically, and I held their hand through those times. But this situation was too much for even me. I had questions, there were no answers, and no clarity in sight. My pain turned into a novel.
What made you choose this genre?
For the reasons above, the genre chose me. The novel is character driven, written in first person, and targets a large audience, which makes it literary with a mainstream appeal.
Tell us a little bit about your latest novel?
Leaving behind a nightmarish college experience, nineteen-year-old Nicole and her best friend Eric escape their home of Bangor, Maine to start a new life in Boston. Fragile and scared, Nicole desperately seeks a new beginning to help erase her past. But there is something besides freedom waiting for her in the shadows—a drug that will make every day a nightmare.
With one taste, the love that once flowed through Nicole’s veins turns into cravings. Tracks mark the passing of time, and heroin’s grip gets tighter. It holds her hand through deaths and prostitution, but her addiction keeps her in the darkness. When her family tries to strike a match to help light her way, Nicole must choose between a life she can hardly remember, or a love for heroin she’ll never forget.
Which of your characters do you most relate with?
Nicole, the protagonist. We all have scars, some more visible than others, and I’m no exception. My scars haven’t broken me, tempted me to use heroin, or brought me into a dark hole. But I’ve seen darkness in many different forms. Maybe I can’t exactly relate to scars as deep as Nicole’s, but I can definitely sympathize.
Did you know the title before you started writing, or did it come to you later?
The title came to me at the end of the third draft. It appears in the novel and as soon as I wrote it, I knew that had to be the title. It fits the story really well.
If you could use only FIVE words to persuade us to read your book, what would they be?
Hunger. Euphoria. Desperation. Hunt. Pain.
For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?
Form a team of experienced beta readers who aren’t afraid to tell you their honest opinion and hire a professional editor. Both are crucial. Just because the story works in your head, doesn’t mean it works on the page. I realize this statement is going to be nearly impossible for most writers to accept, but anyone who has worked with an editor will understand: learn not to be married to your words. Accept change and suggestions. The author isn’t *always* right.
What book are your currently reading?
I’m currently reading SHIFT by M.R. Merrick. It’s the sequel to EXILED, his first novel, but SHIFT hasn’t been released yet. I got an advanced copy. (*Shhh* don’t tell any of his fans) He’s created this world that I’m absolutely in love with and characters I can relate to.
E-book or hard copy – do you not have a preference?
Since getting my Kindle almost a year ago, I haven’t purchased a hard copy. I’m not opposed to hard copies, my Kindle is just so much more convenient and it weighs a whole lot less than a 700-page book.
Have any new and upcoming authors caught your eye?
Lisa Stull, but I doubt you’ve heard of her.
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Whoopie-Pie-Woman. If you haven’t had a whoopie pie, you need to. Right now. And yes, that means for a brief moment you can stop reading this interview.
Writing, marketing, creating an author platform – it all takes up a lot of time. How do you manage this aspect of your life with everything else?
Ha! If anyone has a formula, please share it with me. There’s personal-world, work-world, and book-world. One gets the most attention and it’s the latter. I can’t say I manage it well, I just go with the flow and hope for the best.
What current project are you working on?
I’m writing the sequel to Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales, which I refer to as MAF2 because I still haven’t decided on a title.
Can you share any of it with us?
I really, really want to, but I can’t. You know how it is with sequels, if I drop a hint it will ruin the ending of Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales.
Tell us a funny unknown fact about yourself.
My father carries a picture in his wallet of when I was 5-years-old. The shot is just of my face, with a finger—knuckle deep—up my nose. He likes to bring out the picture when we’re around a lot of people. It used to make me so embarrassed. Now it makes me smile. You can’t take life too seriously.
~Marni has graciously offered to gift one lucky commenter a FREE KINDLE copy of her debut!!! Drawing for the free e-book will be held Friday, January 27, 2012~
NOW AVAILABLE Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction
“I could feel my chin falling towards my chest, my back hunching forward. My body was acting on its own, and my mind was empty, like all my memories had been erased. There was scenery behind my lids. Aqua colored water and powdery sand that extended for miles. I was never going back to coke. I wanted more heroin. And I wanted it now.” Leaving behind a nightmarish college experience, nineteen-year-old Nicole and her best friend Eric escape their home of Bangor,Maine to start a new life in Boston. Fragile and scared, Nicole desperately seeks a new beginning to help erase her past. But there is something besides freedom waiting for her in the shadows–a drug that will make every day a nightmare. Heroin. With one taste, the love that once flowed through Nicole’s veins turns into cravings. Tracks mark the passing of time, and heroin’s grip gets tighter. It holds her hand through deaths and prostitution, but her addiction keeps her in the darkness. When her family tries to strike a match to help light her way, Nicole must choose between a life she can hardly remember, or a love for heroin she’ll never forget.