Today, it is with nothing but pleasure that I feature a beautiful woman, friend, and fellow writer, Marni Mann, who recently released the follow-up novel to her excellent debut. Marni wrote her way into my heart with her stunning and raw portrayal of the life of an addict in Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. And to say that I am excited to dive into Scars from a Memoir, would be quite the understatement. Congrats, Marni!!
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. Scars from a Memoir is her second book, a sequel to the highly regarded Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction.
Your depiction of addiction is eerily accurate. When you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share with you their story?
Nicole’s ¾ my protagonist ¾ breath mixes with mine. I hear her words over my own, her stories fill my dreams, her thoughts consume my brain. In order for me to really immerse myself in a project, I have to become the main character. That, and for a few other reasons, is why I write in first person. My stories are personal, emotional, and dark. And because I become the character, in a sense, I’m really writing their memoir.
One of the most powerful things I took away from Memoirs was that addicts are normal people. Normal people who just turned down a bad road. Normal people that could have been you and me. What do you hope the follow up novel, Scars of a Memoir, will teach readers (without giving away any big spoilers, of course)?
Addiction haunts and lingers. An addict doesn’t just get clean and then they’re suddenly cured and all thoughts of using are completely wiped from their brains. Sobriety is a daily struggle. This novel will expose Nicole’s battle wounds, her strength, fight, determination, but will it be enough?
You and I have discussed how we both prefer darker writing. When I write dark scenes, I literally hurl myself into the pits of despair with my characters. And, often times, doing so can be overwhelming for me as a writer and a person, because the emotions with which I then write are very real. So real that those feelings linger with me for days on end. Am I a complete weirdo (you can admit it if I am!), or do you find that in order to write about such darkness that you, too, have to submerge yourself fully into it?
From my answers above, you know you’re not alone. I find that when a writer completely plunges into their writing it’s a much more genuine piece. A good writer doesn’t have to actually experience the subject in which they’re writing about, they just have to make us believe that they have.
When going back to edit and re-read Scars, was there any particular verse which really surprised you and made you say, “Wow, I wrote that?” If so, share it with us?
I hadn’t heard his voice in a while. The dragon was back, loud and begging, clogging my mind. He missed the old Nicole, the one who sacrificed her body and morals to be with him. I rolled to my side and pulled a pillow over my open ear. It didn’t help. His screaming was on the inside, and he demanded I go downstairs, take one of the pills, crush it with a hammer, and sniff every speck. He lived inside that powder, and his touch could rub all my spots at once. He could show me the beauty behind the sun, the depth of water, the soft petals of a flower tickling up my arms. His words would be my lullaby.
What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?
An agent once told me that dark fiction wasn’t selling ¾ and it never would again ¾ so I was wasting my time with a novel like Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. She said I should focus on trending topics/themes and write with the current. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I just don’t agree with hers.
Will there be more about Nicole or is this the finale of her story?
I don’t have a third book planned as of right now. I could be persuaded, though, if my readers demand a trilogy.
Where do you see the publishing world 10 years from now?
I think a lot of the changes are going to be seen in traditional publishing. Their process and methods are antiquated and their prices are really high. I think it’s going to take more than ten years for print to disappear completely, but eBooks will definitely dominate the market. With eBooks, tablets, and devices, I think that opens the possibility of having interactive reading, allowing the authors and their team to get really creative with the whole reading experience.
Any last updates for readers? Exciting new projects you are working on that you’d care to share?
This fall I’m going to be releasing YA versions of Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales and Scars from a Memoir. I think young adults could really benefit from Nicole’s story. I’m also working on my next novel, which is another dark literary piece that follows a young woman and how she copes after a horrific tragedy.