Please welcome author, blogger, and traveler T.B. Markinson as talks about her recently released YA Marionette. Welcome, T.B.!
Ever since grade school I wanted to pursue writing. Over the years I would jot down stories and I started at least one novel but never finished it. Life always interfered. I was working full-time and whenever I tried to take my writing to the next level, something would happen and I found myself consumed with everyday life. Then over two years ago my partner’s company asked us to move from Boston to London. Suddenly I was unemployed. The transfer was supposed to last two years and my partner and I decided that I would use the time to give writing a go. So I pulled an unfinished manuscript out of the drawer and got to work. Now the book is published and I’ve completed the second one, Marionette. It’s a wonderful feeling and I feel so lucky that life worked out the way it did. And we fell in love with London and have extended our time here.
Did you explore traditional publication before deciding to self-publish? Why did you choose to self-publish?
At first I wanted to go the traditional route and started searching for a publisher. I narrowed it down to a couple of publishers I wanted to pursue. Then one went out of business and when I dug a little deeper into the other one I found out that many of their writers were disappointed with their contracts and the publisher. I started to rethink my choice. I knew my odds of signing with a large publisher were more than a long shot considering I hadn’t published before and my genre is lesbian fiction. I didn’t want to sign with a small publisher and then figure out too late that the publisher wouldn’t do enough. I decided if I wanted it done my way I had to be in charge of all the details. So far, I don’t regret my decision. And I’ve learned so much about editing, cover design, publishing, and marketing. Each day I continue to learn. Who knows what will happen in the future, but I’m excited to see what does.
Writing a book must be like a dream come true. Now that you’ve been published how does the dream and the reality compare?
That is an interesting question. It’s fantastic knowing that I finally did it. I talked about publishing for so long and now I can say yes I did publish a novel. But since hitting the publish button I’ve been so busy promoting it I haven’t really had time to enjoy it. No matter what, there’s always something more that needs doing. It’s exciting, frustrating, daunting, and tiring. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. In my experience, work is work. And until now I haven’t had many jobs that I liked or was that committed to. Writing and publishing are not easy, but at least I love what I do now. That makes it a whole lot easier when my alarm goes off each morning. And working from home helps. I love wearing my pajamas to work every day. Companies should allow that.
Who’s your favorite character in your latest novel Marionette?
Paige, the main character. I love her intelligence, bravery, and wicked sense of humor. She’s the type of person I would like to know in real life. Not only is she strong, but she has a vulnerability about her that really drew me to her. And she’s snarky. I like that.
How did you up with the idea for Marionette?
I wanted to write a novel about a young woman who is going through a lot. Paige has a lot going on: she tried to kill herself, is hiding the fact that she’s a lesbian from her family and college roommates, and is dealing with tension about an amendment dealing with gay and lesbian rights. When I started the novel I had a general idea of where it would go, but Paige ended up being a lot stronger than I ever imagined. She surprised me on many occasions and I admired her strength.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
My advice is simple. Sit down and write. So many people tell me that they’ve always wanted to write a book and when I ask them how often they write I usually hear, “Oh I don’t actually write anything, but I would like to.” There’s no magic formula to becoming a writer. You just have to force yourself every day to sit down and write. I think many would be surprised by how quickly a story comes together. Even if you only write 500 words a day, it adds up. Right now I’m trying to write 2,000 words a day. Sometimes I make it and other days I don’t. But the important thing is I continue to write and stay focused on the story.
What’s your favorite time of day?
Anytime after the first hour after waking up. I really enjoy life, but I hate mornings. Whenever my alarm trills the first word that pops into my head is not suitable for this post. I don’t understand morning people at all. Saying that, I should mention that I love watching the sunrise. I know it doesn’t make sense. Here’s a warning, don’t say hi to me until I’ve had my first cup of tea. After that, I’m friendly and ready to start the day. Before that, I can’t be blamed for my behavior. I did warn you.
What’s your horoscope sign?
All my life I thought I was a Taurus. Then I moved to England and checked my horoscope in the paper. That’s when I realized I’ve been living a lie. My birthday is on May 20th. In the States that’s the cutoff date for a Taurus. In England, it’s the first day for Gemini. I’m so confused. But I’m also stubborn so I keep telling people I’m a Taurus. This leads me to believe that I actually am a Taurus. After thirty-nine years it’s hard to change.
Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?
After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.
During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.
To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?
T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel. A Woman Lost was her debut novel.
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