This blog is for all writers, published or not, that want to connect with other writers and who want to improve their craft.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Author Interview with Mary Aris

1. Why do you write?
Ever since I was nine, I loved writing stories and poems. I have always had a great
imagination and creativity. It was always an ambition of mine to be a Novelist. In
high school I took a Poetry course. It was this course that taught me about the
different types of poetry, metric schemes and poetic devices. After high school, I
took a job as a Library Assistant at the West New York Public Library in West New
York, NJ, a position I held for twenty years. During my work as an assistant librarian,
I began to write more poetry and stories. In 2001 I was made interim Children’s
Librarian and supervised the Children’s Department. I hosted Story Hour and other
after school activities. I used to read the children stories that I had written. One of the
stories I began writing in 2001 while I was working as an interim Children’s Librarian
at the Children’s Department at the West New York Public Library was Princess
Rose. Princess Rose came to me while I was working at the Library. I remember
getting home and rushing to my desk to begin writing. The story, about a pair of
ancient Monarchs, tells the story about how they longed for a baby and heir to the
throne of Carlisle. The queen, distressed because she was ‘getting on in years’ and
still had no child, lamented by the Gilded Pond. To her surprise, seven blithe sisters
calling themselves The Moonbeam Fairies heard her cries and took the queen’s tears
to Queen Celeste who immediately granted the queen’s wishes. All was well until the
king’s evil magician, Astrociousnov, concocted a scheme to capture the throne for
himself. I write because I love to tell stories and put my creativity to its limits.

2. How many books have you written?
I have written eight books. I have written three poetry books, three children’s
books, one gothic novel and one autobiography.

3. What inspired you to write your (latest) book?
The idea for The Curse of Anna Greene, published in 2011, came to me by my
love of gothic novels and Halloween. I wrote a similar story in the 1980’s for one of
my English classes. I was inspired by the Salem Witch trials which I read about in
high school. Unfortunately, during my moves I lost the manuscript to the story. In
2010 I entered my first Nanowrimo competition and I resurrected the idea behind the
story of The Curse of Anna Greene. I wrote the 70,000 word novel in a month.
Jewelz the Juggling Cat, also published in 2011, is based on a true story. I wrote
the story in memory of one of our cats, Morris, who my brother found as a kitten in a
parking lot near our apartment in the early 1980’s.

4. What is your favorite genre to read?
This is difficult because I love all sorts of genres. I love horror and suspense
novels. I enjoy reading the likes of James Patterson, Stephen King, and Grisham. I
also enjoy Romance novels, fairy-tales and comedies.

5. Is your writing style at all influenced by those of your favorite authors?
I think I have a unique writing style but I’ve been influenced by Perrault, The
Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and Charles Dickens.

6. Which is your favorite book that you’ve written?
My favourite books are Princess Rose and Bartholomew and Jewelz the
Juggling Cat.

7. What is your opinion of the art of writing?
The objective of writing is to communicate, educate and in the case of fiction...to
entertain. One of the tasks of a writer is to build a good rapport with his or her
readers or audience. The author does this in two ways; first the author crafts his or
her words wisely, like a sculptor or artist. The Author diligently works with words in a
way that would best convey the story and set the mood and tone of the story in a
clever way to capture the audience’s attention, keeping them on the edge of their seat.
Secondly, the task of a good writer is to learn what to say as well as what not to say; to
weave the story using language as a yarn to knit the story together. The author must
show not tell the story and he or she does so by using action verbs and by letting the
characters do the work in telling the story.
An author is also like an artist who can paint with words like an artist paints with
brush and acrylic paints on a blank canvass. The author’s craft is the written word
which he or she turns into a masterpiece. Using another analogy, the author is like the
Creator.....turning the empty page into something that wasn’t there before.

8. What advice would you give someone who is just beginning their own novel?
I advise all new aspiring authors never to give up writing. Never be daunted by
rejections or bad reviews...just keep on writing. I advise them to find a good literary
agent. Don’t just submit stories to publishers unsolicited. Find a good agent that
accepts the genre of your Novel no matter how long it takes. JK Rowling waited ten
years before her Novel got accepted by a publisher. Another alternative of getting
your books published is to be an Indie Author (Self-published Author).....just don’t
discount the option of finding a good agent first. Every writer should start a writer’s
journal, a journal to write all your ideas, subplots, characters, etc.
One of my favourite books on the subject of writing is The Writer’s Handbook. This
is an invaluable book for new or aspiring authors. Not only does it offer useful hints,
but also gives you a list of literary agents and publishers with instructions for
submissions. One last thing: to become a writer one must read; read as much as you
can; read good books by great authors and always write; never let your ink run dry.

9. Do you have any funny and / or interesting stories about how you’ve come up with
plots or characters?
The idea behind Bartholomew came when my husband and I visited Stratford-
Upon-Avon and as we were strolling along one of the little avenues I spied upon this
topiary in the form of a bookworm reading a book. As my husband and I strolled
along the avenue, the story of a talking bookworm living at the William Wayne Public
Library emerged fully formed. Once we got home I sprang to my laptop and began
writing Bartholomew.

10. Coke or Pepsi?
I definitely love Coke.

You can learn more about Mary at her website, and follow her on her blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Her books are available on Amazon and Lulu. Be sure to check out her poetry as well!

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