Hi, I’m L. Marie. Everyone so far has been a tough act to follow. I’m a little nervous, so please bear with me. Um, let me see. You want to know about me. Perhaps this would go more smoothly if you asked me questions before I answer the ones that Jill provided. I’ll pretend that you did.
You: I’m guessing you’re some sort of blogger?
Me: Yes. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. I blog about writing and life. Both are broad topics, so that leaves me with plenty of subtopics on which to write. So of course I’ve chosen topics like the perfect bathroom reading and the use of hand puppets to brighten one’s day.
You (momentarily stunned into silence by that remark): Um, moving on, what’s with the name L. Marie?
Me: L. Marie is a pen name (hence the Scaredy Squirrel photo rather than a photo of me). Over a year ago, I established my blog under it, because I plan to publish fiction under that name. I’ve published books under my “real” name before. They’re very different from my current fiction. I’m used to writing books mainly for kids 9-12. But I’m currently working on a young adult fantasy series—not something I’d want my young readers to read. It’s fairly violent, but not gratuitously.
You: What’s your background?
Me: Glad you asked. I’ve been a ghostwriter, a book editor (fiction and nonfiction), a writer of devotionals, curriculum writer (I currently write curriculum for Pre-K-Grade 8—mostly pre-K and Kindergarten now; I’ve written textbooks for public schools), production editor, proofreader, copyeditor, and a manuscript reviewer for publishers. During my years as a manuscript reviewer, I read about 21,000 manuscripts. Yes. You read that right. I’ve also worked as a technical writer.
You: Um, could you answer Jill’s questions now?
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Definitely C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Because of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I’m a fantasy writer today. I love the fact that their series can be enjoyed by people of all ages. I also love their approach to fantasy. Both were fervent admirers of fairy tales, but never saw them as stories only for children. I also love fairy tales. My parents used to read them to me at bedtime.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I’d learn Mandarin. Though I spent a summer teaching in China (in WuJiang, a city near Shanghai), my Mandarin was fairly bad. I meant to improve, but I haven’t so far. One of my nephews, however, studied Mandarin in high school.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
The freedom to lie around in the backyard and daydream without worrying about deadlines, rent, or other bills. I also miss having a family in the same house. My parents and older brother live in a different state, so I don’t see them as often. My younger brother and his family live close by.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Becoming a writer full time. My parents hoped that I would be on the fast track toward success, which in their eyes meant being an engineer, a doctor, or a lawyer. In that way, I could live the American dream. But I’d begun writing stories when I was eight years old. They didn’t encourage my story writing and were quite dismayed that I went into the writing program as an undergraduate. They were afraid I’d wind up a broke writer eating a can of cold beans in someone’s garret. They weren’t the only ones. Others encouraged me to switch my major to “something useful.” Ha ha! I can’t say that the life of a writer is the easiest life. After years of trying to get a manuscript sold, I almost considered taking the LSAT while working at the American Bar Association. But I left that job and became a full-time editor. That’s when I published my first book. When I returned to grad school four years ago for an MFA, no one tried to tell me to switch to a more “useful” major.
If you could visit any place in the entire world, where would it be?
Everyone who knows me knows that I would love to go to Italy. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I was a kid and saw the movie Three Coins in the Fountain on TV. I’d stay at least three weeks. I’d also stop over in Ireland and Scotland.
Thank you for taking the spotlight, L Marie. I’m so happy you’ve pursued your dream of being a writer. Up next week, it’s Mark Anderson.