Please welcome Author Marley Gibson to You Gotta Read today. Marley has generously offered a copy of the Series, including an advanced reading copy (ARC) of book five. To enter you must leave a comment with you email address so we may contact for prizedelivery purposes. Comments will be taken until March 4th.
1. Where do you hail from?
I was born in Newton, Massachusetts and lived the first five years of my life in Wellesley Hills, MA, before my family moved to south Alabama.
2. What do you love most about your hometown?
The fact that I graduated from high school and left. LOL! Seriously…it was a very small southern town and I was seen as an outsider and a “yankee” by the people in the town. It was one of those places where everyone knew your business. I think I was always meant for the big city. I did enjoy that my dad a farm outside of town and I had a lot of room to run, play, and have pets. That was a lot of fun.
3. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
I think the first thing I wanted to be was a singer, dancer, actress. I was constantly dancing and singing in front of the mirror, as well as memorizing lines from my favorite movies. Then, I found myself writing…all the time. I was also a sounding board for all of my friends, offering a lot of free advice…so when I started college, I was pre-med with an intended major of Psychology. However, I shifted gears my sophomore year and went into Advertising with an emphasis in writing. I have always loved writing and being creative, so I think it all boils down to having an active imagination as a kid.
4. What do you do for fun?
These days, life in general is fun. My finance and I travel the country in our RV, living full-time on the road. I love listening to music (80s classics like Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, and Rick Springfield) to my favorite music House/Trance/Dance/Electronica. I’m also a closet gourmet chef and love trying out new recipes and cooking for friends.
5. How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
I write a lot about southern characters. The south is so rich in characterization and I love bringing that to life through the written word. I find that the mannerisms, habits, lifestyle, word choices, and general environment of the south is fun to write about. The GHOST HUNTRESS series is set in Georgia and the characters run into a lot of ghosts of the Civil War era. I love the rich history of the south and how it could have been this horrible, nasty place due to the sadness of slavery, but the south came back into the fold of the country and was able to blend back in…if that makes sense. I also have written about characters that are the fish out of water…which is something I have experienced a lot in life.
6. Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
The next book I have coming out is called GHOST HUNTRESS: THE DISCOVERY and it’s the fifth book in my series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The Discovery follows my heroine, Kendall, as she is still trying to find out who she is in the midst of her psychic awakening, becoming a ghost huntress, and falling in love for the first time. The book comes out on May 1st and I’m so jazzed about it. I’ve loved writing this series and would love to continue it.
The project I just finished is called RADIATE. It’s a fictionalized version of my cancer that I went through as a high school cheerleader. While I have a lot of humor in the book, there’s a real strong message of overcoming any challenge, cleaving to your friends and family, and never giving up on your dream, no matter what it is and what you have to deal with. I just turned it in to my editor and she told me that she had cried ten times in the first one hundred pages. It will be a Spring 2012 release, also from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
7. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
That’s a hard question to answer…I just do. I try to think of something catchy and pertaining to the story. RADIATE, of course not only refers to the fact that my heroine has radiation therapy, but she comes through the situation with a radiating attitude. I love coming up with titles.
8. Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Oh sure. I think every writer does. It’s hard not to when we’re surrounded by changing events daily. I can’t think of an example off the top of my head, but my books are riddled with pop culture references. Some people think that might “date” a book, but to me, it’s capturing a certain time, era, age.
9. How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
LOL…I read this question wrong at first. I was thinking…well, everything’s real. I write it…I don’t imagine it. I see what you mean, though! A lot of real life things do come into play – especially what I went through with my cancer that I wrote about in RADIATE. With the GHOST HUNTRESS series, I wanted to make sure that I reflected what actual ghost hunters did, so I became one myself. Several experiences that I’ve encountered in my research actually made it into the books as situations that the ghost huntresses found themselves in.
10. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Making myself block out the rest of the world and just sitting down and doing it. I’m the world’s worst procrastinator…goes back to my days in college getting that paper done right before the professor requested it. I seem to have fallen into that with my writing. The good thing is…I have deadlines and that pushes me to get the job done. I have never missed a deadline, I’m happy to say. Some days, when I’m in the writing blood fever, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. You want to write, write, write…but life gets in the way. You have to eat, sleep, shower, etc. LOL!
1. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
My advice would be to turn off the internal critic and editor and just write from your heart. Don’t let anyone discourage you and don’t try to find short cuts and easy ways to get things done. Just do it…write the story from beginning to end. Don’t wonder if it’ll sell or be a bestseller or make you money. Just write the story because you have to write it. And as you’re just starting out…write as often as you can. Like any other talent, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Practice makes perfect.
11. Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
I’m happy to say that I’ve yet to experience this. Knock on wood!
12. Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
My favorite romance writers are Sandra Brown, Barbara Delinsky, Rachel Gibson, Diana Gabaldon, KathleenWoodiwiss….why? Because I’m a sucker for a good romance. My favorite YA authors…wow…so many to name. I adore my friend Jenn Echols’ books, as well as Wendy Toliver’s My friend Simone Elkeles, who just hit the NYT list, write powerful stuff, too. As for what’s influenced me…two books: GONE WITH THE WIND and BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY.
You may be sayingthat GONE WITH THE WIND is a clichéd answer, but I loved this book. It’s sooooo different than the movie. Did you know that Bonnie Blue Butler was Scarlett’s third kid? See, you learned something new today. The characters are so developed and understood as you go through the pain of war and reconstruction with them. Funny, when I read the book, I never once didn’t think Rhett and Scarlett wouldn’t get back together. However, watching the movie…you do wonder. (And no, I don’t buy into the Alexander Ripley sequel.) The other book that completely changed my life and made me want to write was Bridget Jones’s Diary. I know, you’re saying another clichéd answer, but clichés are clichés for a reason. The voice in Bridget Jones had me from the first page. She was so bumbling and irreverent and silly and…normal…just like a friend. I just couldn’t put it down. I’ve read GWTW five times in my life. I’ve read BJD three times.
14. How did you deal with rejection letters?
Cried.Got angry. Got my feelings hurt. Complained about it to my writing friends.Got over it.Moved on.Never looked back.
15. What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A reliable laptop to take with you anywhere.A web presence to promote yourself and for your fans to find you.Participating on Twitter and Facebook.Most of all…a tough skin. This is a hard business. We put so much of ourselves into our writing and our creativity, but it IS a business.
16. Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
With the GHOST HUNTRESS series, I wanted romance, but nothing to explicit. I didn’t want to ostracize the teen audience…or their mothers who have a say so in what they read. The gore in the series is minimal. With ghost hunting references, there’s more the scare factor than the gore factor. I would say that any author just has to weigh what he or she feels is best for their story.
17. Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Oh sure…like I said, I became a ghost huntress myself to make sure I was doing it correctly. I’m huge into research, so I always delve deeply when working on my stories.
18. Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Wow…you’re asking the tough questions. I have seven fiction books in print and one with the editor. Each one has been a labor of love on my part. Before that, I wrote fifteen completed manuscripts and all of those characters are still a part of me. I would have to say my all-time favorite book that I’ve done is one that hasn’t been published yet. It’s called A LAPSE OF VIRTUE and is about a young girl trying to make it in the corporate world and in her love life. Her name is Vanessa Virtue. One day it’ll get published! My favorite GHOST HUNTRESS book is probably the third one: THE REASON. And the most emotionally satisfying book I’ve written is RADIATE.
19. What's the weirdest thing you've ever done in the name of research?
Most people would consider actually becoming a ghost huntress and going on ghost hunts as pretty weird. LOL!
20. Where can we find you on the net?
I’m online at www.marleygibson.com and www.ghosthuntress.com. My Facebook is www.facebook.com/marley.h.gibson and I tweet under two accounts – www.twitter.com/MarleyGibson and www.twitter.com/HauntedHighways which highlights my ghost hunting and traveling. Finally, I belong to a group blog with six other awesome YA authors. We can be found at www.booksboysbuzz.com.
21. Where can we find out more about your books?
I have a “Bookshelf” on my website and you can also get my books in any brick and mortar store (if they don’t have them, make them order them!) and online with Amazon or Barnes and Noble. My books are available in soft cover and in Kindle and Nook versions. Hope you’ll pick them up!