Friday, October 3, 2014

Interview with YA contemp romance author Marian Cheatham

I have YA contemporary romance author Marian Cheatham here today. She's doing a virtual tour for her novel Ruined, Book One in the Stratford High Series with Goddess Fish Promotions.

At each stop during her tour, Marian will be awarding an e-book copy of Ruined to a randomly drawn commenter. A Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Ruined plus a new DVD of Much Ado About Nothing starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson will be awarded to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY). To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit Marian's other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Marian. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Full-time writer of Young Adult novels, part-time everything else - spouse, parent, caregiver, chef, housekeeper, and animal guardian. In my free time, I love to read, walk, garden, and travel. My husband and I work hard (and have fun) ticking off items on our Bucket List.

Please tell us about your current release.
Ruined, Book One in the Stratford High Series. A modern twist on Shakespeare’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. All the books in the series will be contemporary retellings of a Shakespeare play. The books are not related except for the setting (Stratford High) and don’t have to be read in any order. You can pick and choose what book you’d like to read. Or read them all! That would be great. The only character that will appear in every book is the principal, Dr. Bard - Shakespeare re-incarnated. Just a bit of fun for my readers (and for me to write).

What inspired you to write this book?
I adore Shakespeare! My father took me and my brother to see Hamlet at the Goodman Theater in Chicago when we were both in junior high. My brother fell asleep. I fell in love. Since then, I’ve tried to see every play possible. I read Shakespeare biographies. I’ve visited Stratford, Canada for a summer festival and have traveled to Stratford-Upon-the Avon in Great Britain to see his birthplace and the home he shared with Anne Hathaway (his wife, not the young actress). In London, I took a tour of the new Globe Theater. You could say I’m obsessed, but I like to think of myself as just some crazy groupie. So when I was contemplating a new novel, I couldn’t help but think of Shakespeare. But so much has already been written. How could I make something that was fresh and new? I thought about one of my favorite plays, Much Ado, and how to tell that story in a way that would be appealing and fun for teen readers. I was struck with the idea of a series, and of course, it had to take place at Stratford High, every town, America.



I’d been bitchy and on edge ever since that blasted luau last Saturday. Seeing DB, talking to him, being near him again, had taken my life off course. For days now, I’d been ordering my brain to STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM. We were ancient history, two people doomed from the start, like Antony and Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette and King Louis. So why couldn’t I regain control of my world? I snatched up my backpack and my Coach crossbody bag, and did a quick once-over in my bedroom mirror. The hair was tied back in a no-fuss ponytail. The jeans were clean, well, relatively. This faded ASPCA tee was past its expiration date, but good enough for school. I turned off my bedroom light and went in search of Bonni.

She wasn’t in her room or downstairs in the kitchen. So I grabbed a frosted Pop-Up and headed into the garage, where I was blinded by piercing sunlight. Someone had left the outer door open, and my new hybrid was nowhere to be found. I shaded my eyes and peered outside.

Halfway down our long driveway, I spied Bonni and Uncle Leo with their backs to me, their heads together under the opened hood of my car. They were talking, but in this quiet morning air, their voices carried. Even from this distance, I could hear fragments of their conversation. And if I heard them, so could our neighbors. I was hurrying toward the hybrid, anxious to warn my cousin and uncle to keep it down, when I heard something that stopped me in mid-stride.

“… believe what Cory told me … DB and Blythe …”

Had Bonni just mentioned DB and me in the same sentence?

I ducked behind the six-foot-tall hedges lining the drive.

“What else did Cory say?” Uncle Leo asked.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I’m writing the first draft of Book Two in the Stratford Series. No title yet, but the novel is inspired by Shakespeare’s controversial romance, The Merchant of Venice. Hope you’ll stay tuned for more details to come!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I signed with a New York agent after finishing my first Young Adult novel. She never did sell that manuscript, and we’ve since parted ways, but that initial phone call from her was one of the highlights of my writing life.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I try desperately to write full-time which for me would mean at least 6 uninterrupted hours at my laptop. But of course, there’s always interruptions, so I settle for whatever time I can whittle out of my day. My mother has Alzheimer’s, and though she’s in a special care facility, I have to check on her often. And then there’s our pets – Spike, our young English Bulldog, and our three cats, Ruby, Onnie, and Tobi who insist on taking up my time. There’s household chores, laundry, groceries, a hard-working husband to feed, and of course, a little “me” time to work out. But outside of that, I’m at my desk, plugging away on my latest project. Whew! I’m exhausted.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My love of cats. I let them roam all over my desk, mess up my neat piles of “things to do,” and generally interfere with everything going on. But they keep me calm and sane, and for that, I keep them around.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always only wanted to be one thing – a teacher. And I was for years. I taught special education to primary-aged children and loved it!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ve enjoyed sharing my stories with you. It’s been a long writing journey to this point in my life, and I thank all of you for stopping by to visit today. I hope you’ll stick around to see what the future brings. And what develops at Stratford High!

Thanks, Marian. Readers, don't forget about the giveaways!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

bn100 said...

Nice interview

Marian Cheatham said...

Thank you bn100. So glad you stopped by for a visit. And a special thank-you to Lisa for hosting Ruined's Book Tour. I hope to see you again for the tour on Stratford High's Book Two, tentatively title, 4Ever Girl. Due out in January 2015. Take care.
Marian Cheatham