Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Interview with non-fiction writer Marion Crook

Welcome to my interview with Marion Crook about her new non-fiction book, Writing for Children and Young Adults. I’m just one blogger hosting Marion on her release day blitz tour.

In this vibrant new edition of Writing for Children and Young Adults, Marion explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online.

Writing for Children and Young Adults helps writers create the manuscript that sells!

Welcome, Marion. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I wrote a series of four young adult mysteries and three middle grade mystery-adventure books published by a trade publisher. As well, James Lorimer Ltd. published my two sports stories for the young adult market. Alternately with fiction, I wrote non-fiction and researched with teens and wrote books on suicide prevention, eating disorders and adoption. After more than twenty published books, I put together what I had learned about writing and produced “Writing for Children and Young Adults for Self-Counsel Press.

Please tell us about your current release.
The dynamic world of reading and writing has changed greatly over the past few years. Writers are pitching their ideas online, exchanging works in progress with critique partners and forming street teams to promote their work. The online community of writers is a fast-paced and often confusing place. Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, explains some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online that can overwhelm writers.

The book includes the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with stories from her own writing career and with updated worksheets and examples. This edition of the book shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone it for an agent or publisher. It explains how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy.

What inspired you to write this book?
To start with the publisher asked me to. That created a writing imperative. And then, I wanted to share in Writing for Children and Young Adults the effervescent enthusiasm I have and other authors have about writing for this genre. I wanted to write a book that was practical and encouraging so that other writers might be spared the years of frustrated learning that accompanied my writing journey.

Excerpt from Writing for Children and Young Adults:
Writing is a solitary task and many writers complain about how lonely it is. But many find a real comradeship with other writers--apprentice or professional. Like any complex craft, it offers endless opportunities for shoptalk--both storytelling and talking about the nuts and bolts of telling stories. The aspiring writer can bask in the mentor's attention, or battle the rival's criticism, and grow stronger from both. After all, we need to know both our talents and our weaknesses.

Even for the true solitaries, a kind of companionship comes from our own characters. Live with your heroes for a year or two of writing and they'll never leave you.

This is also a craft which you never finish learning. If language itself is fractal, infinitely complex at every level, then writing poses challenges for the old professional as well as the apprentice. The only way writing can become boring is by the writer's refusal to pay attention to it; every manuscript is trying to tell its author something new about writing and about the author, but not all authors are listening. You can never become complacent or think you know everything about the craft. As soon as you do, some reader or fellow-writer will drop a casual remark that makes you feel totally ignorant. Don't feel dismayed--after all, it means you have more to learn about writing, about yourself, and about the human condition.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I finished a young adult novel set on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. My agent has it and will shop it. I am working on a series of adult mystery novels also set on the Sunshine Coast with a retired veterinarian as the protagonist.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote five short stories and sold three of them in three months to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

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 write full time which means I write every morning, do writing business and research in the afternoon, Monday to Friday. I take horseback riding lessons (a rank beginner) and I paddle outrigger canoes (an experienced canoeist). I have a dog who insists on a walk twice a day so I hike through the neighborhood, check out whether the bear has been on the street and keep alert. I live near the ocean so when the cougar is not in the neighborhood, I walk on the beach.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I find my characters often have a wry sense of humor. I expect that comes from me. I once tried to write a romance, a genre that I have respect for, but my character kept interjecting satirical remarks and I gave up.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian but was refused admission because I was a woman. I get great satisfaction of pretending to be a veterinarian in my books.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I would like readers to believe in their ability to write and the importance of what they write. Individual point of view and writers’ particular take on the world are important contributions to our reading choice. Writers need to write to get better; just try.

Social links:

Buy links:

Thank you, Marion!

Readers, you can learn more about Marion and her writing by visiting her other tour stops:

9/21 The CWILL BC Society blog  - Review
     Aspiring Writer, Accomplished Nerd - Guest post

9/22 Cover2Cover blog - Spotlight

9/23 YatopiaGuest post

9/24 A Book Addict's Bookshelves - Spotlight

9/25 Delightful Book Review - Guest post

9/26 Kit 'NKabookle - Review
     Susan Heim on Writing - Review

9/27 GeoLibrarianReview

9/28 Shelley Wilson Author - Interview
     The Write Path - Spotlight

9/29 Book Room Reviews - Guest post

9/30 Reader Girls - Review
     Babs Book Bistro - Guest post

10/1 Mama Reads, Hazel SleepsReview, guest post

10/3 Girls Heart Books - Guest post

1 comment:

Marion said...

I would like to hear from writers who are working on manuscripts. What's hard about it?