Monday, April 2, 2012

Author Interview: Marilee Brothers

I recently had the pleasure of reading the Unbidden Magic series by Marilee Brothers. I really enjoyed reading it as you can read in my reviews here, here, here and here. I'm excited to have had the chance to speak  with Marilee on her series, as well as learn a little bit about her. I'd just like to thank Marilee for taking the time to speak with me and answer some of my questions!

1. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. 
Thank you very much for this opportunity, Jenn.
In a former life, I was a teacher, coach and school counselor. My husband and I raised three sons. Throughout  those busy years, I wrote poetry and short stories. I didn't write my first book until we became empty nesters.
Jenn: You've had a pretty busy life!

2. Was there anything (books/music, etc.) that you found to be an inspiration for your Unbidden Magic series? Or was it just something that popped into your mind one day that demanded to be written?
When I started to write Moonstone, I knew I wanted it to be fantasy and that the main character should be fifteen. Why fifteen? Probably because I remember that age like it was yesterday, even though it was quite a few years ago. I remember the insecurities, the crushes, the feeling of having one foot in childhood and the other in the adult world. I also wanted the setting to be in my home area of Central Washington. It's east of the Cascade Mountains and vastly different from the Seattle area. (Picture farms, vineyards and only eight inches  of rain a year)
Jenn:  You must have a great memory because I can't really remember being  fifteen anymore, even if I still look like it.

3. Are any of the characters based off of anyone you know?
Yes, absolutely. A distant family member grew up in a small travel trailer parked next to a cow pasture. She also had a dysfunctional mother. If ever a girl needed a little magic in her life, it was this girl. She became Allie Emerson and I gave her a magic moonstone.

4. There are a lot of twists and cliffhangers in your series. Did you plan them out before writing the series? Or are some of them just spur of the moment things?
When I start a book, I have a general idea of the main plot, but I seem to take a lot of detours along the way. One thought leads to another and before I know it, the book is vastly different from the one I planned to write.
Jenn: I can understand that, sometimes things just happen a certain way, even in the fictional world.

5.  Do you have a favorite character? How about least favorite?
I love Allie with all of my heart and will miss her when the last book is finished.
As far as my least favorite, it would have to be a Trimark like Chris Revelle. But then again, the villains are really fun to write.

6. What is your most rewarding moment since being published?
Seeing my first book in print was fabulous, but I love hearing from people who've read my books. It makes my day!

7. How do you feel when you receive reviews on your books?
I read most of the reviews, even though my publisher doesn't send me the not-so-nice ones. Everybody is entitled to her/his opinion. I try to learn from them but sometimes it boils down to an individual's lies and dislikes. For example, some reviewers hated the fact that I introduced the faery element in Moon Spun. But, to me, adding another layer to Allie's magic abilities made sense. I just try to write the best book I can and remember the old adage, "When you try to please everyone, you please no one."
Jenn: I really enjoyed the faery element, it helped certain things make a lot of sense  and opened a whole new world to read about. And no, you can't please everyone so no reason to get upset by it.

8. Do you have a favorite author/book? 
I read almost everything but I particularly like mysteries. I've just become a huge Jeffrey Deaver fan.
Jenn: I tend to be open to almost any genre as well. But I do prefer Young Adult fiction!

9. Is there a certain genre that you prefer to write?
My very first book was a medieval romance. I had a lot of fun writing it and learned a lot. when I finish the Unbidden Magic series, I'd like to try something different like time travel or steampunk fiction.
Jenn: I'm reading a steampunk currently, it's a fun genre. I will have to look into your medieval romance, I normally enjoy that genre.

10. Who would you recommend the Unbidden Magic series to? Why?
Even though it's written for the young teen market, I hear from many adults who enjoy a fast easy read.
Jenn: I would be one of those adults!

11. Is there a place readers can go to learn more about you and your  books?
My website is I have a blog called Book Blather: I'm also on Twitter, @marileeb and Facebook. My author page on Facebook is: I welcome new followers and frequently give books away.

12. You're currently working on the fifth and final book in the Unbidden Magic sereis, Midnight Moon. Is there anything else that you're working on?
I'm focusing on Midnight Moon right now, but I have a synopsis and three chapters for a follow-up book to The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam, an adult romantic suspense published in 2009. That will be my next project.

13. Any teasers for Midnight Moon? I'm very excited to see how the series wraps up! Is there a date set for it's expected publication (or at least a goal)?
The publisher anticipates a late fall, 2012 release. As far as a teaser goes, the moonstone is taken from Allie and she's forced to go to Boundless to retrieve it. Junior and Beck are both major players. (That's all you get for now!)
Jenn: I have no idea how someone could get that moonstone off of her but it sounds like it will be a great book! Junior and Beck? I'm wondering if they can even get along nicely! At least fall isn't too far away!

14. Do you have a favorite part in the series? Any parts that you weren't happy to write but needed to in order for the story to progress?
Whenever I write a book, it's always my favorite. However, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Moonstone. It started me down a new and untried path since I hadn't written for the YA market until I started this book.

15. Any advice for an aspiring writer?
Writing is a craft that can be learned. Study the craft. Take classes. Accept constructive criticism. Remember, what you write isn't concrete. It's called a rough draft  for a reason. You can always make it better. Don't let rejection stop you. I waited a long time for my dream to come true and guess what? It did!
Jenn: That is great advice! Thank you!

Thank you again for offering to do an interview with me! I had a really great time reading your series and can't wait for the final book to come out. It's been a real pleasure speaking with you! 

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