Interviews 2010

Interview with Marion Martineer © October 2010

 Hi, Welcome to my blog. I’m so glad to be able to share some of your wisdom with my followers.

Thanks Jill, it is lovely to be here today!

Q 1  When did you start writing age?

I have only written seriously for the past ten years. I have always wanted to write a novel or something. When I was younger it wasn’t considered a proper job or rather it didn’t pay regularly. I almost considered getting a job with the Sydney Morning Herald until someone told me I needed an ‘A’ in English. I was only in a ‘B’ class and for some silly reason, I believed them. I was a very introverted & shy teenager.

Q 2  What were your first writing efforts?

I loved poetry when I was in early high school, I had a teacher who inspired and encouraged me. I have always felt comfortable with a pen and notepaper in hand, even if it was to write a shopping list, plan a dinner party or just write silly ideas down. By the end of high school I didn’t write anything creative, even though ideas were still running through my mind. Sometimes I would scratch something down but then throw it away. It wasn’t till my mid 20’s, I thought I’d try a romance, but that wasn’t to be. After moving, relationship breakups, full-time work and saving the work on a floppy disc that was soon outdated, I was back at square one.

 Q3  Do you write mainly for children or have you written for adults?

I only began writing children’s stories when I decided to pop by the GCWA writing for children support group. My daughter was about two or three and I thought it may be fun to share stories with her. I also popped into the script writing group, I already had one script completed and wondered if it would help. I did a few more short pieces, one of which won the 2004 GCWA competition. I tried to rebuild my old romance and surprisingly found my old hard copy of the first few chapters. I was amazed to see how my writing had evolved and matured after so many years. It is still in it’s first draft form and needs to be finished. I do a lot of children’s stories these days but also write some crime, horror and chick lit.

Q4  What writing groups do you belong to?

Gold Coast Writers Association and Queensland Writers Centre. I have also been meaning to join SCBWI and ASA.

 Q5  I know you are a Gold Coast Writer when did you join that group? Good question. Maybe 2002?

Q6  Do you think living on the Gold Coast enhances your writing?

No, I think I would write anywhere. I find the best time is sitting up in bed, the half hour before I turn the lights out, using good old pen and paper. It is a time when I let things release on their own!

 Q7  When did you become coordinator of The Ten Penners and Writers Force?

Both started for me in 2005! Writers Force my young writers group for 7 – 17 year olds, came about after a discussion at the 2004 GCWA xmas party, which was by the pool at the Royal Pines resort. I thought it was a great idea at the time not realising it was going to be me volunteering my time!

 Q8  Did the experience of writing stories, editing, compiling the collection for both Shock, Horror, Gasp and Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, and getting these to publication help you grow as a writer?

Definitely! Maria O’Donnell was co-ordinator for SHOCK! HORROR! GASP! I tried to help as much as I could but she did a fantastic job. I found out exactly how hard she worked when we did FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES. I had so many nights staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning toward the end. Just to make sure the deadline was met and the book was the best possible. It burnt me out but it was worth it!

Q9  Do you draw from your own life experiences to write?

Sometimes. I do what Jackie French cleverly calls “composting characters” you take a bit of a lot of different people and make up a new character. My characters and situations are like that with some dramatic imagination stirred into the mix!

Q10 Do you derive inspiration from your own family?

Yes and the best inspiration was for “Wart Boy,” it’s almost a true story! We had a family holiday with Jason’s sisters and their children. Cody had warts on his elbows and at a trivia night dinner, Lindie said you could have a lethal weapon there and they started shooting with their elbows across the table at each other. Others joined in the fun adding pieces and I said I could write a story about that, so I did! Of course the whole family is waiting for it to be picked up by a movie company and wanting ten percent of the profits! Hahaha!

 Q11 Have you travelled widely?

I went to New Zealand for my first holiday when I started working. It was going to be the first of many world wide travels… and then I met a man, who had other plans. When I was made redundant a few years ago, I had a six month payout. I took the opportunity to get overseas and I had always wanted to meet my penfriend, whom I had been writing to since first year of high school! She grew up in Dublin but was living in Milan. We stayed with her for a week over Christmas and she was a fabulous host! On our way there we had a two day stopover in Tokyo and went to Disneyland. I wanted to see London and Paris too and booked the plane to leave from Heathrow. So, we had New Year in Paris and stayed an extra day to stop by Paris Disneyland, it was freezing but magical! In the end, we only had a few hours to drive through London, which was a shame, I’ll have to try and get back to England sometime, I’d love to drive around the whole of Britain, just taking my time and enjoying all of the wonderful history.

Q12 How do you introduce drama or conflict into your stories?

Sometimes it is hard, I like my characters and don’t want to be nasty to them. However, nobody wants to read something where nothing happens, there must always be a problem and outcome for a reader to want to keep reading. So, it is simple necessity to make a story interesting that drives the introduction of drama and conflict. What they get is usually up to my mood and imagination.

Q13 You come up with some great character names, where do you get these ideas from?

I keep a note of interesting names I come across. I’ll jot it down anywhere. I usually find my pockets filled with interesting scraps of paper after a day out. One of my favourite names is the physician/wizard in my childrens fantasy novel, I call it my Princesses story. I took a message from Patrick at work years ago but when I wrote it the P looked like an O. I thought Oatrick sounds like an interesting name, so the piece of paper went into my pocket and the name found it’s way into my story.

Q14 Recently, after a Joanna Penn workshop, we’ve both begun the blogging in earnest regime. Are you finding this a catalyst for writing more?

Definitely! I have begun the wonderful journey of blogging interviews, I’ll have to interview you next Jill! I’d love to see you on my blog at

Q15 What do you benefit most by networking with fellow writers through Gold Coast Writers meetings, sub groups, compared to the benefits you gain of the media social networking sites?

I have grown so much as a writer because of meeting other writers. The night after I went to my first GCWA meeting, I had an interesting dream and felt like a weight had been lifted off me when I woke. It was like I found something that was meant to happen. Stepping up and becoming more involved with the support groups, being youth co-ordinator and now being Publicity Officer, is teaching me more about myself and how to be writer. Learning from experience is great for one’s confidence too. I’ve grown from a quiet, shy type to standing up and being counted as a writer, ready to publish myself and my writing as a brand. Though sometimes I do revert back to being quiet again but necessity drives the action. As for the difference between cyber networking and personal networking, it is so nice to talk to someone in person but I can chat late at night and in my pj’s. I think for that flexibility I prefer the on-line world, but having both is better!

 Q16 What are you currently reading?

I just finished Dual Visions by a talented author called Jill Smith! Which was great! I still have a couple of stories to finish in “Confessions of a Female Private Investigator” and the Southern Short Story Writers group “Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Tears.” Anthologies are great to read when you are busy. I also have to read some Deltora Quest which I was reading with my daughter but she devoured the whole series last summer holidays. She keeps reminding me I have to read it. And I have a review copy of “The Keepers – Museum of Thieves” by Lian Tanner, which has hooked me in.

 Q17 What are your favorite books?

All time favourite from childhood is Peter Pan. I like the idea of not growing up, I guess that’s what I like about writing for children! I also love Sidney Sheldon’s Master of the Game and Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, that one made me a fan of epilogues because he wasn’t! I also love the movie from the book called ‘My Fair Lady’

 Q18 Who is your favorite author or authors?

I don’t think I have a favourite. I like to read a bit of everything.

 Q19 What is your current project?

Getting my Princesses novel finished and making my Introduction to Creative Writing classes a success.Q20 You are about to embark on a teaching role. As you use the skills you’ve learned as Coordinator of The Ten Penners and Writers Force, do you think this experience will further expand your writing skills?

It will reinforce my knowledge and should enhance my public speaking skills. I feel it is all good preparation for being accepted by a publishing company and having to do publicity tours, school talks, etc…

Q21 Do you write with a visual image in mind? (Wart Boy is certainly visual)

I always write from a movie that is being played in my head. Sometimes the movies play when I’m not even ready and I have to do replays when I sit and write.

 Q22 Do you see yourself completing a project of your own, such as The Princess Stories and getting these published individually?

I’ll see whether a publishing company will pick up Princesses first but I may self publish if it doesn’t happen.

 Q23 Are there likely to be any other collaborative works produced in the future?

There could be but that is also up to what the others are wanting and if they will commit time and money to the project. Q24 Where do you see yourself in ten years time? Being a full time author would be great!

Thank you so much for joining my blog. I’ve enjoy being a Ten Penner and glad to speak to you about writing. I hope my followers gain some insight from this interview.

Thanks for this opportunity Jill. As this was my first interview, I must add, it has been interesting and your questions really made me think about myself and what I have done. I explored areas I have almost forgotten. Thank you!

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