Doesn’t Marla Madison have the coolest name? And possibly the coolest author photo ever? I first met her by doing a manuscript exchange through the Sisters in Crime organization. I really liked her novel, especially the unique concept of a killer targeting abused women. Marla is a machine. She is one of the hardest working, ambitious writers I know and an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Here is Marla in her own words:
1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
This answer is easy—I don’t have one. I do spend time every day writing, editing, or blogging, and tend to my online marketing every day for at least an hour. I don’t have a writing area with a lot of privacy, so I tend to write whenever there is “quiet” time.
2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
I don’t think I really get writer’s block, but I hit periods when I feel my creativity is spent. When that happens, I work on other things, like editing chapters or making notes for the next project. Walking is my most inspiring activity, and I’m learning to use a digital recorder when I walk so I don’t lose those great ideas that come to me when I’m walking.
3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?
In my opinion it is absolutely necessary for a new writer to spend time reading author’s he’d like to emulate, those that write in the same genre.
I think the best book on my shelf for writing advice is Don’t Murder Your Mystery, by Chris Roerden. Great book for anyone writing in the suspense/mystery genres.
4. Who do you read for fun?
My reading is rather limited. I love suspense, so that’s about all I read.
I have many favorites. Not in order of importance, Jonathan Kellerman, Brian Freeman, Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag, Jeffrey Deaver, Tess Gerritson, Chelsea Cain, Harlan Coben, Michael Connely, James Patterson.
5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us
Since I’m a very avid reader and have been since I first learned to read, I’ve always wanted to write my own novel. I didn’t get into it though (except in my head) until I retired and had enough free time to pursue it.
I probably wouldn’t have gotten beyond chapter three without the help of my writer’s critique group. We meet every two weeks and exchange anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 words of our writing. For a beginning writer, a critique group is an invaluable aid. I know there are other opinions about them, but I needed the motivation it gave me, along with the friendships that came with it. I’d encourage new writers to find one in their area.
6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Read, join a critique group, and write every day. If you’re writing a novel, beta readers and manuscript exchanges with other authors are wonderfully helpful tools to make editing easier.
7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
Not sure they are skills, but one needs to be humble, patient, and willing to work hard. No one comes out of the box a polished writer. Developing style, creativity, and smooth, consistent writing takes a lot of work and practice like any other skill.
8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
There are so many! Anyone who’s read my blog knows I constantly struggle with weight-control and have to make a constant effort not to overindulge in my favorite (mostly junk) foods; popcorn, pizza, and potato chips. The deadly P’s.
I drink Diet-Rite cola because it has no calories and no aspartame. Favorite alcoholic drink is a Margarita.
9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?
A favorite old move was “The Goodbye Girl,” with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. Hilariously funny love story.
I don’t really have a favorite book, but there are two books I’ve read more than once, The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders, and The House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons. The first is a great suspense read with an unforgettable cast of characters and unique villain. The other is categorized in the horror genre, but what I loved about it was that the unknown force causing the horror was never spelled out or described. To me, that makes horror truly frightening.
10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?
I’m in the process of editing my second suspense novel. It is not an extension of the first one, although a couple characters from the first play cameo roles.
Marla Madison is a retired Federal Mediator, now working as an Arbitrator for the state of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. She’s Not There is her debut suspense novel. Marla is working on a second in her home on Prairie Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin where she lives with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter.
Favorite pastimes are reading, playing bridge, golf, walking and watching The Young and the Restless.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://marlamadison.blogspot.com, She’s Not There, available on Amazon.