One of the best things about being on the fringes of the Brisbane Literary scene is that you get to meet lots of authors. These wonderfully supportive and friendly bunch of people are always willing to chat to emerging authors and give advice on all things writing.
One such author is the fabulous Marianne de Pierres – best known for the multi-award nominated Parrish Plessis and Sentiments of Orion series. She also happens to write the Tara Sharp series under the pseudonym, Marianne Delacourt. The Night Creatures series is Marianne’s first venture into the YA market, and I was lucky enough to catch up with her for an interview regarding the first book, Burn Bright.
Thanks for joining us today Marianne. Tell us about your inspiration for Burn Bright.
A lot of ideas came together to make this book. I was very interested in nocturnal lifestyles and have an attraction to gothic architecture. Also, having lived on an island for a period of time, I find them great places to set stories. To add to those things, I wanted to write the book I would have loved to read as a teenager. So I did. 🙂
You’re well known as an adult science-fiction writer, so what prompted this move into the YA market?
It was the story that came first. I didn’t ever really decide to “write for YA” as such. I just wrote a story I wanted to write and the protagonist turned out to be a sixteen.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m a reader who grazes. At the moment I’m reading novels by Michael Connelly, Michael Robothom, Laura Gilman, William Gibson, Lauren Kate and Jonathan Lethem.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I play basketball and enjoy going to the movies with my sons. I don’t get a lot of free time though, so when I do, I sneak in a new TV series on DVD. Currently I have The Tudors, Painkiller Jane, The Killing and The Wire all waiting to go when I get an opportunity.
What were you like as a teenager? Do your characters reflect this?
I think I was quite serious and overly sensitive. I remember one of my parent’s friends telling them that I was very introverted. Funnily, I never thought of myself like that. I know I spent a lot of time reading and listening to music. I guess I was able to draw on some that to help build Retra/Naif’s character.
If you could go back in time and give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would have encouraged myself to be more confident. Confidence is gold for a teenager. Actually, it’s gold for anyone.
What is your writing life like?
Fairly structured and consistent. I write 5-6 days a week in the mornings. I’ve never been able to write in the evenings, my mind just seems to shut down at about 7pm. As I’m waking up in the morning though, it fires on all cylinders, solving plot problems when I’m barely awake. Sometimes I have to jump out of bed and write things down to capture them.
What exciting things are coming up for you?
I always enjoy the Supanova events andSydneyandPerthare coming up in June 2011. Then there is a Sisters in Crime convention in October. On top of that I get to go to Voices on the Coast and the Brisbane Writers festival this year. All in all a bunch of fun things.
What is the best advice you would give a budding YA writer?
Read widely and finish what you begin. There is nothing so unproductive as a file full of half-written stories. I also have a list of tips on my website: http://www.mariannedepierres.com/extras/writing-tips/
A lot of authors recommend joining a writers’ group as a way to improve your craft. What’s your opinion on this?
I think it’s an excellent idea; you just have to find the group that’s right for you. At the very least find a critiquing partner, someone who has enough knowledge to give you informed feedback.
What’s the best thing about being a full-time writer?
Spending my days creating my own worlds; getting paid to fool around in my own imagination. Oh … and not having to commute.
How often do you get to connect with your YA audience?
As you know, YA is a new audience for me, so I’m really only just beginning to meet readers of Burn Bright. I’ve been visiting schools and young people are contacting me through Twitter and Facebook. Random House are also running a book trailer competition for teens, so I’ve been talking to lots or people about that.
Don’t miss out on …
Book two, Angel Arias, is out in November and there’s also a dedicated song written for Burn Bright which is also called Angel Arias. You can download it from iTunes and my website: http://www.burnbright.com.au/the-music/
Marianne, thank you so much for joining us here at We Love YA. We wish you all the very best with your Burn Bright series and cannot wait for the launch of book two in November.
And don’t miss out on the chance to make a teen book video about Burn Bright and enter it in the Random House Teen Book Video Awards.
For more information visit http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Kids/Default/Page/General/Section/teenbookvideoawards/