Today I have pleasure in welcoming Marie Flanigan to Jera’s Jamboree:
Marie Flanigan is a long time book and video game reviewer for gameindustry.com, as well as a blogger for The Motley Fool at beta.fool.com/postjade. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three dogs. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember.
Please summarize your latest book in 20 words or less.
It’s about starting over, self-discovery, and learning to love again when you don’t believe you can.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
When I was in college, a good friend lost her boyfriend to drowning. Not long after, my roommate and friend drowned while vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Both accidents had a lasting impact on me. And of course, like Kate, I’m familiar with the desire to pursue a creative career while at the same time worrying about practical things like the need to eat or pay the electric bill.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be and why?
I’d most likely want to be Kate’s friend, Karen – she’s self-confident and together and successful. I don’t have the energy to be Bunny, Kate’s former schoolmate who encourages her to get back into painting. I’m the most sympathetic towards Kate – she’s has a hard life.
Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?
This book didn’t require research so much as a lot of time on the phone. I talked a lot to my sister and several close friends, who are all artists. And I taught at a Catholic school for eleven years, so I drew upon those experiences.
Did you travel to any places? Undergo any new experiences, i.e. a particular job?
Much of the book is set in Arlington and Loudoun counties in Virginia, which are quite different from each other – Arlington is really more of a city, while Loudoun is full of gravel roads and pastures. So while I didn’t travel far, I did spend a lot of time roaming. As for the Outer Banks, I vacation every summer there with my husband and a group of friends. Last summer, I spent some time driving the less touristy parts of Kill Devil Hills, where Robert comes from. I do like the idea of traveling as research for writing, though – maybe for a future book!
What inspired you to write?
This may sound corny, but I don’t even know when I started writing. I wrote my first book with my friend Robin in sixth grade. I wrote stories before that and continued writing after that. I can’t help myself.
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
My favorite place to work is in my writing shed. My husband and I finished the interior of it last year and it’s been a wonderful place to work. I’m not one of those writers who can be productive in a coffee shops or libraries – I have to have quiet or I get distracted watching the people around me. The shed is quiet – only my smallest dog is out there with me. As for a favorite activity, in terms of writing, I like to drive. I think a lot about my work when I’m driving.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
Kristin Brown designed the cover for One Big Beautiful Thing and I hope she designs all the covers for future books. She does an amazing job. As far as a theme, I think the cover should suit the book and I think this cover really does suit it.
Do you have a favourite book? Why? What is it about that book?
You’re going to laugh, but I think my favorite book of all time is Tales from Moominvalley. I reread it once a year and I love it because everyone you will ever meet is somewhere in one of those stories. They’re very nearly perfect.
What is your current writing project?
I’m currently writing a mystery, which will be the first in a series. The main character is a former police officer turned private investigator after being shot on the job.
Thank you for sharing with us today Marie.
Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.