Today, my guest is Marion Marchetto, author of Oak Cliff. Marion is here today to discuss her book and her writing life.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
My book is the story of a seemingly ordinary house that narrates a cross-section of history as experienced/witnessed by the occupants of that house. The entire story is narrated by the house itself.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
This particular story was inspired by the 160 year-old house that belonged to my aunt & uncle and now is owned by my cousin. It is a follow-up to my first two books. Family history pushed me to write this one.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
Part-time writer. I write mostly in the evenings and on weekends.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I was around seven years old when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Sadly, life got in the way.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I want my readers to realize that history is not stuffy, boring, or impersonal. Rather it is a very personal subject that they have much influence over.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
My stories are a mix of genres: historical fiction, romance, thriller, supernatural, general fiction. I like added portions of all genres because it keeps the reader, and more importantly me – the writer, guessing as to what will come next.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part about being a writer is that I am not comfortable with promoting my books. Sadly, writing is the easiest part. I really have no public relations skills although I love meeting people and making new friends. I just feel uneasy about bringing up my books every time I meet someone new.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Many occurrences in the book are structured around real historical events and/or facts. I have tried to maintain local historical events in their context while having fictional characters interact with or during those events. Additionally, the Simmons family (the next to last owners of the house) is based entirely on my parents and me.
9) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Most of my research was done via internet web sites; it also helped that I grew up in the area where the story is set and know much of the history first-hand.
10) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Writing these types of scenes doesn’t bother me too much. To me the scenes are ‘just a story’ and are integral to that story. Although some of my scenes are sexual they are not explicit – suitable for an R rated audience I guess. I’ve only written one violent scene and again, that was done within the context of the story and not for any shock factor.
11) What about your book makes it special?
The fact that the story is narrated entirely by the house itself, as in “if walls could speak” – a phrase we or our parents have uttered numerous times. Also the fact that the story crosses genres makes it a bit more exciting.
12) What is your marketing plan?
I really don’t have one except to beg people – “please buy my books."
13) Is your book self-published? Why did you choose this route to publication?
I've been self-publishing my books for two reasons: with the first book it was the easiest way for me since I didn't believe I would ever write a second book. After that it was due to being rejected consistently by agents and publishers. No one can seem to find a genre that I can be lumped into nor is anyone willing to take the risk on a story that is told my a house. So there we have it. I'm so far into the red when it comes to money that I don't believe I'll ever recoup my investment let alone make any money doing this. But there is a growing number of fans who seem to like my work so I make the effort to publish. I love the writing but truly, after self-publishing, can't afford publicity or a publicist.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
People can go to my website: www.marionmarchetto.com – there I talk about my books, what led me to write them, etc. Additionally, people can also check out my blogs and past articles from my monthly newscolumn, Valley Memories, that I write for The Valley Times.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Just write! Then edit, edit, edit until you think you’re done, then edit some more. Never give up. It wasn’t until I was 55 years old that I published my first book.
OAK CLIFF: A Tale of Darkness and Despair
Oak Cliff Farm has been plagued by tragedy, nightmares, and horror for over one hundred and fifty years. The house itself presents its dark history through flashbacks, hidden clues, and ghostly occurrences to Merline Madagascar, who is a house-whisperer of sorts. Unlike other houses with joyful histories that Merline has visited and heard, this house presents a unique challenge when its new owners, Jack and Erica, call Merline to help restore the house to its former elegance. Weary of a recurring nightmare caused by its first owners, the house wants nothing more than to provide shelter to a loving family with children.
Oak Cliff Farm welcomes Jack and Erica with the hope that they will be the ones to bring happiness to its rooms once again. But a wandering soul still hovers over Oak Cliff Farm, causing unrest and apprehensiveness for all its subsequent owners.
Accompanying Merline are her historically-inclined husband Daniel, her intrepid architect/contractor Verne, Chef Jacques and his significant other Erica, and a host of other characters. Will Oak Cliff’s past prove too much for Merline? Or will the more than a century-long series of ill-fated events finally come to an end?
This is the third book in the Merline Madagascar Trilogy.