Thursday, August 16, 2012

Marri Champié, Silverhorn Canyon

AUTHOR: Marri Champié
BOOK TITLE: Silverhorn Canyon
PUBLISHER:  createspace

Please tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Hollywood.  My greater family were ranchers.  My grandmother was a teacher and my grandfather a doctor.  We always had books; a big library.  My mother was dismayed that I liked fantasy… she read non-fiction, poetry and the philosophers.  But she was a costume designer for Hollywood films.  How fantastical is that?  She thought my reading choices were frivolous.  We agreed only on the poetry.  Oddly. 

I’m intrigued by the connectedness of things and by mystery.  What we have forgotten and don’t know is far larger than what we know, and people tend to close their minds to the larger picture so they just accept what is explained.  It limits what you can imagine.  I don’t like limits.

Tell us your latest news?
 My short story, “The White Seal,” which won a Dell Award (originally Asimov Award) in 1999, is featured in the March/April issue of Cicada Magazine.
Two “Month” poems were selected to be part of a calendar of poems published by Writers Rising Up.  The calendar will come out in November and is called Digging To The Roots.   

When and why did you begin writing?
In second grade I wrote my first novel synopsis.  I would have started the novel in first grade, but I couldn’t write yet—so I waited until I could at least print.  
I have always written stories as I horseback ride.  I believe it’s the rhythm of riding, or walking that actuates the stories in my head.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always been a writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
“First” is impossible to pin down.  The first book I ever finished was The Weavers of Amirra.  I’ve been working on other books far longer, but I decided to focus on one and not do anything else until it was done.  It took four years and was completed in 04.  Then, I decided that if James Waller could write a book in six weeks, I should see if I could write one in eight.  I wrote Silverhorn Canyon in seven weeks.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t usually take writing ideologies on head-on… they are just subtle themes that give tone to the narrative and depth to the characters.  In Silverhorn Canyon, I want people to imagine that history is far different than how modern historians explain it.  Humans have short memories.  We don’t know how Le Cheveau Caves came to be… we do know they were painted over a long period of time…longer than the length of our modern world.  We don’t really know that the Mongoloid people were the first humans in America.  Chances that they were not are far greater than we allow.  This story is just an idea… just to point out the possibility of something else.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?  (Has anyone ever realized it?)
 Of course.  & Of course.  Yes to both.

Writers mostly write what they know—even science fiction or fantasy arises from what we know.  When people hear that I write fantasy, they tell me that I should “write what I know” probably thinking I should write about being an outdoor ranchy hunter fisher gal.  What they’re missing when they say such things is that writing is about the lessons and the philosophy more than the actual physical experience.  I do write what I know… I write about people, their interactions, motivations, and relationships—and I write about ideas.  I write about love because it’s the most important human emotion.  That’s what I know.

What books have influenced your life most?
“Lord of the Rings” of course.  Also, Patricia McKillip’s “Riddle of Stars” series, rounded off with Herbert’s “Dune” and Robin McKinley’s “The Blue Sword.”  But there are so many, lots of them poety books… by Edna St. Vincent Millay, ee cummings, Shakespeare, Nan Hannon, David Lee, & lots of poets and fiction writers whose works have inspired me and set a tone and language bar that I have strived to equal.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fantasy writer, Patricia McKillip, and poets Edna St Vincent Millay, and Nan Hannon.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
“Volt,” by my friend Alan Heathcock.   I like the unexpected turns the stories take.  I don’t like that it was just named another big annual book award.  (LOL) 

Also reading Brian Greene’s “Hidden Reality” (I like the speculative astro physics) and Stephen Hawking’s “A Briefer History of  Time.”  Both help me contemplate the larger picture of the Cosmos so I can formulate how to write my stories.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Alan Heathcock, and Mitch Wieland.  They have bare bones writing styles that I could use more of.  I’m taking a fiction workshop from Alan this fall at Boise State. 

What are your current projects?
My first book, Silverhorn Canyon has a sequel that’s finished.  It’s a rural ranch girl murder mystery/werewolf story called “Howl.”

I’m in the middle of a collection of short stories about strong, rural women” “Women Who Sleep With Dogs.”  Some of the characters cross over into Howl and Silverhorn Canyon, but Women Who Sleep With Dogs is NOT paranormal in any way.  That’s not to say I might not add some paranormal to it, but wanted to keep it literary for now.

For two decades I’ve worked on an epic SF space opera called Memoirs of the Grey Ranger; I’m publishing it in chapbook length volumes (I’m up to volume 4 in the editing—it’s related to Weavers)

I have a poetry chapbook finished, looking for a publishing home, and a cookbook in progress.
Planned is a collection of short stories called “Fishing Indian Creek” about a young boy rock music-loving stoner who grows up in a rural red neck community in the eighties and nineties.
Started is a Trilogy of Ancient Earth Saga.  “Lost Child” is a story that argues that earth was a project of a group of very intelligent extraterrestrial scientists who terraformed earth and seeded it with their experiments.

I’m always working on various journalism projects.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 
It might be a little longer.  But I can write other stories that are connected, so really I guess the answer is “no.”

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am long winded.  I need to be more concise.

The other challenge is my other interests.  The ranch keeps me busy.  The Farmer’s Market eats up my time and energy.  I never get in enough fishing and riding time.  Life gets in my way.

Do you ever have problems with writers block?  If so how do you get through it?
I walk.  Walking kicks heck out of writer’s block.  I walk three to five miles a day on the days I have time—usually about four days a week in the winter—summer is harder.  Summer is too hot, too much to do, and too much cheat grass to walk and my writing suffers as a result. 

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Photography.  Ranch, fish, culinary stuff, garden, the Farmer’s Market.  Take my horses and dogs out on excursions.  I’m taking classes at the university in journalism and poetry. 

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Patricia McKillip is my favorite fantasy writer.  She keeps the language beautiful and her poetic phrasing full of soul.

Edna St. Vincent Millay and Nan Hannon are my favorite poets.  Millay is so sad.  Hannon connects things to the ancient world and to the bigger picture because she’s an archeologist by profession.  She’s amazing.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing it.  Yeah, that’s the biggie. 

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that the only gulf between wanting to be a writer and being a writer is you—sitting down and doing it makes you a writer. 

The time you spend with the characters is like private time with personal friends.  When you’re finished with novel, all of a sudden, the voices and characters you spent hours and hours with every day just leave.  It’s really really hard to be alone after that.  It’s like grieving for someone who died, only for multiple people at once.  So it’s a bit like part of you dies.

I also learned there is a great power in writing something.  Sometimes what I write comes true in my life after I write it.  I will meet one of the characters from my book, or have something in the story become fact for me.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write everyday, even if it’s just a poem, or an edit.  Write poetry, it makes prose better.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
 I want to surprise you and make you think…  what we know or think we know may not be true.  Do you realize that?

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Self/createspace.  It’s a toughie.  You appreciate what an editor and publisher can do for you, or instead of you, after weeks and weeks of hair-pulling formatting sessions, and endless editing trying to do it yourself.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.

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