Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

Marlene P: Tell us about WICKED LOVELY

Melissa Marr: Wicked Lovely is the story of a faery king's search for his destined queen. It's the story of a mortal girl who can see the faery world and wants nothing to do with it. It's the story of a once-mortal girl who exists to oppose the faery king. It's a story about choices made and un-made, love fated and un-fated. And at the core, for me, it's a story about refusing to let anyone or anything steal your choices.

Marlene P: What was your inspiration for this story?

Melissa Marr: One of the most important reasons for writing this was hearing my kids remark on the great frequency of "weak" girls or male characters who seemed not to struggle with the difficulties of doing the right thing. Some fabulous folks have given us strong female characters and thinking male characters, but there's still not enough. So I wrote a book.

Marlene P: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Melissa Marr: Beginnings are awful. I don't know the beginning until I write the ending, and sometimes even then, I'm still not sure of it. I enjoy middles a great deal: the rush of charging forward to see how the story ends is great fun. Endings are entertaining because they allow me to see where I need to change the rest of the text. Beginnings stress me out terribly.

Marlene P: What one question do you wish an interviewer would ask you but never has?

Melissa Marr: Did you know there's tea/coffee/chocolate shop that just opened near your house and delivers 24hrs a day?" No one ever asks me that. I live in hope though. . .

Marlene P: What are you working on now?

Melissa Marr: I turned in the second novel (Ink Exchange) mid-February. The next day I was invited to write a story for a new anthology (also for HarperCollins). I'm toying with a few different stories for that to see which one amuses me most. My hope is to get that sorted out before I get my revision notes from my editors, but my editors (I have 2 because the books were co-acquired by Harper US & Harper UK) are both perversely prompt people.

There's another project I'm working on too, but my agent has made me promise to practice discretion and not share details while we're still in negotiations for it. It's fun though--enough that I'm working on it before the contract is in order. I was positively gleeful over it when the offer came and am quite hopeful that the contract can be sorted out to everyone's satisfaction.

Plus, of course, I'm starting to jot random sketches for the third faery novel. My notes are still rudimentary, but they're in process. I'm looking forward to this one a great deal.

I like to be active. Now that I'm not teaching, I need many writing tasks to allay restlessness.

Marlene P: Tell us something about you that no one knows.

Melissa Marr: No one? I'm not sure. How about this--I once went on a date with a guy because he recited a bit of Lord Byron's poetry to me . . . in a cemetery . . . where he was smoking a cigarette . . . while lounging against the door of a mausoleum. He was a total stereotype, but quite lovely. I have a weakness for interesting people (and places).

Marlene P: How did you become a writer?

Melissa Marr: I really don't know how to answer this. I've always wanted to write, but I wasn't planning to truly try until I was 40. But when I was about thirty, my spouse suggested I could write now. My "I'm not 40" objection was not very logical, so I decided to give it a go. I allotted myself 3 years to try it. I wrote a bunch of stories, poems, & two novels.

Alternately, I could admit that when I was a smallish mammal I told stories nonstop. By 12, one of the good Sisters handed me a creative writing book and sent me to the library to write. I wrote poetry from then until now.

I wasn't ready to write a novel though. I wrote stories, but I shredded or burnt them all. I had this theory that not destroying them would trap the words in the wrong order, so I still destroy or delete texts that don't feel right. When I wasn't able to destroy Wicked Lovely, I knew I finally had the right story.

Marlene P: What is your favorite passage from this book?

Melissa Marr: I don't have the same one from day to day, but there are a few sections that are often my favourites.

At one point, Ash (the mortal MC) and her best friend (Seth) are talking. He's telling her a story.

[Ash:] “Does [the girl in the story] live happily ever after?”
[Seth:] “Shouldn’t there be something in the middle?”
"I like to read the ending first.” She waited, curled up in her bed, to hear his assurances, to believe--for a minute at least--that everything could be okay. “So did she?”
That's why storytelling matters to me--that moment, however brief, when we can suspend our disbelief, when we can hope and believe that everything will be okay. Ash is dealing with some serious stress, but she's still looking for reasons to believe. Stories are where we find that sometimes.

Marlene P: Was there any part that you struggled with or avoided writing?

Melissa Marr: Yes. There's a couple scenes with volition issues in them. They're some of the most important scenes to me as a writer and as a person, but they were unpleasant to write. I'm a rape survivor, but that doesn't mean that dealing with it is ever entirely comfortable. There are emotions I needed to allow myself to feel in order to do justice to the topic. They aren't on the list of emotions I like feeling though.

Marlene P: What's on your nightstand right now?

Melissa Marr: A Brief History of Death (Davies), Psyche & Death (Herzog), an empty water bottle, alarm clock, a squirt gun, flashlight, and a rather gaudy lamp I found in an antique store.

Marlene P: What are your hobbies?

Melissa Marr: I really enjoy tattoos--getting them, seeing them, reading about them. My current artist has even taught me about the assembly of the tattoo machine. What else? Roaming pleases me. Museums, deserts, streets, beaches, paths in national forests--wandering is good.

Marlene P: Have you ever wanted to quit writing? Why?
Melissa Marr: Sure. Sometimes I'm certain my writing isn't ready yet and/or it takes too much time from my family. I rant and rave (or pace and sulk). My spouse is sane and wonderful though: he takes me to a museum or the beach or sends me to take a bubble bath when I freak out too severely.
Marlene P: Melissa, thank you so much for writing this book and for being our guest this week!
~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions, fire away! Melissa will answer as many as she possibly can. Congrats and confetti are always welcome, too!