Today in the Writer's Corner we meet Marie Gin.
Amanda: Hi Marie. Welcome to the Writer’s Corner where we talk all things writing in our corner of the world!
Marie: Thank you so much for having me!
Amanda: I generally ask where abouts is your pocket of the world, but it seems the world is your oyster. You’ve been everywhere! What was it about Australia that felt like home?
Marie: Australia is such a stress-free country compared to other places I’ve lived in. Australians really don’t realise just how safe it is here versus Europe, America or Africa. You can walk in the street with your phone and nothing will happen to you, you can dress the way you want, and cultures are nicely mixed together here and accepted.
Amanda: Tell us about your travels. What inspired you along the way? Was there a favourite country?
Marie: I travelled due to my mother’s diplomatic job, but it truly opened my eyes to different cultures and how humans are very complicated. Writing allowed me to keep traveling without leaving my room. My favourite country would be Zimbabwe (South African country), as it was such a green and beautiful place before Mugabe’s dictatorship. I walked with lions, rode elephants and even an Ostritch! It was an amazing childhood experience that I will always cherish.
Amanda: And how did you get into writing?
Marie: Because of my travelling, it was difficult to make friends as I knew I’d have to eventually say goodbye. So in my teen years, I started writing to create a world and characters that would always follow me wherever I went. It was a way to escape in a safe place (I used to write in notebooks in class instead of taking notes).
Amanda: How much has your travels impacted your writing? Could it be considered a literary rite of passage?
Marie: I think it’s opened my mind to a lot of things. I’d like to think that I adapt more easily and that I am more accepting of people and things. It’s made me curious about things I don’t know and has made me want to learn as many things as I can.
I wouldn’t consider it a literary rite of passage, but it definitely helps the soul and opens the eyes. You don’t have to imagine as much if you have seen it.
Amanda: And what does a day of writing look like for you?
Marie: When I do get 5 minutes to myself to write, it’ll be a quiet room with Celtic or classical music. I like to immerse myself in my world by closing my eyes, taking in the music and becoming my characters, trying to feel what they feel to give as much of a realistic reaction as possible.
Amanda: Do you find anything particularly difficult about the writing process? How do you overcome this?
Marie: When the rest of your life is stressful, how can you empty your mind enough to go into another one? I try to get rid of distractions (partner who just can’t function without me, bless him), maybe take a nice long bath then put on soft music and get back into my world.
Amanda: Let’s talk The Last Regret. Tell me everything and anything!
Marie: Took me a good 11 years to finish this book! I had originally written it in French with a very different ending. With uni, I put it on hold for about 5-6 years before I decided it was time to work on it again. I translated it, reworked it, added a few chapters and changed the whole ending I hated.
Amanda: I love the title, the last regret. Do you have any regrets yourself?
Marie: The original title was “The Stone of Four Fires”! But I thought about it and it goes deeper that just the stone. It’s about the main character finding herself and going through all the emotions you would normally go through in a lifetime, but she goes through them in a much shorter timespan. Regret being one of them.
I have many regrets, but they made me who I am today. My life wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns and I have gone through some really dark times. Thankfully, I got out of them and I’m working on myself instead of trying to change the world.
Amanda: Have you ever created a character based on someone you know? Have you told them?
Marie: Most of my characters are actually based off people somewhat. Some are the portrayal of those people could have become before they went down the wrong path, others are based on strong people who I am proud of. Some know, others don’t.
Amanda: What did you edit out of the book?
Marie: The whole ending! It changes the outcome of the other books drastically but in such a better way. As I had started writing it quite young, the ending was very childish and as I grew, I adapted my book accordingly. Life experience does change things.
Amanda: Have you hidden any secrets in the book? What about hidden gems?
Marie: Every character is based on a flaw. Stubbornness, pride, deceit, clumsiness, … I don’t believe in perfect characters and I think that a lot of them get their strength through their flaws.
Amanda: Do you believe in writer’s block?
Marie: Seeing as it took me 11 years to properly finish this book, 100%! It’s a nasty thing!
Amanda: Do you believe in reader’s block? Is that even a thing?
Marie: Yes, I used to read multiple books a week and now I read one book a year, it’s terrible! I think it’s partly due to adult responsibilities and things like Netflix that just push us faster towards laziness.
Amanda: Any advice for other writers?
Marie: Write for yourself first. It’s your world, your characters. Make sure you enjoy what you write and that it’s not just for the purpose of selling. You should still feel accomplished even if it doesn’t work out.
Amanda: What are you reading right now?
Marie: History of Sol, but currently on hold due to life!
Amanda: What’s on your to-read pile?
Marie: I have about 12 books on my to-read pile and haven’t touched a single one in years. I’m hoping life will settle soon so I can get back to it!
Amanda: Tell us about book 2! When will it be out? Where is it set? How long are you making us wait until we get a hot copy straight into our hands…. Actually just tell us everything!
Marie: I’ve given myself a deadline for Supanova 2020, although I’ve only started on a few pages! Chapter 1 will be given out for free on my social media when I finally get around to finishing it!
Amanda: Thank you so much for coming along today, Marie. You’re a fascinating woman!
Marie: Thank you so much for having me, Amanda! This was an amazing opportunity!