Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interview with T.B. Markinson

I'm thrilled to welcome author T.B. Markinson to the blog for an interview today. I met T.B. just recently and immediately knew I liked her. I love that after several years of blogging I can still connect with new friends and fellow writers!

TB is here to talk about her new release Marionette, which I am really looking forward to reading. I appreciate her taking the time to answer my questions!

1. Tell us about your new novel Marionette. Are there any similarities between this story and your previous novel A Woman Lost?

Marionette is a novel about a young woman in her first year in college. Days before graduating from high school, she slit her wrists. Her girlfriend, Jess, convinces her to go to therapy. However, Paige isn’t just dealing with depression. She’s dealing with a past that is full of lies and deception. She feels like she has been manipulated by her parents her entire life. Paige wants to get control, but feels hopeless about succeeding.

A Woman Lost is also about a woman who is dealing with her past, but I wouldn’t say it has a lot in common with Marionette. Lizzie, the main character in A Woman Lost, has to find herself. Yes her past plays a role, but she isn’t dealing with traumatic issues like Paige.

I am drawn to writing about characters who have their own obstacles to surmount and I love to see how and if they overcome them.

2. What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite genre to read. Two things pull me in: story and character. It can be science fiction, chick lit, young adult, paranormal, mystery, or historical fiction to name a few. I’ll read anything just as long as I find the story entertaining and it has to have character development. I don’t necessarily have to like the characters or relate them, but they have to be well-written.

For me, I like to write stories that have strong, conflicted, and troubled characters. I like to see how they deal with situations and what pitfalls they fall into during their journey in life.

3. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Ever since grade school I wanted to pursue writing. Over the years I would jot down stories and I started at least one novel but never finished it. Life always interfered. I was working full-time and whenever I tried to take my writing to the next level, something would happen and I found myself consumed with everyday life. Then over two years ago my partner’s company asked us to move from Boston to London. Suddenly I was unemployed. The transfer was supposed to last two years and my partner and I decided that I would use the time to give writing a go. So I pulled an unfinished manuscript out of the drawer and got to work. Now the book is published and I’ve completed the second one, Marionette.

4. What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like getting inside the heads of my characters and see what makes them tick. This includes the minor characters in my stories. I like to learn all I can about them and make them as real as possible. And what I love about writing is that the story that develops even surprises me. I don’t plot out my novels. Instead, I just let it happen. My characters tell me what will happen next. I never get a chance to boss them around.

5. Anything you don’t enjoy or struggle with when it comes to your writing?

Editing. I enjoy working with my editor. She does such a wonderful job getting the story ready for publication and I learn so much about writing as a whole from her. But the crappy editing, I’m talking about the commas and all that jazz, can be tedious at times.

6. Which of your characters would you say you are most like? Least like?

Everyone assumes that I’m like Lizzie, in A Woman Lost, since it’s my first novel. I’m nothing like Lizzie. She was commitment phobic and I’m not. In fact I settled down too much in relationships in my early years and had to live with the consequences of jumping into things.

Now who am I like? That’s a difficult questions since I don’t think I’m like any of my characters. I have certain traits of my characters. Both Lizzie and Paige love history, as do I. Both are smart asses and I’ve been told I’m one as well. Other than that, I don’t think I’m like them. I would probably be more like Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend in A Woman Lost. She was quiet, loving, and didn’t seek a lot of attention. I’ve always preferred being out of the limelight, which might explain why I don’t make any real appearances in my stories.  

7. Your 50-Year Project blog details your goal of visiting 192 countries. When did you start this project? How many countries have you made it to so far?

I started chronicling the project in 2011. We had already been to some of the countries, but I’m still including them since travel is expensive and time-consuming. So far we’ve been to 20 countries, including the US (where we are from), England (where we live now), Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Canada, Spain, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Malaysia, and Iceland. I think I got them all. We still haven’t been to any of the countries in South America and I think that will be our next big project.

8. Do you have a favorite of those countries? If so, what is it? What country is up next on your list?

Oh gosh, it’s so hard to choose just one. The first one that always pops into my head is Botswana. This was the first country we went to where we experienced seeing massive amounts of animals in the wild. It was mind-blowing to see elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, wildebeests, kudu, leopards, warthogs, and so many more roaming free. The entire time I was there I didn’t want to blink since I was afraid I would miss something. And the sunsets in Africa—amazing!

I don’t have any plans set in stone yet, but we are considering Rome over Easter. We’ll see.

9.Can you give us a peek at your next book?

The next book is about a woman who had everything going for her. She graduated from Harvard, had a literary agent, and a deal to write her first book. However, everything has fallen apart and she’s working at Starbucks to make ends meet. She has a crazy but loving family and girlfriend. It’s about whether she can find her true path in life and get everything back on track.

Marionette Synopsis:

Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth. 

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family. 

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

About the Author: 

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel. 

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  1. Nice interview, you two. Love the cover.

    Chocolate hugs,

  2. Thanks so much for the interview today. When you get a chance, check your email about your interview on my blog today.

    I'm so glad we met and I can't wait to read your novel. It's my first review book on my 2014 list!

  3. You have an adventurous spirit T.B. I wanted to be a writer from a young age as well. I think your novel sines a light on depression and shows leaving high school isn't all about body shots and spring break. Also love how the cover personifies the story so well. Sounds like a really good read. Congrats and I enjoyed the interview as well.

  4. I also read widely, since I'm more drawn to good storied than I am to particular genres.

    LOVE the 50 year project idea. :-D

  5. Like the idea of a goal to visit so many countries. Good luck.

  6. Great interview TB and Julie! Beautiful cover, and I wish you all the best with your new release, TB!


  7. Awesome interview! I have a massive list of countries I want to visit, but alas just two are crossed off right now.

    I'm not sure how I'd fair in Botswana with all of the animals. An elephant would be so cool but I'd probably pass out if I saw a lion :D

  8. Marionette looks fascinating. Love the cover too.

  9. I think it sounds awesome to move to London and be able to realize your dream of writing at the same time! Wishing you much success with Marionette! :-)

  10. Great interview and congrats to TB on Marionette :)

  11. Marionette sounds interesting and I liked the interview and the synopsis. Any synopsis is pretty good though - to me, at least - because I hate writing them. I never want to give too much away, or anything, for that matter.
    Well wishes to TB.

  12. Great interview! I love T.B.'s answer to the "favorite genre" question. And wow, I'm so mind-boggled that she's been to so many countries... (I've never even left the US!)

  13. @ Sheen-kay Graham-- I’ve always loved a good adventure either in real life or in books. I know for me, my first year in college wasn’t all that easy. Growing up isn’t easy and heading off to college forces you into adulthood fast. At the time I thought I knew everything—boy was I wrong.

    @ Misha Gericke-- I know what you mean—I don’t like to be limited by genres. I’ll take a good story any day. Thanks!

    @ Mary Montague Sikes-- I know the goal of 192 countries is a whopper, but then again, why not try. So far it’s been a blast, with a few minor mishaps that we now chuckle about.

    @ Julie (Empty Nest Insider)-- thanks for your kinds words.
    @Samantha May—two counties is a great start! We did see a few lions in Botswana and my heart was pumping! But it was absolutely amazing. I can still picture everything in my head right now.

    @ Vanessa Morgan—thanks!

    @ Lexa—moving to London was a dream come true on so many different levels. I’m a huge Dickens fan and to walk his city is amazing.

    @ mshatch—thank you!

    @Fanny Barnes Thornton—Every time I have to write a synopsis I struggle. I feel your pain.

    @ Heather—Thanks! There’s so much to see in the US. Even though we don’t live there anymore, I want to go back and visit all the states. I’ve only been to twenty or so. It’s a beautiful country and has so much to offer.


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