Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Marlena Owens. I am 25 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from Virginia, U.S.A.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a stay-at-home mom, a student, and a wife. I am currently finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services this summer. Then, I will begin a Master’s in Human Services Counseling this fall.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am publishing my first book on June 29th, 2018. It is titled Escorting Mr. Colburn and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing to cope with the loss of my grandparents at the age of 12. I lost my maternal grandfather in December of 2005 and my paternal grandmother 9 months later, in September of 2006. Both of these losses were due to cancer. However, I have always had great grammar and writing abilities ever since I learned to write, as a child.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In middle school, I wrote multitudes of poems. It wasn’t until I reached college that I thought about considering myself a writer. Then, I had an idea for my first novel.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I read a paperback book that I was very dissatisfied with. It was a story about nothing, basically. This made me think to myself, “If someone can write about nothing and become a published author, I can write about something I would like to read, and become a published author.”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I tried to make it catchy. Justine, the main character, is escorting tourists to popular destinations within New York City, for money to pay for her brother’s private school tuition. She’s more or less a personal travel agent, accompanying people to places they would otherwise go alone. I used the word “escort”, because it seemed more intimate than “travel agent”. This is a clean book that all ages can enjoy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
If Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks had a child, it would be me. I like to add drama and close connections, like Sparks, with a touch of flashbacks and conversation like Picoult. I am also inspired by the imagery of W.M. Paul Young.
In short, I like to write fictional romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, adventure, and mysteries. The hard part, for me, is getting the story right in my mind, so it will make sense on paper.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The places in the book are realistic. I have watched videos of each destination visited in New York City, to get a good idea of what it would look and feel like to be there. I want my readers that have never been to New York City to feel like they just went on a trip with me. Although, I have never been to New York City, I hope to visit someday.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Believe it or not, these things just come to me. I have plenty of time in the day to ponder between washing dishes, folding clothes, writing essays, and taking care of my young children. I’ll be busy doing something and a thought will pop in my head such as, “Oh! I should add this in there!” or “That would be interesting!”
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I do. And just like every word in my books, it is carefully chosen.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think everyone takes a different message from the same story, because we all experience life differently. However, being a counseling student, I would like to show people that the rougher a person is on the outside, usually, the more broken they are on the inside. And these people still deserve to be loved and listened to.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
As mentioned previously, the imagery of W.M. Paul Young helps me to escape. I could spend all day in his books. I’m the same way with Picoult and Sparks. I don’t necessarily have a favorite writer, though. I have many. Southern Gothic as told by William Faulkner and Flannery O’ Connor captivates me every time I pick up their works. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Emily Dickinson are also favorites of mine. I could go on, and on.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have had several college professors compliment me on how well I write. Their comments are usually along the lines of, “well written” or “great quality writing”.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
That’s my only career right now. Being a full time student and mom leaves very little time for anything else, but I manage. So, sure, I’d love to be a writer as a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing. Except, maybe writing it sooner. It’s been a long time coming. Therefore, I am very excited to get it finished and move on to the next book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I definitely learned how picky I am about wording and working my way around situations and conversations, in my book. Most people think, “oh, I’ll just sit down and write it all out and it’ll be great.” However, it has to go together, like a puzzle, if you will. If the pieces don’t fit, there will be gaps in your work that will leave a reader lost or confused.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would want Emma Watson to play the main character because she is such a great young actress, who would blend into the atmosphere of the story very well
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write about what you would like to read about. This helps with writer’s block, for me, because I am so interested in my storylines that I can focus and lead the story where I want it to go. The release of finishing a story, I think, compares to the feeling of doing well on an exam. If you do good and everything feels right, then you’re ready to tackle the next exam.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love feedback and communication. I would like to be the author that has a great relationship with their readers. “Like” me on Facebook @MarlenaOwensAuthor or follow me @m_owens_author on Twitter.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Eve by W.M. Paul Young. I could live in his books all day.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Secret Garden. I was very young but read it all in one day. Loved it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love humor. My favorite type of movie is comedy. Runner-up is romance. So, comedy in a book or movie is my favorite. I cry when something or someone touches my soul. I am an empath, so I feel everything 1000X more than the average person. I believe this is why I can describe my character’s feelings so well, because I can put myself in their shoes and go through the motions along with them.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jane Austen. She was able to support herself by her own hand in a time when that was unheard of, for women. She defied the odds and was a prosperous female writer in a male dominated field. Her stories are still very inspirational, and will be for future generations.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I am a full time mom. I’m lucky to have enough time to get my school work done, let alone have a hobby. (Haha)
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have an all-time favorite list of films, but I don’t have all day to list them to you. So, I’ll go with some of my favorites starting with romance: Sweet Home Alabama (Reese Witherspoon), Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley). Drama: The Shack, O’ Brother Where Art Thou? (George Clooney) and Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp), Without a Paddle (Dax Shepard), Walking Tall (Dwayne Johnson), and Riding in Cars With Boys (Drew Barrymore). Thriller/Mystery: Shutter Island (Leo Dicaprio), The Gravedancers, Forget Me Not, Jeepers Creepers 1 & 2, Dragonfly, and Sleepy Hollow (Johnny Depp). Others that don’t quite fit into a category: Beetlejuice (Winona Ryder), Cry Baby (Johnny Depp), When Good Ghouls Go Bad, and My Girl.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I LOVE chicken quesadillas and arroz con pollo. I could eat Mexican cuisine daily. My favorite colors would have to be turquoise and light mint green. When it comes to music, I listen to everything; hard rock, blues, country, pop, 80’s rock, all of it.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Because I am interested in how our past experiences affect our personality, and I’m starting a Master’s in Human Services Counseling this fall. So, I would/will be a counselor.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would spend it with my husband and my children, just talking. I would make sure to tell them how much I loved them and that I would always be with them. Even in death, they could still talk to me and I would move hell and high water on the other side to stay with them. I am very fortunate to have a loving husband and 2 wonderful children. I am truly blessed.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Please don’t cry for me when I’m gone, for I have lived a thousand lives in one. (Through reading the works of others and writing/planning novels of my own)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes! “Like” me on Facebook @MarlenaOwensAuthor and follow me on Twitter @m_owens_author. I also have a wordpress site @mrsowens1316. The link to my Amazon Author page is: https://www.amazon.com/Marlena-Owens/e/B07DGR466C . Lastly, I can be reached by email at email@example.com
Thank you for taking the time to read and I look forward to connecting with you!