Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author and editor, Marilyn Peake. Thanks for joining me Marilyn. I’m glad to have you here.
Thanks, Cheryl. I’m delighted to be here!
Q: How long have you been writing?
In some ways, I’ve been writing most of my life. As a young child, I always thought I’d be a writer when I grew up. In high school, I wrote for several newspapers and had my own column in a couple of them. Eventually, I went off to college as an English Literature major; but switched to Psychology in my junior year. Around eighteen years ago, I started writing novels. Four years ago, I had my first novel published. Since that time, I’ve had quite a few books published.
Q: What is your writing process like? Is there a time of day you are more productive?
I work on writing almost every day--either writing or book promotion. When I’m working on a short story or novel, I try to write for at least 1-1/2 hours at least three days per week. I’m usually most productive in the morning or early afternoon.
Q: You write for both children and adults. What are some of the challenges of writing for different age groups? Do you find there are any similarities between writing for young people and adults?
The challenge in writing for children is to keep the work interesting and fast-paced while steering away from all mature content. For instance, if an author is writing about death or war in a children’s book, they need to make sure that the material is being presented in an age appropriate manner. It’s easier in many ways for an author to write about intense topics in adult books. The similarities in writing for young people and adults exist mostly within the craft of writing. Both age groups like well-written, visual material with captivating language and interesting, meaningful stories.
Q: How much research do you perform for your books? Is all your research done before you start writing or do you get to a certain point and then start writing, researching smaller details as you go along?
I do a great deal of research for my books and short stories. I research before I start writing if I need background information. Otherwise, I begin writing the story, then research as I need further information. I’ve written several articles about interesting research I conducted for my three short stories in the first Twisted Tails anthology: Witches’ Season set in the time of the witch burnings, Tiger in the Plum Blossoms set in the Heian Period of Japan, and Return to Roswell set in Roswell, New Mexico. You can find my articles about the writing of these three short stories in a free eBook entitled A Twisted Tale about Twisted Tails at the website of Biff Mitchell, another Twisted Tails author: http://www.biffmitchell.com
Q: You contributed three stories to the anthology Twisted Tails. Can you tell us a little bit more about them? It seems like flavors had a lot to do with all of them.
The complete title of the first Twisted Tails anthology is Twisted Tails: An Anthology to Surprise and Delight. The Twisted Tails series is the brainchild of author J. Richard Jacobs who edits and compiles the anthologies. Although J. introduced each story in Twisted Tails: An Anthology to Surprise and Delight with a wonderful blurb about its “recipe”, the main requirement for each story was that it have a serious twist at the end.
For my short story, Witches’ Season, set in the time of the witch burnings, J. wrote the following blurb: “With this scrumptious tidbit, Ms. Peake gives us a taste of bitter herbs and honey served over the burnt offerings of cute, loveable, sacrificial lambs. Here we get a glimpse of an ancient, delightfully quaint culinary custom that has served us well in our quest for purity, absolution, and evasion of guilt for as long as we have trod the surface of the planet. It takes different forms these days, but the idea remains the same. Ms. Peake has given us some wonderful children’s stories, but take heed, this is not one of those.”
For my short story, Tiger in the Plum Blossoms, J. Richard Jacobs wrote: “Japanese cuisine is different. Much more subtle in its flavors than most Asian foods. There are some pointed exceptions, of course, but, in general, the flavors are delicate and the food must be eaten slowly to appreciate the sublime differences between one course and another. This holds true for Ms. Peake’s next treat. A most delightful blend of varied tastes, carefully and artfully assembled into a just-so elegance.”
For my short story, Return to Roswell, J. wrote the following blurb: “Some places are best left alone. Would you return to a restaurant where the food was bad a week before you ate it and only got worse when it hit your stomach? If you knew in advance that a place served stuff with fungus hanging on it, would you go there? Probably not, right? You might be surprised to find out that not everybody follows their better judgement and they tend to wind up going places where uncomfortable, hard to digest things are bound to crop up. Such is the case for Layla, though she can be forgiven based on the notion that she’s a wee bit too young to know better. On the other hand, maybe she needed what was dished up. Let’s see.”
Q: Each of your stories in Twisted Tails takes places in a different time period. Do you have a favorite time in history that is often used in your stories?
I really don’t have a favorite time period in which to set my stories. I tend to like times and places that suggest mystery and wonder. In Twisted Tails II: Time on our Hands, all the stories have the same serious twist at the end as in the first Twisted Tails collection; but this time all the stories include the theme of time or interdimensional travel. The authors wrote so many pages for Twisted Tails II, it’s actually being published as two separate volumes! My short story, Mummy in the Art Museum, published in the first volume, is set in the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the second volume, my short story, Devil’s Triangle, is set in the Bermuda Triangle. In that same volume, my short story, Moonbeams upon Stonehenge, begins in the year 2301 and involves time travel back to two historical events--the sinking of the Titanic and the “Great White Hurricane” that descended upon the Eastern United States and Canada in 1888--as well as time travel forward to the year 2501 and back to 1000 B.C.E. at Stonehenge.
Q: Your children’s fantasy adventure trilogy set in a fictional underwater city has received rave reviews. What can you tell us about The Fisherman’s Son, The City of the Golden Sun, and Return of the Golden Age?
These books are very dear to my heart. These are the first three books I had published; and the Audio Book of The Fisherman’s Son was recently named a Finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards. These are children’s fantasy adventure novels, and all three have received excellent reviews. The Fisherman’s Son is set far up North on an island that in some ways resembles Ireland around the beginning of the nineteenth century. The main character is a twelve-year-old boy named Wiley O’Mara. His mother dies from an illness passing through their very poor village, and his father is an alcoholic. Being a brave and good boy, Wiley sets out through a forbidden forest to find a priest to bury his mother. It is during that journey that he discovers he is meant to undertake an even greater quest--an incredible rescue mission in an ancient city submerged beneath the ocean. A magical woman named Lucinda and a magical dolphin named Elden guide him along his way. In The City of the Golden Sun, Wiley and six boys he rescued from the ancient city travel through time to visit the city in its heyday. I had great fun creating that city which is based on ancient Greece and Rome, and reports about Atlantis. In Return of the Golden Age, Wiley must bring news of the ancient city and the rich heritage of his people to his now impoverished village, and to his father. This Trilogy was meant to inspire children and let them know that one can do great things in life, no matter what the obstacles.
Q: What do you most admire about Wiley? Which of his traits do you find undesirable?
I really like Wiley! I admire his courage and goodness, his pure heart, humility and determination. There really aren’t any traits in Wiley that I find undesirable, although it made me sad that his life and struggles were so difficult at the beginning of the series.
Q: Can you tell us more about your audio book project for The Fisherman's Son?
This was very exciting! My publisher invested money to have an audio book of The Fisherman’s Son produced by a professional audio production company. It was produced on a sound stage and read by the voice actor, Andrew Dollar. Andrew did an amazing job, and that Audio Book was recently named a Finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards. You can listen to an audio excerpt from this audio book on the Double Dragon Publishing (DDP) and Fictionwise.com web pages for this publication: Double Dragon Publishing: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-55404-133-3AU Fictionwise.com: http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook35957.htm?cached
Q: The Golden Goblet is your monthly newsletter. In addition to letting fans keep up with your latest projects, your newsletter offers informative articles from published authors and Hollywood experts. How did this newsletter get started? Do you want to share the meaning behind its name with my readers?
I’ve been very lucky with The Golden Goblet Newsletter. I started it as a way to send out news regarding my books; but I felt that it would be a lot more interesting to readers if it featured an article by a different author or expert every month. As time went on, both very accomplished authors and Hollywood experts agreed to write articles. The articles during the first year of The Golden Goblet were so incredible that Deron Douglas, publisher at Double Dragon Publishing, agreed to publish every year of articles as a book! The first book in this series was recently published. Its title is From Hollywood Experts and Published Authors: Words of Wisdom for Starving Artists. All of the Hollywood experts are returning for this year’s newsletter, and two more people from Hollywood have agreed to write articles--including Hollywood photographer Kenneth Dolin http://www.kennethdolin.com , and Hollywood writer-director-producer John Klawitter http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0458487 and http://www.extinctionthefilm.com. I’m absolutely delighted! The meaning behind The Golden Goblet title is that a golden goblet was a very important item in The Fisherman’s Son Trilogy. It was handed to Wiley by the magical woman Lucinda, and had the following words inscribed on it: “Drink deeply by land or sea. Earth comes only once.” You can sign up for my free newsletter at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marilynpeake
It has definitely made me more enthusiastic and invested in writing than ever before!
Q: From Hollywood Experts and Published Authors recently made the best-seller list at Fictionwise.com. How does it feel to know one of your projects is so successful?
It’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve also received fantastic feedback from readers about the articles in the book, and that’s very gratifying.
Q: Twisted Tails II: Time on Our Hands - Volume 1 was released by Double Dragon Publishing in March, and has already become the #1 best-selling Anthology at eReader.com and has already ranked as a best-selling title in both the Fantasy and Science Fiction categories at Fictionwise.com. Can you tell us about the stories you contributed to this latest anthology?
I had a wonderful time writing these stories. Both the first Twisted Tails anthology, Twisted Tails: An Anthology to Surprise and Delight, and Twisted Tails II: Time on our Hands - Volume 1 made best-seller lists within days of publication, and that was exhilarating. As I mentioned earlier, the authors wrote so many pages for Twisted Tails II: Time on our Hands that it’s actually being published as two volumes. In Twisted Tails II: Time on our Hands - Volume 1, I have a short story titled Mummy in the Art Museum. This was inspired by a recent trip to the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art where I discovered a mummy on display. I thought, “If that mummy woke up, would it be angry to find itself on display in an art museum?” For Twisted Tails II: Time on our Hands - Volume 2, soon to be published, I wrote two more short stories. Devil’s Triangle explores strange secrets about missing ships, planes and people in the Bermuda Triangle. Moonbeams upon Stonehenge explores time travel, and what it might do to the psyche of the travelers.
Q: What’s up next in the world of Marilyn Peake? Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have some very exciting projects coming up in the near future. You’ll be able to find all my future publications at: http://www.marilynpeake.com
Thanks again for stopping by my blog today Marilyn. It was a pleasure to chat with you. May the future continue to bring you much success.
Thanks so much, Cheryl! I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!