Friday, May 31, 2013

Interview with Anne Stenhouse, Author of Mariah's Marriage

ANNE STENHOUSE has always loved words. Reading them and using them greedily, she can’t truly remember a time when she couldn’t escape into the pages of a book and certainly can’t remember when she couldn’t talk and ask questions. Anne is a published and performed playwright. She studied both English and History at University in Edinburgh, and finds it a great joy to combine these two disciplines in her first novel, Mariah’s Marriage. Being a playwright means Anne loves dialogue and knows a piece is going well when she ‘begins to hear the characters talking to each other’. She has been a civil servant, full-time Mum and, for a while, a worker in an Addictions’ rehabilitation unit. Anne lives in Scotland with her husband and dancing partner of over thirty years. Their children and a grandchild are close by.

Where did you grow up?

In Scotland. I grew up in an industrial village in the Shale Oil field.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote ‘letters’ to my granny from a very young age, before I went to school. Later I discovered my Dad would take the scribbles in their envelopes and dispose of them. Explains why I never got any replies. My first play, a re-working of Goldilocks and the Three Bears called "The Magic Dumpling," was performed by my school class for the whole school when I was eight.

What is this book about?

Mariah’s Marriage is about the suffering a woman experiences when her aspirations for a career clash with the knowledge she’s as vulnerable to a handsome man as any other.

What inspired you to write it?

I’ve always been interested in the mind-set that will not challenge accepted practice. Why should a woman be excluded simply because she’s female? Likewise, why should education be withheld from anyone because their parents aren’t wealthy?

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme earlier. They ask you to write a book every year and it is critiqued by a published writer. So valuable.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

MuseitUp Publishing:


Barnes and Noble:

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write the story, re-write the story. Edit the writing, edit it again, edit it some more. Ask a writer friend to read it and give an honest opinion and mark ms typos they’ve noticed. Research the market. Submit. Start the next novel/story/play.

What is up next for you?

I’m structuring a novel or novella using two of the subordinate characters from Mariah’s Marriage. Their story is begging to be told.


Bill Kirton said...

An excellent, focused interview with admirably sharp responses. And the advice offered is exemplary. But what should one expect of a writer whose work was first exposed to her public when she was 8?

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Enjoyed the interview, Anne - it's great to see your novels now being published! I already knew what a good playwright you are but didn't know it started so young!

cic said...

Well done both of you. Nice interview.
Anne, this looks like being the start of a whole new career: from playwright to novelist. Way to go! All the best,

Marie Laval said...

Hello Anne. I Love the advice about writing, re-writing and editing again and again...And how right you are when you say about the wonderful moment when you can hear your characters speak!

anne stenhouse said...

Bill, the staff would probably have said precocious, but there you go... Even starting at 8, I haven't written as many dramas as you, I'm sure. Anne

anne stenhouse said...

Rosemary, thanks for dropping by - I know you've a tight schedule today. It is a nice feeling to have a novel in existence and out there. Anne

anne stenhouse said...

Hullo Christine, You've made the jump from short to novel length. Something good about getting longer with the characters. Anne

anne stenhouse said...

Hi Marie, Glad to know it struck some chords. I really hadn't appreciated how much editing was still not too much. I 'ken noo', as no one in Scotland ever says. Anne

Gwen Kirkwood said...

I found this very interesting Anne, even though I knew you were already an established writer of plays. One of the first things I learned from a well respected editor was that you should have plenty of natural dialogue so you were already half way there, and now your a published novelist as well. Well done.

anne stenhouse said...

Hullo Gwen, thanks for dropping in here. I just love dialogue - and I think everyone does really. Walking around in town, you pass people deep in re-hashing what 'he said and what I then said'. It's just that we writers then write it down. Anne

Joan Fleming said...

Anne, your writing certainly had an early start. Having seen one of your plays performed, I'm now looking forward to reading Mariah's Marriage. Note to self: must follow Anne's advice.

anne stenhouse said...

Oh Dear, Joan, I always quail a wee bit when somebody says they'll follow my advice. Really hope you enjoy the book though. I had a lot of fun writing it. Anne