Welcome Marlene Chabot to Author Interview Friday. Congratulations are in order on the release of your 4th book Death At The Bar X Ranch, is being released by North Star Press of St. Cloud Inc. I understand it will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
When did I know I wanted to be a writer
I always enjoyed writing short story assignments in grade school, but didn’t think about being a writer when I got older. At the age of 13, I left home for Ohio to attend high school and two years of college to prepare to be a Franciscan Sister. Sunday afternoons were set aside for letter writing. So, believe me, I got a lot of practice writing informational stories. While I was an educator, I wrote a few plays for the children, and helped second and third graders create their own newspapers, but again never gave writing for the pure enjoyment a thought. It wasn’t until I was 48 and riding back from visiting friends in Colorado the idea of writing mysteries struck me, and I quickly jotted down titles for books and plot ideas. Particular inspiration:After reading tons of mysteries to and from Colorado, I decided I could come up with some darn good mysteries of my own.
Tell us about your background in writing.
I didn’t have a writing background. My four year degree was in education. But I did take a two year business management class and communication class was a must. After I wrote my first book, and was getting rejection letters from major publishers I decided to take a 18 month correspondence course from the Institute for Children’s Literature which is affiliated with Writers Digest. I learned a lot. So much in fact, I decided my first book stunk, revamped it and then self-published. I have attended about six writing seminars none of which were specifically for my genre. And haven’t had the opportunity to attend any big writer conferences.
How long did it take you to have your first book published.
I started writing my first novel in 1995, began to revamp it in 2000 and finally had it self-published in 2003. A long process.
Do you always write in the same point of view?
My novels are written in the first person. I find it easier to write in first person. I like using a lot of conversation. Many short stories I’ve written, including two for anthologies, have been in the third person.
What has been the hardest obstacle in your writing career?
Having been required to write many essays and research papers in college the outline and synopsis were easy for me to pen once I had the main idea. I felt writing the query was the hardest. Now that I’ve done several I refer to the others when creating a new one.
It is exciting that your 4th novel is coming out this month. What advice would you give to knew authors just getting started in their career?
My advice to a new writer when getting started with a manuscript is to have someone you can bounce your ideas off of and to find a good writer’s group for support and suggestions. I didn’t join a writer’s group until after my first book was published. I currently belong to 2 groups–one for my genre and the other is a mixed bag.
Tell us a little about the book we are promoting today.
My fourth novel deals with an unemployed teacher, Mary Malone, who is looking for a new place to live and any job she can get. Her private eye brother, Matt, is out of the country so she and her widowed aunt take over his apartment. Listening to a message intended for her brother, Mary decides to get involved with a case pertaining to horses. The problem is she was scared by a horse around the age of 4 and swore she would never go near them again.
Can you share a little bit of your work?
Mary Colleen Malone’s my name. I’m not what most people would consider either a girly-girl or a tomboy. I’m more an in between type of gal, in between men, in between diets, in between jobs. It varies from week to week. This week, however, not I, but circumstances beyond my control, shoved employment to the top of the heap.
Teaching’s my game, or it was up until yesterday morning when I strolled into the teachers’ lounge and spotted a rare, unexpected gift tucked inside my cubbyhole. At first, I thought the hot-pink slip was someone’s idea of a joke, but then reality smacked me in the face. I hadn’t slid under the unemployment radar after all. With one swift hurricane after another chiseling away at the U.S. economy, teachers without tenure were the latest surfers to be caught up in the storm.
Hmm? Maybe I can sub in Blaine. That’s not too far north to drive. “Aim for the stars,” everyone said. Yeah, right. Fat lot of good it did me. The aligned planet and stars supposedly assigned to my personal universe imploded on contact. Goodbye lifetime job. Hello unemployment. To think I was once so elated being the first member of the Malone clan to receive a master’s degree. Now, I’m just depressed. While I sit idly by twiddling my thumbs, my siblings continue being smugly employed, including the one who flips flapjacks at the local pancake house just around the corner.
So, what’s a smart, single thirty-five-year-old unemployed dame to do? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps it’ll come to me while I snooze.
Thank you Marlene. She is the author of Death at the Bar X Ranch, Mayhem with a Capital M, and two other Minnesota mysteries.
Her website is www.marlenechabotbooks.com