|Tree Hugging Marta- Picture Stolen from her Blog|
Marta is a prolific author and a great human being, both her two defining attributes mentioned here, leaning over one another, to further their impact and ambit. Marta has four published books thus far on Amazon, Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal, Wee Three: A Child's World (This first came in as Wee Three: A Mother's love in Verse and is adored by my daughter); The Between Times; A Poet's Journey. She lives in with her Husband, cats and horses. I came across Marta, accidentally on the Internet, and she has been a friend and a mentor since. Her range and scope of writing is fairly intimidating, and her adeptness in different genre is confounding. It is not so easy to have written a kid's book like Wee Three, with vivid imagery and colors, so charming for the kids and at the same time to have written something like The Between Times (My Review), which is near philosophical in the feel, with equal ease and eloquence. So with some trepidation, I approached as a cub writer, Marta for this Interview, which She graciously agreed to.
I settle on my laptop, under the suitably warm sun, with an imaginary cup of coffee on the imaginary table across which Marta sits with eyes sparkling with smile and put forward the first question.
Saket: Hi Marta, when did you decide that writing is what you want to do?
Marta: First I would like to thank you, Saket, for asking me to join you on your blog. It is a pleasure and honor to have met you.
(I look at my toes which turn blue and I focus so hard on my at a spot near the feet, that I could have made a hole in the floor, if we were in mythical ages, embarrassed at the kindness of her response, and my naive commencement to the interview)
I decided writing is what I wanted to do after publishing my first book. It began with some of my grandmother's small verses, which I expanded and added more of my own to and became Wee Three: A Mother's Love in Verse, later to be renamed and expanded to Wee Three: A Child's World.
Saket: Were you doing some writing when growing up? in school or the college?
Marta:I was a part of the editorial board for the college Journal of the Arts and wrote small pieces for the journal.
Saket: What is your thought on self publishing, fashion or fad?
Marta: I believe self publishing will be around forever, in fact it is not a new phenomenon. Mark Twain amongst other famous authors self published. I do however foresee a day when it is more common for groups of authors to band together and form a small publishing house under a label. Each author receiving their own royalties and paying their own way, but their publishing house is able to help promote and distribute on a wider scale to libraries, book stores and the like because of the change from a total Indie to a Indie house. In fact there are to my knowledge two of these already set up. One was set up by friends of mine and the other is the publishing group I helped form.
Saket: Do you think Internet has lowered the entry barrier so low, that anyone with some background in language and a cheap desktop decides to be a writer? Is the quality suffering on this account or is Internet a boon for young, non- professional authors with stories in them?
(I place the question delicately on the table, and then walk to the window, pretending it was never mine, so as to not to have to face a harsh assessment which a moonlighting writer like me always dread. I disown the question the moment I ask it and act as if it never belonged to me. Marta picks it up and responds)
Marta: Even major publishing houses have their books that are not considered to be great literature or for that matter in some cases even good literature. What I think is that the Internet has allowed writers to have their work seen and read and although a tougher road to becoming a well known author, it still is possible. Many books are available today that would not have been if not for Indie authors. If it is a bad book, that will soon become known.
(I come back, sensing the danger of admonishment gone, and ask another question)
Saket: In general, as a society do you think we are losing the idea of literature, with very few people doing serious reading?
Marta: With the advent of kindle, nook, and other Ebooks I believe we will see more people reading. It may be true that as a society our idea of literature is changing, yet there is a new generation of children growing up and with books like Harry Potter have become avid readers. Though if no books are published that interest them, they may lose the love of reading. It also helps if they are read to as children and their parents hold reading and literature highly.
Saket: What was the first published work of yours? How was the feedback?
Marta: The first published work was Elephant Racing At Midnight. The true story of a midnight race with the clowns after the circus rap party. It was published in Memescapes.
Saket: Do you feel terrible when your work is thrashed in public? Did it ever happen? How did you handle that and continue writing?
Marta: I had a young woman give Wee Three a 1 star review because she stated she was too old to find the child within her. I believe the review was more about her then about Wee Three. As far as it being thrashed in public, it depends on how it is done. If the critic has an honest opinion on why it is not a good book or on what could have been done better it is something to be listened to and will help you grow as an author. If instead it is just done to trash the book, because it wasn't their cup of tea, then it is not constructive and more about them then about the book. So when reading reviews of another book, I always take those things into consideration. There are books I have found extremely enjoyable because of the story line that should have been professionally edited and I will say so. Yet the book itself was enjoyable so I will also say that in a review. All reviews are subjective as all books are. If we as writers want to become better we need to read the review within the context of (helpful or just hurtful) and decide whether it will help us hone our skills.
Saket: Is there a particular room with a particular view at a particular time, where you write?
Marta: I mostly write sitting with the laptop on my lap in a quiet room, however sometimes an idea or thought presents itself and then the world will fade away and I can be anywhere and write.
Saket: Do you keep a journal or notebook to keep tab of unruly, bright thoughts?
Marta: Yes, absolutely. sometimes it contains just a line that sticks in my head like "The Yeti Screams In Pure Delight." Sometimes it is random ideas of where the story/poem need to go or can go. I also will randomly realize a piece of research is missing and will look it up and add it to the journal to be used later in something I am writing.
(I shift in the chair, I am the only writer or wanting to be writer in the history of mankind who does not carry a journal. The juvenile entries which I used to make in my engineering college days does not count.I hope, Marta does not notice this and in this hope, offer another question)
Saket:What is your typical day like? How many hours do you write every day?
(Reminds me what I read somewhere about writing, as the only profession where you can be sitting on the window gazing outside, doing nothing and still be working. Must say it prompted me to try to be a writer, only later did I realise that you need to write some word, some time.)
Marta, unaware of my blasphemous thoughts, responds:
I am nearly always writing at least in my head. Though I usually write seriously at least one hour a day. Though this changes as I have a full time job presently and it sometimes requires up to sixteen hours a day. Those periods it is a note here or there.
Saket: Do you read a lot? Favourite masters of yours?
Marta: I read or listen to books constantly, it expands my awareness of what makes a good story as well as giving me enjoyment.
I don't have just a few favorite writers it depends on what type of reading I am interested in that day. I can usually find something enjoyable in most books or articles. Believe it or not I have even found the oatmeal container to have fascinating information.
Saket: Who was the first kind reviewer of your work that you encountered ever? Am sure, one may forget the later ones, but not the ones you met at the commencement of your voyage. Do you believe good reviews help make more sale?
Marta: I believe it was Beth Hoffman the NY Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. She reviewed Wee Three: A Mother's Love in Verse.(Beth Hoffman's Magical Review)
I believe all reviews help sales, a bad review will give notoriety sometimes if it is also followed with a good one.
Saket: When you are working on a bigger book or novel, do you also sneak in columns, Op-Ed, reviews, blog on the sly, in between the work day?
Marta: The only time I work on just one thing is at the very end of the project. All other times I am writing poems, blogging, working on other novels or short stories that may become novels.
Women on the Verge, Redroom, Flapjacket, bestsellerbound my own websites and blogs, as well as numerous other locations.
(I look down and smile to myself, I do tweet and update my facebook status sometimes)
Saket: Do you blog? What topics you blog on?
Marta: LOL, I am interested in just about everything so you may find me blogging on everything from history, politics, children, women's issues and the list goes on.(Marta's Blog)
Saket: You do a lot of mentoring to new writers walking in with shaking knees and sweaty palms, knowing from my personal experience. Why do you do that? Isn't that a thankless, exasperating job?
(After all, who wants to waste time with support the bloke who sells computer in the day, talks about cloud computing during the day and tries to walk in clouds writing story at night, why, Marta, why?)
Marta: Thank you Saket, that means a lot to me. I am and was one of those new writers and I know how it feels. It makes me want to help all the more because I remember.If I see someone who is working at writing and becoming better I will with complete honesty give them all the support possible. I do it because I want people to achieve their dreams and if they are working at becoming better it is a delight to help them even if it is only in support.
Saket:Is writing for you a taxing, tiring task, or a liberating activity?
(I wait for the effect, and some applause, such profound question, which I saved for the end of the interview)
Marta: The only part of it that is taxing and tiring is the editing. I am blessed to have found a good one that understands my thought process in my stories. Writing itself is a liberating activity for me.
Thank you Saket for asking me to chat with you on your blog. Your questions are insightful, intelligent, and required much thought.
(I thank her, stand up and look around for the fabled oatmeal box container, which I want to steal, and walk proudly with the generous closure to my first ever interview of a great author and an amazing friend, muttering something like a thank you.)
End of the Interview
To Buy Books by Marta Moran Bishop:
-Wee Three: A Mother's Love in Verses- On Amazon
- A Poet's Journey: Emotions
-The Between Times- On Amazon
- Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal