Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Indie Insider - Marie Harbon

How many words do you write a day? Where do you do it?

I have no set target for word count as such; I tend to aim for writing a particular scene, which may only be 500 words or more than 1000. This way, it keeps the action, dialogue or emotional content in my head so it’s more consistent. I feel like I’m living that scene in its entirety. Writing is produced at home, as it’s important for me to control the environment and its ambience.

Do you think that people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

The task of a book cover is to draw the eye, to persuade a reader to read the blurb and look inside, in the same way that food packaging entices the shopper to consume the product. If a book cover doesn’t excite the reader, then it isn’t doing its job so I would have to say people do judge a book by its cover. It’s all about drawing the eye and arousing interest. My cover was designed by Richard Crookes, a British artist living in Thailand who has produced numerous book jackets and even movie posters. He’s a very skilled and intuitive designer and I’m thrilled with ‘Seven Point Eight’s cover.

What do you do when you get writers block?

I find creativity has a natural ebb and flow so there are times when I don’t feel the words. When this happens, I put a story aside and concentrate on something else for a while, such as stitching or designing something. The writing urge always returns in its own good time, or I may find the solution to a tricky part of the story comes to me after waking up.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

Sometimes too much! I check emails, facebook, twitter etc over breakfast and return to them again in the evening. If I’m working on my laptop during the day, sometimes I’ll flick between what I’m doing and social media sites. I have quieter days as well as interactive days though.

Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

Like most writers, I find working in the past the most straightforward and in most cases, it serves its purpose. In my book ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’, the narrative switches between third person and first person from two journals written by a few of the characters. I like to explore different perspectives and angles, it makes their experiences seem more personal and it better firs the non-linear aspect of time that I’ve touched upon later in the book.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

I’m a big fan of readers and critique buddies, gathering an initial feel for the story and some analytical feedback about what works and what doesn’t. I like to hear the nuts and bolts through the eyes of a reader. I’m very strong on my grammar and structure, so with my self editing, critique buddies and readers, I find all the angles are covered.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

I think it depends how strong that writer’s literary skills are, whether they can pick up on any continuity, grammar or narrative issues. All writers should at least have several sets of eyes and ears to read the story, as different people will pick up any issues with narrative, technical details, literary fluency etc….

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ took four years from start to conclusion, mainly due to working pretty much full time throughout. More pieces of the puzzle dropped into place as I progressed through it, with the overall title for the series and underlying theme of the number that connects it all together dropping into place in the last six months. Because it’s so complex, in plot, characters and research, and also as I’m a perfectionist, the first book was a steady marathon. I’ve already started the second book, which I expect to release late spring/early summer of 2012.

Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.

At the moment, I visit numerous sites as I’m scouting out the best ones to use on a regular basis. I tend to visit Goodreads, Librarything and Smashwords the most, in addition to social networking media sites.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My first novel ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ begins a science fiction opera with a vast scope; covering quantum physics, mysticism, alternate realities, psychic powers, twentieth century history and culture, and a little romance. It’s in the initial stages of adaptation to a movie.
You can read the blurb, sample chapter and a collection of reviews so far at, plus a collection of author interviews.

You can also grab a copy at Amazon US, Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble, as a paperback and Kindle/Nook book, plus through Smashwords as an ebook in the most popular formats.

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