PART II! I Get Goddess Literary and Shy Killer With Romance Writer Marne Ann Kirk

Friday, no angels, but we have a Marne.  Marne Ann Kirk is back for part two of the interview!  We’ll start, in media res, ’cause we go Greek sometimes.

AARON: So in the beginning, getting all biblical, in the beginning, you wanted to write, heavy, grand, ivory-tower literary fiction. What changed? How did you come to love, honor and obey the power of romances?

Marne: I did want to write literary. You’re right. I wanted my writing to make a difference in a Poe, Hawthorne, Whitman, or Joyce Carol Oates kind of way. I wanted to force my readers to wallow in the agonies of their insignificance, and then be reborn, enlightened… (wink)

And it’s happening now… just not quite how I’d envisioned it. While I wanted to be the “literary author,” and went to college with that plan in mind, I grew up sneaking romances (which I read like an addict). They were a fantastic escape from a not very happy childhood. The best thing about them? The happily-ever-after. I always knew these people would be happy, and that gave me hope. So, I needed to decide what to write. I decided I’d much rather give people hope and happiness, a happy-ever-after, than plumb the darkness of my soul to scare the holy hell out of my readers and make them search for meaning in a meaningless life.

AARON: I have new project for you, Marne. I’m thinking you should write this book: The Shy Person’s Guide to Writers Conferences. Can you give us a brief overview of what that book might look like?

Marne: The book would focus on two things: Persistence and Volunteerism. I was so shy when I first began going to conferences, I literally ran from the workshop to my room for the ten minute breaks, just to avoid talking to people. I was…we’ll say 29, and I brought my step-mom for support. I have gone from that person to searching out new attendees to make them feel welcome, and I volunteer for any position I can help with, just to get to know people. Why? Because I recognized right away, being an author is about the whole package. You can have an amazing book, and it will never sell if you can’t talk about it, if you can’t put yourself out there and get to know people, network. So, I decided to go to the next conference and the next, and I began volunteering right away. For anything I thought I might be able to do. At first, that was stuffing bags, so I didn’t have to meet too many people. Now, I’m the Vice-President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the Secretary of RWA’s Future, Fantasy, & Paranormal Chapter, the conference co-registrar of the Crested Butte Writers Conference, and I do as much as I can to help with the Colorado Gold Writers’ Conference. My point? It’s so difficult to put yourself out there when you’re painfully shy, but you MUST in today’s market, if you want to become a published author.

AARON: As VP of RMFW, can you have people killed? I know you get that question a lot, but I’m curious to hear your answer. Seriously, what are the benefits of holding such a high office? The drawbacks?

Marne: I can totally have people killed, and it has people very, very afraid. Mwa-hahahaha…Okay, maybe not. But you’re scared, just a little, right? The benies of being V.P. of RMFW…there are so many, and I’m not even joking. I’m totally serious. For instance, whenever I meet writers without a “home,” I get to talk up RMFW and invite them to join, and I always start with introducing myself as the V.P. It just seems to give me more courage in talking to strangers. Weird, I know, but that’s one perk. Another amazing beni is I get to influence where RMFW goes and what we do as an organization. That’s a huge bit of fun. The drawbacks? How could there be a drawback to helping RMFW be even better than the amazing organization it is?

AARON: You’ve been with the same critique partners for years and years. What are the pluses and minuses of having the same people read your stuff year after year?

Marne: I belong to a critique group of seven, right now. The core group, four of us, have been together for eight years and the other three members are all relatively new. The new people help with giving new perspectives, which is great; but the core group is fantastic about never getting “old.” Even though we’re friends, that’s left at the door, so to speak, when the critique begins.

AARON: Okay, Marne, I want your best brilliant-marketing-campaigner-carnival-barker-used-car-salesman pitch for your paranormal romance novel due out this autumn, Goddess on the Run. Hit us with your best shot! Hook us like a carp looking for Velveeta.

Marne: How about this?

All Fomorian Hells are about to break loose on earth, making human souls the daily special, if the Tuatha de Danaan can’t stop it.
Teagan, a Celtic demi-goddess hiding from her destiny in small-town Colorado, wants nothing to do with her mother’s forgotten realm or the drama of a battle of the gods. And Merric is forbidden fruit she’s too smart to taste.
Merric, leader of the Tuatha de Danaan warriors, has other plans. Teagan holds the key to salvation, for both him and their worlds, whether she wants to or not. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince her of her duty.
But can he find the key to her heart?

AARON: Last question, let’s bring it all home. You live in Delta, Colorado, metropolis of the Western Slope. Which of your characters, from either novel, would be best suited to living in smalltown Colorado? Which ones would be the worst?

Marne: Delta County has a whopping 31,322 people, roughly in 1,150 square miles. This translates to 27 people per square mile, a 24-hour Wal-Mart, and one McDonald’s open until midnight within city limits. It’s a great place to raise kids with amazing imaginations. Teagan, the heroine of GODDESS ON THE RUN, would thrive in this town. She loves small towns, loves the people, loves the energy. Issie, the heroine of LOVE CHOSEN, is used to the bustle of her inn, the fast-paced, port-city life. She’d likely go stir crazy in a slow town like Delta.

Aaron: Thanks, Marne!

Marne: Aaron, this was so much fun! Thank you! It was a blast! My husband said I gave you cauliflower ear, talking. I hope that isn’t the case… And if it is, put an onion on it. It’ll take care of any ear ache 😉


Check out Marne’s website
Marne on Amazon
Marne’s blog, Cowboys and Dragons at the Cafe
Marne On twitter



No cauliflower ears here.  Thanks for the two part interview!  Come and meet Marne and me at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold Conference in September.  It’s the hoot of all hoots.  Later!

Montagues, Capulets, Genre Fiction, Literary Fiction and Me, Trapped in the Middle with You

There’s a weird dynamic that happens when a genre fiction writer meets a literary fiction writer. A suspiciousness. Like we’re two dogs from different packs circling each other. Now this is crazy! We both fish out of the same water. We’re both trying to do the same thing which is to write words for an emotional\spiritual reaction. And in the end, I’m not sure how much we get to choose what we write. It’s the old thing with Stephen King and Robert Frost, looking at a New England pond. One will have monsters. The other inspiration on the beauty and truths of life. Both will string words together to capture the experience.

Okay, now, this is a complete generalization, that genre fiction writers and literary fiction writers are constantly battling like Montagues and Capulets. I had dinner with a fiction writer, Eleanor Brown who wrote The Weird Sisters. We didn’t duel with steak knives. Well, we were at a Mexican food place. We shattered Corona bottles and tried to slash each other with the broken ends. Kidding.

However, after Saturday night, at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference, after I blew it with a nice literary fiction writer, I had to figure out what happens when I meet someone writing literary fiction. Me. Only me. My reaction as a soon to be published genre writer. Let’s say I’m the Mercutio, caught between the Montagues or the Capulets. Or Friar Lawrence. No, Mercutio, he was so much more mercurial.

This is what happens when I meet a writer and I ask, “What do you write?” And they answer, “I write literary fiction.” My immediate reaction is, “Yeah, right.” Yeah, I know, I’m horrible, but this is the truth. If I can’t be honest with you, World, who can I be honest with? I’ll share all of my dirty secrets. Except maybe for two or three that only Chris Devlin knows. And she is a vault, baby.

So there I am, thinking, “Yeah, right, you can write literary fiction? Who do you think you are?” In essence, I think THEY are saying, “I can write better than you, genre fiction boy. Wanna go up against the champ?” And I don’t. I get afraid.

So after I scoff, I get afraid. Maybe they do write better than me! Oh my gosh, maybe I can’t write at all. Maybe I should give up and never, ever write again. I hear there are other things to do with one’s time. Collect stamps. Photography. Maybe join the Elk’s Club.

All the while, the literary fiction writer is inching toward the door because I’m losing it. Usually, I keep this all to myself. But not last Saturday night. Oh boy. Total and complete meltdown. And if you know me, once I start to blow it socially, I don’t stop digging until we’re all buried.

Now, there is some historical precedence to the whole literary versus genre fiction thing. I wrote a paper on Science Fiction as Literature in college, and one of the things that happened during the 1950’s is that science fiction became so incredibly popular that publishing houses opened up the doors to anything, and I mean anything. I heard a story recently that since the writers got paid by the word that they would sometimes overwrite scenes just to get more cash. Five pages of a guy brushing his teeth. True story. And so, a lot of junk hit the market. And maybe you could say the same thing about romance novels, fantasy novels, mysteries, et cetera. There have been booms and busts for genres. How many cut-rate horror novels were there in the late 70’s and early 80’s?
So, yeah, maybe there was been trash published in genre fiction.

And yes, there is still a stigma. I was talking with a college professor who was also a famous novelist. I shan’t name names. I told him I wanted to get published. He sniffed and said I should dash off a mystery. They’re so easy and they seem to sell.

But the truth is, writing is hard, whether you are writing mysteries, romances, or literary novels. It’s hard. My friend says that it’s like building a table with 23 legs. It’s all hard. We should be supporting one another.

But I will learn from my experience. No more scoffing. No more fear. The next time I meet a literary fiction writer, I’m going to hug them and cry into the crook of their neck. I’m going to weep and say, “My brother, my sister, my soul, my heart, my fellow writer. Let us journey together for we are both bound by blood, ink, and sweat.”

Yeah, then they won’t think I’m weird at all.

P.S. A friend of mine from a writer’s workshop long ago has asked me to critique her literary novel because she said, and I quote, “You know your sh*t.” I’m so excited. I love books. Whether they be literary, genre, dripping wet in the bath, or bone dry boring. I love books.

P.P.S. A last dirty little secret. A last confession. I want to do both. I want to do genre and literary in the same stories. And not just a little magical realism. No, full on, in your face, genre stuff but with a beautiful, literary bent. Think Margaret Atwood. Think David Lynch meets Stephen King meets frakking Shakespeare. Hey, that’s my first novel. Anyway. Oh, to dream. All writers are dreamers because to write is to dream, and perhaps Mercutio put it best. Maybe he is talking about all writing in the passage below because all fiction, all stories, are dreams.

True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger’d, puffs away from thence,
Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.