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!

I Get Giggly and High School Poetic With Romance Writer Marne Ann Kirk PART I

Yes friends, Romans, countrymen, this author and I had so much fun talking, I’m doing a two part series.  Today and tomorrow, me and Marne Ann Kirk.  Today is Part I.  I used a Roman numeral for one.  Because I’m classy like that.

And poetic.  This blog post has real like poetry on it.  You lucky people.

Marne Ann Kirk and I are both Crescent Moon Press writers and we wrote together one weekend, and I’ll never forget how stately she looked in a rumpled old chair, leaning back, typing on her computer. She looked positively regal. Me? I type. I rage. I type some more. I hate the words, like I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee. Helpless to stop, I pound more sentences down to spite the shattered pieces of my own misbegotten, hopeful genius. And Marne, stately, works.

At least that’s what I saw. But then, she is the Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, she has 9 brothers and 2 sisters, and she is raising a gaggle of her own kids. And she has dogs, including several puppies who get themselves into a variety of messes. With all of that going on, her serenity is humbling. As is her kindness. Am I eulogizing? Don’t let me eulogize. To learn more, and come up with high praise of your own, click here.

Marne has a series with Crescent Moon Press. The Fae Dragon Chronicles: Love Chosen is already out, and she has a paranormal romance set to launch this summer. We’ll talk about both. And Montana. And woodpiles. And how romantic fiction might have saved her life, though when she started writing, she wanted to write hardcore, thought-provoking literary fiction.

Here is the link for Love Chosen, not literary, but a fantasy romance. This is the skinny:

For millennia, dragon and fae have peacefully co-existed, but the fae themselves have lived segregated and very different lives. Now a malevolence threatens to separate them all permanently. Can a Queen’s guard and a rebellious outlaw join forces to defeat this common enemy?

So we talked, it was fun, and here it is:

AARON: So, Marne, tell us about the woodpile people in Montana. Everyone loves to hear stories about woodpile people.

Marne: True story: I was a weird child. I know, I know, so hard to believe, right? But, like most writers, my imagination began as this raging beast within my psyche, battling with the child I was for supreme control over my life. Luckily, I beat it back enough to fool others into believing I’m normal; but there for a while in my early development, it was touch and go. I was afraid of absolutely everything (and a few of my brothers might have preyed on those fears, just a titch).

When I was eight, I lived on a beautiful piece of land bordering the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Preserve in Montana. On this amazing property we lived what you might call a rustic life…I believe it would be more accurate, though, to say dirt had more monetary value than we did. Anyway, poor was an understatement. We lived in a run down, two-and-a-half bedroom, no bathroom, no electricity, no water or plumbing, cozy trailer home for seven, with one more on the way. At eight, though, I saw it as an adventure. Seriously, best camping trip EVER.

The only downside…I was afraid of the dark. And without electricity, it was a dark winter indeed. One of my chores was getting wood, but it seemed I always had to get it at night. Always. In the pitch black of the darkest night. And for the longest time, I remember standing against the trailer with my eyes scrunched shut, just praying my daddy would magically forget he needed that wood. I was pretty sure if the bears or mountain lions didn’t eat me, the deer and bunnies would (thanks to said brothers).

And then the woodpile people came to my rescue. At first there were two, a brother and sister, who convinced me to come over to the woodpile. They kept me company and performed silly antics while I got wood. If they had a problem, I’d help them resolve it. Once they trusted me, their parents came out of the woodpile to meet me; and as I gained their trust by solving issues or keeping secrets, they brought friends out to meet me until I had an entire small village of woodpile people, complete with a little mayor and officer, for friends.

Crazy, I know, but isn’t there a bit of crazy in us all? Please, Aaron, for the love of all I hold dear, say it’s so.

AARON: Okay, so in high school, I wrote bad suicide poetry. A lot of bad suicide poetry. You want a sample? No, I couldn’t…okay…if you insist…

Darkness lives like a beast in my soul,
Life has no happiness for a mongrel like me
I slip the razorblade under my flesh and bleed my truth:
I was never meant to live.

Hey, that was pretty good. Okay, my bad suicide poetry from high school had more angsty, less poetry.

Now, Marne, what kind of poems did you write in high school? And Marne, on the phone, we agreed, you’d give us a sample.

Marne: It’s kind of funny to me, how time distorts one’s memory. When we spoke, I told you I wrote poetry (very bad poetry, I might add) about nature and God, and not really angsty stuff at all… Boy, was I wrong. I pulled out an old journal and, lo and behold, I was a pretty typically angst-ridden kid. Ick. But I promised you some bad…er, I mean fantastic, amazing, poetry. So…

Tickle the tongue
Soft, tiny; slow drowning
Life, hanging by its perfection

That one wasn’t too angst-filled. And, because I actually like this one…

Tell me
Why do we die?
Just to make room for more?
Death mocks mankind’s every success.

Why, yes… I do know they’re terrible. But I was a teenager. You should read the angsty stuff. Horrible. Depressing. And did I mention horrible? I hope fiction was the right path…

AARON: From your bio, you are child of the west. So am I. I was born with the soul of a coyote and a love for the wind. In Love Chosen, though, you include more exotic settings. However, in the sequel, you bring it all home. Tell us a little bit about how your life in the west has colored the settings of your novels.

Marne: “The soul of a coyote and a love for the wind,” I like that… Personally, I hate the wind—strong winds make me so cranky and I don’t know why (yet Delta has many wind-filled Spring days. Ick). I think I’ll put a horrific wind storm in the black moment of my next book. Thanks for the idea, Aaron!

Anyway, when it comes to setting, I write what I know or I write what I’d love to know about. First, to set things up a bit, I wrote LOVE CHOSEN, book one in the Fae Dragon Chronicles, after I wrote LOVE DARED, book two in the Fae Dragon Chronicles. Why? Because I wrote LOVE DARED as a stand-alone story and then realized there was so much more story I could tell, so I wrote LOVE CHOSEN.

So, we’ll start with LOVE DARED, which takes place in coniferous mountains, in desert canyon lands, in cliff-dwelling homes…all of these areas are places I’m intimately familiar with. I spent a great portion of my youth living on oil rigs with my family, all over the hills, plateaus, and canyons of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. We found cliff dwellings, old homesteads, caved-in mines, all kinds of amazing artifacts, and those things influence a young mind. I think this comes out in the imagery of LOVE DARED.

By the time I’d written LOVE CHOSEN, I’d had a chance to travel a bit more and I’d even seen an ocean or two. The internet had also become a much more significant resource. So I felt comfortable placing LOVE CHOSEN in a seaport kingdom. The funny thing about that, though, is the Ierocks mountain range separates the fae from the humans, and it is present in both books. Why? Because I guess I never got too far away from home after all… Ierocks= Rockies…

Just to be clear, it’s like a love\hate thing with the wind.  But thanks Marne.  Part I ends here, but part II begins tomorrow!  It’s all Marne, all week! Or at least Thursday and Friday.

Talk to you cats tomorrow.