I am so excited to have Erika Marks here at A Novel Review today! I 'met' Erika last year via twitter and facebook, when her debut novel Little Gale Gumbo was released. She always came across as sweet and genuine. So when she contacted me to review her newest novel, The Mermaid Collector I jumped at the chance. Let's get to know...
The 5W's of Erika MarksWHO?
I’m a writer who is as stubborn and determined as they come—and I have almost 15 unsold manuscripts on discs (some are even on floppies! Remember those?) to prove it. I am mom to two little girls who I treasure beyond words and wife to a man who still makes my pulse race after almost ten years together. I am a great believer in finding the celebration and the adventure in every day. I know an obscene amount of movie trivia and I am always up for a road trip (Going to the grocery store counts!). I still bite my nails when I’m deep in edits (and my five year-old scolds me constantly for it) and I unplug the coffee maker before I leave the house “just in case.” I went to LA after college to try to make it in movies and still have a great love for community theater. I worked in construction and got my masters in Historic Preservation so I’m nuts about old buildings and have been known to climb through windows into abandoned houses to get a look at historic interiors. I always feel better when I can smell the ocean. But most of all, I am grateful for the gift of my family and the time I get to be with them.
WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
My husband is a biologist so we are outdoors all the time. We’re big campers and hikers and bird watchers. And we are a family of adventurous eaters! Being married to a native New Orleanian who is a tremendous cook means the kitchen is the heart of our house and it’s usually a lively place with all four of us in the mix. We’re constantly coming up with new recipes, trying out new ingredients. It’s a blast.
What I don’t do nearly enough of in my spare time, however, is clean. I am a hopeless housekeeper. My solution to avoiding clutter is to throw away anything that isn’t bolted down which, as you can imagine, can be problematic. But as long as the sink is empty of dishes, the counter is clean and the bed is made, I can ignore a scary amount of dust. Especially when I’m on deadline.
WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have As far as when I knew I wanted to be a published writer, I have a very vivid memory at nine of pulling out a copy of She Was Nice to Mice in our town library which Alexandra Sheedy (who we all know now as Ally Sheedy!) had penned at twelve. It clicked in that moment that maybe I could get published too. (I ended up being quite a bit, ahem, older than Ms. Sheedy when it finally happened for me.)
I’ve had a lot of different jobs in my life—and I mean A LOT—but the one constant was always my writing. It was the one goal I stuck with, the one profession I was determined to grow and mature and improve in, the one project I refused to put away.
WHERE? Where do you write?
My writing desk is a corner of the gorgeous dining table my husband built our family out of Michigan cherry. Out the window behind me, our bird feeder is always bustling (my husband calls it our cable TV), so I will often turn from my screen to watch the activity when I need a break. We always talk about how the next house we move to will have an extra room so we can have a designated office and not cover up our dining table with our work but honestly, I’m not sure I could bear to leave my “corner.” I can be a terribly superstitious person!
WHY? Why do you write?
Oh, Laura, I’m sure I’m far from original when I answer (with a whole lot of double negatives) because I couldn’t not write, but it’s the truth. I am always threading together stories in my head. There have certainly been periods of time when life has stepped in to keep me from working on a story, but the stories are always building and the desire to flesh them out is truly an addiction. I’m hopeless about taking time between projects—no sooner do I finish one novel than I am itching to start another. Even as I write this, I’ve just put a draft of my third novel to bed and I’m starting on book 4. It’s like I’ve just cleaned up from one meal and now that the kitchen’s all nice and clean I’m rearing to start cooking the next one!
Thank-you so much for stopping by, Erika! It was fun getting to know a little more about you. I always love hearing stories from authors about their love for reading, but I have to admit you win hands down when it comes to tenacity! I am so glad you kept at it!