Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Writer Wednesday: Author Marianne G. Petrino & her metaphysical Coffee With Thunderbolts
I have the pleasure of hosting author Marianne G. Petrino today - she's here to tell us about her release Coffee With Thunderbolts. That title alone got me intrigued, and this book is now on my TBR pile. I've recently met Mariane but the short time we've known each other has been more than enough to show me what a warm and engaging lady she is. She's also got an amazing life full of stupendous experiences... as her interview will show you.
Here's more from Marianne:
Tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.
I was born in the Bronx , New York in 1955, and that simple fact has shaped my whole life. The Bronx in 1955 was a place of immigrants and first /second generation Italian Americans and the conflicts and relationships born of the immigrant experience. I studied biology/microbiology in college, and worked as a researcher for a small amount of time. My panic attacks, my discomfort with chemistry, and the lack of women mentors in science at the time helped sink my scientific career. Over the years, I worked more with books than test tubes in libraries and in retail. And yet, biology still interests me, especially genetic genealogy. I am a member of the Personal Genome Project, and through Family Tree DNA, I had my mitochondrial DNA sequenced. On the pop culture side, I have appeared in the movie Life in a Day (2011). And back in the day (1976 to be specific), I dated the late Dave Cockrum of X-Men fame. (Trivia note: An anagram of my first name was appended to the name of the character Lilandra Neramani, who was the Empress (or Majestrix) of the Shi'ar Empire.) I do anime reviews for the Arlington Independent Media TV show Fast Forward Contemporary Science Fiction (I was drafted). Lately, I have been attempting to become a voice actor. So on some bizarre level, even without the registration of copyright for the ISBNs for my books, I have left enough of an imprint for a good obituary when I die.
I think you already have more than enough for that obituary - cannot imagine what else you're bound to add to those experiences!
What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?
I won't choose; I'd rather explain my preferences. I like twilight, the border between night and day, where whispers float between them. I also like golden time, that span in the afternoon when the whole world is bathed with the golden rays of the setting sun, which reminds me of everything long gone. Early morning near sunrise has the sparkling promise of a new day. And the time after midnight, especially between 3 am and 4 am, opens the deep mysteries and communication with the unseen.
You're a color – which one are you and why?
Blue, but the shade varies depending on my mood. I associate the color with healing and calm, and yet, I am the most anxious person I know.
Lol - aren't we, authors, all basket cases?
Why become a writer?
Becoming a writer just happened when I wasn't looking. After writing Thundercats fan fiction for so many years (since 1989) because of a desire to do so that was almost a possession, I had to admit that I was a writer. It was the "hobby" I stuck with the most.
As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. How do you sort through these ideas, to stick to the 'viable' ones?
I jot thoughts/dreams down on scraps of paper, and then I shove them into my personal phone book. I never think about viability. I think about whether the thought has ripened; then, it is ready to be explored more deeply.
How do you develop an idea into a book?
With the quantity of Thundercats fan fiction I have produced over the years (approx 400,000 words) I am more of a serial short story writer than a novelist. But having published one novel, and being in the process of editing its sequel, two facts have emerged. In writing a novel, I have the beginning and the end in mind. The writing process itself involves developing the gooey middle. I am also a seat of the pants writer, so I just let the story take me where it wants to, as long as we get to the end I envisioned, more or less.
The gooey middle - I love that description, because that's exactly what it is, innit?
If there's one book you wish you had written, which one is it and why that book in particular?
This is a thought I have not entertained because I believe in my own voice. I cannot write someone else's book, just as they could not write mine, flaws and all. What I wish for is that when people read my work, they enjoy it and carry something away with them, a treasure to keep that might take them down a new path.
Which is easier for you – narrative, or dialogue?
Plagued with panic as I am, all of it is a challenge for me. Since I mostly write in the third person, I am comfortable with narrative. I see the scene unfold like a movie, and do my best to describe what I am seeing. But some days, I am mute. My dialogue tends to be more formal than most people like these days (even having been called "stilted"). But I just can't get into reading very slangy stuff, even if it is my own. Most novels by younger folk these days tends to be written first person, with little description, and lots of vernacular dialogue. I often feel like I am watching HBO (reading a script) when reading some novels (end of sermon/judgment).
Lol! No worries - this space here today is your soap box *grin*
POV of predilection? Which POV mixes with you like oil and water?
Usually just one point of view in the third person, is my preferred way to go. This comes from short story writing, which is tighter than novels. However, I allow myself the "forbidden" pleasure of both direct and indirect thought.
Preferred genre to write?
I seem drawn to the "metaphysical" genre (don't like the "Urban Fantasy" tag as I expect to see elves on Harleys with that designation). My Thundercats fan fiction is loaded with mystical goings on, and so is my novel and its upcoming sequel.
Elves on Harleys - a story in there somewhere, I'm sure... *grin*
How do you get into your characters' heads and shoes?
When writing a scene, I just let go, sort of like a meditative trance. I see the scene play out and hear the voices. I really just transcribe. I am a vessel and they come through. Often, I do not do them justice, especially in the dialogue. I tend to keep them clean and less slangy.
Drafts, edits, polishing – love or loathe? Can you please explain?
I like really getting the work into shape after the first draft. The story is key. If all of the elements fit and flow, I am happy. However, I can't stand checking spelling, grammar, etc. If I could have a copy editor, I would be thrilled. But alas, I do it all myself, and usually, imperfectly.
What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?
The same factor all authors bring: a unique voice.
Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?
Just write, and also this: it is okay to write fan fiction. It is a great training ground.
Tell us about your latest release
Coffee with Thunderbolts was released in 2011. I wrote it during the National Novel Writing Month of 2010 to see if I could actually write a novel and to learn about self -publishing for the travel memoir I wanted to do. I am currently editing the sequel to CWT called A Star Rose in Cerami. I want to put Sicily, Italians, and Italian-Americans on the map.
Elena Xharra is a young woman who has lost her sense of self and purpose. She flees her life in New York City and heads to Arlington, Virginia, where her Aunt Rosemarian lives. She and her aunt have shared similar suffering. Unlike her critical mother, her aunt offers Elena love, some fun, and a safe haven from the world. To improve both their lives, Rosemarian poses the question: What would you be willing to do to erase regret from your life? With the conjunction of the Sun and the Great Rift of the Milky Way coming on December 21, 2012, a doorway to adventure, possibility and wisdom opens for them. Coffee with Thunderbolts is an urban metaphysical novel that takes place in 2012 in Arlington, Virginia; Lexington, Kentucky; and Locust Grove, Ohio.
In 5 words:
Your book: Two women on mystical journey.
Your heroine: Young woman; no direction; Chaos.
Your hero: Can the Innkeeper be trusted?
You as an author: The channel for the story.
Let's say your book is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?
Anything contemporary with a metaphysical twist, like The DaVinci Code (But I could not fit in an albino monk with a whip!!, just a demented, debauched grandfather.)
Lol! I don't think any one of us wants to top that albino monk with a whip plotline!
What real-life actors are playing the roles?
I prefer not to lock an image into someone's mind. Let the reader cast this movie :)
Hmm, intriguing... I look forward to casting them when I read the book.
Now this movie needs a soundtrack – what songs/tracks best fit your book?
Kyrie Eleison by Mister, Mister, immediately comes to mind. I also keep hearing Simon & Garfunkel with Patterns and Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall.
Gotta love some Simon & Garfunkel, innit?
Your characters end up in a world where everyone's a fashionista – how do they dress and what are they wearing?
Augustus favors European styling in clothes, and only the best fabrics. Frange is hip and funky, but fringe obsessed. Elena is a typical twenty-something in her choices: a wide range of clothing depending on her mood. Fatima Theodora still wears wildly patterned caftans like a great ship's sails on her huge body. Horus is traditional American. Gennaro wears professorial tweed, when he isn't dressed for diabolical rituals in red robes. Now, Fashionistas can work with all of them to improve their styles. However, Rosemarian would be locked away by the fashion police as hopelessly challenged. She never wears any clothes with buttons (her personal fetish), and prefers just linen/cotton pants and pullover tops(turtlenecks in cool weather, and tees/silky short sleeve shirts in summer). Comfortable shoes are the only kind she would ever wear. Torture for her would be to be subject to a make over. She would choose death over that.
I can tell you had fun with this question, lol!
Where can we find you and your books?
My book is available on Lulu and Barnes & Noble, in print and EPUB. On Amazon, it is only available in print.
My blog: http://ninetiger.net
My Thundercats fan fiction: http://thunderanweavings.net
Thanks for coming over today, Marianne - it's been delightful to read your witty answers. I'm really looking forward to digging into Coffee With Thunderbolts, and I hope a good many readers checking this post out will feel the same way. All the best with you books & writing!
From Mauritius with love,