JK: Today Famous Writer welcomes our youngest interviewee yet, aspiring social studies teacher Marie Frankson. Marie, what experiences especially qualify you as a writer?
Marie Frankson: I grew up in the small town of Stony Creek, New York located in the Southern Adirondacks with my paternal grandmother (whom I consider my mom because she was the one who raised me), her second husband (who I consider my dad because he was the one who raised me after my grandfather passed away when I was 11 years old), and my younger brother William. I graduated from Hadley-Luzerne Central School in 2009 ranked 18th in my class as a member of National Honor Society and a volunteer firefighter for my hometown. Recently, I finished my sophomore year at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York studying to be a social studies teacher.
JK: I can see the connection between your interest in becoming a teacher and the kind of writing you’ve done so far. How did you get started writing?
MF: I was always writing something since I could pick up a pencil, because I always felt that my voice needed to be heard. My grandmother was a freelance writer for our local newspaper and I remember sitting on the floor of her office and watching her type up her stories; I wanted to be just like her. It wasn't until high school where I actually started to take my writing seriously. I would enter writing contests and made alternate for one; but no matter what, I just see writing as something I love to do. I wrote for my campus newspaper for a little while and I recently got a job as a freelance writer for an online newspaper which also prints their papers and delivers them to college campuses around the Northeastern seaboard who cannot afford to run their own newspapers. I have not yet had a story published for them, but I have several stories lined up when the fall semester starts in September and can write for them.
JK: So you’ve really gotten your career going just in the last couple of years. Congratulations! Tell me about your books. Do you feel you write for a specific audience?
MF: My most recent book, Balancing Act, and its predecessor, The Transfer of Age, are about a teenaged girl trying to find her identity. Along the way, she had some hardships and some triumphs and even managed to fall in love along the way. The book is told through the diary she kept and in first person point of view. In the first book, my character is 16-18 years old and the second book ends about a month before her twentieth birthday, so my intended audience was in the 16-20 range, although I know older people who have read my books and really enjoyed them.
JK: Is your work based on your own life? Where does your inspiration come from?
MF: With the two books I have published, real life has affected my work tremendously. If not for the life I led or having kept a diary, none of this would have been possible. That said, these two novels are my real life, an "autobiography of sorts" as my boyfriend so lovingly described it, and it is my truth, the world as I saw it and experienced it.
In general, my inspiration is life because in the end that's all any book is about, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. My inspiration for my first novel was a friend of mine telling me I should publish my diary when I was a sophomore in high school. I didn't get it published until half-way through my freshman year of college. My English 105 professor read it and said, "I really enjoyed your book, I hope you plan on writing a sequel," so he was inspiration to write my second novel, and he was one of the people I dedicated it to.
JK: That must have been encouraging. What kinds of reactions have you had from other readers, or your family and friends?
MF: The kind of feedback I get seems to be a mixed bag. Either people really like what I write or they don't, there doesn't really seem to be middle ground. With only 130-something Facebook fans, I wouldn't say that I have a definable fan base, especially since they people are from all around the world and are different ages. My family and friends are very supportive of me, although there have been things I wrote which were not good (ha ha). However, one thing everyone seems to like about my writing was that I didn't play the "mean girl" role. I left myself open to ridicule and rejection and you see that I am not perfect and don't pretend to be something I'm not. They know it's been one of my dreams to become a writer and at only 20 years old, I already have two novels under my belt. Without the love and support of my family and friends, I honestly don't believe that I would have had the strength to put myself out there like that.
JK: 130 Facebook fans sounds great to me. It sounds like you have a solid support network. How about fiction? Does reading inspire you?
MF: My favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, but when it comes to the writing style I would like to imitate, who influences me the most, that would be Candace Bushnell (the author of Sex and the City) and Stephen Elliott (the author of The Adderall Diaries).
JK: How do you balance your personal life with the urge to write?
MF: I don't set a specific amount of time to be devoted to my writing. If an idea comes to me, I just roll with it until I can't anymore, it doesn't matter if it's five minutes or if it's a couple of hours. My work area varies from day to day. Sometimes I'll write in my college classroom if an idea comes to me and I have to get it down before I lose the idea; sometimes I'll work at this beautiful writers' desk that's in my bedroom that belongs to my step-mom; sometimes I'll work in the public library; and sometimes I'll work in a coffee shop. Most of my first book was typed up in Starbucks and most of my second novel was typed up in a little indie coffee shop around the corner from my house. The only real method for my writing is that I carry a pen and a pad of Post-Its everywhere I go because one never knows where or when an amazing idea may strike.
JK: Just like lightning bolts from the blue, right? What comes next for your writing?
MF: I'm currently working on my first ever sci-fi/post-apocalyptic piece. It's called Seeking Utopia and the first half of the book can be read on my blog at: www.newfictionwriters.com/blog/34.
JK: Thank you for coming and sharing your work with us.
MF: Thank you so much for having me, Jessica!
Get the latest on Marie’s writing at http://anarration.blogspot.com/
Find her book through the links above or here.