Hello agian! I have launched a new series on my blog called "Why Do Authors Write". It's a series of interveiws and questions I asked a couple authors to participate in. Today I interveiwed Damon Marbut! :)
Why do you write?Damon Ferrell Marbut
I write because I dislike the view of myself as a man living without it. It makes no sense to me to navigate through my life without documenting, in my way, the triumphs and discouragements that result from a life sometimes hard fought to enjoy and in which to seek meaning. The world as I understand it is only understood because of the people I create to discuss it on my behalf. Otherwise, I’m as confused as the next person about the future, dazed at the past and absurdly dancing in the present. Writing is a cure for restlessness, a solution to madness and, without question and because of these things, a necessity. It’s easy to delight in a grocery list, a blog posting, a happy birthday card—none of it matters. It’s that strange compulsion toward words and language that also compels me toward a wholeness I doubt I’d develop in its absence.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start writing?
My name is Damon Ferrell Marbut. I’m a novelist and poet, and I live and work in New Orleans, Louisiana, but I grew up two hours away in Mobile, Alabama. I started writing as a child, keeping multiple folders of short stories and poems with me wherever I went. I also wrote plays with my siblings and we’d produce them for our parents. My godmother was my school’s librarian, so I spent more time growing up trying to figure out how to escape the classroom to go walk around in her building full of books. Writing was always encouraged by family and teachers, so it remained a constant.
2. Tell me about the books you have written and the most recent ones. How did you come up with the ideas?
I’ve written a few novels and a couple collections of poetry. One collection was my graduate thesis. I don’t feel it was all that great. My newer collection is stronger, I think. I may put it out as an ebook soon. Its title is The Difference Between Young Gods, in case someone is interested in looking for it some day.
My debut novel, Awake in the Mad World, is the one I’ve chosen to enter the market with as the first voice of my authorship. The other novels--and I more or less knew this after I’d finished them--were necessary labors toward determining my style and how I wish to represent the lives in my imagination. My debut is about a group of post-graduate friends struggling to figure out themselves in the jolt of leaving college for a “real world” that they have a hard time seeing as welcoming. It’s an exercise in joy, I think. And about discovering yourself with the help of friends and the best parts of what you take from years at the university. The characters of Awake in the Mad World are developing writers, and engage in athletic, philosophical conversations about the world they only understand in their secret language together. My experience in graduate school with my friends was very similar, so the characters were easy for me to fall in love with and try my best to do that moment of my history justice by highlighting the universal themes of it.
3. How did you get so interested in the genre you write in?
I studied more carefully crafted writing during my Master’s program. Story uniqueness never appealed to me as much as how it was written did, and I’m still that way today when it comes to how I approach a book to read. I think many stories have been told over and over, but the how of a re-telling can make it incredibly special and give it new life and relevance.
4.What is the hardest part of writing to you?
My mental processes are a little contradictory lately. Much of me wants to write every day like I used to, and when I do it for a several day stretch I realize I drive myself crazy for results I know aren’t there to achieve. So I’m learning my process is changing. I suppose the hardest part of writing for me is being able to notice quickly enough when the way I do something is turning into something else. There’s a cognitive delay that, thankfully, I find more comedic now, rather than frustrating. I think getting uptight about process is exhausting, anyway. I’m glad I went through it, for sure, because I relax more when my objectives aren’t met by the end of the writing day.
5.What is a typical writing day for you? When and where do you write?
We live upstairs in our house but rent the downstairs to college students. There’s a common area downstairs near the kitchen that I find relaxing, and as I’m usually the earliest up in the house, I go there and start coffee, have a quick snack and then put two-three hours in on the laptop. Sometimes I have handwritten notes with me to jump in immediately. Other days I stare at a few paragraphs, fix a few lines, maybe read through earlier chapters, scribble a few notes down for the next session and start the rest of my day. I don’t sweat it, but I make sure I at least am in front of the screen enough to stay connected with the manuscript until I’m ready again to continue.
6.What advice would you give young writers who are reaching their goals to be an Author?
Write and read as much as possible, of course, until you develop your own way of doing things. But I also think being able to handle solicited and unsolicited advice is crucial. There’s so much psychology involved behind why you’re looking for feedback, what kind of feedback you’re seeking vs. the kind you actually ask for. And then on the other side of it, reviewers and editors who might love your work for reasons just as ridiculous as the reasons someone might destroy your work with their opinions. I just recently had my first and only bad review of Awake in the Mad World, and it was just awful--very abrasive and unprofessional. I wrote about it on my blog at http://www.damonferrellmarbut.com/. My point is that if I’m to give advice, it’s to tell young writers to be careful how they seek advice, how they accept it, how they give it, and that at the end of the day, a lot of it doesn’t make you a better or worse writer. It just all seems to help who you are as a person, which ultimately then informs your work. Your work improves as you grow as a person.
7. Are you working on anything right now?
Yes. A new novel that’s based here in New Orleans where I live.
8. Do you have any favorite books or authors?
I love Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. It’s just gorgeous and brilliant and beautiful. I’d like to re-read Another Country by James Baldwin, as well as Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran. Those are two incredibly literary and powerful books I’ve felt a recent urge to explore again. But, of course, I’ve got a stack of four others to read first. I’m sure I’ll forget I mentioned them soon enough.
9. Which book of yours would you most recommend?
Well, for now, I can’t recommend Awake in the Mad World highly enough...
Awake in the Mad World is available in paperback at Amazon.com, and is also available through Apple ibooks, Kindle, Nook and Kobo. You can follow my blog at http://www.damonferrellmarbut.com/. Just add your email address at the bottom of the home page. I look forward to learning about other writers and artists, and hearing your stories.
Thanks agian Damon for telling us about your books and Why you write! Comment if you write the same reason as Damon! :)
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