I just finished answering the questions to the third interview this month. I enjoy giving interviews and yes, even though the goal is to get some added exposure for my books, what I like most about them is that sometimes the questions force me to think about a process or to put a feeling or belief that I hadn't vocalized into words.
One such question was asked a few months after my first book, SILENCED CRY, was released. How much of me is in my book?
I can safely say that I’ve never dealt in drugs, never killed anyone, I was never arrested, and I’ve never worked in law enforcement. Still, I can’t imagine a writer not bleeding a little bit into their books with what I’d call human experiences; grief, anger, joy, fear, resentment, worry, suspicion—everyone can relate to those feelings. I dug deep into my own emotions in order to understand how and why my characters acted and reacted the way they did in SILENCED CRY. At times, it took some doing to step into the antagonists’ skin and to look at the world from their perspective. I think there’s something to be said about the writer’s belief system too and how it affects the plot and the characters’ behaviors. As much as I tried to step back away from my own viewpoint, I think a part of me snuck in between the lines.
Another question had to do with starting a writing career in my 50's. Turning 50 was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. Let's face it, ladies, we all know what our 20's were about -- hair, make-up, cloth, dating, and friends. But under that happy go lucky dispositon the pressure was always on. Possibly some leftover anxiety from our teens--the need to be accepted. Wedding bells rang at 25 and before I knew it, life had slipped me into the blurred years--my 30's. A time for raising children, home improvements, PTA meetings, science projects, and house breaking pets. My 40's weren't much different. Our children's outings and toys got a lot more expensive and somewhere in there I nursed a career and got a degree. So the best way I can explain how I felt when I hit the big 5-0 is to imagine holding your breath under water until your lungs feel as if they could burst then rushing up for that first gulp of air. It was finally time for me which of course led to my writing.
So what would I say to other baby boomers interested in pursuing a dream? Go for it! No matter how small, large, or unattainable the dream may seem, it’s always within reach if you want it badly enough. People can find a million and one excuses for why they haven’t accomplish a goal—age shouldn’t be one of them.
Go on, crawl out of that comfort zone, feel the edge of an uncharted path beneath you feet, and move forward. Life is a series of stepping stones, each leading to a new challenge and the next level of development. The jagged edge that trips some people is the fear of the unknown. “Should I stop while I’m ahead, or move on?” Regardless of the decision, twelve months from now you’ll be a year older. The question is, will you be a year older and adding to your list of excuses or will you be on your way to living a dream?
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Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. SILENCED CRY is available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.
SILENCED CRY (2007)
Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival
Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)
Look for THE DEVIL CAN WAIT in the fall, 2008.