Interview with Marlena Frank!

1. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I can’t really say that writing is purely a spiritual practice because the spirit is only part of the process. I draw on memories, relationships, tastes, scents, and everything in between. I hope that my writing makes readers question the world around them a bit more than they did before though. I hope that they walk away from my work feeling different from how they began it, because that’s the sort of lasting impression I want to leave behind, a linger like that of a favorite wine.

2. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read every book review I receive. I just can’t help it. I want to know what readers think, whether good or bad, and that means that the bad reviews can be hard to swallow. Sometimes it’s something small that I can easily brush off, but sometimes the comments are painful. I never respond to them, though I’ve heard of other authors who do. My perspective is that once it’s out there, the writing is up to interpretation and it’s out of the author’s hands. I just always try to improve with every piece I write, and eventually the positive ones will outweigh the negative!

3. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’m kind of all over the place. I wrote one novel in a spark of inspiration in a little over a month. Another one took about five failed starts over a period of two years before it really moved forward. The She-Wolf of Kanta, though only novella length, took over a year to write because the world that Mercy lives in is quite dark. I kept hitting walls as her story unfolded and had to rewrite and edit as new characters emerged and the story revealed itself.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Lisa Kessler, who writes paranormal romance, has been a good friend of mine for years, long before she started writing books. I spoke with her when she was in Atlanta several years back and she had just begun the adventure of being a full-time writer. It made me realize that becoming a full-time writer would be a tough path to tread, though I’m still just as determined to be one someday. She has written over fifteen novels now and is always working on more. She’s a heck of an inspiration to me.

I met R.M. James on an editing site for authors. We exchanged feedback for each other and found we had similarly dark writing styles. I found it difficult to keep up with the all the editing demands the site required, but R.M. flourished with them. Her novel, Hear Me Scream, was what inspired me to not shy away from the dark tone that emerged in The She-Wolf of Kanta, and I’m grateful for her guidance.

5. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

The house I grew up in was nestled between the woods and a lake, so I saw quite a bit of wildlife. If I had to choose an animal to be my avatar, it would have to be the white-tailed deer. I loved watching them walk through the yard as a kid and we would use deer trails when wandering out in the woods. When I was maybe eight years old, I saw my first freshly mounted deer head at a friend’s house. I was so innocent and naïve that I thought it was a stuffed animal. I remember touching its glass eyes in awe, having never seen one so close before. Then the friend’s father mentioned that the eyes were real and I was horrified. As a child I didn’t understand how taxidermy worked or that the fur and antlers were all that was real, but I remembered that feeling for a long time. Deer for me represent both innocence and cruelty, themes that I come back to often in my work, which I guess is why I like them so much.

 

About the Author

LenaDressFace

 

I write about strange creatures. Typically they shouldn’t exist, or they have bled through from a different reality, or they’re pretending to be a crying baby in a crib. Sometimes that lands my stories in horror and other times in fantasy, but there’s always an air of strangeness to my tales. If you want to get a better feel for what I’m talking about, check out a few clips or read a few drabbles.

My work has appeared in a spattering of short

story collections, but I do have a few novellas and novels in the pipeline. Other than talking about writing, I also talk about cryptozoologywerewolveswildlife conservation, and of course kitties. I’ve also been known to nerd out about Batman and The Hobbit, and have recently discovered the cracktastic fun of Black Butler cosplay, so there will likely be more of these incidents.

By day I work as a web developer, so I’ll occasionally talk about web issues like finding the right theme.

Awards & Recognition

  • “The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer”, a fantasy noir detective piece, was a semi-finalist in The Zharmae Publishing Press’ Spring 2012 Writer’s Competition.
  • “The Sky is Falling”, a steampunk short story inspired by the Chicken Little tale, was included in Pink Narcissus Press’ Rapunzel’s Daughters. The anthology was named an Editor’s Choice title by Independent Publisher Online. 2011.

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