Today is Wednesday, and I’m pleased to have Maria Ann Green join us with her debut release, In The Rearview. Maria’s book is uniquely crafted, alternating between journal entries and third person POV, an often difficult point of view to write in. But Maria Ann Green’s talent shines through as she pulls it off in her debut release, already receiving rave reviews. Dig in to the blurb about In The Rearview, and then we’ll talk to Maria about what inspired the book and what her writing process is like.
Meagan’s problems aren’t like every other adolescent’s no matter how much she wishes they could be. Hers are worse. They’ve pulled her down into the depths of a depression that is anything but normal. She begins her pattern of self-harm as her depression threatens to drown her. She starts with one cut that leads to the next, and the next. After starting, it’s apparent that there’s no stopping, and Meagan spirals into a dark and cruel world she doesn’t understand. Meagan cuts to feel better, but that comfort doesn’t last long enough, and soon life is worse than it ever was before.
While learning to quit cutting Meagan faces life-altering obstacles and grows up in the process. In The Rearview is a story of pain, loss, confusion, and hope told through Meagan’s poems, journal entries, and a splash of narrative.
CL: What inspired the idea for In The Rearview?
MAG: I had the idea for In the Rearview as far back as when I was in middle and high school. I knew people going through the same issues that take place in the book. I also wanted to do something completely different than anything else I’ve read before, and I love poetry, so I told a lot of the story in that way.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
MAG: I am definitely a pantser. I have friends who are plotters, and I just don’t quite get that. Some of my best writing (and plot points) come out when I am pantsing and just gong with the flow. I do have a close friend who is a plotter for life, and she has converted me a tiny bit. That hurts a little to admit. Now when I get an idea I write out a few paragraphs in an “outline” and the rest of the novel is in bullet points on that outline as I come up with more and more ideas as I go. I also keep a character cheat sheet with every novel now. It saves me time from continually scrolling back to remember who has what color eyes. But that’s as far as my outlining goes. I still pants 75% of the time.
CL: What was the most difficult part of writing In The Rearview?
MAG: The hardest part with Rearview was realizing I needed to add in the narrative. Originally it was only journals and poetry, but that left the manuscript very short in word count. I have a wonderful critique partner who suggested adding the narrative and new ideas just started pouring then. Eventually the length doubled, and the whole book you can read today was formed. But before last year, for ten-ish years, it was half the length.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author.
MAG: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. In elementary school I attend the Young Author’s conference twice. I just love all things fiction. I continued writing, but I focused on an additional area in school, Psychology, because I knew how hard writing can be. I had a poem published in my University’s yearly publication, but that was about the extent of my success until now. A year or so ago I decided it was time to get serious again about writing and I submitted Rearview until someone else loved it as much as me. I’m so lucky and I wouldn’t be where I am if I had ever given up. I have a supportive husband who was sure I’d be published, and I have amazing critique partners who always push me to be better. My work would not be the same without the people I have in my life. And now that I’m published I hope this is the first of many!
CL: What advice would you offer aspiring writers on the writing business?
MAG: My advice is to always listen to your critique partners. If they say something doesn’t work, it doesn’t. That was the hardest thing for me to learn. Just because I love something doesn’t mean it’s amazing. I surround myself with writers that I trust with my whole heart, and I listen to their advice. I never want to be an author who doesn’t rely on her critique partners. My second piece of advice is to never give up. The path to publication is a combination of talent, perseverance, and luck. You need all three, but you every stop trying then you’re done. Don’t be done. I’ve always believed, and will always believe, that every story has a reader.
CL: Any special tips for writers who are juggling writing with raising a family, working a day job or just life in general?
MAG: I have a day job and a husband, so I do my share of juggling. First, I want to say though I have absolutely no idea how writers who have children do it. I just have my husband and our cat, and they pretty much take care of themselves. I do juggle the day job and writing, and honestly my best advice is to make the time. Set out a specific amount of time (or words) to write every single day. I have been challenging myself to write two thousand words a day, every single day, for six months (or until I finish four first drafts), and that has really shown me how to balance my time. I try not to let my self get behind, because then I only have to make it up later. If I set aside two hours every single day it’s amazing how much I can write. Set a goal, any goal, and stick to it. If it’s just 100 words a day or one page, of if it’s three thousand words a day, pick something and keep yourself honest. The more you write the better you get. Honestly, with every single manuscript and every single critique (received or given) I get better. If you aren’t writing your craft isn’t growing. If you have to juggle time and balance your life, that’s definitely important, but make a little time for everything. That’s how I do it!