How did you become a writer?
I was born a storyteller and by the time I was four I think my parents were ready to duct-tape my mouth because I had to share every detail about my world. In my teens, I spent hours in the woods penning ideas. Throughout my twenties, I was frustrated that I couldn’t make the words on the page match the vision in my mind. It took quite a bit of mediocre writing to finally find my style and voice.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
I have a stack of books that I keep close when I’m writing: Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Patchett’s Bel Canto, Joanne Harris’s Chocolate, and whatever book I’m currently reading that has inspired me to write stronger. But my mother was my strongest influence. Having learned writing and grammar from the nuns in the sixties, she’s been a harsh critic forcing me to work harder.
When and where do you write?
I wish I had a routine and I’m working to find one, but my writing comes to me at the oddest times: driving in the car, shopping, on airplanes, hiking in the woods, and unfortunately at four in the morning. Sometimes I write in bed because I have to get the idea down immediately. If I’m distracted I head to a coffee shop; I have about three haunts depending on my mood. I also have a home office that overlooks a park. This is my favorite place to write because I can stare out the window while I create my characters and scenes.
What are you working on now?
My second novel is still untitled. It deals with how our memory creates who we are, but since The Lake House hit the shelves there’s been a tremendous call for a sequel and I’m beginning to consider it.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
It’s more like writer’s fear. When I go into a scene I have no idea where it will take me and it’s an intense emotional ride. There’s also the worry that it won’t be good enough and I know that the ideas are right there if I’ll just open the door, but a part of me wants to keep it clamped shut. Sometimes it will take six hours to convince my mind that it’s okay to write.
What’s your advice to new writers?
Patience! Too many writers race ahead. Great writing takes time. Write, walk away, return, revise, and repeat as many times as necessary. Always read your writing aloud to someone else. Before you query agents get a professional critique. Many times these cost only a few hundred dollars and can make all the difference.
Marci Nault’s debut novel,The Lake House (Gallery/ Simon & Schuster) is a Chicago Tribune, Cape May Herald, CBS and Amazon Premier Featured Summer read pick. It’s the story of the unlikely friendship between 74-year-old, Victoria Rose, and 28-year-old, Heather Bregman, set on a small lakeside community in New England.
Marci is the founder of 101 Dreams Come True, a motivational website that encourages visitors to follow their improbable dreams. Her story about attempting to complete 101 of her biggest dreams has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide, and she regularly speaks on the subject on radio and television. She loves to talk with book groups through Skype. More information can be found at www.marcinault.com or www.101dreamscometrue.com.