1. Let’s talk writing routine and schedule. When and where do you write?
I wrote One Big Beautiful Thing mostly in my house on my laptop. I revised it on my porch, but I have a shed turned studio to write in now that is a much better workspace.
I need quiet when I write, so it’s nice to be able to get away and work. I’m very envious of people who can work in libraries and coffee shops— I get too distracted and people watch instead.
As for a schedule, I try to start by 9:00 and work until around 2:00 Monday through Friday. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s always the plan.
2. How long does it take you to finish a book from that spark of an idea to a final draft?
About two years, but I’m getting faster.
3. Name your three favorite authors.
Tove Jansson, Margaret Atwood, and John Irving.
4. What inspires you as a writer?
People inspire me: their stories, their actions, and their idiosyncrasies. In the case of One Big Beautiful Thing, when I was in college, a good friend lost her boyfriend to drowning. Not long after, my roommate and friend drowned while vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Both accidents had a lasting impact on me. And of course, like Kate, I’m familiar with the desire to pursue a creative career while at the same time worrying about practical things like the need to eat or pay the electric bill.
5. What do you think is the number one trait necessary to make it as a writer?
Tenacity. If you don’t tenaciously pursue your craft, writing is not going to work for you.
6. Your three favorite books of all time?
You’re going to laugh, but I think my favorite book of all time is Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson. I reread it once a year and I love it because everyone you will ever meet is somewhere in one of those stories. They’re very nearly perfect.
My second favorite book is The Complete Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. It was originally a comic book series, but I came to it as a set of graphic novels. It’s a beautiful complex story with so many stories inside of it, but ultimately it’s about love and friendship and it’s amazing.
My third favorite book is A Widow for One Year by John Irving. It had such an impact on me that it actually changed the way I drive. That’s a powerful story.
Of course this entire list is subject to change depending on the day. Surfacing or Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood will sometimes be on this list. Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg will also sometimes make this list, and sometimes John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany beats out A Widow for One Year. It’s tough to pick just three.
7. Last but not least, what is your favorite drink? (If it’s not tequila, I promise we can still be friends.)
It’s not tequila. I’m more of a Pimm’s and Ginger or Gin and Tonic kind of girl. Both drinks are perfect for a late afternoon gathering with friends.
Title: One Big Beautiful Thing
Author: Marie Flanigan
Release Date: 5-2-2013
Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.
Word Count/Page Number: 92,797 words/358 pgs
Marie Flanigan is a long time book and video game reviewer for gameindustry.com, as well as a blogger for The Motley Fool at beta.fool.com/postjade. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and three dogs. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember.