|It’s been a long year. A year I have never thought I would have to travel. I traveled. I stumbled. I fell. I have the scars and scares to prove it, but I’m still upright and making my way. No little girl ever dances around in a white dress daydreaming of her divorce and there is no ceremony to really mourn the loss of a marriage. We simply just keep going. That’s been my year.I’ve hidden from the world what I stirred into creation because I was too scared I would fail at it, as well. The readers have expectations now. They have been dragged down a path I have paved and now they stand at the muddy ruts waiting for the next stepping stones to be placed. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the first clue how to place the first stone. So I didn’t. My mind was filled with the chanting of a darker muse. The muse who lives to feed off our destruction: Self Doubt.
I hate her. I’ve grown to despise her. Her words are soul-searing and utterly devastating. Her words hold such power because they are echos of our own words. She’s nothing more than a darker reflection of what we already cast in the mirror. That’s why she is so powerful. She is us and we are her; intertwined for eternity in a wrestling match for our sanity.
Well, I finally think I have beaten her. It might just be a stalemate while we both rest, but at any rate, like a true zombie queen, I’m starting to rise from the grave I was placed into. One bloody finger at a time I’m making my crawl back to the world of the living, and just like the monsters I adore, I’m bringing all sorts of ruination with me.
Marie F Crow is the author of the post-apocalyptic series, The Risen. She weaves her stories around the human element of the horror verses the “monsters” themselves. She believes that the real horror of life does not come from the expected, but from the unexpected responses of human nature and what depths of trauma a person has to survive in certain situations. She began writing The Risen series when feeling that the popular genre was slipping too deep into the realm of pure “slasher” and forgetting what the horror of zombies can mean for a story.
Now with her children’s series launched, Marie hopes to use her favorite “monster” as a teaching tool to inspire children to understand that not everything that looks scary, is scary. With Abigail and Her Pet Zombie series, Marie hopes to further spread her love for all things “that go bump in the night” with small children showing them that it’s okay to be different and to embrace those same differences in those around them.
Q. Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence you writing?
I’m from the south; sweat tea loving, coke drinking, cussing on Monday, South. I call South Carolina my home, but my roots dig deeper. My books have a lot of hidden South Carolina gems. I feel that adds more to the submersion when a reader can connect with a location.
Q. Tell us your latest news??
I’m divorced! Wait? Too early for the champagne? In all seriousness, it’s been a long year and the lack of books is showing it. I hope now that life is shambling back to some form of normal I can begin to dive into some verbal manslaughter again.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
I love this question. I love it more when asked it while sitting on panels, just so I can watch the audiences’ faces, but it’s still an amusing question. There was no calling; no lightning bolt of “this is what I was made for”. I wrote The Risen series because my husband at the time dared me. He didn’t think I would. So I did. I never expected to publish it, have anyone read it, nor did it ever cross my mind people would be standing in line just to meet me. I did it because I have a love affair with my middle finger and a streak of defiance. By the way, that is a very interesting combination to have in life.
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be?
My characters range from zombie slaying wonder women, murderous children, mermaids,all the way to cartoon kids.
Putting their various differences aside, at the heart they the same aspect – they are normal everyday people. It’s not scary for Superman to rush into a burning building. It’s scary when mere, unperfected, mortals do it. That’s the soul of everything I put to ink. I want the readers to connect in every book with at least one character. For that to happen, they have to feel real. The readers and the fictional people I verbally torture have to be share some aspect of their lives. The one thing we all share is our hearts. I flay that organ open, spread the carnage wide, and once the ooey goodness has been explored, we discover what makes the character tick is the same tragedy which would make us all tick- family.
Q. What motivates you to write?
At first, it was a pulse to prove I could. I wasn’t after fame or even a give a damn of recognition. I did it because I wanted to do it. When you do something for yourself, that’s freedom. It allowed me to take whatever avenue I wanted with my characters. I knew each time I killed someone the ripple it would cause and I did it anyway. My fans have even started a little joke on their social pages about it. “Don’t fall in love with a character of Crow’s. If you do, that’s the first one to die.” Or the one fan who has shirts made stating upon them, “WTF Crow?” after a well loved character bit the dust. Now I write because it’s different type of freedom. Readers read to escape their world for awhile. I write for the same reason.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
Time. For me, time. Life has changed and with that so has my day-to-day. I’m slowly coming back into my own. When it finally all clicks into place, I’ll make the keyboard my hostage again.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Popularity is a double-edged sword. Fans come with haters. Love comes with rejection. Whiskey comes with coupons. No really, it does. Trust me, I’ve learned.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
I write from my heart. If it scares me, it’s put to ink. If it moves me, I drag the characters through it. Kicking and screaming if need be, but they go through it. I’ve never pretended to be a writing genius. There is no mathematical formula which makes more sense on a white board than homework. My heart connects to my mind and the fingers start tapping on the painted letters in front of me.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
It’s never, ever, really been something I’ve been allowed to talk about. A good branch of my family stopped talking to me. It hurt. It still hurts, but it is what it is and that’s all that it is. I never gave it much thought. I never thought what I was typing at the time would cause such a rift. These are the same women who read books which are dressed as romance with more sexual positions between the pages than most paid professionals perform in a month. It never occurred to me that I may ruffle their feathers because I fictionally murder small children only to dig those same children up and use them to haunt people. Nor did I consider the earthquake I would cause when creating an award winning children’s’ series based around a little girl and her pet zombie, but hey, here we are folks! There is a divided line in my family over my many pasttimes; I suppose my writing will be the same.
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
It’s your book so deal with it. What? Too rude? Not cuddly enough? Well, cuddles aren’t free once you step into the light, and believe me, you will be stepping out into the light. If it’s white light or dark light, either way, it is still going to burn. On panels I always hear the same advice vocally spewed into the crowd: “Don’t give up and believe in yourself.”. Yes, it’s great to harp like a one line parrot, but reality is so much broader. Reviews hurt. They are like sand paper on baby soft skin. The shit just hurts, but the pain doesn’t have to be real. Everyone has an opinion. Hell, I’m still trying to figure out why Twilight became so popular.
But it did because we all like different things. So your book isn’t as well loved as your mother told you it would be. So what? Deal with it? Because if you are writing, searching for that magic lottery ticket of a win, you will always be the baby soft skin for the sandpaper of the world. But if you write because you enjoy it what you write, how you write, and why you write, sandpaper is nothing more than an annoying irritation. Irritations aren’t enough to discourage. It’s your book. It’s your world. So create it, build it, nourish it, and deal with it. Whatever the “its” might be, deal with them. Just remember, if all else fails, whiskey has coupons.
Q. What book are you reading now?
I’m doing a bit of soul-searching under the guise of research. Right now, I’m reading a lot about the wiccan culture and their beliefs. I think zombies might have to rest for a bit while I muck around with a different crew of characters. Not that zombies are going anywhere…..for long.
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