This week I am pleased to bring you Marcia Meara of The Write Stuff. I came across Marcia’s site when I was only a very few months into writing in the blogosphere and Marcia generously offered to post poems from my books in her #ExcerptWeek. Marcia is a poster girl for kindness and generosity, and the caption reads “sharing is caring”.
How d’ya do, Marcia? Welcome! Marcia, what part of the world do you live in and what should the rest of the world know about your place?
I live in central Florida, just north of Orlando, and I’m actually a Florida native. Yep. (There’s me and some guy up in the panhandle, I think.) Let’s see. I suppose most folks know Florida is hot. And humid. We’ve already had temps in the high 80s and one day in the low 90s, and it’s still early March. This is a thing about Florida I really hate. Once it’s above 72 degrees outside, I tend to stay inside in the air conditioning.
Central Florida has some of the most interesting birds and wildlife in the United States. This is a thing about Florida I love! I’ve been a birder, canoeist, and nature lover all my life. If I can’t live in the mountains of North Carolina (my favorite place in the world), at least I can spend some time on the river watching fantastic birds and interesting wildlife. Even my backyard birdfeeder is endlessly entertaining.
Maybe your banner says it all, “Writers helping writers, with Marcia Meara and Friends”, but could you tell us about yourself and describe some of the goings-ons at your blog?
I’m a 75-year-old writer (though I didn’t write my first book until I was 69), married to Mark for 33 years. The kids are grown and gone with kids of their own, but we share our house with 4 big cats and 2 ancient dachshunds.
I’ve had three blogs over fifteen years or so, but the only one I’m actively using today is The Write Stuff, which I began shortly after I wrote my first book. It really is focused on writers, and unless I’m sharing news about a local wildlife event I’m doing, I usually don’t post about nature on the blog. That shows up more often on my Facebook pages. I do, however, change the header weekly, and often feature wildlife in my images there.
When/ how did you decide to take your blog in this direction? What do you enjoy most about opening up your blog to others?
When I wrote my first book, Wake-Robin Ridge, I decided I needed a writerly blog. It was going to be focused on whatever I was working on at the time. I knew by Day 2 that really wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a kind of writer’s open house, where we could learn from and support each other. If The Write Stuff had a theme song, it would be the one from the TV show, “Cheers,” since it’s a place where everybody knows your name, and new arrivals are always welcomed.
While I’m on the subject of the blog, I’m very happy to announce that many of my regular features from before Real Life got in the way are coming back as I continue to catch up with all my other projects. Features such as #ExcerptWeek, #ShareAReviewDay, #WhyWriteWrong, #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, and #InspirationBoardSunday will be coming onboard again over the weeks ahead. Many of these will focus on the wonderful writers and bloggers I’ve met over the last six years. Hope you’ll all consider taking part in some, as you see what they entail.
What has been your most powerful or memorable post?
I think I’d have to ask the good folks who’ve followed the blog for a while. I really don’t know the answer to that. I hope a lot of them are memorable, though.
And I hope that your followers chime in on that one! What is something you have learned from your collaborations?
From my own blog and those of others, I’ve learned that writers are the most generous and supportive people in the world, and that we are all learning and growing with each book.
Describe your writing style.
I write at home in my library, every chance I get. I’m surrounded by books, and Inspiration Boards full of pictures of my locations and characters. (Or at least people that look the way I imagine my characters to look.)
For five years, I started work every day about 7:30, cup of Earl Grey tea in hand, dogs and cats fed and lounging about the room. Sometimes I’m in my nightgown, but more often, I’m in a pair of comfortable shorts and t-shirt. That routine got upended a bit over the last year, but I’m working on getting back into the groove.
I do everything on the computer. Every. Thing. Notes, files, digital bulletin boards and story boards, research, drafts, editing—the whole shebang. It would take me way too long to write anything by hand, plus time has rendered my handwriting nearly illegible. Typing is a better plan.
I work in Word, using the same template for each book, so I don’t have to mess around with margins and headings with every new one. I’ve tried Scrivener and various other programs, but I get too distracted by all the bells and whistles, and the next thing I know, the morning’s gone. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Time’s a-wastin’! At my age, I’m very aware of that. Heck, at my age, I don’t buy green bananas! 😊
I want to get the stories in my head told as quickly and as well as possible, and fooling around with other stuff doesn’t help me do that.
Which of your characters is a favorite?
It’s a tie. When I meet with readers, which I do 2 or 3 times a month at various public venues or private book clubs, I always ask them which of my characters is their favorite. Rabbit wins hands down. (He’s the main character in A Boy Named Rabbit, who managed to usurp my entire romantic suspense series by the 2nd book.)
I love him, too, because I’m always astounded by everything he tells me. But tied with Rabbit, I have to say I most love Hunter Painter, from my 2nd Riverbend book, Finding Hunter. He’s just the quirky, off-the-wall kind of sensitive—even angsty—guy I would have fallen for way back in my misspent youth. And he’s funny, always a big plus with me. 😊
Have you ever gotten into trouble with one of your characters, suffered a disagreement?
Never! I wouldn’t dare disagree with any of my characters. They are who they are, and they tell me everything that’s going on in their world, especially Rabbit. Plus, they expect me to write it all down exactly the way they dictate. And really, who am I to argue? The stories belong to them, after all. I’m just the go-between. 😉
I hope that folks have enjoyed this interview as much as I have, Marcia. Below they will find your bio and links. I have only read the Wake Robin Ridge series (so far) and recommend it for its enduring and appealing characters, engaging stories, and of course the beautiful setting.
Marcia has published six novels, two novellas, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:
Wake-Robin Ridge Series
Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 – https://www.amazon.com/Wake-Robin-Ridge-Marcia-Meara-ebook/dp/B00ET2QR1Q
On a January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Nearly 50 years later, ex-librarian Sarah Gray has moved into the same cabin, planning to write her first novel. Plunged into an unexpected night of terror, she and her reclusive neighbor, MacKenzie Cole, discover what a heart is willing to sacrifice for love.
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 – https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Named-Rabbit-Wake-Robin-Ridge-ebook/dp/B00SQ4PID6
When his dying grandmother, gifted with The Sight, sets him on a quest to find the Good People, Little Rabbit must make his way out of the wilderness, alone. Rabbit crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, and none of their lives are ever the same again. The extraordinary little boy has the power to change the world for everyone he meets.
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3 – https://www.amazon.com/Harbinger-Wake-Robin-Ridge-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01GGXAJOG
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him.
Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1 – https://www.amazon.com/Swamp-Ghosts-Riverbend-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00K0QXLCS
Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted. He and Eco-tour boat owner Maggie Devlin discover that the most dangerous animal in the swamp walks on two legs. A serial killer is on the prowl in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, Florida.
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2 – https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Hunter-Riverbend-Book-2-ebook/dp/B014Q8F1UU
Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality all his life. Only Willow Greene sees beyond his façade. When his worst nightmares become reality, they culminate in a tragedy threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself. The story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again to the one woman who can save him.
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3 – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072LCVP6M
“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever? Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.
The Emissary Series
The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075Y2T3CL
An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.
The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody – https://www.amazon.com/Emissary-2-Love-Somebody-ebook/dp/B07JDP2B3D
They’re back! Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.
They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.
Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own. Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?
Join Azrael’s Emissaries on their journey to find the answers.
Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Magic-Poems-Life-Love-ebook/dp/B00FNBLIPC
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
You can reach Marcia via email at email@example.com or on the following social media sites:
The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Her belief in the redemptive power of love is a unifying factor in both of her popular series and her poetry. Today, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!