Ask the Author: Mari Howard

“I might be able to answer questions about the book I am currently working on, in the autumn.” Mari Howard

Answered Questions (9)

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Mari Howard The world of Lord of the Rings. Although I don't read much fantasy, I love this book, it is so deep and detailed and it is a real pilgrimage of a book. Its world is a bit scary but it is such a marvellous creation, woven from Tolkien's knowledge and reflecting his life. I find the Elves interesting as he reacts totally against the 'fairy' ideas of his time and makes them strong, mysterious, and different to ourselves. I'd ideally want to visit Lothlorien and question Elrond and Galadriel about their lives, their ideals, and their thoughts about our world! Actually, to spend time with Elves was very dangerous and discouraged in Medieval times ... so I would be in great danger ... Hum! However, Sam Gamgee came through okay, didn't he? ANd with some present to help his garden ...
Mari Howard Read your review just today: I'm afraid I tried your book (the one which touches on the same areas) and I felt the same - snap! Did not finish it ... We aren't each other's fans - no problem, we're both in ALLi and we both have readers ... the world has space for both of us.
Mari Howard I could do that, yes. I am a fairly slow reader - both because of time constraints and because I am a slowish reader anyway. Is it on Kindle? I've have a look. You may of course not like BB, if it's not your kind of thing, but a fair review including 'not my thing but ...) is fine. I've been reading a few books lately which aren't mine, but are by people who are fellow writers I know, - it was interesting to read time travel, dystopic, and fantasy for a change. (PS The Labyrinth Year, my follow-up to BB, gave me the opportunity to write about pre-schoolers. That was fun!)
Mari Howard I'm passionate about people: how we respond to situations - not only big ones, war, crime, murder - how we respond on a daily basis. We all love stories: the News, newspapers, magazines, trade on human interest. As a sociologist, my eye is on society and how it works or doesn't at the micro level. The questions life asks us, and the answers we choose. Rather than put theories into intellectual books only specialists read, I write stories which hopefully tap into both our appetite for 'human interest' and make us think further about how we ourselves react to, for example, a family event which clashes with a big work demand, an underlying guilt about how we treated a sibling when we were kids. What pushes our buttons, and how does that impact on everyone else? How far out does the impact go? Baby, Baby partly drew on my own Uni life, but it's by no means autobiographical. In The Labyrinth Year, I had a situation set up, and hoped Baby, Baby readers would want to explore further into the conflicts that will inevitably arise as Jenny and Max move forward together.
Mari Howard I'm currently working on marketing my latest novel, The Labyrinth Year. I'm also making notes and doing research for the next, which has a theme of What is Love? but that's at a really early stage. I want to go far deeper into this theme than I have yet tried, in fiction, though I've done a blog on the theme and am working on a non-fiction piece.
Mari Howard All over: probably mostly it began with wondering what my characters from Baby, Baby did next ... working a bit with young families, thinking through what it's like to be building a career while raising young kids, life is what inspires me, really, and how we interact with society and our own dreams.
Mari Howard Getting to arrange your thoughts and turn your fleeting ideas into a story which communicates and hopefully gives pleasure to others while also making them think
Mari Howard I go away from my study and do something else: writer's block doesn't often bother me ... however, gardening, housework, going for a walk ... seeing a friend ... doing something physical or with others gives the brain a rest (or at least a different job to do) - I'm also a painter so I can swap around.
Mari Howard Caution! Only set off to be a writer if you really can't resist the urge, and know that you have something to say. It's hard work, long hours, and it doesn't make money - but creative work is very satisfying and I wish you the best!

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