Interview attempt #1: Talking with Deb Marshall


January 19, 2013 by rebeccaannemarshall

MH900384096So today I decided to take a bit of a detour from momsville and explore the wonderful world of writing. Partly because she is a writer and mostly because she is here sitting with me at this very moment and having her here gave me a wonderful idea for a topic, I thought Id do a sort of interview style blog post with my mother! I am not an expert in interviewing people, or knowing the right kinds of questions to ask. Nor do I really know the important ones to ask. Having said that, I did some brain storming and came up with some questions that I thought were worth asking and then we sat down with our coffees on the couch to the noise of the Disney channel and busy babies in the back ground. I began shooting questions at her and attempting to write things down as fast as the answers were coming back at me. It was a totally formal interview worthy atmosphere (yep) and my hand has never gotten so much speedy-pen-wielding exercise before. With out spending to much more time making sure you are aware of my inability to professionally interview and write about said interview (I am attempting to lower your expectations here, so that mediocre may come off as brilliant) I will get right to it!

Deb: “Hey, did you want to ask me those questions now?”

Myself: “Oh yea, OK, just let me finish this.”


Myself: “OK… What tips do you… Oh just keep in mind that we want to go in a sort of humorous direction…right, What tips do… I mean you can be serious too, you’re allowed to be serious… OK!! What tips do you have to get motivated to write something?

Deb: “OK, well if you don’t have a dead line, or an agent or publisher telling you to get it done (because that is extremely motivational) you could look to other writers for motivation. I have a group of writer friends online on Twitter that I keep up with and we give each other motivation. You can write down hashtag wipmadness… you know what a hashtag is right?

Myself: “I’m not on twitter, its just a pound symbol right?”

Deb: “Yep just write #wipmadness

Myself: “Alright, I will ask this next cause it’s kind of like the same-ish question. What sort of things do you use as inspiration?”

MH900412398Deb: “Sometimes I like to go to coffee shops and people watch… it can help you with character building. I like to read other author’s books as well, I try to read outside in the fresh air. I do a lot of research too. YouTube is a big time suck for me. I go on to look up things and it leads to one video and then to another and then eventually, I will forget what I went on there to research. I Also go to writers conventions. I eat way to much and I spend way to much money, but I come away inspired.”

Myself: “Any writing habits? Like eating chips, or having a coffee or a bottle glass of wine?

Deb: “Yep, I like to check my internet things first, my email, read some blogs, surf the internet. It gets me ready to write. I also like to write to a sound track. I try to make a playlist of songs that help inspire scenes I am writing. It gets my imagination going.”

Myself (am I supposed to say myself? or am I supposed to say Becky:? Or does it matter? Oh well): “How do you prefer to write? Like, do you write your whole first draft and then go back and edit? Or do you prefer to edit sporadically while writing it?”

Deb: “Well… I do both… it depends on what book I am writing. I outline first. Sometimes the outline ends up getting thrown out the window as I start writing, but I like to brainstorm, it helps me get ideas down and to make sure that I have enough of something that is worth writing about.”

MH900234134Myself: “Do you have any advice for people to keep their writing brains sharp?”

Deb: “Actually there is a quote by Jane Yolen, she is one of my favorite authors… you should read her book… Take Joy… I don’t own it… but I will. You should look it up, her quote, it was about writing every day, even if it is just a sentence or a line. I try to write a tiny bit every day.”

Myself: “Oh daddy is on lunch break”

This is when the interview comes to a completely professional close, and I pick up my phone to call Jeff to entertain him with pointless conversation on his lunch break. I then become busy attempting to put together a miniature fence for a barbie dog park. (One that, might I add, my 6 year old daughter can put together on her own in a matter of seconds, that apparently I can not figure out with out having to get off the phone and put my total 100% attention towards)

So that interview was rather fun I must admit, and what I take from it is that my mother is giving me full permission to enter coffee shops and secretly eye them over the rim of my coffee mug. It’s not creepy, I’m writing a book. I am encouraged to spend days basking in the sun and soaking up the fresh air while I lie around (or sit, it makes no difference) and bury myself in a novel. I will call it homework. I have also learned that it is perfectly normal to spend a good portion of my day on YouTube and Facebook and surfing the internet. It’s research, the fact that I look up LOL cats, or funny face book statuses on means absolutely nothing. So many wonderful tips! So next time Jeff comes home to a messy house, and I have fallen asleep with the laptop on my stomach and a book in my hand, I will tell him I have been working all day.

MH900390846In all seriousness now, I will say that it was interesting to interview her on her writing habits and advice. As I was scribbling fast to write it all down, I found myself answering the questions myself in the back of my head. Every writer has a different style, different motivations, different habits. For me it is eating a bowl of chips and drinking a glass of wine… although I also enjoy eating chips and drinking wine while I am watching TV or relaxing… or even when I am neither writing or watching TV… OK I just enjoy chips and wine, but I am sure you understand the point I am trying to make. It is also interesting to hear how others go about doing their writing, listening to music may not work for me as it works for her, but then again maybe it will. I probably would have never thought to give it a try had she not mentioned it. It makes me curious to know what other inspirational tips and different writing habits others have. I would love for any writing readers to share their answers to these questions. What habits do you have? What gets you motivated? What give’s you inspiration?

Oh and by the way, I did look up that quote and I actually rather love it as well (and hey I DO write in my journal every day so I’m just a regular writing-fitness-fanatic).

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” ~ Jane Yolen.

Until Tuesday! Ta Ta!

Becky A.M.


Psssst here is my brilliant writer mother’s website by the by, just in case you care to go have a peek!! (which you should… no pressure… just saying…)



14 thoughts on “Interview attempt #1: Talking with Deb Marshall

  1. Carol says:

    Great interview, Becky! I agree, your mom is awesome… she’s a great encourager to the rest of us #wipmadness fanatics. I was glad to see she recommended one of my all time favourite books to you, too. “Take Joy” is full of inspiration for the writing journey.

    My daughter is a writer, too ( ) so I know how much joy that brings as a mother. 🙂

  2. Imagine being able to interview your mom about something you both do. I loved it.

  3. Akoss says:

    I came here from Deb’s site.
    It was a fun interview to read. It was as if I was sitting right next to you interviewing her.

  4. Gisele :) says:

    Hi, Becky and Deb!

    Just wanted to say that I LOVED the interview! Beck, your mom has been a huge source of inspiration to me over the years. Simply put, she ROCKS, but of course, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. 😉

  5. Loved the interview and learning about your mom’s writing process. I’ll have to connect with her on Twitter for writer motivation when I join Twitter. I love her blog. She always has great book recommendations.

  6. Yes. I wanna say that your Mom is all kinds of awesome and you should thank her everyday for her awesomeness and encourage her to keep writing. Everyday. ^_^ Yay for #wipmadness

    • I agree she is awesome as well. She is one of my inspirations and motivations!

      • Deb Marshall says:

        um, okay, I totally replied to the wrong section. anyhoo…what I say about the blushing there is meant for you two!

        And Beck…I recommend you check out Angelina and Natalie`s blogs when and as you have time. Inspirational and full of writing info related to the writing in general and YA in particular.

  7. Deb Marshall says:

    Thanks for the interview! It was a whole lot of fun to do I must say.

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