Marny Copal has asked herself a series of questions so you don’t have to. If she hasn’t covered all the bases with this self-interview, she can be reached for follow-up questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Central Oregon. You won’t find me listed anywhere, though. Marny Copal is a pen name. I currently live in Eugene, Oregon.
What kind of fiction do you write and why do you write it?
I write urban fantasy, stories set in the real world in contemporary times, with the addition of magic or supernatural elements. Some might add that urban fantasies serve up an element of mystery or suspense, a hint of romance, and a dash of urban grit.
I like the idea of a supernatural world coexisting with the one we know. A paranormal element makes books more fun, interesting, and exciting for me.
What urban fantasy authors do you read?
I like Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris, to name a few.
How did you research Freeblood?
I made several trips to Portland to get some details right, but I used artistic license with others. For instance, I took a tour of the Portland Underground and elaborated on what I saw. Maps of the Portland metro area also came in handy. I used the Internet and the library for information on flare guns, anxiety attacks, and other miscellaneous details. Family members were also good sources.
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a little kid. It was a fun way to express myself, like coloring. Some of my earliest stories featured our household cats as secret agents. I like to make up a tense or humorous situation and see where it takes me.
How many books have you written and where do you get your ideas?
Freeblood is my first novel. Inspiration comes from books, newspapers, TV, art, travel, mythology, letting my mind wander, and asking “What if” questions.
How long did it take you to write Freeblood?
I started writing Freeblood in the summer of 2006. I thought I had finished writing it in 2010, but then I sent it to an editor and really finished it in 2011.
Which scenes were the most difficult to write?
Some of the exchanges between William and Simon were difficult to write, but I had fun with the William and Lovisa scenes.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing Freeblood?
I discovered that my shelves of writing books are helpful only to a point. Nothing beats having a professional structural editor go over your work.
How do you deal with rejection letters?
I gnash my teeth, shake my fists at the powers that be, and stuff the letters in my sock drawer.
What’s the biggest challenge of self-publishing?
Finding your audience seems to be the biggest challenge. There are a lot of self-published ebooks on the market competing for attention. Actually formatting the files for a paperback or e-book isn’t that hard, and you can hire someone to do it for a reasonable amount.
What advice do you have for other writers who are thinking about self-publishing?
Launch your marketing efforts right away, well before you finish your book. That way, you won’t be starting from scratch when you upload it. Take a ride on Twitter, sign up for Goodreads, make friends on Facebook. Read review blogs, and make a list of your favorite reviewers in your genre. Reviewers will help you get the word out.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
It’s better for me to work around a problem rather than to keep hammering away at it. If I move to a different scene, sometimes I find that answers present themselves. Going to sleep with a question in mind helps, as does taking walks.
Is this the last we’re going to see of Quinn and the gang?
I’m in the early stages of writing a sequel. I’m planning at least two more books, but I don’t have everything mapped out yet. There may be four or five.