“A Few of My Favorite Things: My Biggest Supporters and Favorite Character to Write”
By Sarah Glenn Marsh
When trying to name my biggest supporters on the winding and often thorny path to publication, my first instinct is to say: my husband. But really, my first answer should be my dad, because from the time I could talk, he always told me I could be anything I wanted to be, and I grew up believing that.
To this day, my dad sometimes calls me out of the blue to tell me he’s proud of me for going after what I want and never giving up. And in a business where rejections (whether from querying or submissions—the latter in my case) can pile up on any given day without warning, it’s nice to have someone who calls with so much support to counteract the submission blues and self-doubt. My dad doesn’t understand the traditional publishing process very well, but his questions are often entertaining; it’s awesome to have that much enthusiasm from him, especially when he comes from a completely different career background—the business world. My dad worked hard to make his own success in real estate, and I think that’s part of why he can appreciate what I do as a writer. Just like selling a book is an uncertain thing, selling houses has dry spells and uncertain periods, too. But he loves his work and is driven by it, and he respects my passion. He’s an avid reader as well—and he has to get a shout-out for giving me my first copy of The Hobbit and insisting I read it. I don’t know whether I’d be a fantasy writer without Tolkien’s works, my ‘gateway’ books!
Then there’s Chris, my husband. He was the one who first encouraged me to write a book from an idea I’d been carrying around in my head for years, and believed I could be published when I certainly didn’t think so—that may not sound so unusual, but it’s pretty funny when you consider that he’d never read any of my stories when he first encouraged me to write that novel! He knew writing was my passion and was, for whatever mysterious reason, convinced I could write an awesome book that others would want to read.
But his support doesn’t end with encouraging words; Chris helped me plot my first book before I started drafting it and has, to date, listened to about five different drafts of that fantasy novel, the book of my heart. And since then, he’s also listened to every story I’ve written, usually multiple times thanks to revisions! Whenever I have an opportunity to do something for my writing career, he’s always there to help: enabling me to attend a conference, buy some new books, meet a favorite author—you name it. His unwavering belief really helps on the tough days that come with the publication process. But the best part is that he listens to all my stories and loves my characters and worlds. He helps me brainstorm and pokes holes in my fantasy world building until I’ve figured out enough to begin drafting. Having a partner in life is nothing short of amazing. And equally amazing is having a partner on my journey to publication, who’s an eager audience and who remains invested in seeing my book dreams come true.
I know I’m extremely fortunate to have such great supporters on the journey to publication! And I’m very fortunate to have my debut YA historical fantasy, FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP, releasing next fall. So before I go, I want to talk a little about my favorite character to write while drafting Fear: Morag, old woman rumored to be a witch who lives high on a hill above the little (fictional) town of Port Coire, Isle of Man. Morag was my favorite character to write for three main reasons. First, because I don’t often see a lot of elderly characters in YA, and they’re something I’d like to see more of because my own grandparents were an important part of my teenage years—living close to us, they were like second parents who gave me extra cookies and helped with homework. Second, because Morag’s snarky dialogue always makes me grin. She reminds me of a cranky female version of Dumbledore. Lastly, Morag was my favorite character to write because she’s deeply flawed, and her haunting past raises the question of whether she’ll be able to help Bridey, the main character in the story, who badly needs an ally.
I’d like to think you’ll all come to love Morag, and be hoping for her to overcome her troubled past if you someday pick up Fear the Drowning Deep.
Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. She lives in Virginia with her husband and four rescued greyhounds. When she’s not writing, she’s often painting, or engaged in pursuits of the nerd variety from video games to tabletop adventures and dungeon crawls. Her work is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh and Otis, and her debut YA historical fantasy, Fear the Drowning Deep, publishes with Sky Pony Press in September 2016. Visit her online at www.sarahglennmarsh.com.
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Fear the Drowning Deep:
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.
A huge thank you to Sarah for being an amazing author and a marvelous person! I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at BookItCon this past summer, and I’m so happy I did! She’s so sweet! Plus, Sarah, your cover is AMAZING! I’d gape at it all day if I could.
As always, THANK YOU to all of the wonderful authors who will participate and have participated in this feature. your advice, stories, and experiences are invaluable to new writers. We appreciate everything you do for us!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
❤ Kelly, Melissa, and Lauren