Marionette Cover PhotoToday I would like to introduce you to T.B. Markinson, author of The Marionette.  T.B. was nice enough to give me an interview as part of her blog tour for her recently published book The Marionette.

About the Author:

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel.T B Markinson Cover Photo

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Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

The Interview

Benze:  T.B., thank you for agreeing to do this interview.  I loved reading Marionette & I love getting to know more about the author of a book I enjoyed.

T.B.:  First off, I want to say thanks for having me over for a chat.

Benze:  1. How old were you when you wrote Marionette?

T.B.:  I started writing this novel when I was nineteen. However, I didn’t do anything with it for many years. After I published my first novel, A Woman Lost, I pulled this manuscript out of the drawer. I was thirty-nine when I read the novel I had written in my teen years. I got a good laugh out of it. Overall, I liked the main character, Paige. For the most part I shredded the rest of the manuscript and rewrote the entire novel last spring. It was good to be able to read the original draft since it helped me stay in Paige’s head. It’s been a long time since I was seventeen and that first draft reminded me what it was like.

Benze:  2.  The family dynamics in your book are very strained.  Did you grow up in a difficult family environment?  If not, where did you get your ideas?

T.B.:  Yes and no. I think most families at certain times have a difficult environment. Life isn’t easy. Yet I don’t want people to think that my parents are anything like the Alexanders. They aren’t. Marionette is a work of fiction. Fortunately I didn’t have to deal with most of the issues that Paige has to handle in the book. When I sit down to write a novel I have a general idea about the story but I don’t have it mapped out. As I write the story and ideas come to me. I don’t know where they come from. All I know is that when I’m writing I let the story take over and I never try to control it and force my own ideas.

Benze;  3.  What lessons do you think Paige learns in this book?

T.B.:  Growing up, Paige didn’t have many friends and she didn’t have many people she could trust. I think the biggest lesson she learned was to let people in. It takes time for Paige to open up to her therapist and I think that’s understandable considering her childhood. Yet, she also starts making new friends and she learns to trust them. That was a huge step for her.

Benze:  4.  Who was your target audience when you wrote Marionette?

T.B.:  I’m a sucker for stories about underdogs. Actually, I’m a sucker for underdogs all the time, especially when it comes to sports. For example, even if my favorite tennis player is playing an underdog, I have a hard time not cheering for both players. In books and movies I also love stories about flawed individuals who have the odds against them. I won’t say I have a specific target audience, but I think the people who like this novel also cheer for underdogs.

Benze: 5.  What is your writing process?  Do you write every day?  Do you set a word count goal for each day?  Or do you write in spurts?

T.B.:  Most of the time, I do write every day. Currently I’m editing my third novel so I feel a bit out of whack. However, when I working on a novel, I sit down and write at least 1000 words each day. Sometimes I’ll write more. And on a few occasions, I don’t make meet my goal, but that’s rare.

Benze;  6.  You spend a lot of time on your blog promoting your own book & the books of others.  Do you feel this is your full time job now?

T.B.:  In 2011 my partner’s company moved us from Boston to London. When I lived in Boston I had a full-time job. I was working on a novel, but at a snail’s pace since I didn’t have a lot of free time. Then all of a sudden I was unemployed and living in a different country. This change in my life has allowed me to focus on writing more. I do some freelance writing so I can’t say writing fiction is my full-time job now. But I spend the majority of my time each week working on personal projects.

Benze:  7.  Are you writing another book at this time?

T.B.:  Right now I’m editing my third novel. I wish I was writing since editing is not my favorite part of the process. It’s a necessary part, just not my favorite.

Benze:  8.  Is there anything you would change about Marionette, given another opportunity to make changes?

T.B.:  Goodness this is a difficult question to answer. There are occasions when ideas pop into my mind and I think, “Oh that would have been good.” Then again, if I kept tinkering with the same story, I’d never publish anything. I think it’s best to focus on an upcoming project and continue to hone my craft that way. Perfection isn’t possible and I’m not striving for that.

Thanks Lynda for chatting with me today. It was fun!

I would like to thank T.B. for coming by & being so forthright in answering all my questions.  I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Marionette & read it yourself!