Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to Marissa Shrock. I have a 17-year-old daughter who inhales books -she cannot read fast enough and is the type of reader who carries an extra book with her when she gets down to the last third of the book she’s currently reading — “just in case” she finishes her book before she can get home and needs something else to read. I LOVE the sound of Marissa’s book and will definitely be buying it for my daughter. Read on and see what I’m talking about!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a seventh grade language arts teacher, and I enjoy working with middle school students. That’s part of the reason I wanted to write for them. The First Principle is my debut novel. When I’m not teaching or writing, I like reading, singing, shopping, and playing golf.
Tell us about your current release. My young adult novel, The First Principle takes place in the futuristic United Regions of North America. Sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins never questions her country’s pregnancy termination law for underage girls until she becomes pregnant. She must comply with the law or fight to save her unborn child. But fighting means Vivica has to abandon her mother, a powerful governor, and side with the Emancipation Warriors, a rebel organization that’s determined to start a revolution.
Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? (ie. Moon Walk, Watergate) I remember the Challenger exploding in 1986. I was five years old and have memories of seeing the footage replayed on TV.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) on Full House. I grew up in the T.G.I.F. era of TV.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? While I start with some big ideas about plot and characters, most of the details develop for me while I write. Sometimes it takes several drafts for me to get it right, but discovering the story as I write works the best for me personally.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes and no. For YA, the novel should be at least 60,000 words. However, if it took more than 60,000 words to tell the story, I wouldn’t cut it down unless there were unnecessary words and storylines. I spoke with an editor recently who was looking for YA novels closer to 80,000 words. I’d say do whatever it takes to tell the story well.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Take advice from people who are further along the path than you, but don’t compare yourself to them. Each writer’s journey is unique. Find God’s will for your life and stick to it.
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I prefer to write on the computer. During the editing process I will print a draft and make corrections on paper. It helps me spot mistakes I might miss on the screen.
Who do you envision your typical reader to be? I’ve named her Growing-Faith Grace. She’s fourteen years old, attends church and/or youth group, reads secular YA novels, and is interested in reading about characters who experience challenges in their Christian faith.
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