Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
This week we are featuring Alex Marestaing, author of I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages! To enter to win a copy of I’m Nobody, leave a comment on this post.
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester?
If I only had one sentence to define myself it would go something like this:
I’m husband to a way “out of my league” wife, a father to three children that have given me way more joy than I deserve, and friend of a God who must have been smiling when he blessed me with them all.
Oh….and I’m a writer.
Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
Good question. One thing that being a writer has taught me is that that life’s priorities—faith, family, and friends—don’t naturally float to the top of our ‘to do’ lists. They must be carefully placed there. So time management is definitely one of the most difficult aspects of being an author, one that I’m still trying to come to grips with.
This quickly became evident when I started writing my first YA books series for Thomas Nelson. My schedule was getting so hectic that I had to brainstorm a way to allocate my limited time resources. In that case, I decided to individually take each of my kids out to Starbucks or some other place to connect at least once a week. They needed to know that they were priority number one, my primary calling in life, and spending individual time with them definitely helped me keep in touch.
At the moment, I get up around five each morning, when the house is still sleeping, and work on marketing. Then, in the afternoon and at night, I’ll work on the more creative side of the craft, the side that I love . . . which is writing.
Can you share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…
I’m primarily a YA and middle grade writer, which means I write for young adults, or teens. I love the vibrancy and creativity found in the youth market and still find myself joyfully reading comics and kids lit. Thanks to The Walt Disney Company, which gave me my first freelance writing gig out of college, I’ve been able to make my biggest inroads in that genre.
In a market that has gotten kind of dark in recent years, I write books that are full of hope and possibility, books about underdogs, books that ask the broken, How long has it been since you believed in magic?
Though my books are real, honest, and relevant to teens, I always make sure to keep them ‘parent’ friendly as well (since I’m a parent myself).
I would have to say my biggest break came when Disney hired me to work on a writing project related to Beauty and the Beast. That was kind of a “miracle” job really because I didn’t even have an agent at the time. I had heard that they wanted to publish a new line of products, so I just wrote them a letter introducing myself. A few weeks later, I got the call that changed the trajectory of my writing career forever.
I’ll always be thankful to Disney for giving an young, unknown writer a shot because having that name on my writing credits really helped me move forward in the industry. I would love to say it was all my hard work and mad, Hemingway-like writing skills that scored me that job (ha ha), but in the end it was mostly prayer that opened the door and put me in the right place at exactly the right time.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?
Definitely music. I don’t think anything inspires me more than hearing a song that moves me, whether it be instrumental or lyrical. For some reason, songs just open up the side of my brain where possibility and wonder hide, both essential ingredients when it comes to penning a good tale.
But whether I’m inspired or not, I keep writing. Writing “through the silence” is a necessity in this job.
What advice would you give to new writers?
On a practical level, I would tell them that they need to memorize one word – TENACITY. I speak at writing conferences and one thing I tell my audiences is that it is impossible to succeed in this business without being tenacious. Every great author has had to have tenacity it huge doses. Whether it be Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, who kept all her rejection letters in a bag under her bed until the bag became too heavy to lift, or C.S. Lewis who was said to have been rejected over 800 times before The Chronicles of Narnia was published, grabbing hold of that dream and never letting go is an absolute must.
On a spiritual level, as writers we need to realize that the longing to write is there for a reason. And, though some may think that our writing dreams are silly, God doesn’t. So as writers, the best thing we can do with that dream is give it over to the one who cares . . . God.
Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.
Title: I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages
Emily meets Caleb, Caleb meets Iris…and a broken world turns Technicolor.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
Other than a major blog tour for I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages, I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest YA book series (working title Sketched). I can’t wait to tell readers about this one, but I can’t divulge any plot information yet. More news to come on that front!
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?
Readers can find my books online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or order them from their local bookstore. To catch my latest news they can check out:
Celebrate Spring and the release of The Rescue with Suzanne’s “Birds of Springstagram” giveaway! Click here to learn more about how you can enter!