Why do you write?
I just adore stories. It’s as simple as that. Listening to them, telling them, writing them, reading them, and watching them. Story gets me through the day! Life is a story.
How did you come to writing?
I started out wanting to be a writer when I was very young: eight or nine, I think. But I was probably thirty-four before I really started to think of it as a career. I blame Enid Blyton and Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden).
What were your greatest obstacles starting out? How did you overcome them?
I had small children, so they were the biggest obstacle! Kidding. The biggest obstacle was my own confidence and sense of self-worth, and the fact that it’s hard to justify spending time doing something that, to begin with, brings in very little money. There’s a constant and pervading guilt that you should be doing something more financially constructive with your time. That’s a hard one to overcome.
How do you keep yourself motivated and disciplined?
Muscle memory. Develop a habit of doing something and you don’t feel right unless you do it regularly. Just like exercise. I also find when I’m well rested that I have strong creative impulses. I “want” to create.
How do you manage your writing time with everything else you do?
Probably the same as everyone else. I muddle along. However, I find my best writing time is the mornings, so I try and keep that time uncluttered from other things. Of course life constantly gets in the way!
How has that changed from when you were starting out?
Not a lot, but then I’m not as driven as I was as a younger writer. I see more value in taking time. I don’t rush through everything as much. That means that I’m more phlegmatic when life interrupts writing time.
Where do you write? How do you arrange your working space?
I have a bad back like many writers, so I alternate between an armchair and a desk chair. Or sometimes I just go out and write at a café or at university where I’m doing my PhD.
What are your essential writing tools?
Tea. Cake. A blank wall to stare at.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you were starting out as a writer?
My one regret is not going overseas and meeting readers and booksellers in different countries when I had my first series out. Despite the internet, there is no substitute for meeting people face to face. I really felt like I let myself down not doing that… but I had little children and it was just too hard.
What do you read and how do you read as a writer?
I’m into non-fiction at the moment. But it changes all the time. Right now I’m reading a book about Henry V of England. I’m very fussy. I need to be very engaged to finish a book. I’ve half-read hundreds of books I’m ashamed to say. I think God’s War by Kameron Hurley was the last novel that truly delighted me.
How do you overcome ‘writer’s block’?
I’ve never experienced that problem so I don’t think I’m qualified to say. I do go through periods when I’m creatively tapped out. But that just needs time and some fun to fix it.
What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Finish what you start!
Marianne de Pierres is the author of the popular Parrish Plessis trilogy and the award-winning Sentients of Orion and Peacemaker series. She has authored children’s and young adult stories as well, notably the Night Creatures trilogy, a dark fantasy series for teens. She lives in Brisbane with a husband and two Galahs and also writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. Visit her websites at mariannedepierres.com