You know, most writers don't have the luxury of doing what they love for eight hours a day, then vegging out until tomorrow. Our minds are constantly filled with ideas, that turn into stories, that turn into books! And, if we don't write them down immediately, they could be lost forever. And, we don't always have the turnaround that we'd hoped to have. The stories, we hear about a writer striking it rich, are usually few and far between. Sadly, we slip into that mindset before we're even aware of it.
Since most of us have to have a second, or third, job to pay our bills, we can use those jobs to create our stories and make our imaginations soar. Whether there be an office romance, a forbidden love, an unlikely attraction that has lasted for fifty years, or a nurse who falls in love with a patient (which, I've written about, myself!), there is always something to write about. You just have to open your eyes and look around.
Marianne Sciucco is a nurse, and a writer, who has written about things that she experiences on a daily basis. Read her interview with me and learn more about her.
AJ: Tell us about yourself and a little about your background that led you to be a writer. How many books have you written? And, in what genre would you classify your works?
MS: I am a registered nurse although I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a young child and learned that the people who created books were called writers. I was a voracious reader and still am in love with books. I wrote my first book when I was 8, which was basically a few pieces of note paper stapled together with a very short story inside. I also wanted to be a newspaper reporter and did that for a few years in college and after graduation. But that turned out to be a life of poverty, so I went into the nursing
profession. I gave up writing for a while, but, because nurses seem to collect a lot of stories, my patients inspired me and I decided to write a book. My first novel is called Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, based on a couple I met in my work as a hospital case manager. I’ve written another full-length novel, Swim Season, inspired by my daughter and her 10 years as a varsity swimmer. I’ve also written and published three short stories, which are far easier to write. All of my stories are available in Kindle, paperback, and audio book. My stories are what I like to call “flinch-free fiction,” free of excessive sexuality, violence, or disgusting language. Most of it is classified as contemporary fiction. Swim Season is YA.
AJ: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
MS: I love to read. The last great book I read was Susan Wilson’s "A Man of His Own", which is part of a series about dogs, but you don’t have to be a dog person to love this book. (I’m not; I’m a cat person.) I also read a lot for my pet project AlzAuthors.com, a blog that spotlights carefully vetted books on Alzheimer’s and dementia for those in need of knowledge, support, and understanding about these illnesses. It’s part of my mission as a nurse and daughter of dementia. I also love to go to the beach. And I’m a news hound, plugged into what’s going on in the world via a multitude of news apps on my iPhone. This keeps my creative juices flowing as well.
AJ: What is the most challenging thing you’ve found in being a writer?
MS: My biggest challenge is the repetitive strain injuries that have complicated my life since 2006. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and chronic neck and arm pain make it very difficult for me to pursue my writing and publishing career. Most days are non-writing days and pain management days. But I try to do something, even if it’s just a tweet, to advance my goals every day.
AJ: Who designs the covers for your books? If you design them yourself, which program do you use?
MS: For my first book, Blue Hydrangeas, I designed my own cover using Power Point. It was very pretty. I loved the blue flowers. The one in the background is out of focus. But I thought it was a little vague and didn’t represent the story well. Plus it looked amateurish. So I hired a professional book designer to
revamp it, Perry Elisabeth of Perry Elisabeth Designs, and she did a great job. I love the older couple on the cover, the beach scene, and the way he’s looking at her with such love and she looks back at him sort of poker-faced, so typical of Alzheimer’s.
For Swim Season I hired a pro from the start, Heather McCorkle at McCorkle Creations. My daughter helped me find the picture of the swimmer. I loved her intensity. My character is brewing with emotions and I thought her expression put this across well.
I did the covers for my short stories myself using Canva, a terrific graphic design app that’s free and easy to use. Ino’s Love and Collection were each recreated three times. That is the beauty of indie publishing. If something’s not working you have the freedom to make adjustments.
AJ: What do you see as the main benefit of being an indie author and what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
MS: I tried the traditional publishing route for Blue Hydrangeas in 2004 and for years after, but could not land an agent or a publisher. A friend suggested Kindle and I figured why not? What did I have to lose? I published that book in 2013 and have been more than happy. I love having total control over my projects: designing the covers and interiors, developing the marketing plans, and the ability to run sales and giveaways without having to ask for anyone’s permission. It’s all good. Of course, I’d love to have some help, but trad pub authors get minimal help for just a short time, so I’m not sure if it’s worth it.
AJ: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?
MS: I love meeting readers! I organize an annual Authors Showcase at my library and bring together an eclectic collection of local authors and readers to gab about books. I’ve also done a number of events through bookstores, festivals, the local Alzheimer’s Association, and at an assisted living facility for a book club. I come away from these events energized and eager to keep writing.
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
Amazon Facebook Twitter Website or you can join my Mailing List
If you'd like to find or follow Marianne, click on any of the above links, or on one of the pictures and they will take you straight to her sites.