Welcome to the third edition of my interview series. For this week, I interviewed the creative and talented Marquessa Matthews. Her sexy, romantic, thrilling, and relatable weekly fiction stories, always leave me wanting more! She has excellent taste in music as well. Please check-out her blog Simply Marquessa here.
- Please Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Marquessa Matthews and I’m from Montreal, QC, Canada.My day job is as a consultant but in the little free time that I have, you’ll find me elbow deep in dirt in my vegetable garden in the summer, travelling in the spring, and probably shoveling myself out of six- foot snow drift in the winter. As with other writers with whom I’ve exchanged conversation with, I consider myself an introvert and an “observer.” I love music and you’ll always find me listening to something such as talk radio, my favorite tunes, or an audio-book.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I taught myself to read at an early age and I think my love of words led me to want to write them. I would write little poems and short stories. Being in a French language program in primary school, I was lucky enough to have a great English teacher. She not only took an interest in my writing, but she frequently encouraged me with my writing projects. I continued to write, on and off, until university. Then, I had to put my pen down to tackle life’s responsibilities.
I started ‘blogging’ as an experiment last year, when I decided it was time to pick my pen up again. I was researching creative writing courses and stumbled on a WordPress Writing 101 Course. I took it as a sign and I registered. I decided to tackle each day’s assignment from a ‘fictional’ perspective and to see if ‘blogging’ and ‘fiction writing’ could be blended. Needless to say, the Writing 101 course, reignited my passion for playing with words.
“I decided to tackle each day’s assignment from a ‘fictional’ perspective and to see if ‘blogging’ and ‘fiction writing’ could be blended. Needles to say, the Writing 101 course, reignited my passion for playing with words” – Marquessa Matthews
3. What Does Writing Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Writing is extremely important to me and without it, I would feel like a fish out of water. Now that I’ve started writing again, I’m not sure how I went so long without writing. I write because I love to spin tales and be a puppet-master to the characters I create. There is also the fact that I’ve had certain ‘characters’ living rent-free in my head for a long time and they need to start paying rent in the form of novels!
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I find inspiration in the day-to-day happenings of life. For me, inspiration can strike from a conversation I’ve had or overheard, from something I’ve seen, and from a place to which I have traveled – inspiration can come from about anywhere.
Creating a character, having them take on a life of their own and run away in a direction I never planned, motivates me. Jotting down an idea, crafting it, and then developing it into something beyond a flash fiction pieces motivates me.
Also, the readership that I have acquired inspires me. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the number of ‘follows’ I receive. What I do pay attention, however, is the comments readers leave me. I love it when someone asks for more ‘Ella,’ for instance, or ‘Alejandro.’ I enjoy when readers give their reaction to what a character should have done on some of my #TeaserTuesdays. Also, I have always wanted to have my name on a cover of a book, I’m working on it!
“Creating a character, having them take on a life of their own and run away in a direction I never planned, motivates me.” – Marquessa Matthews
5. Do You Find There Is a Time Of Day You Most Like to Write?
I’m a night owl so I always write at night, after dinner with music in the background. In the evening is when I receive my best ideas and the creative juices flow. On the weekends, I could easily break-out my moleskin notebook, my favorite pen, and write until after midnight, but I limit myself to a nightly one hour ‘write.’ If I’m editing a writing piece, I may give myself an hour and a half.
6. What Are Your most Current Writing projects? Any Hopeful Projects If You Aren’t Working on Any?
I’ve been developing scenes around my characters of Delaney, Tyler and Alejandro and wrote many more scenes with them during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2015. My plan is to fill in the gaps during NaNoWriMo in 2016 so I can create a novella or novel.
The next project I have planned is an ongoing online story beginning in 2017 called We Can’t Be Friends.I’ll be introducing two new characters, Isabella and Peter, who will be totally different than the characters I’m writing about now. For We Can’t Be Friends, I’m going to let the story develop organically.
I think it will be an excellent way to continue my nightly write when I need a change of pace from my main work-in-progress (WIP). I’m not technology savvy, but I’m thinking about having interested readers sign-up. Hopefully, I can do short weekly installments which readers will look forward to reading. Depending on how the installments go and the feedback I receive, the project could turn into a short story or a novella. If readers are interested, they can check-out the following link to receive a little backstory on Isabella and Peter.
” I’ll be introducing two new characters, Isabelle and Peter, who will be totally different than the characters I’m writing about now. For We Can Be Friends, I’m going to let the story develop organically.” – Marquessa Matthews
7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing?
Hopefully, 2017 will be my year to become a published author. Who knows what will happen with the We Can’t Be Friends online story!
8. Describe Your Writing Process?
I’m not sure I even have a ‘writing process,’ but I can tell you how I develop my stories. I usually get a spark (an idea) from a lyric or a phrase I’ve heard, or something funny which has happened. I jot the idea down on a Post-It and stick it to my ‘writing wall;’ I leave it there to marinate for a while. Then, when I sit down for my nightly write, I look at the ‘writing wall’ and write whatever comes to mind or I write the exact opposite of my idea to see what will happen when I do.
If I’m working on a fiction piece, I always write all the dialogue which comes to mind first, and then fill in the gaps when I’m editing. For me, editing usually means reading my writing aloud a few times, tying up loose ends, and removing inconsistencies.
If I’m writing a non-fiction piece, I decide on the message I want the reader to walk away with, then go back to the beginning and start writing and editing.
9. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading and Styles or Genres?
I’ve always enjoyed women’s fiction with a little romance thrown in for good measure, mainly the kind of fiction which could possibly happen in real life. Being of South American heritage, I’ve always leaned towards books with multicultural flavor. In university, a Caribbean literature course opened up my eyes to the world of anecdotal genres and culturally diverse characters. I enjoy novels that provide the perspective of more than one character, whether it’s in first or third person. I will always prefer a paperback novel that I can take with me to the beach or pool, but also read on my tablet.
” . . .[W]hen I sit down for my nightly write, I look at the ‘writing wall’ and write whatever comes to mind or I write the exact opposite of my idea to see what will happen when I do.” – Marquessa Matthews
10. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
I’m no expert but I think that I can make three suggestions:
- Develop a Daily Writing Habit (either in minutes or in word count): Fifteen minutes before going to bed or five-hundred words per day. You don’t have to write a masterpiece. Practice the BIC method (butt in chair). Jot down an idea and free-write for a set amount of minutes or words, to your daily goal with no editing. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with in your writing.
- Try @NaNoWordSprints: I discovered word sprints last year and they are amazing to help ideas flow. If you can’t join a live sprint, do an old sprint from on their YouTube channel. Pretend it’s a live sprint and try the method out. I won NaNoWriMo in 2015 by achieving the fifty-thousand word word count, it was mainly due to word sprints.
- Read your work aloud, more than once: You’ll catch all your grammar mistakes and wooden dialogue. Fix your issues before posting.
11. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us You Think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
I would say, prioritizing your writing goals is vital. I recently realized, though I love joining in on and participating in various writing and blogging prompts such as #MusicMonday, #WordlessWednesday and #TBT, the time spent working on and preparing for these prompts was time spent away from my work-in-progress. In 2017, I plan on taking a different approach to my blog space, especially by taking a hiatus for NaNoWriMo in November and re-blogging fiction from my archives.
12. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favourite Pieces?
- One of my favorite fiction pieces so far is “San Juan” because it was the first one I wrote concerning Delaney and Alejandro.
- “If They Take Dogs and Jews, They’ll Probably Take You” is my favorite non-fiction piece, showing how clueless a person can be with their (so-called)’helpful advice.’
- “Woman to Woman,” shines a light on the toxicity of abusive relationships.
A Note From Marquessa:
Since I’ll be taking a hiatus in November for NaNoWriMo, I have scheduled re-posts of a number of my fiction pieces so unfortunately, if readers are searching for a specific post, they won’t find it at the moment (until November 2016).
Again here is the link to Simply Marquessa.
Thank you Marquessa for agreeing to be interviewed and providing such interesting and helpful information concerning yourself and your writing. I look forward to reading more of your fiction, especially with Delaney (she’s my favourite) as well as reading your installments about Isabelle and Peter in your new project. Best of luck having your work published and with your writing goals.
If you liked this interview and would like to be interviewed as well about your writing, please reach me through my contact page.
©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.