Across The Sea, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Across The Sea?
ERIC MARIER: Across The Sea tells the story of Francis Bright, a twelve-year-old boy living in sixteenth century England. Six months after his older brother’s mysterious disappearance, Francis stumbles upon a clue which might reveal what really happened. As everyone around him questions his find, Francis is stolen away by the notorious Brotherhood of Blood and taken aboard a ship bound for the high seas. With the duplicitous Royal Navy fast on their trail, and the Spanish Armada conspiring with his murderous captors, Francis discovers that he is the key to unlocking the biggest mystery of all—a nine thousand-year-old riddle named Atlantis.
Amidst all the mystery and action, Across The Sea is a human story about the power of friendships and how we are redeemed through them. There are formidable villains like Bodin, a legendary assassin, and spirited heroes like Francis and his newfound friend, Lily, a fearless eleven-year-old.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
ERIC MARIER: Most times, my characters just get born fully developed inside my head. I see a stranger on the subway, or walking down a street and something about them strikes me. The way they walk, or how they’re talking to someone, makes me want to know more about them. I start creating all these scenarios in my head about them. Lily from Across The Sea was born very much in this way. One day, I saw a little girl not being included in a small group of boys, even though she was very interested in what they were playing. It broke my heart, and it reminded me of someone I knew when I was a kid, and then this little girl just starting living in my story. She just appeared one day, and never left.
Dialogue is a great way to differentiate characters, and so are their inner thoughts, and of course, their actions. Francis and Lily are both heroes in my story, but Francis tends to be more careful around adults, and how he navigates himself through life. Lily just busts down doors, being very confident that what she is doing is the right thing.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
ERIC MARIER: Me...as a twelve-year-old boy who has a deep need to escape into a world filled with mystery and excitement. I was a kid who had all these emotions that no one else ever talked about. It was great to grow older and hear how others were sad too sometimes, and that having certain feelings didn’t make you weaker, but stronger; it gave you depth. I wish I had books like Harry Potter growing up, with Dumbledore telling me that it’s okay to miss someone. It’s okay to talk about them. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay for a part of you to move on.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
ERIC MARIER: Like most writers, I started as an avid reader. As a five-year-old, I told my mom I couldn’t wait to start school so I could learn to read. Reading has always meant so much to me. In grade one, every night, I took home these easy-to-read biographies of famous people like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison. For years, I was haunted by the fact that no one ever found Amelia Earhart. I loved to hear about real people, what happened before and how certain things came to be. I went to a Catholic school when I was six, and every afternoon, our teacher would teach these stories from the Bible as she made drawings about them on the blackboard. The classroom was dead silent; we were enthralled. Her religious fervour didn’t stick with me, but the stories did, and her passion. It didn’t take long for me to start telling stories myself. I assembled them on paper with words and drawings. They were a mess. But the passion, the joy, it was all there on the paper. I just got better over the years at making it neater, writing in full sentences and then we got a computer and everything changed. I was able to build my stories from words, to sentences, to paragraphs, to actual works.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
ERIC MARIER: I see people in my surroundings that give me a strong emotion, a connection and these full bodied people just start inhabiting my thoughts, I laugh to myself thinking about something funny they might say, or get glassy-eyed at the pain they feel. I know I sound like a crazy person, but we all think way too much—I just channel it onto paper and into Microsoft Word.
I usually write an outline for every book, put together from crumpled pieces of paper in my pocket, or from quick notes I emailed to myself. And from that outline, I just start writing, at times veering away from my original ideas. And then I’m left with a big mess that I whittle down with major rewrites that take months. I adore the entire process. It never feels like work to me. If it does feel like work, then I know I’m writing something no one will want to read, including myself, and I stop. I come back when I have something that’s fun and exciting to write, or I just skip to the next part of the story. It all has to make my heart pump faster.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
ERIC MARIER: I love JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. She made these books with all this action, political intrigue, emotion, epic mystery, and whimsy all included within the same package. Reading her books for the first time, I felt like I was unwrapping special gifts, handcrafted especially for me, with surprises and new discoveries every time I turned it in my hands. Right now, I’m a huge Suzanne Collins fan. Her Hunger Games series is so lean, but filled with great, sensitive characters stuck in a seemingly cold, heartbreaking world. Both Rowling and Collins give so much to their readers. I aspire to give as much.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
ERIC MARIER: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in Canada, it’s known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). It really speaks to me. The passage where Dumbledore explains the Mirror of Erised to Harry is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking scenes in young adult literature. Someone with a broken heart wrote that. Someone with depth wrote that.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
ERIC MARIER: I ask to be interviewed or reviewed by well-known bloggers such as yourself. I’ve joined online groups supporting writers. I’ve posted about Across The Sea on online boards where it’s allowed and encouraged to self promote. I had a free giveaway. The secret to promotion is to find something about it that you enjoy, and to ask for help. I’m very much still trying to figure it all out. I learn every day. It also helps that I love Across The Sea and I’m thrilled to tell people about it.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
ERIC MARIER: Kindle is the largest seller of ebooks. Those who shop on Kindle have embraced the ebook culture, and indie authors such as myself are thriving there. Kindle readers shop, search out, and read, voraciously. Kindle makes it all so easy. This is the best time to be an author. Kindle is making a lot of dreams come true.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
ERIC MARIER: Do it! It’s an alternative to going the traditional publisher route, which very much still works, but if your path to the traditional ways has been blocked off, take matters into your own hands. Kindle makes it unbelievably easy to get your work out there. It’s a fantastic business relationship.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Marier is a husband to a wonderful and beautiful girl, and a father to a joyous and excited toddler. Eric loves to Twitter, Facebook and wishes Michael Scott still worked at Dunder Mifflin, Kermit still lived on Sesame Street, and Oceanic Flight 815 never left the island.
Read his blog, find him on facebook, and follow him on twitter.
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