Today, I have the lovely Shirley Marr author of Fury stopping by for a guest post as part of Aussie August.
I have had Shirley visit my blog a couple of times this year already answering my interview questions and also a character interview with Eliza from Fury. And each time it has been so much fun. Seriously Shirley do you know how awesome you are! So when I was thinking of authors I would love to feature this month for Aussie August Shirley was the first name that popped into my head.
There’s nothing shameless about being a Mary Sue (and character name giveaway!):
A Guest Post by Shirley Marr
Hi everyone, its Shirley Marr here and I’m so excited to be part of August Aussie Author Month and writing a guest post on Irresistible Reads! Now I’ve been asked a lot of weird and wonderful questions in my time about my novel Fury, but I’m going to talk today about the very first question I was posed in public, which went like this:
Person: Is your novel autobiographical?
Me: Um… I hope not. I mean I hope I’ve never murdered anyone before…
I know the definition of fiction. I think there’s probably a little legal paragraph somewhere in every novel that says, “any resemblance in this work to anyone living or dead, or the villain to someone I do really, really dislike in real life is purely coincidental and/or accidental.” Of course everything I write comes from the fantasy la-la-land inside my head.
So my initial response was denial. My novel is so not about me. For starters it’s set in an exclusive private school in a rich suburb. I on the other hand grew up in (as Jaime King from Summer Heights High would say) a “povo” suburb and I went to a Bogan school where there were no blazers and ironed shirts; the uniform was fleecy tracky-daks and a polo shirt. I’ve never been in with a beautiful and popular group and I’ve definitely never been in enough trouble to end up in a police station. I think the most I’ve ever done is get sent to the naughty corner in primary school when the teacher was trying to explain what a “buoy” was (as in the floatation device) and the Feminist-in-the-making inside of me wanted to know why they weren’t also called “girls”.
Okay, let’s look at something a bit more glaringly obvious that I’ve had people draw comparison at: - my main character Eliza has red hair. Occasionally I have red hair (when I am doing in the public doing authory stuff anyway, when I am at home I have black hair. And I wear specs). I chose the hair colour for Eliza as an artistic device, to reflect the red anger inside of her. I choose the red hair for myself cos… I like the colour. So… I have to admit both decisions are based on preference and intrinsically the same. But it’s not like I’m one of those Mary-Sue writers that put themselves in the shoes of their heroine. The last thing I’d want is to come from an unhappy family and one day end up being interrogated in lock-up while I’m wearing a bloodied school uniform.
No! It’s strictly all make-believe. My brief is to work with plot, characterisation and imagination, not write a dairy entry. But something inside of me told me I was in denial. Just like Eliza is in denial. The final straw came when I had a café-writing session with an author friend recently. Despite knowing that I had to concentrate on my own work, I couldn’t help peaking at what she was doing and…
Me: Cristy… how on earth do you write so fast?
Cristy Burne: It’s easy; I just make the characters do what I like. They’re like my puppets.
Me: Oh. But my characters are like my… babies. They’re like… part of me. Unless I feel what they’re feeling, I can’t write it properly. And if they were ever taken away from me, I think something in me would diiie.
So I finally admitted it. Everything I write is a little piece of me. Eliza is a little bit me. And it is true. The gated community in Fury is reminiscent of the gated suburbs that make up most of the loathing and ennui of Perth. I’ve never been part of a vigilante act (and its not something I condone), but the seething teen angst I felt in high school and the “expected” acts of bullying and ostracising I witnessed built up this rage in me that I knew I could write out and that I so desperately wanted to write out. There are little pieces of me scattered all throughout the novel. Even the postcard that Eliza carries around with her is real in my life, and I’m delighted to feature a photo of it on Irresistible Reads. Even in a way, Neil is real. Maybe that’s not his name in real life, but maybe the person the novel is dedicated to may share some of his initials.
And you know what? I don’t think I would change anything about the way I write. I spend every single day of my life writing and it’s impossible for me not to leave a little piece of me behind. I believe that if I didn’t put every single iota of me into my writing, if I didn’t make myself feel everything single emotion that each of my characters go through and didn’t spend every minute alternatively crying, agonising, laughing and sighing while I wrote, then my writing wouldn’t sound true. And I think a reader can pick someone writing by the numbers or faking something a mile away.
And for that I am not afraid to admit that when I write, although I am making up a story, every single word is the truth. So if the story of my main character is also my story, then I don’t mind being a Mary Sue at all.
In celebration of my writing philosophy, and in conjunction with Irresistible Reads I am giving readers a chance to win a cameo appearance in my next novel! Yes, you could appear as a character and become fictionalised forever. I can’t reveal to you what I am working on just yet, but it is a ghostly love story. Over to the lovely Nic to explain the details. Thanks for reading and thank you to Nic for being my lovely and generous hostess!
Thank you Shirley for your incredible guest post.
I am kicking myself that I can't enter this amazing giveaway. Shirley is giving one lucky person the chance to make a cameo by appearing as a character in her next novel.
- All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with your first name and email address.
- Must be a follower to enter.
- Extra entry if you tweet just leave the link.
- Competition closes on 28th August, 2011.
- Winner will be chosen by random.org in accordance with giveaway policy.