Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview with Marilyn Levinson, Mystery and YA Author

This week I am very happy to have Marilyn Levinson drop by for an interview. Please tell us about yourself, Marilyn.

For years, I wrote novels for children. My first book, AND DON’T BRING JEREMY (Holt), came out in the late 80s. It was a nominee for six state awards. NO BOYS ALLOWED came out in 1993, and is still in print. RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK (Marshall Cavendish) was selected by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council for “Children’s Choices for 2002.”

More recently, I’ve been writing mysteries. I was delighted when two epublishers offered me contracts. A MURDERER AMONG US is coming out in June, 2011, with Wings ePress in both ebook and paperback. GIVING UP THE GHOST (title to be changed) will come out in the spring of 2012 with Uncial Press.

Interview Questions:
1) What kinds of books do you like to read?

I love to read mysteries, of course, but I enjoy well-written mainstream novels. In fact, I’ve started writing about some of my favorites under Great Reads on my website

2) Who are your favorite authors, past and present?

So many favorites. From the past I love Edith Wharton, the mystery writers of the Golden Age of Mystery: Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham. Of the most recent authors, there are far too many to name.

3) Are there any authors who have inspired you to write and, if so, who are they?

I read mysteries as a child: Trixie Belden, Judy Bolton, Nancy Drew. I’m sure they influenced me and encouraged me to write mysteries.

4) How do you choose your characters’ names?

The names simply come to me. I like my main characters to have interesting names. I was a Spanish teacher, which might be one reason that many of my female protagonists’ names end in an “a.” Lydia is my sleuth in A MURDERER AMONG US. Although, the sleuth in my work in progress is Lexie--the name of our neighbors’ dog and of a character on a favorite TV show.

5) Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?

I roughly plot out my novels, but leave plenty of room for surprises. Every time I sit down to write, my characters surprise me.

6) What kind of writing schedule do you have?

I find I write best late in the late afternoon, about the time I’m supposed to be preparing dinner.

7) How do you choose your titles? Do you have a title in mind before you start writing or does something occur after you have begun to write or after you have finished?

Titles usually come to me in the early stages of a book, though twice I’ve been asked to change a title, and was able to come up with something else. I like having a title when I start a novel because a good title reflects the essence of the story.

8) Do you base your characters on real people or are they completely from your imagination?

My characters are creatures of my imagination. I think in the first novels I wrote for children, the characters were often composites of people, real and imagined.

9) Have you used real life experiences in your fiction or is everything from your imagination?

A writer’s imagination is fueled by what he/she experiences, reads, and hears. I never use a real experience per se, whether it be something that happened to me, to someone I know, or was something I read about in the newspaper.

10) When did you realize that you wanted to write novels?

When I was in elementary school, I started writing stories. I returned to writing when my sons were very young. I started writing short stories, but discovered I’m essentially a novelist.

11) Where can readers find your books?

NO BOYS ALLOWED! is available through Scholastic and Amazon
A MURDERER AMONG US can be purchased through Wings ePress, and will soon be available in Amazon paperback, Amazon Kindle and Fictionwise.

Thank you, Pat, for letting me visit.

And thank you for dropping by.


marja said...

Very nice interview. I've heard good things about your new book, Marilyn, and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Marja. Lydia's a fun sleuth to work with.

Kaye George said...

Thanks for the interview, both of you. I've known Marilyn for awhile, but just discovered this blog!

Pat said...

Thank you, Kaye, and I hope you drop by often.