Author Interview: Silencio Marquez
1. What inspired you to become a writer?
It was really art in all its forms that’s inspired me. Books, music, theater, paintings can all inspire someone to create various works of art. I’ve always been a fan of art with darker themes. Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and poems have always brought me joy and he’s not known for writing cheerful stories about happy people. I love fairy tales, especially some of the darker ones by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. I loved Anderson’s story The Wild Swans. It’s a story that truly makes the heroine suffer, but she gets her happily ever after as well, which is what makes it a fulfilling story.
2. What's your favourite book of all time?
Oh my, that’s a naughty question, isn’t it? As someone who’s always been an avid reader, I don’t know if there can be just one. But one of my favorites is Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. It’s just a good adventure story that I can read repeatedly. What I didn’t know when I first read it when I was little was that it had a sequel. Then, sometime after that, I found out that it was not just a book with a sequel, but in fact, a trilogy of books. So, I read Kidnapped when I was a kid. I found the sequel, David Balfour when I was in high school, and I have yet to read the third one whose name escapes me right now. Someone will remind me. Probably Amazon.
3. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
What writers and aspiring writers need to know is that if you write, you’re a writer. The second piece of advice which is not really advice is that writers write. Talking about writing, musing about writing, telling people that you’re going to write isn’t writing. Write something, finish it and then get feedback on it. Writing is more collaborative today than it’s ever been. The days of the solitary writer are kind of over. It’s okay to reach out to other people and ask them if they’d be willing to beta for you. It’s always a good idea to have someone feel something out for you.
4. What is the most frustrating thing about being an author?
Authors are a bit like film directors. I don’t know if they’re ever completely satisfied with anything. We’re like Ridley Scott and we’re going to do 20 different cuts of our “Blade Runner.” I think that’s the most difficult thing that authors really have to deal with. Being their harshest critics. Which we very much are and that in itself can be brutal.
5. What's your favourite movie?
Oh dear. Not another “favorite” question. There are far too many films that I love. But I think the prize would have to go to The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King. As the grand finale of the fantasy trilogy, it’s just a beautiful film. Every time Sam walks home alone, and meets with his family and says, “well, I’m back,” I shed a few tears. It’s just such a great film moment and there are few to match it, really.
6. What's better, dogs or cats?
They both have their moments.
7. If money was no object, how would you spend your life?
Oh, for me money would always be a worry, even if I had all the money in the world. Mostly because I’m a worry wart and that’s what we do. Worry. But if I had a ton of money, I would probably start a scholarship fund or something so that more marginalized people could go to college. Education has always been important to me and my family. I want to give more people the opportunity for higher education. Tuitions are just getting higher and higher and people are just getting priced out of that opportunity or are being forced to get loans that they may never be able to pay off. So, whatever I could give back would probably be appreciated. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be in that position, but you asked, haha. As for what I may want for myself. My needs are simple. Just keep me in books, video games, and music and I’ll be right as rain.
8. Do you draw from personal experiences when you write?
I don’t usually draw from personal experiences, but I do draw from history quite a bit. I’ve always loved to study history. I’ve always had a soft spot for mythology, war stories, and obscure historical figures. That may be why I write about vampires and other immortal and long-lived creatures. They’ll have seen these things, lived through them, and would have insights based on experiences from those events. My vampire character, Kris Kellman has been wandering the earth since the fourteen hundreds. Imagine the things he’s seen.
9. What is more important? Strong characters or a strong storyline?
Both are important, but I tend to work more on developing characters when I’m first starting a story. Knowing who the people are is sometimes more important to me than knowing what they’ll eventually be doing. Then I just kind of build the story and the world around them. Some people might find doing the opposite is easier for them. That’s the great thing about writing. You can do it your way. People don’t have to develop a story the way I do. You can develop a story around characters or characters around a story. It can go either way.
10. What advice would you give to first time writers when submitting their work to publishers or literary agents?
I see Lit agents and publishers talking about this all the time. I’ll admit that I’ve flubbed this up quite a bit. But you need to read the submission guidelines and follow them. No, you can not do your own thing here. Different agents/publishers want different things. Don’t submit stuff that they don’t represent. Don’t submit attachments if they don’t want them. Do submit them if they do.
Write your query letter as professionally as you can. Also, research the publisher or agent. Make sure they’re legit. There are some agents out there that aren’t. You want to make sure you’re not submitting to a vanity publisher or something. And just realize that you’re going to get rejected A LOT. Like SO MUCH. But don’t give up. Rejection is just a reality of publishing. If this is your dream, go for it. It’s tough out there, but it’s worth it.