Q&A With Marie Bostwick

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Q&A With Marie Bostwick 

To start off this week is my latest Q&A with author Marie Bostwick. Marie is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of uplifting historical and contemporary women’s fiction novels. Some of her many works include The Promise Girls, Just In Time, Hope On The Inside, The Second Sister & her recent release Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly. 


Q: So Marie what do you enjoy most about writing historical fiction and contemporary fiction? 

A: For me, the real joy of writing lies in creating imaginary characters and worlds and breathing life into them on the page. The time that comes before the actual writing, when I am dreaming about who these people are, what motivates their actions, and the history that has influenced them, is so exciting and more than a little bit magical. 


Q: When did you realize that you wanted to be an author? Who were your biggest supporters in your family and friends who encouraged you to follow your goal and saw your talent?


A: Though I started writing since I was a very little girl and never really stopped, I didn’t honestly consider the possibility of writing as a profession until my early 30s.

The short version of the story begins with me sort of stumbling into a writer’s workshop. The facilitator saw something in my work, pulled me aside on the last day of class, and said I needed to go to graduate school. I had three little kids at the time, so that wasn’t really an option. However, the facilitator, who was the director of a graduate writing program, became my mentor. Over the following three years, I wrote a short story every month, which he would critique. That’s when I started taking my writing seriously.   

I owe a great debt to that man. He wasn’t easy on me – sometimes those critiques were pretty brutal – but the fact that he invested time in helping me improve was a huge encouragement.  

Early on in the process, I was pretty quiet about what I was doing, and my hopes for my writing. But once I finished my first novel and asked my husband to read it, he was behind me one hundred percent. That has never changed. He’s always been my biggest cheerleader.


Q: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to write great historical and contemporary women’s fiction? 

A:  Be a voracious reader. Read people who are better than you. Read like a writer, taking the book apart and examining the separate elements – plot, character, dialogue, setting, themes – to figure out what works or doesn’t and why.    

Also, try to be patient. Becoming a genuinely good writer takes time and practice. There is always so much pressure, often self-imposed, for a writer to be published. And I get it! That’s the dream, right? But if you put serious time and effort into honing your talent, your chances of achieving that dream and becoming a published writer will increase exponentially. 


Q: Would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I a little bit about Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly and how you came up with the idea for the book?


A: Sure!

When her successful career as a book editor ends abruptly, Esme Cahill returns to her family’s lakeside lodge in Asheville, NC feeling like a spectacular failure. As she works to save the lodge from sliding into financial ruin and grapples with fraught family relationships, Esme discovers her late Grandmother Adele’s unexpected WW2 role in protecting the nation’s most treasured works of art. As she uncovers the untold story of a gifted but secretive fiber artist who never received her due, Esme must learn that often failure is the first step toward the life we were meant to find. 

It’s been so long since I began working on the book that I can’t recall where the idea first came from. But I wanted to write a book about a woman who was struggling with roadblocks and failures because it seemed like such a universal experience. I mean, we’ve all been there at some point, right?

If the online reviews and reader mail I’ve been getting are any indication, it seems I made a good choice; Esme’s story has resonated with a lot of people.  


Q: What was it like having The Second Sister, become a Hallmark movie? 

A:  Definitely a peak experience! 

Naturally, there are a lot of differences between the book and the movie – adapting a three-hundred-page novel into a ninety-minute script means a lot gets left out. But visiting the set, meeting the actors, and seeing my imaginary world come to life so vividly was a thrill, and something I will never forget. 


Q: If you’re writing a new book now is it a historical fiction book or contemporary women’s fiction?

A: I’m working on a couple of projects at the moment – both historical and contemporary. Time will tell which gets moved to the front burner. 


Q: For your contemporary novels do you take bits and pieces of places you’ve been and people you know to create fictional worlds and people?


A:  It’s extremely rare for me to draw on real people to create a character. When I do, those people only serve as initial inspiration, a jumping off point. It doesn’t take long for the character to become him or herself. 

When it comes to setting, I always use places I’ve either lived (having had 25 addresses in ten states has given me lots to work with) or spent significant time in. But even if I’m very familiar with a location, I go back and do a lot of “boots on the ground” research because I owe it to the people who live there to get it right. 

However, instead of writing about an actual town, I sometimes choose to create a locale that is either completely fictional or an amalgam of several places within that region. Doing that gives me much more freedom to fit the setting to the plot, instead of the other way around.  


Q: Where is your favorite spot to sit down and plot, write and edit your work?


A: While I do sometimes take myself off on self-imposed writing retreats, my favorite place to write is my office. It’s light and bright, filled with familiar artwork and objects that evoke good memories, and the chair is really comfortable. I do my best work here. 


Q: Does Hallmark or any other studio in Hollywood have the rights to your work? We need originality in the entertainment industry again. 

A: I don’t have anything under option at the moment. But if somebody out there is interested in making one of my books into a movie, just let me know. My agent would be happy to have a conversation!