Title: One Big Beautiful Thing
Author: Marie Flanigan
Formats: Mobi, paperback (audiobook to come)
Release Date: 5-2-2013
Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up in various parts of Virginia, but I’ve been living in northern Virginia outside of Washington DC with my husband for over twenty years. We have three dogs to provide plenty of chaos.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
One Big Beautiful Thing is the story of Kate, an artist, who is trying to pull herself back together after the drowning death of her boyfriend. When I was in college a close friend of ours lost her boyfriend to drowning and then a few years later a friend of ours, who lived with us at the time, drowned in the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina. Both events had a lasting impact and informed Kate’s situation in the book.
How do you create your characters?
My characters sort of pop into my head fully formed, but then I write down all their details and personality type them so that I don’t forget specifics as I put the story together.
What inspires you and what got you started in writing?
Sometimes a song or an anecdote that I hear will inspire me. Sometimes it’s a dream. Different things at different times strike me as good for a story. I don’t remember when I first started writing. I know that I wrote my first book with my friend Robin in sixth grade, but I wrote a lot of stories before that.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I find music to be very inspirational, but when I sit down to write, I need quiet. I work in a shed converted into a writing studio in our backyard. I don’t know how anyone writes when they are drinking. I would doze off.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Obviously, events from my own life often end up in my work, but snippets of other peoples’ lives end up in there as well. I don’t like to lift anyone out of real life intact and plop them into a story, but I do take bits and pieces of various peoples’ lives and piece them together into interesting characters in interesting situations. For example, Kate’s mother is not my mother but an amalgam of some other mothers I have known.
What do you like to read?
I like different types of books. I read a lot of non-fiction. I’m very fond of Mary Roach’s books. I also read a lot of mysteries and action adventure books. I’m a big fan of audio books. I’m very excited for One Big Beautiful Thing to come out as an audio book. I’m working with a great performer named Tatiana Gomberg to make that happen.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring authors in regards to writing?
Be tenacious. Hone your craft. Find a good editor that will really work with you to make your book better.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I owe a lot to the tremendous support of friends and family. I consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people. My husband in particular has afforded me the opportunity to pursue writing and I am eternally grateful.