T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel. A Woman Lost was her debut novel.
T.B., thank you so much for stopping by today!
I read that you travel the world and that is a passion of mine. Is there one place that stood out to you the most during your travels around the world?
Thanks so much for having me today. I’m asked this question a lot and each time it’s a difficult decision. But I always end up saying Botswana. This doesn’t mean that the other countries I’ve been too weren’t exciting, but Botswana was the first time I was thrown into the wild and saw so many amazing animals, such as elephants, zebras, warthogs, kudu, impalas, hippos, lions, wildebeests, leopards, and so many more. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. And I was afraid to blink since I didn’t want to miss a single moment.
Thank you for the amazing photos. Botswana is certainly being added to my list for future travel.
A lot more people are being touched by suicide, by way of attempt (personally or friend/family) or knowing someone who succeeded. Can you tell us the story behind writing Marionette?
The story takes place in 1992 in Colorado and that was the year I was a freshman in college. It was also the first time I started hanging out with other gay people. I didn’t come out until my sophomore year in college, even though I made the realization in high school, but I started making friends during my first year with many gays and lesbians. Throughout my years in college I had many wonderful friends who were extremely supportive, and several of them attempted suicide. Sadly one was successful. Paige doesn’t represent any of my friends in particular, but my experiences during that time really influenced the story.
You wrote about some heavy issues in your novel. Was it difficult writing a novel that was both serious and humorous?
I’ve been lucky and have always been surrounded by intelligent and witty people. Whenever I’m having a bad day, one of my loved ones will listen to me and support me and then out of the blue will crack a joke and make me laugh. They say laughter is one of the best forms of medicine and I wholeheartedly agree. I wanted to help the reader as much as possible, like my friends and loved ones do for me.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m reading two. I usually read one book I’m reviewing for an author and one for pleasure. Currently, the review book I’m reading is The Secret Sense of Wildflower by Susan Gabriel. The other is The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.
Was there a specific part in Marionette that you had a difficult time writing? If so, why?
There are a lot of sensitive topics in this novel, but the most difficult one for me to write was the hate crime, even though I didn’t go into a lot of details about the actual attack. Back in 1998 I was a grad student in Fort Collins, Colorado. In October, two men tortured and murdered Matthew Shepard. The reason for the attack was that Matthew was gay. The men took Matthew to a rural area and pistol-whipped and tortured him and left Matthew tied to a fence. Matthew didn’t die and cyclist discovered him the following day. Matthew was then flown to Fort Collins to Poudre Valley Hospital. He lived for a few more days and I remember standing outside the hospital for a candlelight vigil. Matthew died on October 12, 1998. He was 21 years old. I never met Matthew, but I’ll never forget his name. And that is why I included this part in my novel. All hate crimes are despicable and they shouldn’t be ignored.
What is your favorite thing about Paige?
What drew me to Paige was her vulnerability. She comes across as intelligent, strong, a smart ass, and loyal. But underneath it all she has this vulnerability about her and I just wanted to give her a hug.
How did you come up with the names of the characters in your novels?
I really don’t know, to be honest. I have very little control over my characters and they tell me everything, including their names.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I started taking writing seriously, I spent countless hours researching publishers. I actually decided to approach two. Then one of them folded and I started to hear grumbling from other authors about the other. This was around the time I attended the London Book Fair for the first time and I listened to a few presentations on self-publishing. I started researching it and decided it was the best move for me. I like being involved in all the steps and if something goes wrong, it’s my fault. So I have to fix it and not wait for someone else to fix it. It’s not an easy route, but I don’t think traditional publishing is that much easier these days since almost everyone, unless you’re Stephen King or along those lines, has to promote.
What’s your favorite food?
Mexican. I grew up in California and I loved Mexican food. For the past ten years I haven’t had any decent Mexican food since I lived in Boston and now I live in London. I miss it!
Do interviews ever feel like an interrogation instead?
Not yet. I hope they never do. I think I would cave and start ratting all of my characters out.
Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript?
No, but when I was a kid, my dog peed on my homework that I had to turn in. My dog was blind and paper trained. It was my fault for leaving my paper on the floor by the back door—not sure why I did. And it was humiliating to have my mom write a note to my teacher that said, “TB can’t turn her homework in since the dog peed on it.” My teacher was not impressed one bit and didn’t even crack a smile.
What kind of projects do you have going on? Any new books planned?
The next book is about a woman who had everything going for her. She graduated from Harvard, had a literary agent, and a deal to write her first book. However, everything has fallen apart and she’s working at Starbucks to make ends meet. She has a crazy but loving family and girlfriend. It’s about whether she can find her true path in life and get everything back on track.
It was great having you on the blog today, T.B! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday and I wish you much success in your future writing!
Thanks so much! It was fun and I wish you and all your readers a Happy New Year!
After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.
During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.
To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?
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