Interview with Debut Author Charlie Greene
Welcome back, it’s autumn at last!
It is good timing to do a guest blog. I am going to interview Charlie Green, who is now an indie-author of her debut novella The Monster of Marnmouth Valley. The story set perfectly for this month’s guest blog. I thought it would be nice to help her by spreading her novella and share her passion for writing. Before I ask her questions, I want to share my thoughts on her novellas. First, I want to thank the author for having me to be an arc (advanced review copy) on her story.
I love reading fantasy stories. I read it while I was at the camp and finished it over the weekend.
I left a review on Goodreads, but I can share it here because some people may not know what it is. It is a program where you can find books you like and leave a review or connect with writer communities.
I want to give her novellas five stars and here is my review. “I like how she (the author) created this fantasizing world with interesting characters and natural elements. She did a good job writing a tale about a young girl helping an elder woman. They helped each other and learned a valuable lesson about letting go of the past, accepting the circumstances and cooperating as a team (along with Saul😉), and saving their homelands.”
Now let’s meet the author and ask her questions.
Hi, Charlie Green, welcome. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Charlie: “I’m 27 and live in a tiny, remote town in Canada that borders the US. (Literally, I have to go to the US if I want to see a movie in theatres. Which... isn’t happening right now.) I spent 4 years in theatre school and a year and a half on the entertainment team aboard cruise ships (which, it appears, I quit just in time). I love traveling and really hope to do more of it once the world is open again. I love reading and in the last few years, rediscovered my love of writing, which I hope to continue doing for the rest of my life.
Yes, this awful virus is keeping us from doing anything we like to do...like go to see movies in the theater or hang out with the people we love and miss. Or anything to keep to ourselves from spreading. I agree with you. I hope this thing goes away soon.
What inspired you to be a writer? What was your first story you wrote?
Charlie Green: “I think probably reading inspired me to write. I’m not entirely sure because I was so young. But I’ve been a storyteller most of my life, just in different forms. I’ve dabbled in writing stories, making little films, writing plays, and I even tried some songwriting but have only ended up with two songs I didn’t want to burn. I do journal as well and tried keeping a regular journal as young as six. I’m not sure which story was the first I wrote because I was so young, but I vividly remember writing a picture book about a family and the kid going to a sleepover. But the people were yellow and had heads that were all wavy, like a poorly drawn hand. I remember reading it to my class in grade one or two. The Monster of Marnmouth Valley is the first novella-length book I’ve written.“
It is fun to try different things.
What led you to write a middle-grade fantasy story?
Charlie Green: “Middle-grade was my prime reading years. It was back before the internet was huge and before smartphones were a thing. Netflix didn’t exist, so there were just fewer distractions and I devoured books. I would take six or seven books out at the library and be so proud that I could return them all without having to renew them because I’d read them in time. I wasn’t too picky about what I read, and I enjoyed pretty much all of it. Remembering reading at that time in my life. And I love the idea of getting to be a part of that magical time for someone else.
In terms of why fantasy? Partially because the idea I had worked best for fantasy, and partially because I really loved the Narnia series as a child and fantasy is just such a fun genre.
I agree. Fantasy is a fun genre to write. I love writing fantasy stories too. Back in 2011, I was a newbie writer and started off writing fairy stories. And we know why fantasy is important to us. It gives us the freedom to create whatever we want and use our creativity and imagination.
What inspired you to write The Monster of Marnmouth Valley?
Charlie Green: “It was actually a post I saw online. It asked something like, “Why is the chosen one always a teen/young adult? You’d think they’d choose someone with more free time, like grandmas.” Or something like that. It stuck with me for years before I finally decided I had to write it. There were parts inspired by other books in The Monster of Marnmouth Valley, but if there is, it seeped in unconsciously. I originally had the narrator sound more similar to the narrator from a favorite book series of mine as a child (The Eddie Dickens Trilogy), and I’m kind of sad I dropped it, but it wasn’t working the way I wanted it to.”
Who were your models for Ellian and Beth?
Charlie Green: “I honestly didn’t have specific models or inspirations for these characters. That doesn’t work best for me. I’ve thought of trying out basing my characters on people in future models, but it’s not my go-to method of writing. I did, however, steal the name for Ellian from a babysitter I had when I was young. I just love the name.”
I understand. We all look for character inspirations differently. I think it is cool you create your characters from your own imagination.
What is your theme in fantasy stories?
Charlie: “I think every story should be different. I wouldn’t want to write the same story over and over. I suppose this story if you had to choose ONE theme, would be acceptance. Acceptance of who you are and your place in the world. And do your very best in that position.”
That’s a good valuable lesson. We all need that.
Are you doing more of these as a series or this is a standalone?
Charlie Green: “I may return to Ellian’s world one day, but the intention was always for The Monster of Marnmouth Valley to be a stand-alone.”
I think you did an excellent job on the story.
And the last question I would like to ask, can you tell us what is the best way to begin a middle-grade story? Any tips?
Charlie Green: “The hardest thing for me was finishing because I would always edit along the way. I’d write a chapter and go back to make it better. So my first piece of advice is to let yourself write badly. You can always rewrite it later. But if you just keep trying to make what you’ve already written perfect, you’ll never finish. My first draft for my next book is so bad that not all the characters even have names yet. I just wrote, “NAME” where their name should go and I’ll figure that out later. The first draft is about getting the story down on the page, so you know what it is. No one needs to read the first draft, so it’s okay if it’s bad.”
That’s advice for anyone who wants to write.
Charlie Green, I had a pleasant time interviewing you.
Charlie Charlie: “Thanks for having me!”
If you want to get your copy of Charlie’s debut novellas The Monster of Marnmouth Valley, tab the title and it will lead you to Amazon or visit her website charliejgreene.com. You can follow her on Instagram @cjgreenebooks and Twitter @JGreeneAuthor.