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Interview with kitnkabookle blog



-What inspired you to become a writer?


Reading literature, and being inspired by great, mostly 20th Century novelists like Fitzgerald, Hemingway and so many others. I went through the complete Sherlock Holmes at age 14 and read it all again a few years later. In my college years, I read through most of the complete works of British writers like Evelyn Waugh, E.F. Forster, D.H. Lawrence and Aldous Huxley. I was also inspired by fabulous poets like T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren and Wallace Stevens.

I went into journalism chiefly because I wanted to make a living as a writer; that’s a lot more perilous as a novelist, and I also wanted the social contact of being around others and learning from them.


-What draws you to your genre(s) of choice?


I was a history major in college, and have been drawn to historical fiction and historical adventure. It’s fascinating to learn about another era in history by getting into a character/characters and immersing yourself in the very different details of their surroundings. Straight biography can be very illuminating, but it doesn’t resonate with imagination or surprise.


-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book


As recounted in the novel, Annie Oakley traded heavily on her girlish image, and few knew that she was married. As a result, she entertained proposals of marriage and even an offer from the king of Senegal to kill (supposedly) the thousands of man-eating tigers there. Obviously, she declined. Several readers have pointed out that the proper reference was almost certainly lions (there were probably no tigers there), but I came across several references to this request as mentioning tigers.


-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks and/or pizza with?


Buffalo Bill Cody. He was a character who loved the ladies, good times and good drink; clearly one of the most colorful figures of the era. Don’t know what he would have thought of pizza.


-For aspiring writers, any tips?


Find inspiration wherever you can, and practice your craft. I was a journalist for many years, and had training in writing non-fiction, but anyone can learn from others. Writing is a synthesis; nothing is probably entirely original, and you can draw from different voices and genres.

Write something every day in you can, and look at it critically. A writer needs the equivalent of a singer’s ear – you need to learn what’s good, and what isn’t. And edit what you write: while everyone will approach that process differently, editing (and especially tightening) are great exercises that produce a better product.


-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Fantasy. It seems to be really popular, but it doesn’t do anything for me. I like stories to be grounded and relatable, even if set in another time, so something wildly unrealistic just doesn’t work. To write fantasy, you have to let your imagination run amok, and I don’t think I could do that.

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  • Posted by Jeffrey Marshall/
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Interview with Jeffrey Marshall

Why write a book about Annie Oakley?
She’s a fascinating figure in a wonderful period in American history, before moving images (mostly, anyway) and when the West was truly the frontier. I started to research a book about Buffalo Bill Cody and quickly realized two things: 1) There is a lot written about Cody and his Wild West Show, both fiction and non-fiction, and 2) Annie Oakley really was the star of the show, and was an international celebrity who wowed them in Europe. I didn’t really know much about her and her life, and as a former journalist, my curiosity was piqued. (more…)
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