Amy K. Marshall has been an archaeologist, conservator, curator, archivist, wreck diver, Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race Project Coordinator, musical theater director, piano teacher, bassist in a B52s Tribute Band, small business owner, blogger on The Weather Underground, DJ, waitress, line chef, and editor. She is increasingly weirded-out by the tendency of writers to refer to themselves in the third person.
What is the name of your book and if you had to sum up a description in 40 words or less, what would you say? Terror stalks a seiner crew during the 2010 Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery. As March wanes, the past is not so distant, and being alone can cost you everything. Time again. Can the crew of The Case In Point survive?
Where did you get your idea for your book? It sounds psychotic, but a character from another book sent his best friend over to tell me a story. Other than that, I don’t know, honestly. I live in a small fishing town in Southeast Alaska. I had a lot of time on my hands when we first moved here in 2009, so I would walk the docks because I am an unabashed boat-stalker. After we bought a small sailboat, I would sit out on the back deck and write and listen to the crews who passed through town. “We fish Sitka,” is one of the first things I remember Colin, one of the main characters, “saying” to me when this whole thing started. I had to look it up because I didn’t know what it meant. It grew out of that. I would like to point out that I became, ironically, my small fishing town’s librarian AFTER I finished writing the first draft. It’s raised eyebrows–Nan in the book and all. In the end, it’s a Persephone story, only more deadly, and with Alaskan fishermen….
When did you publish this book? It came out on Epiphany this year — January 6th — the eBook did. The joke around town was that I’d finally come to my senses and had my OWN epiphany and released the book for everyone to read. The physical book came out on March 5th. It was strange because in the book, March 5th is Ethan’s birthday.
Is your book part of a series? No, not really. I’m writing a combination prequel-sequel, but that’s as far as these characters will go.
What is the most important thing about your book you would like to share with potential readers? Most important thing? That there’s nothing more horrifying than obsessive love. It’s not a paranormal romance. Love in the book takes many forms, and it is the flawed obsession that passes for love drives people to unspeakable acts.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? The editing process. It went through 17 edits. There were so many good scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. There was backstory and lots of fishing. Actually, too much fishing. I think it was around the third draft when my husband looked at me, sighed, and said, “It can’t be Moby Dick. You can’t make it a primer on seining.” THAT was difficult. All the research that had gone into it and it was a balance to get the realism of being on a boat and not going too far with the mechanics of it. In the end, I think I got it. I’ve had seiners ask me when I fished, and non-fishing-folk aren’t overwhelmed by the process and procedure of fishing or the fishery.
What is your next writing project? I’m ghosting a project for a writer in Tennessee, and I’m working on a series of darkened fairy and folk tales — Dark Soundings — the first of which includes retellings of the Russian Fairy Tale SALT and the Irish Folk Tale THE SOUL CAGES. That should be out in late-May. I’m also going back and picking up a work in progress called IN DARK PLACES which is set in an interior Alaskan copper mine in 1913, and I’m starting to research a non-horror book called THE GARDENER OF EDEN. All of that should keep me out of trouble for awhile.
What formats are your book available in: eBooks, Paperbacks? THE FISHING WIDOW is available FREE for your Kindle from Amazon, and is also FREE at Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The paperback book is available at Amazon and at retailers and bookstores all over Southeast Alaska. I’m working on expanding distribution into the Interior, and don’t get me started on my cruise boat plans …
Where can readers find you?
What is your name and where are you located? Amy K. Marshall, and I live in Craig on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.
Do you write under a pen name? No.
What books have influenced your writing? THE GHOST PIRATES (William Hope Hodgson) specifically and William Hope Hodgson generally, Lovecraft, Tim Powers, Haruki Murakami, Robert Louis Stevenson, Douglas Adams, C.S. Forrester, Herman Melville, Margaret Atwood, and Carsten Jensen. Name a book by any of these people, and I’ve most likely read it.
What inspired you to first write? When I was 7 I started to write because there were stories that I wanted to read. I wrote short stories until I was 13, and then I wrote my first novel (an epic fantasy) that I shopped to the big three in Fantasy back in the 1970s. I got, in retrospect, three of the kindest, most encouraging (and handwritten) rejection letters, ever.
What have you learned the most about being a writer/author? The importance of research and realism in writing and dialog. That, and how, if I’m not scared or sobbing or laughing with the characters, my readers won’t be, either. And the subconscious? That’s the best guide. I just try to get out of the way and let it tell the story.
Do you see writing as a career? I enjoy being a library director and encouraging others in the creative process. I love writing, but it’s not the be-all end-all for me. That probably sounds wrong, I mean, I’d love to get paid handsomely to write, but I also like my day job.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Haruki Murakami (she said without hesitation)
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t quit. Don’t get discouraged. Believe in your story and your characters. They matter. YOU matter. Stephen King is right — there are people out there who will make you feel like crap for writing what you write and how you write. If you’re asked to give feedback, make it constructive. Don’t be a hater. You’ll find that you do your best when you’re pulling for the people around you. Encourage youth. Encourage creativity and literacy in all its forms. Love your readers. Cry when your characters die. Well, at least notice when your characters die … I didn’t notice once … don’t get me started… yes, he was pretty ticked about it… Play writing games. Get to know your characters OUTSIDE their story. That makes them real. It makes them pop from the page. If you get stuck, put it away and look at it again with fresh eyes. If you’re going through Hell, keep going. And no matter what, don’t ever give up on it. You never know how close you are to success.
What is the one most important thing others should know about you? I am a manic advocate for literacy in all its forms, and, because I’m a librarian, I am, by definition, pathologically helpful.