Thursday, May 25, 2017

GUESTOPIA: YA Author Marlo Berliner

Marlo Berliner

It's May already, and so far this year I hope I've introduced you to some new authors whose books you've added to your shelves. But I'm not stopping there, oh no! There's still a bunch of awesomeness to come, and today I have the very special, award-winning Marlo Berliner with me!

Formerly an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company, Marlo Berliner is now an award-winning author. Her first book, THE GHOST CHRONICLES, was released in November 2015 to critical acclaim. The book won the 2016 Golden Leaf Award for Best First Book, was awarded FINALIST in the National Indie Excellence Awards for Young Adult Fiction and received the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Marlo writes young adult, women's fiction, and short stories. She is also a freelance editor with Chimera Editing. Marlo is represented by Eric Ruben of The Ruben Agency.

When she's not writing or editing, Marlo loves reading, relaxing at the beach, watching movies, and rooting for the Penn State Nittany Lions. After having spent some wonderful time in Pittsburgh and Houston, she's now back in her home state of New Jersey where she resides with her husband, two sons and a rambunctious puppy named Max. 

What an impressive bio! And here we go with the interview...

Is this your first published book?

What’s it called?

Which genre?
YA Paranormal

Which age group?

Is it a series or standalone?
A series

Are you an agented author?

Which publisher snapped up your book?
Teddy Blue Books (my own imprint)

How involved have you been in the whole publishing process of your book?
100% involved!

Do you have another job?
I’m also a stay-at-home-mom and freelance editor

Did you receive many, if any, rejections prior?
Yes, many, through several rounds of querying to agents and editors. The book got very far with dozens of them, but ultimately no one bit so I decided to self-publish it.

What created/what were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?
I was on the beach at the Outerbanks, NC reading Harry Potter, Chamber of Secrets along with my son. The chapter called The Deathday Party ignited the spark that lit the fire that would become THE GHOST CHRONICLES. But the whole idea for the book really came together after I stayed at the Angel of the Sea, a famous bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ and heard the legend of the haunting there.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?
Only a couple weeks. Basically, I just dove into writing it.

Once you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?
The story did flow naturally, but it took many rounds of revisions to get the book into its current state.

How many drafts did you write before you let someone read it? Who was that someone?
I wrote two drafts before I pitched it to an agent and she requested the full. After reading the full, she asked for a revise and resubmit right away.

Did you employ an editor/proofreader or did you have a critique partner/beta readers before you started querying?
I had a few beta readers before I started querying, and afterwards, a professional editor.

Roughly how many drafts did it take before you sent the manuscript off into the real world?
Like I said, just those two drafts and then off to an agent it went.

How many drafts until it was published?
Easily a dozen.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?
I originally wrote the story in a very distant third person POV and then revised it to be very close third person. I also changed the ending chapters substantially.

Are there any parts you’d like to change even now?
A few tiny things here and there, but nothing much really.

What part of writing do you find the easiest?
Taking a book from rough draft to finished product. That’s when my writing truly flows and the magic happens, as long as I can stay in the ‘groove’.

What part do you find hardest?
If I have to leave a story for too long because of other commitments, I tend to lose the flow of the writing and it takes me much longer to get into that ‘groove’ again.

Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?
I try to push through, even if it means leaving one chapter and working on a different one. Occasionally though, I have to step away to gain perspective.

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?
About three.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?
I personally think it takes a bit of both. When I was younger I was told I had a gift for writing, but it also took learning a lot of craft through workshops and books to really bring me to the level I’m at now.

How many future novels do you have planned?
For this series there will be a total of three books. After that, I have five other novels currently in the works. And folders full of ideas for others!

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?
I’ve written several short stories that I may put into a compilation.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?
Hearing from fans! Every time I get an email from a fan saying they can’t wait for the second book in THE GHOST CHRONICLES series it makes my day and spurs me on to write faster.

Give me one writing tip that work for you.
I swear by Michael Hauge’s story structure.

And one that doesn't. 
Character interviews. My characters just don’t speak to me or come to me like that.

Can you give us a clue or secret about the next book?
Much of the book takes place in Cape May at the Angel of the Sea again, but there’s also a scene that takes place in Boston.

What question have you always wanted to be asked but never have?
What would the answer be? Did you ever experience anything paranormal, or anything you couldn’t explain while staying at The Angel of the Sea? And the answer would be, yes!

Fantastic interview! Thanks for joining YAtopia, Marlo, and we wish you all the best with the series.
If you would like to follow or find out more about Marlo and her books these links might help!

Buy links -

Social links -

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