Interview with non-fiction writer Marion Crook

Welcome to my interview with Marion Crook about her new non-fiction
book, Writing for Children and Young Adults. I’m just one blogger hosting Marion on her release day blitz tour.
In this vibrant new edition of Writing for Children and
Young Adults,
 Marion explains some of the nuances
and choices about the writing world online.

Writing for
Children and Young Adults
helps writers create the manuscript
that sells!
Welcome, Marion. Please tell us a
little bit about yourself.
I wrote a series of four young adult
mysteries and three middle grade mystery-adventure books published by a trade
publisher. As well, James Lorimer Ltd. published my two sports stories for the
young adult market. Alternately with fiction, I wrote non-fiction and
researched with teens and wrote books on suicide prevention, eating disorders
and adoption. After more than twenty published books, I put together what I had
learned about writing and produced “Writing
for Children and Young Adults
for Self-Counsel Press.
Please tell us about your current
The dynamic
world of reading and writing has changed greatly over the past few years.
Writers are pitching their ideas online, exchanging works in progress with
critique partners and forming street teams to promote their work. The online
community of writers is a fast-paced and often confusing place. Writing for Children and Young Adults,
in this vibrant new edition, explains
some of the nuances and choices about the writing world online that can
overwhelm writers.
The book
includes the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively
dialogue and developing plot with stories from her own writing career and with
updated worksheets and examples. This edition of the book shows the writer how
to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone it for an agent or publisher. It
explains how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to
represent and publishers want to buy.
What inspired you to write this
To start
with the publisher asked me to. That created a writing imperative. And then, I
wanted to share in Writing for Children
and Young Adults
the effervescent enthusiasm I have and other authors have
about writing for this genre. I wanted to write a book that was practical and
encouraging so that other writers might be spared the years of frustrated
learning that accompanied my writing journey.
Excerpt from Writing for Children
and Young Adults
Writing is
a solitary task and many writers complain about how lonely it is. But many find
a real comradeship with other writers–apprentice or professional. Like any
complex craft, it offers endless opportunities for shoptalk–both storytelling
and talking about the nuts and bolts of telling stories. The aspiring writer
can bask in the mentor’s attention, or battle the rival’s criticism, and grow
stronger from both. After all, we need to know both our talents and our
Even for
the true solitaries, a kind of companionship comes from our own characters.
Live with your heroes for a year or two of writing and they’ll never leave you.
This is
also a craft which you never finish learning. If language itself is fractal,
infinitely complex at every level, then writing poses challenges for the old
professional as well as the apprentice. The only way writing can become boring
is by the writer’s refusal to pay attention to it; every manuscript is trying
to tell its author something new about writing and about the author, but not
all authors are listening. You can never become complacent or think you know
everything about the craft. As soon as you do, some reader or fellow-writer
will drop a casual remark that makes you feel totally ignorant. Don’t feel
dismayed–after all, it means you have more to learn about writing, about
yourself, and about the human condition.
What exciting story are you working
on next?
I finished a young adult novel set
on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. My agent has it and will shop it. I
am working on a series of adult mystery novels also set on the Sunshine Coast
with a retired veterinarian as the protagonist.
When did you first consider yourself
a writer?
When I wrote five short stories and
sold three of them in three months to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what
do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time which means I
write every morning, do writing business and research in the afternoon, Monday
to Friday. I take horseback riding lessons (a rank beginner) and I paddle
outrigger canoes (an experienced canoeist). I have a dog who insists on a walk
twice a day so I hike through the neighborhood, check out whether the bear has
been on the street and keep alert. I live near the ocean so when the cougar is
not in the neighborhood, I walk on the beach.
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I find my characters often have a
wry sense of humor. I expect that comes from me. I once tried to write a
romance, a genre that I have respect for, but my character kept interjecting
satirical remarks and I gave up.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian but
was refused admission because I was a woman. I get great satisfaction of
pretending to be a veterinarian in my books.
Anything additional you want to
share with the readers?
I would like readers to believe in
their ability to write and the importance of what they write. Individual point
of view and writers’ particular take on the world are important contributions
to our reading choice. Writers need to write to get better; just try.
Social links:
Buy links:
Thank you, Marion!
Readers, you can learn more about Marion and her writing by visiting her
other tour stops:
9/21 The CWILL BC Society blog  – Review
     Aspiring Writer, Accomplished Nerd Guest post
Cover2Cover blog – 
9/23 Yatopia – Guest
9/24 A Book Addict’s Bookshelves Spotlight
Delightful Book Review
 Guest post
9/26 Kit ‘NKabookle Review
     Susan Heim on Writing Review
GeoLibrarian – 
9/28 Shelley Wilson Author Interview
     The Write Path Spotlight
9/29 Book Room Reviews Guest post
9/30 Reader Girls Review
     Babs Book Bistro Guest post
10/1 Mama Reads, Hazel Sleeps – Review, guest post
10/3 Girls Heart Books – Guest post

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