Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Author Interview: Marilyn Peake

The Speculative Fiction Showcase interviews Marilyn Peake, author of several SFF novels and novellas.

  1. These days, most writers are glued to their laptops, tablets, and/or e-readers. A few still swear by print books and typewriters, the question is: Do you move at all?

Do you mean physically move?  HaHa, not much, certainly not as much as I should.  I sit at my computer, laptop, tablet and Kindle way more hours than is physically healthy.  I also enjoy sitting and reading print books.  I do exercise once a day, though: treadmill for an hour, few exercises on the Bowflex.  In the summer, I try to swim laps every day.  And I love hiking.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to hike more often.

  1. Apple or PC?


  1. Do you use Scrivener or Word?


  1. Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?

No pets right now.  We did have a bearded dragon lizard, a beardie, that we named Norbert (after the dragon in Harry Potter).  Bearded dragons love attention from humans.  She was a real sweetheart.  Norbert lived to a ripe old age, and we missed her dearly after she passed away.  I’ve had an idea for a children’s book featuring a bearded dragon with Norbert’s personality for some time now.  I think about her a lot.

  1. Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?

Both, actually.  Like many writers, I’ve always dreamed of writing a book that would eventually be made into a movie.

  1. Are you hooked on any science fiction or fantasy TV shows? If so, which one(s)?

Black Mirror.  I recently discovered this show and was immediately hooked.

  1. Do you own copies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings DVDs? The extended version? Do you ever watch them?

I own a number of different versions, actually, including the extended version.  I’ve watched these movies quite a few times.  I absolutely love them!

  1. Have you seen the first two parts of the The Hobbit? Are you planning to see the final instalment?

I saw the first two parts.  I was incredibly disappointed by the first Hobbit movie.  I didn’t think it was anywhere near as majestic as The Lord of the Rings movies.  I thought the second Hobbit movie was OK.  I’m sure I’ll see the third one.

  1. Your fiction spans pretty much the whole range of the speculative spectrum from middle grade fantasy via paranormal YA, urban fantasy, Mayan fantasy and dystopian science fiction all the way to zombie horror? So what would you say are the unifying themes of those very different stories?

All, or at least most, of my stories revolve around social, psychological, and/or political issues.  Speculative fiction allows me to write about difficult real-world issues within a magical or otherworldly atmosphere.

In The Fisherman’s Son trilogy, my middle grade fantasy novels, Wiley O’Mara is the main character.  He has an alcoholic father and his mother dies at the beginning of the first book.  This sets him on a hero’s journey.  His mentor is a magical dolphin whose powers allow Wiley to travel with him under the sea.

Shade, my YA Mystery novel with Paranormal elements, explores a number of difficult real-world issues, including: a parent’s substance abuse, neglect and abuse of a child, cutting and kidnapping.  However, the main character, Shade, is spunky and funny and brave.  She also has the help of a ghost who lives in her attic bedroom.

Occupy Faerie is an Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy short story.  It involves an evil faerie working together with a corrupt politician in order to bring down those who threaten the status quo of the ruling elite.

My Dark Fantasy short story, Coyote Crossing, focuses on the horrors suffered by a group of illegal immigrants as they struggle to cross the U.S.-Mexico border and make a new life in the U.S.  In Coyote Crossing, there are both real-world issues and a symbolic level of supernatural horror.

Cannon Fodder: Operation Horse Whisperer shows soldiers in a futuristic war scenario being placed on battlefields their minds can’t comprehend.

Mutation Z: The Ebola Zombies is the first book in a series.  (I’m almost done writing the second book.)  In this series, the zombies are a kind of weapon created by the U.S. military in cooperation with the CDC and the World Health Organization.  The zombies are introduced into various geographical regions in order to create chaos and destabilize the population, making it easier for the government to seize control.  The virus is supposed to be short-lived, but it mutates more than once and things do not go according to plan.  In the Mutation Z series, I’m exploring a number of political issues within a speculative zombie context.

  1. Your latest work Hoarder in the Down Deep is a Kindle Worlds novella set in the world of Hugh Howey's Silo Saga? What was it that drew you to the Silo Saga?

I absolutely love Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga.  The Silo Saga focuses on average citizens being manipulated and controlled by politicians, a theme I find compelling.  Hugh’s characters are intriguing.  His storytelling abilities are fantastic.  I devoured these books and count them among my favorites.

  1. Are you a Luddite? Or do you prefer to be on the bleeding edge of technology?

Somewhere in between.  I find the bleeding edge of technology fascinating.  Unfortunately, there’s such a steep learning curve for me with tech tools, I’m always far behind the cutting edge.

  1. Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?

This is a perfect example of my relationship with technology.  I only started playing computer games a couple of years ago, although I’ve always thought of them as an amazing art form.  My favorite game so far is BioShock Infinite—it absolutely knocked my socks off!

  1. What kind of foods do you eat? Are you a health-food-nut or is it strictly junk?

I like almost every kind of food.  I try to eat healthy, but I’m far from a health-food-nut.  I don’t eat a whole lot of junk food; but, man-oh-man, do I love it!  I especially love Reeses’s Peanut Butter Cups.  And now I can’t stop thinking about chocolate…

  1. Do you cook? What is your best/favourite/most popular recipe?

I enjoy cooking and baking, although my husband’s been doing most of our cooking lately.  One of my favorite recipes is for homemade spaghetti sauce.  I’ve made that quite a few times.  I’ve also tried making different types of cheesecakes and loved every one of those recipes.

  1. Have you ever heard of or had a green smoothie? If you’ve ever had one, what did you think about ?

I’ve heard of them, but never tried them.  I’m hoping to add more healthy food to my diet this year.  I’ve seen so many shows on the nutritional value of blending fruits and vegetables in juicers lately, I’m curious to try it.

  1. Do you have a garden? Have you ever grown your own food?

No, but it’s something else I’d like to try.  I think I’d like gardening a whole lot better if it didn’t involve so much weeding.

  1. Have you ever been to Starbucks or any other coffee shop?

Yes!  Oh my God, yes!  I love coffee.  I especially love Starbucks mocha lattes.

  1. Coffee or Tea or Water? Espresso, Drip, Instant, or French Press? Bag or Looseleaf? Bottled, Filtered, Tap or Rainwater?

Coffee, definitely coffee.  I also like water…but it’s no substitute for coffee.  Espresso and drip.  Bag or looseleaf: I prefer coffee.  Bottled.

  1. Do you wear socks?

Why, yes, I do.  And I especially like fancy socks and holiday-themed socks.

  1. What are you wearing right now?

Jeans, long-sleeve shirt, and a sweater jacket.  I just got back from dinner at a restaurant.  I usually write in pajamas.

  1. How often do you wash your hair? 

Every day…unless I’m writing.  Sigh.

  1. Do you do your own laundry?

Yes, unfortunately.  Laundry takes up so much time, I feel like it’s one of my hobbies.  A masochistic hobby, I might add.

  1. Does life fascinate you?


  1. What would your animal totem be?

A raven or dolphin.

  1. Do you recycle?

Yes.  I’m rather conscientious about that.  I think it’s important.

  1. Do you do Yoga? Meditation? or Deep Breathing? Does it help you cope?

I find deep breathing helps me to slow down and better cope with things.  I’ve been meaning to try meditation.

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how eccentric are you?

Hmmmm.  Probably a 7.  I tend to think outside the box and live creatively, but I’m also pretty normal in lots of ways.

  1. What’s your astrological sign?


  1. Do you consider yourself a slave to the muse?

Yeah, pretty much.  I spend time away from writing; but the muse is always there, nagging me to get back to work.

About Marilyn Peake: 



Marilyn Peake is the author of both novels and short stories.  Her publications have received excellent reviews.  Marilyn’s one of the contributing authors in BOOK: THE SEQUEL, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at THE DAILY BEAST.  In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies.  Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, GLASS CASES.  AWARDS:  Silver Award, two Honorable Mentions and eight Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, two Winner and two Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, and Winner of the Dream Realm Awards.


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