Marilyn Holdsworth

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Author Interview – Mark LaFlamme

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My early days were not always happy and often, I retreated into writing. Sometimes I read some of my early stuff – wild stories and even bits of verse written when I was 11 or 12 – and it’s like some psychological profile. There’s a lot of dark stuff in there. I think most writers have some well of darkness they dip into once in a while. That’s probably why some of us drink like fish.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I was 6 or 7, I found myself staring out my bedroom window and into the cold dark of Maine winter. There were several feet of pristine snow out there but I saw a set of footprints zigging and zagging across the back lawn. Very mysterious. It suddenly occurred to me that I should write a story about those tracks, and I did. I don’t know what happened to that story (I think I gave it a real spiffy title like “FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW!”) but it felt good to write and it became a regular habit. The very next story I wrote was about a little boy who discovered a severed head beneath his bed – a head that talked to him and one which no one else could see. Come to think of it, I probably could have used therapy.

When and why did you begin writing? I was 6 or 7 and the whole world seemed strange. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be a story waiting to be told. When I had bad dreams (I had a lot of those) I struggled to describe them verbally, so I took to putting them down on paper. I loved similes as a means of describing things. Some days, I did nothing more than think of new similes to unleash into my next work. Some of them were truly horrible: “Slippery as a dog swimming in Ovaltine,” or “hot as pizza cheese stuck to your chin.” If I’d had an editor back then, he or she would have swatted my nose with a rolled up newspaper.

How long have you been writing? Since I was 6 or 7 and I saw a set of footprints in the otherwise pristine snow in my backyard. Whose footprints were those? Why did they just suddenly disappear? There seemed to be absolutely no way in the world to describe them other than to put it all down on paper. I wish like mad I still had a copy of that story. I’m pretty sure it would dominate the bestsellers list. In the 6-7 year old category, anyway.

When did you first know you could be a writer? Weirdly, I believe it was after reading Stephen King’s “Different Seasons.” Here were four stories about mostly mundane situations. A kid who meets and interesting old man. A bunch of boys going off for a walk in the woods. Some dude in prison. It occurred to me that you could build a story around anything. O. Henry wrote a lot of those stories, but for me, King really brought it home. I started writing about everything and anything, and once I started, I found it was impossible to stop. I mean, literally impossible.

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Genre – YA / Thriller

Rating – PG

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