Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Melissa Marni, Author/Founder of little word studio

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Today we are interviewing Melissa Marni, author/founder of little word studio.

Describe little word studio.
I can't remember how I came up with the name, little word studio, (to be honest, I think it popped into my head as I was stuck in traffic on some Los Angeles freeway) but I think it is a pretty accurate description of what I do on my site: little word studio is my own creative space where I can imagine, create and ultimately produce short stories for my readers to (hopefully!) enjoy.

Who do you think would most like little word studio?

I definitely target the dedicated bookworm, the consummate bibliophile, the enthusiastic book lover but also, if you're someone looking for a quick morning read as you sip your coffee, my little online studio might be just the place for you.

When did you first start writing short stories?

I've been writing short stories (and really, stories of all lengths), since I first learned to stick words together and form sentences. Were my third grade narratives masterpieces? Absolutely not. But my passion for storytelling has been brewing for a long, long time.

What inspired you to create a website that features stories you've written?

Before little word studio, my writing was confined to journals and word documents. But then one day I thought: 'Should I share any of this with someone besides my dog?' (Confession: I like to hear the rhythm of my words so I'll often read them aloud to my 9-pound terrier, Austin. He always approves.) Months later, with thousands of readers by my side, I wonder why I didn't start posting my work sooner. So, to all the aspiring writer out there: Remember the world is kind of amazing and if you possess even a fraction of the words to tell its story, you've got an absolute, certain duty to see that through.
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Melissa Marni, author/founder of little word studio

From where do you draw the inspiration from your stories?
I follow a very specific model for every story posted to www.littlewordstudio.com. I collaborate with talented artists from around the world - illustrators, photographers, animators, even tattoo artists - and ask them to tell me about one of their creations. Then, I craft a story inspired by this piece of art. For instance, one London-based photographer sent me a picture of a car he saw in Regent's Park, a Figaro, and I instantly thought about a woman searching for her first automobile who meets a stranger at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show where the first Figaro was on display. Of course, trouble ensues for the two of them, but I won't spoil the story and tell you why.

Can you tell me about your creative process form initial idea to story published online?

Everything starts with the opening line. If I can nail the first few words of the story, the rest tends to follow not too far behind. I also write my initial draft in a notebook. I read years ago that J.K. Rowling writes everything by hand, so I think it makes me feel like I'm getting some of her Harry Potter magic. After editing and revising about a zillion times, I'll finally transfer the story onto my site and then hold my breath as I hit "publish." Yikes!

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

Hm, this is tough! But I'll list a few - or ten - of my favorites: Susanna Clarke, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Ondaatje, Haruki Murakami, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Austen, Ruth Ozeki and more recently, John Green.

Do you think your move from New York to California influenced your writing?

Without a doubt. It's difficult not to be influenced by the sights and sounds around you. New York City is a beautiful jumble of taxi cab, skyscraper chaos. California is the land of golden sunsets and glittering coastline. There's definitely more of a western tinge to my writing now that I'm out here.

Do you have a favorite story you've written or a favorite character?

Actually, I still think about this character from the first short story I posted on little word studio. His name is Daniel Plinkers and he's sort of an intoxicating mix of overconfidence and awkwardness, a recent liberal arts college grad who thinks he'll nail the first job interview he goes on. Even when all signs point to failure, he can't see the danger ahead. There's a lot of humor to be found in such unabashed positivity. 

Do you plan to share your writing in other avenues, such as with a printed short story collection in the future?

I've been playing around with the idea of creating a printed collection of my stories but nothing in the works just yet. Coming soon, perhaps ...

What is your vision for the future of little word studio?

More stories, more collaborations with talented artists and many more readers who look forward to each new story I post. Eventually, I'd like to return to long-form fiction and would love to publish the book I've been working on for the past few years.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell potential readers?

Maybe just thank you. In a tech-driven world saturated by so much stuff, I want to thank you for faithfully sticking by the written word.

 An excerpt from a story on little word studio:

The Figaro

Of all the details to remember, her hands were still the clearest in his mind. Unpolished nails of otherworldly innocence, intoxication by way of ten fingers and smooth skin and a wrist circled with Rolex Sky-Dweller gold, limited edition. Back to her hands. What did he later call them, windows to her soul? They appeared in stark, shimmering contradiction to that glassy skeleton known as the Makuhari Messe, an oversized structure built on the edge of Chuba City, where the 28th Tokyo Motor show was housed.

If such a thing as young love existed, it was born for her from the 1989 air-conditioned air of the Makuhari Messe and there grew to become a nervous child of mumbled ‘hello’s and ‘what is your name’s.

“Duke Raskipper.” (Perhaps.)

“Mirabelle Quick.”

She was in town to sing Shirley Bassey songs at a Japanese karaoke lounge then purchase her very first car, he to begin a four-month backpacking expedition from Tokyo to Kagoshima and look at foreign vehicles he might never afford.

“My friend had a free ticket,” Duke shrugged.

They were from the beginning two separate ends temporarily bound beneath lofty ceilings and between shiny automobiles, fuel-injected symbols of a fate just beyond his cunning reach. A small vehicle at the center of the showroom kept them together with the strongest force …
More Information
Visit the little word studio webpage 
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