Interview 2 with Marina Stern

Marina SternMarina T. Stern’s short story, On the Edge of the World appears in the Summer 2006 issue of Shimmer.

Questions About the Story

Where did the idea come from?
I was trying to distill pure essence of heartbreak.

How did the story change as you developed it?
On the editor’s request, I put in more background, to make the plot easier to follow.

You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?

Actually, this is the part that got cut. I made up a whole novel as background for this story. As the novel evolved, the story that was its original core didn’t fit any more. I excised the original story, and let the novel go its own way.

How is this story like your other work? How is it different?

I write a lot of love stories that don’t quite work out. This one is different, in that the hero is more damaged, but nicer, than my usual heroes.

Questions About Writing

Who do you write for? Yourself or someone else?
I’ve done both, but the only ones that sell are the ones I wrote for myself. That probably means something.

What writing projects are you presently working on?
I’d like to finish that novel by the end of the summer. After that, there are a novel I’m working on with a friend, a cookbook, and a French phrase book.

What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
Morning. If I don’t get started by noon, I probably won’t write that day at all.

Favorite book read when you were a child?
The Yearling, Old Yeller, Freckles of the Limberlost. Anything outdoors: anything with animals.

Random Questions

If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be? And Why?
I have a good life: loving husband, great pets, a small handful of friends I can count on. It wouldn’t be necessary to trade lives with anyone. If I could change anything, I’d like to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World. I always thought that was the coolest job in the world.

Watch much TV? If so, what shows do you watch? Which shows are guilty pleasures?
I only watch TV in the daytime if I can find a choice old movie. I favor romantic comedies from the ‘30s, or crime thrillers from the ‘40s. In the evening, I watch The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and House. That Hugh Laurie is yummy.

Favorite restaurant?
There are several. If I had to choose one, I’d say Café Orient. It’s a Vietnamese place where the chef remembers my husband’s allergies. I’ve never had a dish there I didn’t like.

Cat or dog person?
I have both, but I’m more emotionally in tune with the dogs. I’ve never met a person as saintly as my old Labrador, Bonnie.

If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Marry Tom. I broke up with him, and married him many years later. I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I’d married him sooner.

Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain your answer:
Only one. Collaborations never work out.

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Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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