Mari Walker

Mari Walker

Mari Walker is the author of Never As Good As the First Time and Not Quite What It Seems. She spends her spare time freelance writing, editing, and advising aspiring writers on creative writing techniques. Mari resides in Ohio where she is currently working on her next novel.

Q & A

1. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to prepare, a nice  warm (almost hot!) bubble bath,  light some scented  candles and  put on some soft music—maybe Jill Scott. She really knows how to stir up memories about that special man, doesn't she? "You're here, I'm pleased. I really dig your company..." Or something old school like ConFunkShun, and relax with a good book.  There is something about candle lights, the right music, and bubbles, that is soooo soothing!
2. What kind of music do you like to listen to? Why?
I like all kinds of music. Sometimes when I want to put myself in the mood to write, I'll listen to AFRICA by Toto, To My Unborn Child by Tupac or I'll put on some piano solos, like Ferrante and Teicher.  My father played piano and I miss that. The way he would just pound away on the keys and move his body as he made music always fascinated me. He never studied music formally, but he made the music his own. That's why I like piano solos. It unleashes memories that spark my creativity.  The horn solo in AFRICA does it for me, too.  It takes me there.
3. What's your all time favorite movie? Why?
Wow. That's a hard one! "They's so many of 'em!"  LOL!  Ok that was a line from one of my all time favorites, “The Color Purple”. When the family gets together, we are always quoting lines from that movie.  One of us will ask a question and someone will answer with a line from that movie. Usually it's "Hell naw!"  Then there's “Devil In A Blue Dress”.  I love Denzel, but Don Cheadle's portrayal of Mouse in that movie did it for me! “To Kill A Mockingbird”,  Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds”, “Jason's Lyric”, (Oh, I do love me some Allen Payne!)  The list goes on and on. See, that's not a fair question to ask someone who loves movies as much as I do!
4. What's your all time favorite novel and/or writer? Why?
Here we go again! This question really ain't fair, y'all! I love books! It's impossible to pick just one. I love Richard Wright's Native Son. Nobody builds drama and anticipation better than he does in this story. From the moment Bigger Thomas took the job "driving Ms. Daisy" you knew something bad was going to happen. You just could never believe how deep and how bad it was going to get!  I love Walter Mosely, Diane McKinney Whetstone's Leaving Cecil Street.  Tina McElroy Ansa's The Hand I Fan With, James Patterson and his Alex Cross series, especially Roses Are Red and the sequel Violets Are Blue, Eric Jerome Dickey, E. Lynn Harris, Kimerla Lawson Roby's Curtis Black Series. Come on now! Do I really have to pick just one? Okay, I read this book when I was younger, I think the title was Thorpe. And I have tried to find it again, but all that comes up when I google that title are books about Jim Thorpe, the athlete.  Anyway, Thorpe was an excellent book. Thorpe was this little white girl, whose two best friends were these two little black kids, a brother and sister, who lived  in the south somewhere around the 1930's or 40's.  I remember this scene that had tears running down my cheeks. The young black girl, I can't remember her name, had been raped and was pregnant at twelve, something she didn't quite understand, and  her younger brother, Theotus, and Thorpe thought she was just getting fat, and fussed at her for moving so slowly and not being able to play their favorite game with them any longer because she had grown so big.  The game they loved to play was going down to the creek that ran beside this huge oak tree. One of the branches had this coarse, thick, braided rope knotted on the end for a foothold, hanging from a huge limb. The three of them would climb the tree and grab hold of the rope and swing out as far as they could before letting go and splashing down into the water. But they couldn't swing out too far, because there was this deep eddy, sort of a whirlpool out in the middle of the creek that had a strong current and would pull you under if you weren't careful, which everyone called "the mouth of hell" or something like that. This particular scene, Theotus' s sister was standing on the bank watching him and Thorpe take turns climbing the tree and swinging out over the water and laughing and splashing, while she played with leaves on a nearby bush, pouting because she couldn't join in on the fun. But then Theotus swung out too far and when he let go of the rope, he landed right in the middle of the mouth of hell.  Thorpe and Theotus's sister thought he was playing when he didn't come up right away, not realizing or not willing to believe that he had landed in the mouth of hell. Then they saw the bubbles.  Theotus's sister knelt down close to the edge of the water calling her brother's name. "Come on, Theo baby, please! Thee! Come on, Thee! Please!" And by the time the adults got there he had drowned. If anyone has read this book, and if I have gotten the title wrong, could you please let me know.  I'd like to read this book again and add it to my library.
5. What do you like best about being a writer?
I love the way the Creator allows me to create. That's number one. I think the common truth that most writer's share is that we knew, early on that we had to write. We were born to write and we set about doing it. We didn't care where the writing took place or what we wrote on, it was just any clean space we could find. A chalk board, the backs of an older brother or sister's homework (hey, it looked like a clean sheet of paper when you flipped it over!) blank pages in your mother's books, the walls, it just didn't matter! We just had to get our ideas down and tell the stories in our heads. That's what I like best, putting the story down on paper. I like being able to create worlds, and people and making their lives interesting, complex, and hopefully spinning a story that readers carry with them long after they've read the last page and closed the book. That's what I strive for.  And to get paid for doing it, now that's the chocolate icing on the moist, yellow cake!


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