Interview with Mardi Orlando

Mardi Orlando

Interview Date: 9/13/2012


Mardi Orlando is the recent recipient of the East Gippsland Shire Council Arts and Literature Grant and enjoyed her own extensive exhibition for her contribution to the arts. Mardi studied psychology and teaching and continues to teach art and music to children of all ages. Mardi also contributes to the community with her work at the Gippsland Libraries - Storytime being a favourite. She lives in Lakes Entrance with her husband of 15 years.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

It sounds stupid but I was in prep. Before class one day I wrote a poem”
‘If you were me and I was you what different things we would do,
If I was you and you were me what different things we would see.’
I told the teacher and she liked it. I was hooked.

Kev's response: What she may not have realized is that this was your inner psyche crying out as you split into multiple personalities, perhaps? We're not fingerpointing here, just saying. Right guys? Right! Multiple personalities are great when you can all collaborate and discuss topics. :)

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonably powerful.)

Boring answer -FLY! But I would also like to be able to read in my sleep. I think this power would still be good even if it was weak – yes I saw you wanted to change that last statement so I’ve covered all bases ;0

Kev's response: Hmm. Sleep reading. If you could actually retain the information, that would be interesting. Great time to read textbooks or boring topics...

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Superman. He flies. Or BookGirl – she reads in her sleep you know....

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Dreams. I’m always waking up in the middle of the night from some incredible dream and trying to write it down on my notepad without waking the hubby. It’s not so much motivation as necessity. I can’t stop writing for long periods of time – I go a bit loopy (well more loopy anyway).

Kev's response: Yup, I fully understand then the condition is exacerbated!

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

The whole story is swirling around in my head for a while before I can get to it. But I always know the first page, the main story and the end. The characters however, get to evolve all on their own. How they do that I have no idea.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I sit down at about 3pm on my days off and write to about 10 or 11pm.

Kev's response: I'm jealous. I've had problems focusing for a while, and can only write for an hour or two at a time these days. Before that, I could write the entire day.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I love writing YA. I’ve written for children and middle school kids but YA fantasy gives me heaps of scope. Plus you can get a bit darker. Mwa haha.
I like reading YA fantasy, dystopian, biographies, poetry, and anything imaginatively written.

Kev's response: Hold up a moment. Biographies that are imaginatively written? Hmm.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

It amazes me that I can sit still for so many hours as they disappear behind me while I delve into my imaginary worlds. I guess I never grew up. Is that a bad thing?

Kev's response: Not at all! Viva la writer!

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

EDITING!!! I read a famous quote: “Write drunk, edit sober.” It says it all really.

Kev's response: I've heard that one!

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Oh dear, how long have you got? Umm well I treat my cats like they’re little fuzzy people... well they are, aren’t they?

Kev's response: I always called mine furred devils, though I no longer have any pets.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I’ve tried writing 2 novels at the same time. I finished one and started another and the second one is still sitting on my desk pleading with me to finish it (it’s 90,000 words in and I really like the story but now I’m onto the sequel of the last one I finished....see it’s too complicated..)

Kev's response: Sometime I'll have to try writing a second while still working on another. My obsessive nature pushes me to complete something before moving on. On the other hand, it can increase the drive to work on the first. Hold up, I need to have a discussion with myselves about this for a minute...

In my evil plot to take over the world, do you advise I use highly intelligent, self-motivated minions, or simple ones, and why?

Both. They can try and outdo each other, cramp each other’s style and keep us all entertained.

Kev's response: And an entertained evil mastermind is a happy evil mastermind!

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I’m shocked that I’ve made the transition to ebooks. I love paperbacks. But here in Australia paperbacks can cost up to AUD $35 whereas I can get an ebook from .99 cents to maybe $3.99. That’s lots more books! I can see the eventual demise of paperbacks but not for a long time.

What are your current projects?

I am writing the sequel to Secrets of Ghosts. It’s going to be a lot of fun to write. It’s set during the Crimean war (more research :) The gifted teens have become more powerful, the ghosts more difficult to free and the danger is the greatest they will face. Woooooooooo.

Kev's response: Are you caught in a time paradox? Which of you am I actually speaking to? Will the author ever escape the horrors of time travel?!

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Make sure the company has low retail/ebook prices.
You can always get half price deals with the companies – usually at Christmas but keep checking their websites and subscribe to their email lists. Sometimes these specials include Marketing, media etc. Also make sure they get you onto as many websites as possible.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

AMAZON – Secrets of Ghosts Product Page

Kev's response: Mardi, thank you (and you) for joining me (repetitively, if you're still caught in the time loop)! Good fortune with the sequel to Secrets of Ghosts!

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