[This is a golden oldie—it ran on Indies Unlimited back in October 2011.]
Meet award-winning historical essayist, multilingual arts & entertainment journalist, novelist, dramatist and poet, Marina Julia Neary. She also serves as an editorial reviewer and steady contributor for Bewildering Stories magazine.
Marina has a passion for telling untold stories and for “illuminating the dark side of the moon.” She incorporates real historical figures into her narratives and works to give them psychological dimension.
“For instance, in one of my novels, Wynfield’s War (a sequel to Wynfield’s Kingdom, both published by Fireship Press), I show a dark, almost demonic side of Florence Nightingale, who is regarded as a saint by the medical community. Within each saint there is a demon – and vice-versa,” she says.
When writing her books, she envisions the storyline, but writes various scenes and then assembles them into one big mosaic, rather than approaching them in a sequential order.
She finds her inspiration in the past, “. . . in the smell of obscure rare books that have been out of print for decades. That’s the ‘indie’ side of me, I suppose. I usually don’t read bestsellers and don’t watch blockbusters. I like to dig up lost treasures.”
Marina does not use beta readers per se, but does have other novelists look over her manuscripts primarily for the purpose of writing reviews and blurbs. She says, “If something stuck out like a sore thumb, they would bring my attention to it. But I would not classify them as beta readers. I think of them as colleagues and friends, and I do mention them in my acknowledgements.”
In promoting and marketing her work, Marina relies on special interest publications. She says, “If you establish an amicable relationship with the editor of a publication that deals with the same subject matter, your work will be promoted to an appreciative readership.”
She works predominately with small press publishers and encourages aspiring authors to consider the small-press scene when shopping their work. “Don’t automatically go for self-publishing just because you had no luck with the big houses. There are other options. There are many wonderful genre-specific or theme-specific small presses,” she says. Marina stresses that the key to working with small-press publishers is to do your homework to determine which publications would be the best match for your manuscript.
Marina says of writing in general, “You have good days and bad days. On some days you write 3K words of beautiful prose on one breath. And then you hit a writer’s block. On some days you’ll get 3 rejection letters at once. And the next day you’ll get that long-awaited contract offer. It’s a roller-coaster.”
Marina Neary’s fourth novel “Martyrs and Traitors: a Tale of 1916” was published by a small publishing house that specializes in transformative fiction – All Things That Matter Press.
She says, “My novel deals with the Easter Rising in Dublin. The protagonist is a discredited Irish patriot whose name has been buried for decades as result of De Valera’s propaganda. As the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising is approaching, there is a great deal of revising and speculating in the academic circles. Heroes and villains are reevaluated and redefined.”
She reports that the book has received fabulous reviews from other historical novelists, including the bestselling author Peter de Rosa, her lifelong idol. She has also received a very encouraging review from Midwest Book Review.