Happy Publication Day to Marsha Cornelius!
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m originally from Indiana but I have lived in the Atlanta area for the past forty-some years. I’ve worked at newspapers, owned a small printing shop, and up until a few years ago, I was a cafeteria manager at an elementary school. Now I work at home, writing books. I also teach exercise classes to senior citizens three days a week.
My first novel H10N1 was published in 2011. It’s about a flu pandemic that doesn’t get stopped, so there are lots of dead people. Two of the survivors, a man and a woman, are thrown together by a common goal: finding a safe place away from the looters and marauders. Unfortunately, they don’t get along.
Book number two was The Ups and Downs of Being Dead. A 57 year-old man is told he is dying but he can’t accept this death sentence. He’s heard about cryonics and decides to have his body ‘frozen’ until science can find a cure and bring him back to life. He thinks he’ll go to sleep and wake up in the future but he soon discovers his soul is very much awake. Not only that, he’s able to come and go as he pleases.
I moved away from Speculative Fiction for my third novel, Losing It All. This mainstream drama tells the story of a homeless Vietnam vet in the 1980s who has been living on the streets since he came back from the war. When he meets a homeless woman who has two small children, he is compelled to forget his own problems and help her. (This book has been very popular with book clubs.)
The call of the future brought me back to Speculative Fiction for book number four, Habits Kick Back, where a college co-ed decides she’s tired of taking all of the pills to help her concentrate in class, to retain what she has learned, to keep her weight under control, and to suppress her sexuality. Once she kicks the supplements, she finds that hamburgers and French fries are delicious, and the guy who has been a good friend is also super sexy.
Still in the Speculative Fiction genre, I wrote A Tale of Moral Corruption that takes place in the future when women are in control of both the corporate and political world. Men are the clerks and assistants. The main character, Mason, can’t wait to get married and wear one of the popular artificial wombs that men have strapped to their bellies, carrying their unborn babies. Unfortunately, his plans go terribly awry.
Where do you get your ideas?
Sometimes it’s something or someone I see. Other times, it’s a news story about the latest technology. I never know what cockamamie idea will pop into my head.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Sure. A lot of my characters have mannerisms or speech patterns that I recognize in friends or even myself. And of course, most of the sick humor comes from me.
How do you pick your characters names?
I try hard to make names readable, and short. There’s nothing worse than reading a book with a character named Jehosephat that makes you stop and sound it out every time you see it.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Well, let’s see. First I make a pot of green tea, then sit at my computer and read my emails, any messages on Facebook, and notifications on Twitter. Then I open my document, read what I wrote yesterday, and go back to the kitchen for something to eat. I talk to my cats, I grab a broom and sweep off the front porch, clean the litter box, take another look at what I’ve written, then wander out to the deck to see if any of my plants need watering.
(I have given serious thought to having a seat belt installed on my desk chair!)
With all of my procrastination, I still manage to get one novel a year written.
Do you have a favourite author?
Not really. Sometimes I read big-named authors. Other times I enjoy reading an author’s first novel. I read both traditional authors and self-published. If the story grabs me, I’m happy.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I guess I’d like to meet Stephen King and I’d ask him to plug my books.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Oh, sure. One of the most unfortunate results of reading so much was that I read In Cold Blood as a young teen. I was scared to death for several years that someone was going to come and kill my family.
When did you start to write?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, but I didn’t seriously try to write a book until I was married and staying at home with babies. I thought I’d have plenty of time to write. Ha!!
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I’d change Yertle the Turtle. It would be a sneeze instead of a burp.
Just kidding. There are always books that don’t end the way I would like. Sometimes I just change the ending in my head. Or a book that has an open ending is fun because I get to end it the way I want. But I can’t criticize an author for an ending. It’s the way they envisioned the book.
I’ve often wanted to tell people who leave unsatisfactory reviews because they didn’t like the ending: ‘Next time, write your own book.’
What are you working on right now?
I’m back to mainstream fiction, although this time it’s a comedy/mystery called Up To No Good. My character is a neighborhood busybody. (Her husband even calls her Gladys after the nosy neighbor in the TV show Bewitched.) She thinks a house in her neighborhood is being used to video porn movies because she never sees any signs of life: no hose in the yard, no garbage cans at the curb. Needless to say, she gets into a lot of hot water because she can’t mind her own business.
Do you have a new release due?
I was all set to release the book on December 10. Then I received the great news that my book was accepted into the Kindle Scout program with Kindle Press. Interesting note here: The book was originally called Gladys and the Porn House. The publishers love the story but they weren’t too hot on using Porn in the title. (Evidently, if you google the title you get hits of people getting nasty!)
I agreed to change the title to Up To No Good. I definitely didn’t want my book pigeon-holed with erotica exclusively. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) So now I have a new publisher and a new book.
The new release date is December 31, 2016. How’s that for getting it in just under the wire?
How can readers keep in touch with you?
If you just want to say hello, you can find me on Twitter.
If you want to get into heavy discussions of over vs under on toilet paper, or see cute cat videos, catch me on Facebook.
And you can find all of my books on Amazon. Here’s my author’s page.
Many thanks to Marsha for joining me on my blog today 🙂