Please introduce yourself and your books!
Hello! I’m Marie W. Watts, and I write stories about life.
As a child, I dreamed of living on an island and writing. Now I’m living my dream! My island is a ranch in the country, and I write. My other passion is working on a historic house in La Grange, Texas. My latest hobby is traveling the country in a recreational vehicle.
My works include a co-authored textbook, Human Relations 4th ed., a pictorial history, La Grange, and two novels, An American Salad and The Cause Lives. You can learn more about them at http://www.mariewatts.com/books/.
What are the real-life stories behind your books?
I truly believe you must write what you know. I am currently completing the second book of a trilogy, Warriors for Equal Rights. The series is based on my thirty years of investigating employment discrimination.
The story follows a group of federal discrimination investigators working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The characters solve cases as they deal with their personal lives. The first book in the series is “The Cause Lives.”
What inspires your creativity?
Just about everything. In the Warriors for Equal Rights trilogy, I use real discrimination cases disguised to protect the innocent and guilty. Then, bits and snippets of things I’ve read, seen on TV, or experienced weave their way into my work. I take fragments of quirky traits of people I know to create believable characters. Sometimes crazy stuff just pops into my head!
How has your creation process improved over time?
At first, I did not raise the stakes high enough for my characters nor put them in tangible dilemmas. Over time, this has become easier. Taking classes on writing and reading a variety of books has improved this skill set.
What were the best, worst, and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your books?
My most surprising discovery is that the characters take on a life of their own. They guide me where they want to go. If I take them in a direction they dislike, they balk!
The worst thing I’ve encountered is the difficulty of editing long manuscripts. Part of the process is being sure the timeline runs smoothly and that all loose ends are tied. When working on the computer, I find it challenging to locate areas needing changes. I’m still developing a process for accomplishing this.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two, and how?
I’ve always been a good storyteller, a trait I inherited from my mother. When you tell a yarn, you aim to entertain. So, my personal satisfaction is serving my readers by amusing them or giving them something to think about.
Through my blogs on www.mariewatts.com, I contemplate problems as well as celebrate life and living. My diverse blogs cover subjects such as my escapades with mice in the house to pondering how to discover the truth. My readers respond to these musings.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I can start a campfire with one match!
While I respect snakes, I’m not scared of them. I have had to kill two on our property. One was a twenty-four-inch copperhead, which is now a hatband on my cowboy hat. The other was coiled near my hummingbird feeder, waiting for a tasty snack.
(Note: Thanks to the Girl Scouts for imbuing me with the above skills.)
I suffer from an addiction to online jigsaw puzzles, which, unfortunately, I use as a procrastination tactic to avoid writing when I have writer’s block. That’s why it has taken me so long to write this Q&A.