Interview with Jeno Marz

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born and live in Riga, Latvia. I’m writing in English, which is my third language. I’m trilingual and speak three languages daily—Latvian, Russian, and English, so things can get messy sometimes with switching from one to another, though I’m fluent in all three, and Russian being my mother tongue.

I’m an engineer, married to a logistician. The third member of our tiny household is a cat who’s into spying.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would say paying my bills with my writing would be a nice start. However, art for the sake of self expression is what always attracted me. So I’m usually torn between the brain and the guts, trying to please both.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m certainly not a multitasker and prefer working with one thing at a time. I’ve finished my science fiction trilogy, Falaha’s Journey, and started to look into my next novel, which is currently in info-gathering stage. I'm also working on erotic short stories.
Falaha's story is a series, tell us a little about it. What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
I do like series a lot, but I also love stand-alone books. It depends on what’s in them.

Falaha’s Journey is a serial, written in small episodes (which get longer as the story progresses.) It is divided into three parts, books, which are not stand-alone. I’ve been working on this series for two and a half years, so I would definitely want a break from series. However, the next novel would be set in the same universe as Falaha’s story, so you can call these works a series of a sort.

Falaha’s Journey is a space adventure/war story, which is also a family story set in the future in our Universe, but it has no ties to humanity or Earth. It features alien (for us) species, which have long connection to each other. It also explores what spacefaring people might be like among other things, and their interaction with technology.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character of Falaha’s Journey is Falaha, a little alien girl, the future explorer and space ship Commander, who is also one of the central figures in the massive conflict between two species, and who is on a mission to resolve it. Though still very young, she has big plans for her future and is ruthless in bringing them to reality.

The whole story is her account of this mission.
Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?
I don’t choose a genre, the story usually falls in the particular genre on its own quite naturally. As with Falaha’s Journey example, I don’t see how this story could be anything else than it is: a science fiction adventure. I don’t shun other genres and even delve in writing erotic romance stories.
How much research do you do?
A lot. A lot more than I do actual writing. I do it until the story starts bursting onto the pages fed by all the data brewing in my head, so I don’t have to force anything out of me.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I do both. But not in a conventional way (if there is such thing as a conventional way). I make a list of things to include in the story, then arrange them in logical succession as I write the story. But when I do the actual writing, I see where an idea will take me, the only rule being to include everything (or almost everything) on the list I made. I usually write the beginning, and the end, and then embarking on a journey to connect these two dots, spinning the yarn.

I prefer writing character-driven stories, so it is easy to follow the lead and see how they will achieve their goal.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
It’s both messy and organized. Messy because I can do anything, anytime. My day is not planned out save for two things—have coffee and do something. Organized because I follow the idea clock. Once the idea is ready to be written, I write. In the meantime I do the thinking.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Anything that catches my attention is going to be utilized, one way or another. Once I found something that made my idea-o-meter tick, I collect that item and try to figure out why it attracted my attention the way it did.
Do you ever get writer’s block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Of course I have days, sometimes even weeks when I can’t write anything for various reasons (my full body aches, I’m in a bad mood, I had a heated, hurtful argument with someone, etc.) I get back to writing once the issue that kept me from concentrating on my work is resolved. So the only thing I can suggest for getting through the hard time writing is to fix the problem that is at the root of such disruption, if possible. And get some fuel for imagination, whatever that might be.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I do read a lot, but I prefer indulging myself in scientific literature. I read fiction rarely these days—a couple fiction books per year. Sometimes I read graphic novels. I love stories with pictures.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Paper/hardback books. I don’t own any ebook reader, and I don’t like reading from PC.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Since I’m not a native English-speaker, I hire an editor. And even if I was born into English-speaking community, I’d still hire and editor. An additional set of eyes to look through the manuscript is a good thing. For me it’s a must.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
No. Definitely not a month. A few weeks, maybe. I don’t have numerous drafts, first, second, etc. I have a draft (call it a first) and the final version. I write slowly, so I don’t do major rewrites, just a basic revision, clean-up, and fixes, if necessary, then proofread and edit in co-op with my editor.
Did you format your own book?
Yes. I like formatting books. There is a certain appeal in playing with fonts and styles, and layout.
In what formats is your book available?
In all popular ebook formats and in paperback from Amazon/Createspace.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
I design and/or illustrate covers myself. Falaha's covers get their meaning from the plot and that's what I usually aim for when designing a cover.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Cover is a good way to catch attention of a potential reader. But once I am intrigued, I read the description and everything available to decide if the book interests me. Personally, I never purchased a book just because I loved the cover.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
Some writers are good at marketing their works (and themselves) through any form of social media, some are not. I’m one of those writers who is bad at it. Do I feel bad about this? Not really. I’m fine with my pace of doing things.
What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
I have presence online so that people who liked my work would be able to find me and my future works. I think that’s enough for me. The best way you can have your work propelled (or buried) is the word of a mouth. It depends on who your audience is and how they use social networks/socialize with their peers. Anything else is a waste of time (and money) for me. I’d rather write more stories. So, as a reader, if you like something, share it with the like-minded people—friends, family, social circles. That would help any author.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
I want to create trailers for my books and try out YouTube. But trailers require scripting and storyboarding, and some finances to make them right. It’s not that easy as it seems. Professional trailers are too expensive for me. What I do want to try is narrate some of my stories myself. That takes practice in voice acting and some skills in sound/video edits, but it’s a fun thing to do during the time-off from writing.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can check out my blog, follow updates on my Facebook page or on Twitter, add my books to their lists on Goodreads.
What do your plans for future projects include?
For now, preparations for the next novel—those include research, character design and development, some outlines. And, of course, the ideas and drafts for the book cover.
Published 2014-09-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Falaha's Journey Into Pleasure, Episode 1: Welcome to Adulthood
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Series: Falaha's Journey Into Pleasure, Episode 1 · OS Universe, Falaha's Journey Book 3.5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,050. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Seven years have passed since the war ended. Commander now has her hands and head full with social, household and ship matters. Her loyal first spouse has to do something to help her release steam… and to remind her with a stern yet loving hand that she has entered adulthood.
Falaha's Journey: A Spacegirl's Account in Three Movements
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Series: OS Universe · Falaha's Journey, Complete Trilogy. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 137,920. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
When a seemingly simple rescue mission turns into a nightmare, Falaha, an ambitious Danna Commander Trainee with a power she can't use properly yet, has her skills put to the ultimate test as her world begins to collapse, throwing her to the center of the conflict that might wipe out her entire race. Will the enemy kill Falaha and her crew before they can find a way to save their people?
Perseverance (Falaha's Journey Trilogy, Part 3)
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Series: Falaha's Journey, Book 3 · OS Universe. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 68,990. Language: English. Published: June 23, 2014. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
A monster awakens from its slumber. A gruesome discovery has attracted the attention of the most powerful being in the enemy force. A strange encounter will change the destiny of every species involved. The allied forces are gathering for a rescue attempt, but will their combined strength be enough to escape from, let alone defeat, their worst nightmare?
The Pit (Falaha's Journey Trilogy, Part 2)
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Series: Falaha's Journey, Book 2 · OS Universe. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 42,980. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
The young Danna couple, along with their new companion, continue to discover the truth about their world and themselves in their search for an opportunity to save their people. Will luck abandon them again or take their side in the war that might wipe out their entire race?
Descent (Falaha's Journey Trilogy, Part 1)
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Series: Falaha's Journey, Book 1 · OS Universe. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,920. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
When a seemingly simple rescue mission turns into a nightmare, Falaha, an ambitious Danna Commander Trainee with a power she can’t use properly yet, has her skills put to the ultimate test as her world begins to collapse.