Interview with MarLi Ilejay

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read...that I remember, and was genuinely interested in was Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events: the Carnivorous Carnival, which I absolutely loved, but I didn't get it whatsoever. I suppose it's because I didn't realise that it was part of a series, and wasn't even the first one. I guess it was the catalyst that pushed me into falling in love with books. Let me tell you, it took several months to get me out of the reading funk that I got into after that.
I remember getting grounded for reading too much, and looking back, I realise that I was a bit crazy about reading.
How did you start writing? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote...gosh, that was soo long ago. I got into writing maybe 6 years ago, when I moved to Australia. We hadn't bought a TV yet, and there was nothing else to do, so I decided to sneak books off of my brother. From there, I transferred my love of reading into writing my own stories. My first story...I think it was a school assignment, and it was about a kangaroo bully being told off by his big sister.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Writing is not the center of my world, but I write when I can. But when I am not writing, I'm either reading on Wattpad, alternating between the various websites that I am a member of, taking care of little sister or eating.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is a bit all over the place to be honest. Sometimes, I think of ideas, and they're the beginning of the story, but from there, I have a hard time going from there. Other times, I envision an awesome ending, but have no idea how to get there. I've also tried writing scenes as I imagine them and put them together from there, but that has been my worst way of writing so far.
So, my writing process is imagining the beginning, imagining the ending, and going from there.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is being able to essentially put my thoughts on a page. Every bit of my dreams are in some way contributing to my story ideas, and coming up with so many ideas and being able to put them onto a page is incredible.
My brain is a bit of a clutter, and sometimes writing is the only way to de-clutter it, to make sure that I am not in fact, certifiably insane.
I'm a bit shy when it comes to people I know reading my stories, but when they're anonymous, and all the can say are good things, it further shows me that I definitely should pursue writing further.
Who are your biggest influences when writing?
My family are definitely the biggest influences for writing. I have this tendency to base a scene or event in my story off of something that I have actually done during an interaction with my mum, dad, brother or sister. I've actually even named a character from Wattpad after my sister.
My friends are the people I usually turn to for critic on my latest ideas, suggestions, opinions, ideas etc. They're also the ones that encourage me to continue writing when I think everything is going wrong, or I've hit some serious writer's block on the road to an epic story.

Obviously to be a good author, you have to have ideas, but to be a great one, you take ideas from other stories. Little lines and concepts that spur on potential ideas. Why do you think so many Vampire stories have sprouted up with the success of Twilight? But for the most part, I take ideas for scenes, not plots. Those come from my dreams or random thoughts I've had.
How do you approach cover design?
Covers? They're hard. I either make them blindingly obvious in relation to the title, or I find inspiration in some area of the book. But most of the time, I go onto Google Images, type in a few key words, find cool pictures and splice them together until they look somewhat decent.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Majority of ebooks that I know about are books I've already read in real life, know of from books or authors I've already read or have been recommended by friends. Also, with self-publisher's on Wattpad, I take a look at the books of Watty authors I know and love. But I mostly prefer real live books to ebooks,online readers etc.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh gosh, loaded question right there! I cannot for the life of me, pick any single book when there are so many SERIES that I dearly love, and to pick one of any series is to be disloyal to the series as a whole. Well, that's my opinion anyway. But here goes...I can't pick any single books, so I suppose I'll tell you my top 5 favourite series.
1. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead because that series changed my childhood. I will be quite honest when I say reading that series really opened my eyes to thinking and being more perceptive of my surroundings. Plus the romance in the story just made me want to squeal with the intensity; especially since I first read it when I was 9 or 10.
2. The Jack West Jr series by Matthew Reilly is second because it was my first Senior Fiction novel that I enjoyed; it sparked my interest in history, and ancient times, while mixing in modern events and beliefs, which I found I really enjoyed.
3. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - do you really have to ask?
4. The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan is one of those stories that most girls wouldn't be into, but I absolutely loved it, because it was the first story I discovered all by myself, and it put more light into the dark and devious of every golden victory.
5. The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer has an excellent plot; a 12 year old evil genius is trying to steal gold from a fairy. Eoin Colfer did an excellent job of twisting myths to his story.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favourite authors are Richelle Mead, Eoin Colfer, Matthew Reilly, Jane Austen, Lewis Caroll, CS Lewis, JK Rowling and when the mood suits me, JRR Tolkien.
What do you read for pleasure?
Read for pleasure? I read mostly fictions. Fantasy where I can find it, YA when I feel like it, and Wattpad wherever possible. I'm a particular fan of werewolf fictions, cowboy fantasies, and stories that move me to tearss.
Published 2013-11-09.
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