Interview with Marta Coffer

Published 2020-02-27.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the possibility of a blank page. There is nothing like putting pen to paper and giving full rein to my imagination. The words seem to flow by themselves, and that is always so exciting. Sometimes stories play out like movies in my mind. It's a challenge to capture them with words. I love being in the zone, knowing I've got the scene down exactly as I saw it!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Quiet time before the kids wake up, time with God, and a chance to see my husband before he launches into his early days. And sometimes I'm inspired by breakfast.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a stay-at-home mom, and we home school our older kids, so most of my time is spent with family and friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! I think it was from middle school. It was the diary of a cat whose cushy life turned horrific when a cute, malicious kitten joined the family. Think Garfield and Nermal.
What is your writing process?
Usually ideas come play themselves like movies in my head. I write down the basic gist of the idea, then let it simmer. Details about characters, bits of dialogue, and more scenes often follow, and I write those out in a list. I'll start writing a scene at random, unsure where exactly it goes in the story, until I have a collection of scenes or chapters that need to be rearranged or connected to each other. Or deleted. Gradually I'll fill in the fine details of the characters and setting.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. I remember my parents reading to me -- so many stories! I've always loved books.
How do you approach cover design?
Not by myself! I have a friend who's a wonderful graphic designer -- works in the business and is doing his own projects on the side. He agreed to do the cover for "The Inferior." At our first meeting, we sat down and had a question and answer session about the book. What's it about? Did I have a vision for the cover? Then he took his notes home, read the book all the way through, and sent me some sketches. Once we hit on something we both were excited about and fit the story well, we combed the internet and other sources for images. It's a long story from there. Lots of tweaking.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
How can I narrow it down to five? Okay, okay.
1. "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger. It's got to be one of the most beautiful, hard-hitting stories I've ever read. And I love his imagery.
2. "The Riddle-Master Trilogy" by Patricia McKillip. Every time I read it I find something new -- another angle to the story, another intricately woven piece to the puzzle. Each line is a perfect poem.
3. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. Her knowledge of people was uncanny. This may not be her most perfect, polished book, but it conveys all the drama and comedy of ordinary life in such a delightful way.
4. Anything by Agatha Christie! She wrote so simply, yet her characters are always engaging, the dialogue is always fascinating, and I've only once guessed "who done it!"
5. "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldredge. I've never been into non-fiction, but this book altered my perception of Jesus and challenged me to read his life and words with new eyes.
What do you read for pleasure?
Historical fiction, contemporary fiction, mysteries.... A smattering of many genres. I'm pretty picky, though; if the book's not well-edited, I can't finish it.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Just telling my family, friends, and acquaintances I'd written a book. Everyone got excited! And they've started telling other people, requesting it at libraries, posting links on Facebook, etc. There's been a ripple effect, a strange and wonderful series of events that seems to be entirely outside my power.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I started writing "The Inferior" when I was 18. My family was camping at a busy state park. Everyone was having a good time, but it was too noisy for me to think. So I climbed into our Suburban with my notebook and pencil and locked the doors. It was stifling in there. Breathing was physically hard. That'd when the first sentences jumped into my head. From there the first draft of the story just rolled out.
It's taken years of learning more about writing, doing research, and just having life experiences to truly finish the book. I had to confront the lies and oppression and feelings of inferiority in my own life before I could bring my main character through hers. It's my story, the story of how the love and power of God triumphed in my life. I needed that before I could write it for my main character.
What are you working on next?
I'm wrapping up an adult fiction story about Samantha, a pregnant woman who's husband is away on business when the power goes out. Everybody in her neighborhood just gets a cold drink, starts up their generator, and waits for the power company to fix it. But the outage stretches across days, tensions rise, and Samantha realizes she's hearing voices in her head. And the truth about them will turn her world on its' head.
Who are your favorite authors?
Leif Enger, Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, Jane Austen, Neil Gaiman, Agatha Christie, Louis L'Amour....

Specific works of theirs are magic. I wish I could write as beautifully as they do. Or did.
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Books by This Author

The Inferior
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 57,890. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
What if World War II had a different outcome? What would the world look like through the eyes of an outcast? This is the story of Allison, a girl of mixed racial heritage who is forced to work for the government. It's a story of oppression and lies, but also of hope breaking into a hopeless world.