Interview with Mari Biella

Published 2014-01-23.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think every author I've read has influenced me to some degree. When I was in my teens, I read a great deal of nineteenth century fiction, and many of the authors I discovered then - the Brontes, Dickens, Trollope, Gaskell, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, to name but a few - continue to inspire me. My all-time favourites, however, include Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, Jean Rhys and George Orwell.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
All my books that have yet to be written!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like the quiet life, and enjoy long walks in the country, gardening and cooking. Living in Italy, where there are so many glorious places to see, I like to get away for the weekend or a few days when I can.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A variety of ways. Word of mouth is a big factor: if someone whose opinion I respect recommends a book to me, I'll be very interested in reading it myself. Others I discover through pure chance: the cover appeals to me, perhaps, or the book description piques my interest. If I enjoy the free sample, I'll certainly consider buying a copy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was actually a poem, called "Thunderboots the Giant". I'd like to point out that I was about five years old at the time!
What is your writing process?
Ideas come to me in a variety of ways: an overheard conversation, a newspaper article, an anecdote. I let the idea gestate slowly in my mind, waiting for it to gain clarity and detail; it's a very organic process. Then, when I feel ready, I write a very rough first draft, in which I concentrate on just getting the basic story down. After that, I start the long, long process of re-reading, editing, and rewriting, which takes a very long time. Eventually, when I'm beginning to feel confident in the material, I send it out to my invaluable beta readers, who read it and give me their honest (sometimes uncomfortably so) opinions. This is usually followed by at least one more rewrite, and then by editing and proofreading, until finally it's ready for publication.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to come up with a cover design that reflects something of the essence of the book. It's important to me that the cover should, to some extent, sum up what the book is about: its themes, its mood, its setting. I look long and hard for images that I think convey these things.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's very hard to choose just five! However:-

Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness": a beautiful, melancholy, and sometimes horrific journey not just through the heart of Africa, but right into the dark heart of humanity.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby": a tragic love story, played out against a backdrop of money, power, and greed.

Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea": much more than just a prequel to "Jane Eyre", this is a powerful indictment of colonialism, slavery, and sexism, in which much is conveyed in few words.

Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair": another love story, but one that seethes with ethical and spiritual questions and probes into the heart of the human condition.

Richard Yates' "Revolutionary Road": a tragic examination of inadequacy, soured love and squandered dreams, set against the sterile background of suburbia.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything I can get my hands on! Fiction is my first love, but I also enjoy history, poetry, and philosophy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Wales, in an area with something of a split personality. On the one hand, there was all the detritus of heavy industry: abandoned pitheads and steelworks, slagheaps, and old factories. On the other hand, there was wild, beautiful countryside - mountains, lakes and forests. That landscape has always haunted me, and I think it's made me sensitive to the relation between place and mood.
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Books by This Author

Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 34,670. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 18, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Cozy
When journalist Cat Armistead visits the small village of Wintergreen over Christmas, she thinks that staying in the peaceful English countryside will give her a chance to relax. Her illusions are shattered, however, when a local businessman, Hugo Montbray, is found dead in a wooded area near the village.
Pietra and Other Horrors
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,060. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 7, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
“I was living in a world of monsters, and the darkness brought death on its wings.” Ghosts, vampires, werewolves and zombies... all of these, and more, can be found in PIETRA AND OTHER HORRORS, a chilling collection of five short stories.
The Revenant
Price: Free! Words: 3,980. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 6, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A young woman is haunted by an encounter with an unknown man one evening. She cannot account for the sense of familiarity the stranger brings with him, or for his aura of solitude and sadness. It is only later that she realises the strange connection that exists between them – and the tragedy that still continues to haunt the present.
Devil's Stoop
Price: Free! Words: 2,330. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 3, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A young man stands by the side of a quiet road one evening, waiting for his girlfriend. He isn’t expecting the person who turns up instead – or the secret that this new arrival carries with him.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Price: Free! Words: 6,030. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: February 3, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A young man takes refuge in a lonely old house over Christmas, hoping to catch up with his studies. As the hours and days pass, however, he begins to suspect that he might not be alone after all. Is something else in the house with him, or is he suffering only from illness and stress?
Price: Free! Words: 2,890. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 22, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
The seemingly passive Sarah lives with her sister and brother-in-law – and a ghostly entity that smashes china, spills milk, and writes messages on the walls. Is the Rectory really haunted, or is there more to Sarah than meets the eye?
Loving Imogen
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,060. Language: British English. Published: February 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Everything changes for bachelor Daniel Touchwood when he finds two young runaways hiding in his cellar one evening. Twins Imogen and Leo are appealing, enchanting even, and it isn't long before Daniel finds himself being drawn ever closer to Imogen. As he soon begins to suspect, however, the twins are hiding a dark secret...
The Song of the Sea
Price: Free! Words: 2,890. Language: British English. Published: March 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Historical » Paranormal
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
Deaf, mute Jacob Worsley is regarded as a harmless eccentric in the small fishing village where he lives. Few people suspect that he is haunted by the memory of what happened to him twenty years ago, when he encountered a primal evil... A short story of 2,700 words, THE SONG OF THE SEA revisits an ancient legend and weaves an atmosphere of mystery and dread.