Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tour Stop and Interview with Author Marni L. B. Troop

Today I'd like to introduce Author Marni L. B. Troop who's currently on tour with her novel Tir Na n'Og. Today she's going to tell us a little about her book and herself as an author.


Casey is a Faerie, but not in the way you might think. She’s not a little creature with wings or magic dust.  If not for her tall, pointed ears, this regal princess could be mistaken for a human.  She is gifted among her people in that she can see into anyone’s thoughts.  She can remember every detail of every event that has occurred among the Faeries since her birth.

In "Journal One," Casey watches as the Faerie kings slaughter Ith,  a stranger from across the sea and man of peace who believes the Faeries to be the gods of his people, the Iberians.  Little do the kings know that when you kill an innocent, humans seek vengeance.  Ith’s people come in great numbers to slaughter their “gods” and take Ireland as their new home. Caught in the middle, Casey tries to find a way to bring peace to the two peoples so they can live on the Island together. After things do not go as she plans, the humans prove victorious. At the moment the Faeries surrender the Island, she and her people are transformed into the magical creatures that inspire legend, and Ireland is changed forever.

You would think this to be enough drama for a young Faerie princess, but in the midst of it all she meets her one true love, an Iberian named Amergin. At the moment when all seems perfect between them, they are separated in the worst way possible – dangled right in front of each other but forever just out of reach.

Casey knows that the fate of her people and her love are inextricably linked. For the moment, all she can do is observe… and record everything she can. She has become the Chronicler: the one true historian of her entire race.

About the Author


Marni grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., where she worked at and attended many sci-fi/fantasy conventions and bought several Tarot decks before going off to college. After college, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a story analyst, editor, ghostwriter and just about any film or television job she could find.

After earning a Master of Professional Writing in Cinema/TV-Drama from the University of Southern California, Marni started teaching others how to write. Marni currently lives in Glendale, Arizona, with her spouse, two brilliant children and six crazy pets (11 if you count the fish).

Buy Link:


First of all, the big question: When did you know you were a writer?

I knew when I was in elementary school when I wrote a serial called, “The Hidden Door” for the monthly newsletter. I don’t remember being asked to do it. All I remember is that I wrote the first episode for class and then someone said they wanted me to keep writing episodes and that they would appear in the newsletter. It only lasted a few months, but that was it.

Tell us all a little bit about your book in general.

“Tir Na n’Og: Journal One” (aka: “The Heart of Ireland: Journal One”) is the first in a series of six (or possibly seven) about the rise and fall of the race of people in Ireland known by us as Faeries. In “Journal One,” the Iberians invade Ireland in retaliation of the senseless death of one of their own, and Tir Na n’Og, The Land of the Ever Young, is created.

What inspired the idea for Tir Na n’Og?

In college, I went on a trip with one of my literature professors to Ireland (he was Irish). Having already had an interest in the Celts and Irish folklore, I realized that even among the Irish, not many people recognized the influence that folklore has had on the culture (there is still a lot of Paganism in Irish Catholicism, for example). Although the pantheon of gods and goddesses within Irish folklore are reflections of pantheons from other ancient cultures across Europe, their stories are all disappearing. It bothered me then and it still bothers me, which is why I decided to retell their story. My hope is that the Heart of Ireland series will regenerate interest in these stories.

How much research into Celtic history and folklore did you have to do for your novel?

My response to the preceding question mainly answers this one. I read a lot. I bought pretty much every book on Irish or Celtic folk tales, folklore or mythology I could find. I have dozens of great websites bookmarked. To write any form of Historical Fiction, you have to be immersed in the known world. You also need to really be interested in the stuff or the research will feel more like work than opening a present. To be fair, I don’t actually count reading about the Celts and the Irish as research even though it is. What really was “research” to me was digging way in to the Iberians (the Celts). I’d only read about the Celts in Great Britain, not in Spain or any other place east. I only knew about their migration in a geographic sense. However, if you ignore the fact that I started “researching” in the early 1990s and wrote “Journal One” in 2010, I don’t think I spent more than a few years gathering information. Now, however, as I complete each of the other books, I don’t have to research the Faeries. I have all of that information already. I only have to research the time period and the historical event and people associated with it. For example, I spent about two months reading everything I could about St. Patrick for “Journal Two.” Interesting guy, I must say!

Now a little bit about you as an author: do you follow a writing schedule or do you just write whenever you get the chance?

I write whenever I get the chance. I’ve got two kids in elementary school who have homework almost every day. My spouse is a high school theatre teacher who doesn’t come home until after six most days. I’m a lead instructor for an online college. Basically, since writing does not pay all of the bills for us yet, I still have things to do. I try to balance my time, though. I write at least once a week, but I don’t say that it MUST be on this day or this time. I write as much as I can, but I don’t say that it MUST be this many words or pages. Often, it’s difficult to get into a “writing mood,” as much as I love to do it, but once I give myself the opportunity to sit and write, I remember how much I love it. Now, having said that, should anybody out there want to give me a grant to work on the series… :-D

Do you plan out a story before you write it or do you just write and see what comes?

I don’t complete a detailed outline. I find that for this series, at least, Casey (the narrator) is using me as a conduit to my computer. I often look at what I’ve written and don’t remember having written it. Yet, I do complete a twelve-step outline (see “The Writer’s Journey” by Chris Vogler. He’s a really nice guy and knows what he’s talking about). It’s a very basic guideline for what should happen in the arc of the story, but filling in the gaps, getting from point A to point B, that’s up to Casey.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Have any other hobbies?

You mean, besides maintaining our household and making sure the kids brush their teeth every day? Ah. I crochet. I cook. In fact, we used to have a cookie company. Great cookies: no marketing skills. I try to read, but don’t do it much because I’m usually exhausted by the end of the day. I love to watch movies… in my house. Movie theatres bother me lately. I spent about fifteen years in the film and TV industry, so it’s in my blood. I also love to grow plants. I don’t say “gardening” anymore because living in the Phoenix area, you can’t really have a “garden” unless you’re also willing to put water where it has no business being. Instead, the kids and I grow plants inside the house in pots, and we grow outside plants that are low water and drought-tolerant (except for my potted orange tree. I’m taking that with me whenever we move and I refuse to let that thing die, dammit!). The one other thing is that I write. That’s probably my favorite hobby.
All writers have their quirks, what are yours? Favorite music when writing, muses, special snacks?

My quirks have nothing to do with my writing. I’m just weird. I do prefer to write at Starbucks. Does that count?

All writers end up having a favorite character. Who was your favorite character to write about in Tir Na nO’g?

Ada, Casey’s horse.

Who or what inspires you and who are your favorite authors?

What inspires me now are my spouse, my children and my best friend, who is my “spiritual” sister. I write stories for my children to read. My spouse and best friend are also writers and we inspire each other. My favorite writers are: Natasha J. B. Troop, Becca C. Smith, W.B. Yeats, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Michael Pollan (non –fiction). That’s not everybody, but these are the most influential on my writing and writing style.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing in a good book?

The most important thing in any good book is that there is something unpredictable about it. It could be a character’s decision, an unforeseen event, something either big or small. Whatever it is, it is a game-changer to some degree or another and the reader cannot be able to expect it.

So, what comes next for you? Tell us about some of your works in progress.

“Journal Two” comes out later this year. After that, I will begin working on the first book in a series called, “Helen’s Cave.” This supernatural sci-fi series is about a young woman who discovers that our perception of the natural world isn’t the truth and she is the only one who can see it. There is a strong Native American element to this series.

What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring writer?

Write. Keep writing. Write some more. Get lots of criticism and understand that as much as your writing may be your “babies,” they’re not your babies and that you will only improve as a writer when you are able to take negative criticism and make it useful. In time, you will know inherently which negative criticism is worth listening to and also which positive criticism is worth listening to. Write because you enjoy it, not because you expect to win the Pulitzer or get on the NY Times Best Seller List. That shouldn’t be the goal. The goal is to tell stories and share it with people who enjoy your stories.

Marni will be giving away a copy of Brian Froud's and John Matthew's How to See Faeries. Marni said, "Brian Froud's artwork is one of my inspirations, so it's very appropriate. Plus, it's a cool book!"

Follow her tour and comment for a chance to win!

Excerpt from "Tir Na n'Og"

 “What did you do?!” yelled Eremon at my aunts, furious at some nonexistent betrayal. “Where is she?” That started an argument between the Iberians and the People for which I had no interest.

I called out for Mother. I screamed and ran through the armies, pushing and dodging. I stopped and strained to feel her. My mother was gone. Her presence was wiped clear from the Island!

I was pushing, shoving people out of my way, not caring which army they stood for until someone grabbed me by my upper arms and pulled me into a hug. I did not care who it was, although from the arms I could tell that it was a male. He was standing behind me, so I could not see his face. I wailed for the death of my mother and sank to the ground. The man sat down with me and let me cry.

Some time later, Finola came for me, helping me to my feet and walking with me from the hill. I looked back over my shoulder and saw that it was Amergin who had held me. His face clearly showed the sorrow that was in his heart. I knew that I loved him then, for his open and giving spirit.

Something had been born, not far below our feet and more vast than any of us could grasp. It felt to me like a new mind aware for the first time. 


  1. I love Celtic folklore, too...this sounds great!


  2. Very nice interview and advice.


  3. Thank you for hosting me!!!! :-)

  4. You're welcome, I'm looking forward to getting the chance to read your book =)

  5. Thanks for sharing