Marit Weisenberg is next up in our Interview series! Marit has a master’s degree from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies and worked as a film and television executive for a number of years, but most recently she’s been spending her time with her debut novel, SELECT (Charlesbridge, 2017) and its sequel, SELECT FEW (coming out next week!).
While I hope you don’t have to stay up late to finish reading this (because writers need sleep!), I do hope you read on to find out why Marit likes it when people tell her they’ve stayed up late, how she made it through high school Latin class, and the power of … Darth Vader.
Where did you grow up, and how did that place shape your work?
I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. But back then, the area where I was raised hadn’t yet transformed into today’s Silicon Valley. I think the place where I grew up definitely shapes my work—a part of me really misses the west coast and in a lot of ways, it still feels like home. In my second book, my characters travel from Austin to the Bay Area, making the westward journey.
Did you always want to be a writer, or did that come later?
I was always happiest when I was reading or making up stories. I remember entertaining myself on road trips by staring out the window and coming up with story ideas in my head. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. My friend, Sophy, and I co-wrote a romance novel, passing it back and forth in Latin class! It took a really long time to actually get there though. For years, I worked in TV and film development, helping writers with their stories. So I surrounded myself with writers and stories but it took me years to get up the courage to actually try writing myself.
If someone were to follow you around for 24 hours, what would they see?
Ha! It’s so boring! Me in front of a computer early, then getting my two girls off to school, walking the dog, working again in front of the computer. Sometimes I go with friends to the Central Library or meet up with other writers at a coffee shop.
How does your everyday life feed your work?
Books, TV shows and movies are constantly inspiring my work. Same with stories my friends tell me about their childhoods or what our kids are going through. Also, some real life interactions are better than anything I could make up!
Tell us about some accomplishments that make you proud.
I’m proud that I met the deadline for my second book. It’s a sequel so there was time pressure to have the book come out one year after the first. In some ways, a first book is so much easier because there are no expectations. Second books are scary!
What surprises you about the creative life?
How every writing day is different. I don’t know exactly what’s going to come out and if the story is going to flow or be so difficult. Those flow days are so random and amazing that they keep me coming back for more. I also love when a character does something that completely surprises me and they feel like they’ve taken on their own life. And, lastly, it never fails to surprise me how, if you keep showing up and work bit by bit, one day it all adds up to a novel.
When a reader discovers your work, what do you hope they find?
My ultimate dream is to create a character or a relationship that a reader remembers even after they finish the book. Also, it makes me so happy when a reader tells me they stayed up late to finish!
Quick Fire Questions:
Would you rather find $20 cash, or an unscratched scratch-off ticket? CASH!
Would you rather talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vader? DARTH VADER. There is some power in that breathing!
Would you rather be a little late or way too early? A little late, for sure. I grew up with compulsively early people and it was stressful!