Tuesday, June 9, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Marina Raydun


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hello.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Marina Raydun:
My name is Marina.  I am a Libra who loves karaoke and milk chocolate.  I was born in a country that no longer exists (namely, the former Soviet Union) but immigrated to the United States with my parents at the age of eleven.  I was raised in Brooklyn, where I live to this day.  I have a B.A. in history, as well as a law degree.  I've always written for pleasure, but first published my work in 2012.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Marina Raydun:
Music is my first love - I love to sing.
I have a killer sweet tooth.
I can be a little OCD.
I am good at keeping a secret.
Clutter unnerves me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Marina Raydun:
The first book I remember consciously making a decision to read cover to cover was a book I read in second grade.  I was born in the former Soviet Union, so this was in Russian.  It was a biography of a female soldier in World War II.  I must've read it at least twice.  I was quite taken with the story depicted and also felt proud of myself for reading a real,  hardcover book that was certainly above my reading level.  When I came to this country, I had to start from scratch - reading Goldilocks and the like.  The first real  novel I remember reading for pleasure in English, however, was Waiting to Exhale.  It was hardly appropriate reading material for a thirteen year old, but I knew about the movie and wanted to read the original.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Marina Raydun:
I just finished Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremen.  It's a food memoire about growing up in the Soviet Union.  It's relatable, to say the least.  Also, I'm reading a novel called The Boulevard Trial by Stephanie Laterza.  Very engaging.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Marina Raydun:
I like telling stories; always have.  As a child, I liked making up scenarios and dialogues in my head, but it wasn't until high school that I began writing these down.  For the longest time, I only let my closest friends read my writing, but eventually I grew ready to share my creations with a wider audience.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Marina Raydun:
Not really.  As long as I have my tools (my laptop or even a pen/paper), I try to use whatever (little) free time I have efficiently.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Marina Raydun:
I reread a lot.  A LOT.  It's hard for me to let go and not tweak things anymore.  It may be that OCD thing I mentioned earlier.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Marina Raydun:
Sabyon Liebrecht's compilation of short stories Apples from the Desert is definitely up there on the list, as are all books written by the incomparable Gillian Flynn.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Marina Raydun:
As with any creative process, things don't always click the way you want them to click.  The muse doesn't always operate on the timetable.  This takes a lot of patience, but such is the nature of the beast.  The most challenging part of that is actually putting yourself out there.  Even when you write fiction, you inevitably expose a piece of your own bing with every work you release.  You never know who will interpret your words in what way so you need to develop a thick skin (and fast) to withstand various opinions and criticisms.  This in itself is often quite a challenge.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Marina Raydun:
That's a tough question.  I'd say engaging/fast-paced plot, relatable characters, and realistic dialogue.  If I want to know what happens next, I consider what I'm reading to be a successful book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Marina Raydun:
More so than not, all my characters are fictitious, but of course it's impossible to prevent inspiration from your everyday surroundings from seeping into your work altogether.  I suppose there is a bit of me in all of my characters (of all genders and walks of life), but really they are their own beings.  Who's most like me?  This one is tricky.  Maybe if you blend them all together...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Marina Raydun:
I don't really have one set genre.  My books tend to fit under the literary fiction umbrella but, within that, I like to experiment and push myself every time.  I try not to box myself in too much.  I like telling stories in general, so who knows what story I'll want to tell tomorrow.  My first published work of fiction was a compilation of novellas, which are of the literary/psychological thriller genre, whereas Joe After Maya, my second book, was of the literary/suspense variety.  Honestly, I try to write what I myself would want to read.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Marina Raydun:
I strive to always create relatable characters (and compose realistic dialogue) while balancing "showing" and "telling."  Staying true to the characters is of foremost importance to me.  I hope my readers appreciate that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a project - whether book related or not - that they have saved up for a rainy day.  What's yours?)

Marina Raydun:
This is such an excellent question!  Writing wise, one day I want to work on a few short stories.  I'm bouncing around a couple of ideas, but a compilation will take real time and dedication.  Not book related - I want to learn to play the guitar and take an acting class.  One day!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Marina Raydun:
My current novel (Effortless) was conceived as part of a two-part series, so part two (Inevitable) is due in some time.  Also, I hope to write another suspense novel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Marina.  It's been great having you here today!!  :)


About the author:
Born in the former Soviet Union, Marina Raydun grew up in Brooklyn, NY (where she still lives with her family).  She holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in history from Pace University.  Marina's published works of fiction include a compilation of novellas "One Year in Berlin/Foreign Bride," as well as a suspense novel entitled "Joe After Maya."  Her other passions include singing and baking.

About the book:
At 28, Helen longs to be effortless.  Jamie looks it.  Breaking a long-standing engagement, Helen at once knows what she has to do.  She follows this enchanting stranger across the Atlantic, hoping to find more than temporary shelter and distraction from her seemingly crumbling life when she gets there.  Inevitably, the road for the two proves to be bumpier than Helen had ever imagined it could be.  Along the way, she stumbles across unexpected discoveries about herself, as well as those in her life she's always thought she knew best.

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