#Interview with Mariah (@WaltTwitman)

As you all might already know, I am a Wattpad author and I think it is a great platform for anyone who loves writing. So I’ve decided to start interviewing fellow Wattpaders in order to promote their content. I think this may be also helpful for any aspiring author (whether on Wattpad or not), since these interviews will include writing tips, book recommendations and so much more!

My first guest today is Mariah (@WaltTwitman on Wattpad). She joined Wattpad only ten months ago and she’s already a featured author AND her hilarious book ‘Ignorance, Bliss and Mexican Food’ is on the What’s Hot List. Thank you, Mariah, for accepting my invitation and now let’s get started with the interview!

1. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do besides writing?

I’m a university student studying to be a teacher. Also, I’m a girl. My username confuses people.

2. Which writers inspire you? Have you ever tried to emulate their writing style?

Okay, so pretentious answers would be Flannery O’Connor, Mark Twain, and F Scot Fitzgerald as my favorite writers; non-pretentious answers would be JK Rowling and Roald Dahl. I’m more influenced by movies and tv than novels, which is probably why I won’t get a book deal (I have a tendency to screen-write my novels, i.e., too much dialogue, not enough everything else). I’ve tried to replicate the feeling of 80s teen movies (anything by John Hughes obvi, but also Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything, which is my favorite film ever) and I think I get my sense of humor from watching endless reruns of Seinfeld.

3. Congrats! Your novel ‘Ignorance, Bliss and Mexican Food’ is now on the Featured list. Can you tell us something about it?

Thank you! It’s about this sweet kid who accidentally becomes a meme while working as a mascot for a Mexican restaurant (think Alex from Target). All the while, he’s got a long-standing crush on a French foreign exchange student who wants to help her dad visit Dollywood. People have told me it’s funny.

4. Some say it’s harder to make people laugh and much easier to make them cry. Do you agree?

YES. Humor is probably the most subjective thing on earth (right up there with physical attractiveness). I think all people agree on what makes them sad: loss, pain, injustice, etc. But there’s no consensus as to what’s funny. So there’s more guess work to it.

5. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Hard line to toe. I’m pretty basic with my tastes across the board: I want a happy, bow-tied ending as much as anybody else, so I’m not gonna get super arty and creative writing class with anything I write. At the same time, I think ya gotta keep standards. The whole book can’t be two characters kissing, no matter how hard the fans ship.

6. How do you think Wattpad influenced your writing process? Do you think it’s helpful for aspiring writers or have you had any negative experience?

I think Wattpad’s fantastic. Best thing is the real-time feedback. A huge part of being a writer is waiting for months to be rejected, and then not being told why you’re rejected (by lit magazines, agents, publishers). Even when you’re just starting to write, you’ll be lucky if you find a beta reader (that isn’t just trying to date you, that’s the absolute worst). There’s no feeling like getting votes and comments within a minute of uploading. That’s so valuable for aspiring writers. It gives you the motivation to continue.

7. How did you find out about Wattpad?

Well, I won a summer fellowship to write a novel, which I did. Couldn’t publish it (it makes fun of ISIS, I mean, nobody’s gonna touch that), but I thought it was funny so I decided I should do something with it. Friend sent me an article about Wattpad. I uploaded it, and it got featured in the humor section.

8. What are you currently working on and can you tell us something about your future projects?

Mostly I’m trying to sort out my schoolwork right now, but I started about five pages of novel about a really lucky girl who tries to convince her unlucky friend to step out of her comfort zone. Don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it, but there’s always hope.

9. What is your favorite quote about writing?

I’ve heard this one by E.L. Doctorow and after writing approx. 133,000 words in a year and half I believe it: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

10.Can you share a little passage from your book that you feel really proud of?

“Ed wondered why it was that whenever he saw her, then, he swore he felt a little more nervous than he had the time before. Maybe, he began to think, the fear he felt when he sat beside Audra first thing in the morning at English class, or when her name popped up on his phone’s lock screen, was the same sort of fear he associated with SAT tests and college application essays. That, as he had been told over and over again, the closer you get to adulthood, the faster all magic things fade away.”

Oh, how true.  The closer you get to adulthood, your only magic becomes caffeine and lots and lots of stress. Thank you for reading the interview and I hope you enjoyed it. Click here to check out Mariah’s work! 

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