Who loves a rock star romance? Renee spoke to debut author Mary Ann Marlowe about her book, Some Kind of Magic (Flirting with Fame). As well as attaining a black belt in karate, Mary Ann has enjoyed a varied career outside of writing including ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. Mary Ann is a fellow member of the 17Scribes, a group of authors whose debut novels come out in 2017.
Your new book, SOME KIND OF MAGIC, is out now. What was the inspiration for the story?
I like to ask “What if?” questions and then imagine variations on possible outcomes. In the case of SOME KIND OF MAGIC, I was wondering what would happen if you met someone famous without realizing who they were. Whenever I pass by the magazines at the grocery store check-out, I very often can’t recognize half the so-called “celebrities.” I could picture myself sidling up next to one of these people at a bar, having a whole conversation, and then finding out after the fact that the “stranger to me” was actually the hot new thing. As I pondered this scenario, I inevitably pursued the romance angle. What would plausibly make someone who was incredibly famous take an interest in your average girl next door? How could that power imbalance be equalized? The idea of a kind of love potion, but one with a modern twist, began to take shape, and after that, I started chasing down the story. I know a lot about musicians and fandoms from years of following bands and running fan forums, so it felt natural to watch this unfold in the music scene.
Do you ever dream about the stories you’re writing?
I have incredibly vivid dreams that go on forever with detail and purpose. When I wake up, I often know exactly where they should go next, like I’ve been writing them the whole time. It would make my life so much easier if I could make myself dream about the books I’m writing so I could get some agony-free assistance. But alas, no. I do daydream a lot about what I’m writing, and often just as I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear the perfect exchange of dialogue and have to wake back up to write it down. But my dreams tend to involve aliens invading Manhattan, streets exploding as I’m driving, or people flying over Europe on magic bicycles–possibly with an unexplained rubber chicken.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Eden is a scientist because she needed a career that would provide stability and financial security. She’s watched, with a mix of fear and envy, as her brother, Micah, followed the riskier path, chasing his dream of becoming a musician. At the start of the book, Micah’s years of hard work are beginning to pay off, and Eden can’t fight some unrest and jealousy as she sees him doing what he wants rather than what he should. She tries to have it both ways by letting her brother show her talent off onstage when he performs, but what she wants on paper conflicts with what she truly desires. This struggle is also playing out when she meets the love interest, Adam, who doesn’t fulfill even her basic criteria for the sort of man she’s always imagined herself with. I love that she’s forced to deal with all of her self-inflicted prejudices and find the courage to go after what she truly wants.
What is your favorite quote?
I’d never know for sure how much that damn perfume had factored into his feelings for me. And he’d never know for sure how little his fame factored into my feelings for him.
What misconceptions do you think most people have about writers?
People often tell me that they wished they could write a book, but they don’t have the time. It makes me wonder if people assume that every author has the good fortune to write full time. I have a full-time job in an office and two kids who I don’t neglect entirely. I definitely make time to write. Sometimes I take days off at work when I need to get a lot of writing done. But usually, once my kids are in bed, I try to carve out a couple of hours each night. Most writers I know fit their writing into gaps that they create. That’s not to say it’s easy to find that time, but it’s a matter of prioritizing writing over other time consumption. It’s definitely a challenge.
About: Some Kind of Magic
In this sparkling debut novel, Mary Ann Marlowe introduces a hapless scientist who’s swept off her feet by a rock star—but is it love or just a chemical reaction?…
Biochemist Eden Sinclair has no idea that the scent she spritzed on herself before leaving the lab is designed to enhance pheromones. Or that the cute, grungy-looking guy she meets at a gig that evening is Adam Copeland. As in the Adam Copeland international rock god and object of lust for a million women. Make that a million and one. By the time she learns the truth, she s already spent the (amazing, incredible) night in his bed
Suddenly Eden, who’s more accustomed to being set up on disastrous dates by her mom, is going out with a gorgeous celebrity who loves how down-to-earth and honest she is. But for once, Eden isn’t being honest. She can’t bear to reveal that this overpowering attraction could be nothing more than seduction by science. And the only way to know how Adam truly feels is to ditch the perfume—and risk being ditched in turn
Smart, witty, and sexy, Some Kind of Magic is an irresistibly engaging look at modern relationships why we fall, how we connect, and the courage it takes to trust in something as mysterious and unpredictable as love.