Marc Remus was recently interviewed by fantasy novelist Nadja Losbohm (https://www.facebook.com/NadjaLosbohmAutorin )
“A painting that took 20 years to paint”
Interview series "22“: Marc Remus
For the first time I share an English interview with you. It already is the sixth author I’m honored to have as my guest. For those of you who hear about my interview series “22” for the first time, I explain what it is about. When I collected questions for fellow authors I came across numerology, which deals with numbers and their meanings. According to various web pages on this topic, the number "22" is a so-called "master number" that combines spirituality and inventiveness. In other words, it does not let ideas be ideas, but implements them. "22" is also supposed to stand for ambition, success, inspiration and discipline. Together let's find out whether the authors who have their say and write in the field of fantasy, fairy tales and mysticism are a "22". :-)
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to you wonderful Marc Remus, who isn’t only a great author but also a painter, illustrator, globetrotter, fighter and just a true warmhearted, open-minded, kind person. As you may know I have been impressed by artists who don’t stick to one field of creativity.
I’m talking about people like Viggo Mortensen or Jared Leto. Now, there’s a third one I take my hat off to: Marc Remus.
I hope you enjoy the interview. :-)
1. Please introduce yourself in 3-5 sentences. I am a German/American painter and illustrator who has travelled to over 65 countries and visited thousands of cities. In 2016 I published my first children’s novel in the “Magora” series. The books won more than ten literary awards since then. You can find more info on my website at www.MarcRemus.com
In German you can find more on Wikipedia at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Remus
2. What is the title of your current book? In which genre does it play and what is the story about? My latest book is a young adult fantasy/sci-fi called “The Language Thieves.” It is about a mysterious tribe in Northern Scotland that steals languages out of people’s mind.
3. How did you get into writing? During my college years in California I took a picture book illustration class. The instructor thought I had the potential to write my own stories and not just illustrate them. From this I developed the fantasy series “Magora,” which took me 20 years to develop.
4. What can you learn about writing and what can you not learn? First of all I think you can learn grammar, spelling, and anything that has to do with a language. You can also learn how to structure a book and create tension in a story. What is harder to learn is the creative part; how to come up with new ideas. Especially in fantasy this is difficult because there are no rules on how to create a new world.
5. What is your favourite task in the writing process and what do you not like about it (like writing blurbs for example)? I love the planning stage of a book because you can do whatever you like and create any ideas that might be interesting. It is only later in the process that you delete the ones that are useless. The proofreading part is what I don’t enjoy much because it is just a technical process and not creative enough to hold my interest.
6. Is there something that drives you crazy regarding the writing/ publishing process? I am a perfectionist. So when the book has been proofread and readers still find errors I find this very annoying. I also find it aggravating when the publisher is not very supportive. I publish most of my books with Amazon, who is not easy to deal with because you never talk to the same person. So you get a lot of useless answers from them and in the end you are left on your own in the publishing process and you have to bite the bullet and follow the automated system that Amazon offers.
7. Where do you get the ideas for your books? I get ideas everywhere. The idea for the “Magora” series came while I was painting. I thought it would be nice to jump into my own painting, so I created a story about a world inside a painting. I also travel a lot and have visited over 65 countries. During my travels I find a lot of inspiration and locations I use in my books.
8. Which of your written books is your own favorite? The “Magora” series is still my favorite. I spent 20 years planning and writing this series. So it has been a part of me half of my life.
9. Who reads your manuscripts first? My editor Nancy Butts reads every manuscript first. I have worked with her for many years, and she has helped me improve a lot of my stories.
10. How long do you revise your manuscript before you say, "Now I can share it with others?" This really depends on the book. My most recent book, “The Language Thieves” took three years from first idea to publication. Usually after the first two editing phases and a round of proofreading I hand it to some of the readers I know personally.
11. In which genre would you like to write but haven't dared yet? And in which genre would you never write? I only write for children and young adult. So it would be a challenge to write a sci-fi for adults. I haven’t tried that yet. I also would like to try writing a murder mystery. However, romance novels are nothing for me. I would probably never write in that genre.
12. Are there writers you admire? Roald Dahl and Michael Ende are authors I really love. I think their creative abilities are far beyond that of many other authors.
13. What is a successful author in your opinion? Interesting question as success is so hard to define. For me, the publication of a book and holding the paperback in my hand is already a success. I have won more than ten literary awards with the “Magora” series. Some would consider that to be a success, but I am not sure where success really starts and ends when it comes to sales.
14. Regarding your books: Would you do it all over again in the same way? What would you change, if you could? I wouldn’t change a thing. I am really happy with the way everything started and can’t really think of anything I could or would change.
15. What do you say about the competition among authors, especially about the fact that some authors deliberately give bad ratings to others to spite them? Have you ever experienced something like this yourself? I don’t understand people like that. They are not making their books better by giving others bad ratings. They should focus on their own writing and try to improve as much as they can. If I don’t enjoy a book I would never waste my time writing a long review, telling everybody how bad it is. I would rather find another book that is great and tell everybody how wonderful that is. I think people who give bad reviews are frustrated that they aren’t doing what successful authors are doing. Personally, I don’t know if the bad ratings I have received were from authors or just readers. But luckily I never got very bad reviews. The only complains I got so far were from Harry Potter fans who said that there were too many similarities to Harry Potter in the first book of the Magora series. But usually after the second book in the series nobody complained about this anymore.
16. What was the worst, most annoying, least beautiful thing that has happened to you as an author and what was the most beautiful thing? Winning all these independent literary awards was probably the most wonderful thing. I hadn’t expected that to happen with my first book. All the wonderful responses I got from readers also made writing the books worthwhile. The least beautiful was a blogger who was a big Harry Potter fan and felt annoyed by the many similarities in the first Magora book. She spent hours writing very long reviews and spreading them all over the internet.
17. How do you motivate yourself when things don't go the way you want them to? I never had a problem motivating myself. I usually switch to painting when I am tired of writing and vice versa. A break in one or the other field always helps me find motivation again.
18. Why do you think some authors make it in the book industry and others don't? Do you have any advice? I think it comes down to a four letter word: LUCK! I think some authors get discovered and others don’t. It is often about who you know and if you were at the right place at the right time.
19. Many authors are reserved and shy, especially when it comes to readings and book fair appearances. You got any advice for them? Take acting classes. This will help you deal with an audience. I studied acting for many years and played in several plays. It helps you open up and become more relaxed in public situations.
20. Which authors and books do you think deserve more attention? Independent authors deserve more attention. The big publishing houses dominate the book industry and they decide which author should get all the attention. It is very hard for independent authors to get heard.
21. Which books do you like to read yourself? Which ones would you never read? I always wanted to read “The Book of Death” of Ancient Egypt but never found the peace and quiet to do it. I would never read romance novels in general. I find them kitschy and boring.
22. What are you dreaming of as a writer? Is there a wish you would share with us? I would love to see one of my books be turned into a movie one day.