Melissa Marr (melissa_writing) wrote,
Melissa Marr
melissa_writing

Q&A--teaching, fic/nonfic reading, faery research

Q: "What do you most enjoy about teaching literature?

Everything :) I love teaching. It's a kick in a way that nothing else ever is.   A good book signing or panel has a few such moments, but teaching gave me that rush regularly. That doesn't mean every day was a traipsing thru fields of flowers thing: there were bad classes.  There were students I failed to reach.  There were plagiarism cases that caused me ridiculous amounts of angsting. There was one athlete I wanted to thwack on the head, & there was one addict I wanted to adopt & fix. Teaching is not always fun.  Parts of it are frustrating. 

Faculty meetings & dealing with faculty politics are my suggestions for adding to the circles of hell. (Really? Some of these folks have lived in their ivory towers too long.  They aren't there to teach, but as a place to hang their hats while the apply for research grants or to subsidize their writing income.  It's a systemic problem that I don't know how we should fix, but I DO know that it needs fixing.)

Still . . . put me in a classroom & tell me to talk lit . . . *sighs* there's nothing like it.

Q: "Do you read literature or nonfiction exclusively when you write or do you read both?"

I'm always writing so I don't limit my reading bc of it . . . except that I don't read books w potentially similar sounding premises to what I'm writing. 

In faery* books, Holly Black is tops (IMNSHO), but she hasn't had a new faery book while I've been writing since Ironside (ergo I haven't had to suffer delays in reading her.). I adore her YA faery books, & I have pondered begging her to turn one of her short stories into a book (from her POISON EATERS collection).  It's not faery, but it's freaking gorgeous.  Back to faery though . . .  I've had a few LOVE it moments in faery fiction since I started writing.  In particular Janni Lee Simner's Bones of Faerie & RJ Anderson's Faery Rebels (AKA Knife).  They were read when I wasn't writing, but they're also pretty far outside what I write in terms of plot.  They are VERY fab & lore-based. 

Obviously, I veer towards folklore based fiction (species is immaterial), but I read across the board.  Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box was one of the best books I've read in years. I crush on Eloisa James' Duchess series (historical romance=yay!). 

As to fic and non-fic, I'm mostly a fiction reader.  I dip into very specific nonfiction (folklore, criticism, or research for a text I'm pondering). I read a lot of romance.  I tend to default to historical romance, but I enjoy contemporary, time travel, & paranormal too.  I'm not a fan of SciFi Romance, not bc there's anything wrong with it. Aliens simply don't appeal to me.  I like mainstream fiction (T Chevalier is an auto-buy for me).  I get on poetry kicks, but I don't do novels in verse or much contemporary poetry.  In poetry, I default to mostly dead folk. And, of course, I get on classics kicks.  Nothing tops Faulkner. I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan, but I enjoy her. I think Flaubert's Madame Bovary, most of Hardy's novels, & some Bronte . . . really I'm an 1800s-mid-1900s novel fan.  My two eras in grad school were the British Victorians & Faulkner, so a lot of my reading tastes derive from the same tastes that lead to my picking them.

I still read some criticism on Faulkner, the Victorians, the PRB, & narrative structure. I subscribe to some academic journals specifically to do so. That tends to sate a lot of my nonfic needs.  Well, that & kidlit theory/paranormal theory . . . and lately, mortuary science.

I have a problem with books. Fortunately, it's a healthy thing to be addicted to. 

Q: "When doing research on Faerie lore and stuff, how would you recommend going about it? Is the Internet a decent source of information, or are books and stuff more reliant? Are there any books/sites that you'd recommend?"

First, *sends adoring thoughts for asking a research question*

Sacred-texts.com has a lot of old texts scanned in. If you're going Celtic faery, go here. Start reading.  The Secret Commonwealth (Kirk) is essential. If you're going Welsh, read the Mabinogion.  Evans-Wentz Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries is a great text.  Thomas Crofton Croker, T Keightly

If you're looking for hard copy (newer but still awesome), Eddie Lenihan is a master (http://www.eddielenihan.com/). Meeting the Other Crowd is one of my favourite books. 

Honestly, there's a lot of great stuff there. I like hard copy (and yes, I am anti-ebook/ebook readers as a personal choice).  Free text is a goodthing when budget is a concern though.  Read the old texts.

Do NOT read other novels with faeries until after you do your research. (Yes, I realize that I am suggesting that you don't read my books, too.) It's the sourcetexts that matter most.  Read those. Then you can read contemp fiction--but be aware that you may get grumbly when you do so bc few things we write in fiction are as captivating as the research is. 

----
* That part has been easy so far bc I'm a picky picky bitch when it comes to faery books.  My family roots are in Ireland, Scotland, & a tendril in Germany.  So these are my heritage. I'm particular.
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