March 05, 2012

Marina Cohen: Author Interview

Marina Cohen, author of Chasing the White Witch, Mind Gap and Ghost Ride, all published by Dundurn Press, graciously agreed to answer a few questions for CanLitforLittleCanadians about her writing.

HK: Your newest book, Chasing the White Witch (Dundurn, 2011) has the main character, Claire, looking for solutions to her problems in a book of magic. What first gave you the idea for this plot?

MC: As a kid I always wished I had magical powers. As an adult I came to realize it's a really good thing I didn't! When I was young I was somewhat impulsive and, well, I had a bit of a temper. Add magic to that mix and I'm certain there would have been an awful lot of toads hopping around! The funny thing is, I did own a little book of magic spells. Believe it or not, they were giving them away at a gas station with the purchase of a full tank of gas!

HK: I think that there are so many great characters in the book, like Claire, Jordan, Hollis and Paula-Jean, that I'd love to read a follow-up book for a chance to see a different side to them. Do you foresee writing another book based on the characters in Chasing the White Witch?

MC: Although I wrote this particular book to be a stand-alone novel with no intent to create a series -- I could not help but play with these characters in my mind. A new plot may very well revolve around Claire desperately seeking funds to purchase a grade eight grad dress (one her parents refuse to buy!). Claire delves back into her little book and casts a good luck charm on herself. Needless to say, spells cast for personal profit go awry! Now all I need is a time-management spell for myself so I can write it!
HK: Your other books, Ghost Ride (Dundurn, 2009) and Mind Gap (Dundurn, 2011) also focus on the theme of making choices and dealing with the consequences. But Chasing the White Witch is very different from them in that it is so rich in humour. Was it easier or harder for you to write a book based in humour?

MC: First off, I'm thrilled you think this novel is humourous. I spent night after night at my kitchen table laughing myself silly as I wrote. My husband turned to me more than once and said, "Marina, no one will find this remotely funny." To which I'd respond, "Probably. But I'm having the best time writing it!" On a serious note, I think good humour is extremely difficult to write. I also believe great humourous novels can be undervalued. They are often dismissed as fluff when they have as much to offer a reader as a serious issue book or a fantasy or mystery etc.

HK: Do you have another book in the works or set for publication in 2012 or 2013?

MC: I don't have a book set for publication at this point. Though I currently have a manuscript on submission--a very creepy middle-grade. With a little bit of luck, it will find a home soon!

HK: Would you rather produce one book of extraordinary importance that becomes a classic but one to which all your writing is forever compared, or would you prefer to author many different books for different audiences and which could not be compared to each other?

MC: This is a fabulous question--one I've been mulling over for several days now. I'd love to create a work so rich in language and character, so exquisite in plot and theme that it would one day be deemed a classic. But honestly, I'm not sure I have that book in me. But also, if I could write such a novel, it would come with hefty a cost. To be forever compared to that one great novel (or series!) is extremely difficult for a writer. I, for one, am very excited to read J.K. Rowling's new novel. I intend not to compare it to Harry Potter -- though sadly, I'm sure many will.

Many thanks to Marina Cohen for granting us this interview and share her writing with us.


For more about author Marina Cohen and her books, check out her blog and website for more information including book trailers and contact links. 

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