Q&A: Darcy Marks, author of “Grounded for All Eternity”

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Inside the sarcastic and witty beginnings of Darcy Marks Anchored for all eternity, a group of children from hell come to Earth on one of the craziest nights of the year: Halloween.

Hi Darcy! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Sure! I’ve been a lifelong fangirl, wearing that love on my sleeves, literally in the case of my many book-inspired tattoos. I’ve always devoured books, mostly fantasy and horror, but pretty much everything else as well, and I currently have a stack to read looming over the horizon. I write sarcastic fantasy books for children back home in my beautiful state of Green Mountain where I live with my husband, three gender-defying children (of whom I am insanely proud) and an extremely needy cat.

When did you discover your love for writing?

Certainly a child! I used to write pages and pages in my notebooks, describing the teal acid wash jeans my character as a very hip exchange student from London wore. And then I moved on to typing scary stories to print out on my dot-matrix printer, but then I did what a lot of adults do and got into my much more predictable career. I rediscovered this love of writing later and I must say it’s the same as when I was a child. There’s something magical about bringing what’s on your mind to the page.

Quick Lightning Ride! Tell us about the first book you remember reading, the one that made you want to become an author and the one you can’t stop thinking about!

The Sesame Street Library! There was a volume for the letter D and my dad always replaced the name they used (Darla) with mine. I can still see the image of the Dragon with the letter D encrusted in diamonds around its neck.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. That’s it, and definitely write goals. (Also all by Terry Pratchett)

SO MUCH! (I’m bad at this lightning stuff), but Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is my favorite comfort book. I’ve read it a million times and I’ve read all the adaptations.

your first novel, Anchored for all eternityout July 26e! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?

Snarky, irreverent, magical, heartfelt, fun!

What can readers expect?

Readers can expect a Halloween story that goes far beyond Halloween, about doing the right thing and being true to yourself while saving humanity from destruction. , even in the face of those who think their path is the right one. They can expect a fast-paced story with lots of humor, snark, fantastical creatures and conviction, and hopefully lots of fun!

Where does the inspiration come from? Anchored for all eternity comes from?

Much of Grounded hinges on a lifelong love for all things mythological and supernatural, and an obsession with Halloween and the Salem witch trials, but I can tell you the exact moment when Mal’s world came together. is developed. I was walking my kids home from school on one of those perfect fall days. It was cool and cool and the air smelled like fall. The wind lifted the leaves on the pavement so that they produced this noise of friction on the concrete. It was like a light bulb, and I had a perfect picture of Malachi’s world. He’s walking along his street, enjoying a perfect day, but the leaves have legs and the air doesn’t just smell like fall, it smells like cinnamon and there’s fire on the horizon, because , oh yeah, Malachi lives in hell… but just the residential part.

Can you tell us a bit about the challenges you faced while writing and how you managed to overcome them?

Oh my god, I feel like there were so many, but at first I really struggled with Mal’s voice. I originally wrote Grounded in the third person, and had such a clear view of its world, but something just didn’t feel right as I read. I switched to first person and rewrote the book and it was a little better, but there was still something missing. It wasn’t until I threw caution to the wind and wrote this sarcastic character with quite a bit of ego, that I felt like I had finally figured out who Mal was, and it started to feel good. It was trial and error until I got this “Aha!” moment.

Are there any favorite moments or characters that you really enjoyed writing or exploring?

I love everything about this world that Mal inhabits, that’s really me in a nutshell, so it was great to mix all my favorite things together. I will say my favorite parts were probably adding those reference details like Faust owning a bakery, because everyone in the world knew the recipe for the best apple cider donuts in existence. Or Mal ending up with a babysitter almost literally older than dirt in the form of Methuselah. Even though young children might not know what these things refer to, they were still great fun to include.

What motivates you when it comes to writing?

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If I don’t write for a while I definitely get anxious, but I would say what really drives me is that I love having a fully developed story! And the sad truth is, you can’t have a fully developed story if you don’t sit down and write. You can’t revise a blank page, nothing is going to magically appear, so if I want this fantastic fantasy world that I see in my head to exist, I have to squeeze the words out, even though sometimes I feel like to move in slow motion. Ten words is still ten words more than before.

This is your first novel! Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a published author?

I think my background was pretty typical of a lot of writers who go into publishing after having had another career. I started to write. A lot. Some stories I finished, most not. I researched everything I could find on publishing and read books on crafting. I became a member of SCBWI and joined the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I attended virtual seminars and wrote and wrote. I signed on with my fabulous agent, Victoria Wells Arms, with a chapter about a vampire who kidnaps the tooth fairy after her new fangs give her a lisp, and while we’ve had great feedback from editors, it doesn’t. didn’t end up selling. That’s when I wrote Grounded, and Victoria and I went back and forth on the manuscript and she really helped challenge me to add depth to the universe , before it was submitted, and this time we got some interest! When I spoke to my editor, Kristin Gilson, at Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, I immediately knew this was the perfect home for Malachi and his team. Kristin knew exactly where I was coming from and what I was trying to do.

What’s next for you?

I’m finishing the changes on Grounded Book 2 right now! Malachi is coming back next year, and I can’t wait to continue playing in his universe! I just feel like there are so many stories out there, and I’m thrilled to be able to tell another one. I also have a few other early-stage mid-level projects that I’m really excited about involving Krampus and dark fairy tales, so we’ll see what happens there, but I love them already.

Finally, do you have any 2022 book recommendations for our readers?

There are some amazing books coming out this year, and I’ve read them all!

For secondary school, it is absolutely necessary to read “The Clackity” by Lora Senf. It’s dark and wonderful and I loved every second of it. Also Ben Acker’s “Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires” is such a fun read, perfect for reluctant readers and adults who think fondly of scary stories to tell in the dark.

In YA, I recently devoured Dalia Adler’s “Homefield Advantage,” which is a romance between a cheerleader and the school’s first female quarterback. It’s not without angst, but the story sucked me in and I pushed through it.

In Adult, I’ve been craving the perfect cozy mystery for literally months and found it in Misha Popp’s “Magic, Lies and Deadly Pies.” It’s reminiscent of Pushing Up Daisies, and has the perfect mix of cozy pie-making, love, and, of course, murder.

Will you pick up Rooted for all Eternity? Tell us in the comments below!

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