Marina is an indie writer from Yaroslavl, Russia, where she grew up on and was influenced by American movies like Terminator, Rambo and Aliens. She studied journalism at Yaroslavl University and worked as a journalist for the local newspaper.
No stranger to a blank piece of paper, Marina had begun writing stories to share with classmates by the age of 12, and won district poetry competitions while still in school. Later, she became a laureate in a Russian National Contest for Young Writers Debut. Her two prize winning novellas were subsequently published in a Moscow literature magazine.
Besides having a great passion for writing, Marina loves to read, travel, study martial arts, and has developed quite a taste for tex-mex since relocating to the Houston area. She enjoys nature, animals, long walks with her husband, and competes in 5K and 10K runs as time allows.
Always a natural story teller, Marina has already come a long way since her modest beginnings, both figuratively and literally. From her first serious study of English in 2007 to starting her first novel upon arrival to Canton, Ohio in 2011, Marina demonstrates very well what one can achieve with a strong imagination and hard work no matter the obstacle.
She mostly writes YA dystopian, with plenty of action and adventure, but is a great fan of all good stories containing lots of twists and turns and surprise endings.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: Around the age of twelve, I was already writing short stories to share with classmates. They could never seem to get enough, so I realized a future writing fiction was possible.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Answer: I wrote my first serious novella at the age of eighteen for a Russian national competition for young writers. The effort earned local recognition, a trip to Moscow, and publication in a major national magazine.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in becoming a writer?
Answer: After relocating to the US, the major obstacle I’ve had to overcome in becoming an American author, would have to be the language barrier. As a native speaking Russian, mastering the English language to the level of actually writing books, was a challenge of gigantic proportions.
What education or professional training if any have you received?
Answer: I received my college degree in journalism and worked as a journalist for a local newspaper. I’ve also added countless hours of online research and joined writing forums.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Answer: Ideas for my books come mostly from my imagination. They come to me in the form of dreams and sometimes from real life experiences. I try to imagine interesting and exciting worlds in which I’d like to visit.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Answer: That the characters took on a life of their own and controlled their own destinies within the story more so than I.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Answer: That I prefer to actually write a pre-book with all dialogs beforehand, not just working strictly from notes or off a rough draft. The pre-books for the Mind Breaker trilogy have all run close to 130 pages.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: It depends. The fastest I’ve written a novel has been eight weeks, and the longest has been two years.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Answer: I’m working pretty much 24/7 while writing. I’m always either writing or thinking about my story until it’s finished.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Answer: I enjoy going for long walks with my husband, reading, watching movies and competing in 5K and 10K races as time allows.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Answer: Jim Thompson is my favorite American author. He gave me added confidence to write what I want and to be bold in my writing. Another favorite author is of course the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov. He was one of only a handful of native speaking Russians to successfully become an American author. I’m taking a similar path.
What do you think makes a good story?
Answer: A good plot, interesting characters with lots of depth, plenty of twists and turns, and of course a really good ending. Before you get too far in, the book should grab you by the belt buckle and slam you up against a wall.