Interview with Mystery and YA Horror Author @MarilynLevinson – The Devil’s Pawn

I welcome Marilyn Levinson to my blog today. A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for young readers.

What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
I write mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Why? Probably because I’m a Gemini and enjoy the versatility. The first novel I completed was a romantic suspense. Then, when my sons were growing up I wrote novels for kids and YAs. More recently, I’ve written mysteries and the occasional romantic suspense. I am a secret romantic and always include a budding love story in my mysteries as well.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?
My muse knows that I am a Gemini and encourages me to write whichever book I’m excited about at the moment, be it mystery, romantic suspense, YA or kidlit. I love to include the occasional paranormal element. One of my protagonists is a male witch. Another character is a ghost who can only manifest in one room of a cottage.

What is your favorite part of writing?
I love the act of spinning out words on my computer. I must admit that I feel a bit nervous every time I sit down to write, even though I work from an outline. My story always surprises me with new ideas and insights.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I often go back and lightly edit what I’d written the previous day. First off, to clean up what spilled out of me indiscriminately. Second, it gets me into the story more easily and helps me move on.

What inspired your latest release?
The Devil’s Pawn is a YA horror. My intention was to set up an almost impossible challenge for a fifteen-year-old boy. Simon Porte has lost his parents in an car accident. His uncle brings him to live in his home in upstate New York. Simon discovers his evil uncle is dying and intent on occupying Simon’s healthy young body. Simon develops his own extraordinary powers. His only allies are his dotty great-aunt, his little sister, and a pair of odd-ball twins.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I started writing novels for children in the mid 1980s. They were published the traditional way—hardcover, paperbacks, and some were included in book clubs. Years later I wrote mysteries and a few romantic suspense novels. They’ve been published by small presses. I also self-published a few of my novels. As you can see, I’ve sampled all three methods of publication.

E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
Though the e-copies of my novels far outsell the print copies, I like to have both available. Many readers still prefer to hold an actual book in their hands, and some reviewers ask for print copies.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I began writing stories in the second or third grade. I still have my notebook of stories. I took a creative writing class in high school, and allowed myself to be discouraged by the teacher. In college I majored in Spanish, but I started writing again after my two sons were born. Haven’t stopped since.

What do you read? Do you read different genres when you’re writing versus not writing?
I am always reading novels, two or three simultaneously. I read mysteries, of course. Lately I’ve been enjoying novels about real people such as Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun, which is about Beryl Markham and Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites, the story about the artist Camille Pissarro and his family.
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If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I wish I could draw. Judging from my infrequent feeble attempts to sketch simple scenes, I’d say that ability stopped developing at age seven.

For more about Marilyn Levinson, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

The Devil’s Pawn:
After fifteen-year-old Simon Porte’s family is killed in an automobile crash, his father’s brother, whom he’s never met, brings Simon to live with him and his wife. Simon doesn’t trust Uncle Raymond, and for good reason. Raymond is dying and using his diabolical powers to take over Simon’s body. Simon must develop his own supernatural defenses. With his dotty great-aunt, his young sister, and a pair of odd twins, he wages war against the evil Raymond and his cronies.

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  1. Great interview! I’ve read most, if not all, of Marilyn’s books and always look forward to the next one.

  2. Wonderful interview, ladies! I’m with you, Marilyn. I like a budding love story in my mysteries as well. Keeps it interesting 🙂

  3. Great interview, ladies! Marilyn, have you read West with the Night? It also has to do with Beryl Markham. I’ll have to check out Circling the Sun!

Stacy Juba