A Chat with MDNeu

MD NeuIt’s time for another interview with a budding author. Today I’m having a chat with Marvin Neu, who writes under the pen name MDNeu.

MDNeu describes himself as a passionate fiction writer with a love for travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically, he’s drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels.  His inspiration has come, among others, from the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, and Kim Stanley Robinson – an odd combination, but they have all influenced his writing.

I’ve come across your weekly Scribbles, but please tell us a bit more about yourself, if you don’t mind, Marvin.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, I always wondered why there were never stories about who I am. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, I decided I wanted to change that. So, I took to writing – wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When I’m not writing, I work for a non-profit and travel with my husband of eighteen years.

You seem to have a positive outlook on life, even if you have experienced a fair amount of criticism and lack of understanding. So, what have you written?

When I think about it, there is more than I realize, but at the same time it’s not much. I have a blog, I write poetry, and I co-wrote a play called ‘The Faux Play – Stereotypes’ with a friend of mine who recently passed away and also co-wrote a Home Remodeling Workbook. Another occupation of mine is scriptwriting for a community access show called ‘Change Lives for Good’. I have also written, produced and directed a series of Public service announcements (PSAs) called ‘Know Your Rights’. And currently I have three manuscripts in various stages of completion, due to be published very soon (See below).

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

All I can suggest is what works for me. Tell your story. Tell the story you want to tell. Don’t let anyone hijack your story, and don’t let others tell you, ‘you’re telling the story wrong.’ That’s BS. You know your characters. You know your story, go with it. If you tell that story and if only one other person ever reads it, you stayed true to you, and that’s a win.

That’s encouraging. Several people have told me to make radical changes to my WIP, which I can’t accept.

The other thing is words. There are about 170,000 worlds in the English language don’t be afraid to use them. However, keep in mind that most English speakers only know or use somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000. That includes words like ‘psychoneuroimmunology’, so you know. Don’t go crazy with all these fancy words that people have to look up. In my opinion that makes you look like a snob.

Lastly, find someone to help you with spelling and grammar. That’s so important.

Indeed it is. Nothing makes me put a book down faster than frequent SPAG errors.

SPAG errors?

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.

Something else I’d like to know: How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day for it?

I end up writing when I can. However, I do write on Monday nights, when I’m home alone. I also write on the weekends in the morning and during the day, assuming we have nothing going on. I am lucky that my husband gives me my space when I want to sit down and write. He’s very supportive and I’m thankful for that.

Look back a bit. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep a journal. Write every day. Hit the gym. After high school go right into college, and get your degree. Oh, and don’t work for the data mining company. The owner was awful and used people.

I’m afraid that’s not the only place where you can suffer from a selfish or nasty boss. But back to you: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

(Laughs) That’s funny, because doing this interview has been on my mind big time. So much so that I couldn’t sleep. It was bouncing around my head and at 4 a.m. this morning I was awake. I didn’t get out of bed, but I lay there thinking about what I was going to be asked and how I was going to answer. And mostly, I was thinking about how not to embarrass myself.

Now, I don’t think that is what you were after with the question, so let me answer it properly. My inspiration for getting out of bed in the morning is typically because I have to pee.

No, that isn’t what you’re after either.

Okay, what honestly pulls me out of bed each day is two-fold. First, it’s the idea that at some point during the day I’ll get to do something creative. I’ll get five minutes here or there to look at my writing and jot down a few Scribbles. On the days I have earmarked for writing, I get up knowing I’ll get to be creative, write and have a good time with words.

Second, on the days that I may not get to write, it’s the chance for me to make a difference in my job (my paying job). Sometimes, it’s just to get someone to smile or laugh during a really stressful period at work. Other times, it’s about helping someone in-need find the resources that can help them. (This doesn’t happen often in my job, but it does happen). More often than not, it’s about helping a coworker, or my boss get their grant finished, get a report completed, strategizing about fundraising, pulling together information for our marketing or PR plan, planning for an upcoming event, or finding that key piece of information that will change how staff or donors see the agency I work for. It’s all about making a difference, even if it’s just a small one.

That’s a lovely attitude – trying to show love to people and make your little world a bit better in some way. Thanks for taking the time for this chat and I hope you can sleep well tonight.

You can find MDNeu on Facebook and on Twitter as @Writer_MDNeu. His Scribbles and more about his writing can be found at www.mdneu.com.

Three of MDNeu’s books are due to be published very soon by NineStar Press, as follows:

  • The Reunion on October 23, 2017
  • A Dragon for Christmas on December 18, 2017
  • The Calling on January 1, 2018

Best of luck with your imminent releases, Marvin!

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