I’m happy to welcome author Marina Hill. Today, Marina shares details about her creative journey and new release, Little Writer.
What was your inspiration for this book?
Comfort. I really wanted to write something cozy, something I could come back to when I want to feel seen, loved, and heard. Little Women is already such a warm book for me, but I wanted to expand it to something even more relatable.
Which authors have inspired you?
I’ve recently been admiring Tracy Deonn! She’s so graceful, smart, and talented. She’s certainly who I aspire to be like. Since the beginning of my writing career, I’ve been a fangirl of Alex Bracken. I love her aesthetic, and I was so enamored by her writing in the Passenger duology that I bought a second copy so I could study her prose.
What is your favorite quote?
“I only debate my equals. All others, I teach.” —John Henrik Clarke, an astounding scholar.
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” —Richard Bach. This quote entirely changed my perspective.
Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
I love to paint. Any form of creativity calms me. I also picked up knitting recently and I really love it!
Any advice for aspiring writers?
There is no such thing as an aspiring writer. If you write, you are a writer. But for new writers, I encourage persistence. Always remain a student. Improving your writing craft is not an uphill journey, it’s an expanding circle. You widen your circle of knowledge and skill instead of building a mountain of them.
A retelling of the classic coming-of-age story Little Women through the intimate lens of Jo March.
It’s 1862 and fifteen-year-old Jo March would rather be fighting in the war, like her papa, than improving her knitting skills on the home front. But societal conventions for the “gentle” woman-and her steadfast adoration for her three sisters-force Jo to stay behind and support the family, all the while rolling her eyes at Aunt March and daydreaming of becoming a famous author.
At home, love abounds in the March girls’ lives in the form of family, friendship, patriotism, religion, and-to Jo’s chagrin-romance. As each sister navigates their ascent into adulthood, Jo unwittingly ventures down a path of self-realization, using her gift of written prose to craft her voice, and thus, her truth. Perhaps, just maybe, she can strike balance between the freedom of independence and the warmth of partnership…
In this visionary adaptation, Little Writer tells the March sisters’ timeless journey to womanhood with a multiracial cast of characters, reimagining history to include diverse communities without elaboration.
As Marmee reads, I close my eyes and hear the words in Papa’s voice and imagine myself beside him.
I look up and I’m sitting on a cot inside a tent. I’m still wearing my shift and thin mantle. Papa walks inside and grins, his bright teeth splitting his bushy beard in two.
“Papa!” I exclaim, jumping up and throwing my arms around him. “Oh, I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, my little writer. Come, let me show you the camp.”
He takes my hand and guides me outside. The sun blinds me and horses stomp by and men chitter. The damp ground seeps through my socks and soaks my feet. None of that matters. His arm wraps around me and I savor the warmth of his embrace. He points at a group of men standing around a table inside an open tent. “They’re deciding where the soldiers will march.” Then he gestures toward men crowding around a fire. “They’re having lunch.” Papa leads me through the crowd and a couple of them nod at me in acknowledgment. My toes turn numb at the cold and wiggling them does no good. He opens a creaky door to a wooden shack. There are four beds and some candles that barely light the entire place. “And this is where I sleep.”
At the sight of the threadbare blankets and the shiver running over my body, I look at him with bewildered eyes. “Aren’t you cold at night?”
Papa smiles a gentle smile that I miss dearly. His silver hair, his thick beard, his soft hands. I miss my papa and I can’t wait until he comes home.
Having read Little Women many times and watched two film versions, I had a good grasp of the plot and characters. Four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—face the challenges of growing up in a financially-strapped home in the aftermath of the Civil War.
I wondered if Ms. Hill’s decision to reimagine this classic coming-of-age story using Jo’s POV and a multiracial cast of characters was a bit too ambitious.
I needn’t have worried.
Retelling the story from Jo’s perspective was an inspired choice. The second eldest of the March siblings has always been my favorite character. While reading Little Writer, I could feel Jo’s emotions more intensely. I also gained insight into her creative and romantic struggles as she navigated the rocky terrain between childhood and adulthood.
Creating new identities for the characters—March family is black, Laurie is of Asian descent, and John Brookes is of Native American descent—did not affect the storyline. As Ms. Hill points out in the Author’s Note: “You could say they live in a raceless world—or in alternate history, as some like to say.”
Set aside large blocks of uninterrupted reading time. You won’t be able to put this book down.
Author Bio and Links
Marina Hill is a writer with a keen interest in all things undiscovered. She grew up in the New Jersey side of Philadelphia, watching Eagles games and roughhousing with her plethora of older brothers. She attended Baruch College in NYC and has over a dozen publications of her other works. If she isn’t daydreaming about her next story, she’s studying history or yearning to dash into the forest, build a farm, and never look back. Marina never lives in one spot for too long and loves to travel with her dog.
Marina Hill will be awarding a $15 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow Marina on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.