Interview with Young Adult Author Marianne Sciucco

It’s been my pleasure to meet so many great folks in my Facebook writer’s group (click here to find out more about CIR!), and I’m excited to introduce another fellow author to you. Please welcome Marianne Sciucco and her latest release, Swim Season!

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Swim Season’s Blurb:

Sometimes winning is everything.

Champion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin’s determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She’s got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She’s swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.

But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?

Hi Marianne! Can you tell us about your background?

I grew up near Boston and earned my Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. I now live in New York’s Hudson Valley with my patient and reliable husband and beautiful, brainy daughter. We are ruled by Mr. Chance, a cat we rescued who thinks he rescued us. On weekends during swim season you can find me at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets cheering for my daughter and her team.

Tell us about your latest book, Swim Season. Why did you decide to write a novel about girls’ varsity swimming?

Like so many writers, I wear many hats, one of which is called “Swim Mom.” I’ve shuttled my daughter to swim meets and swim practice for years, and now follow her across state lines during her college swimming career. All those hours sitting on cold, metal bleachers waiting to watch her swim for a minute or two gave me more than a sore you-know-what: It inspired me to write a novel about girls’ varsity swimming.

My goal was to write a story about the whole high school swimming experience, to show others who may not be as familiar with the sport how much fun it is and how hard these kids work. But this story is about more than swimming as my young heroine, Aerin, deals with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, a stepmother and two stepsisters she doesn’t want, her mother’s PTSD and drug addiction after two tours of duty in the Middle East as an Army nurse, and her best friend’s cute twin brother. And she’s just started senior year in her third high school.  Aerin is a girl you will definitely cheer for.

I love how you took your experiences (as a mom, and specifically a Swim Mom) and used it to write a book. For the parents reading this who have kids in sports, please share what the sport of swimming has taught you.

Swimming is such a great sport with lifelong benefits. Swimming competitively, especially in high school, can be a positive experience that builds character, self-esteem, and friendships. In New York State, girls can join the varsity team in seventh grade, when they’re 12, and compete against girls who are much older and bigger. When my daughter joined the high school team as a seventh grader, I was unsure as to whether or not she’d be able to meet its demands: practice after school every day and on Saturday mornings, and swim meets at least twice a week. She looked so small compared to the other girls. Could she really compete against them? Would she be crushed?  How would this affect her self-esteem? Would she quit?

Our kids often surprise us, and my daughter surprised me. She loved being on the team, loved her teammates, and never complained about going to practice or asked if she could skip. Sure, there were times when the older girls pushed her to work harder, swim faster, but that only made her a better swimmer. As the years went on, her skills improved and she quickly became a team leader, one of their top swimmers, and a contender in the division.

She grew up a lot in her six years on this team and learned many valuable lessons: keeping a commitment to a sport and a team that spanned a third of her life; setting and making personal goals; the grace of winning; the humility of defeat; confidence in her athleticism; pride in her body and what it can do; and the rewards earned through hard work and dedication. She has gone on to swim in college where she continues to exhibit the same skills and attitudes she cultivated in high school. These are lifelong lessons that will benefit her in whatever she chooses to do, in sports, work, and more. All girls should have the opportunity to learn about themselves through sports, any sport.

In addition to being a Swim Mom, you are a registered nurse and an author. Which comes first, the nurse or the writer?

I’m not a nurse who writes, but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I dreamed of becoming an author when I grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. I later brought my two passions together and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. My stories are clean reads, meaning free of gratuitous sex, violence, and foul language. I think that much of popular media and entertainment today is saturated with these elements, and I choose not to use them. When I’m not writing, I work part-time as a campus nurse at a community college.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

My repetitive strain injuries dictate a pretty unorthodox writing style. I don’t (can’t) write every day, a practice recommended by many authors. I have to respect my limitations or suffer pain and loss of function for days. So I work in spurts, constantly prioritizing my tasks, doing as much as I can to finish the novel I’m working on and promoting my other work. I use a number of devices to assist me: iPhone, tablet, Dragon Dictation, laptop, PC, pen and paper, whatever it takes. It’s frustrating, but I’m managing to pull it off.

What’s your advice for others considering writing a novel?

Don’t give up. Understand that this is a difficult undertaking and may offer little to no reward at the end, other than the fact that you completed it.

Thank you, Marianne, for joining us today! Please see below for her bio and the buy links for Swim Season!

Marianne’s Bio:

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During swim season, you can find Marianne Sciucco, a dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets, cheering for her daughter Allison and the Mount Saint Mary College Knights.

Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.

Her debut novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller; IndieReader Approved; a BookWorks featured book; and a Library Journal Self-e Selection. She also has two short stories available on Kindle, Ino’s Love and Collection.

A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college.

Purchase Links:

Swim Season is currently only available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Swim-Season-Marianne-Sciucco-ebook/dp/B01JVHIW3O

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com/Swim-Season-Marianneamazon UK-Sciucco-ebook/dp/B01JVHIW3O

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Swim-Season-Marianne-Sciucco-ebook/dp/B01JVHIW3O

Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/Swim-Season-Marianne-Sciucco-ebook/dp/B01JVHIW3O

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What NFL Players & Authors Have in Common

The family and I took a weekend getaway recently for hubby’s and my birthdays (which happen to be three days apart). On one of the mornings, we were in line for the breakfast buffet (yum!) when my eyes zeroed in on the shirt of a man walking past me. In big, bold letters, I saw the words NFL Alumni. Three thoughts immediately crossed my mind: the first being, Wow, cool!, then, Yeah, he looks like he could be a football player, and lastly, Oh … that’s kinda sad. 🙁

Why the sadness, you ask? Well, if you have to wear a shirt to tell people you were in the NFL, that probably means you aren’t well-known enough to be recognized as an NFL player.

Aww. 🙁 I almost wanted to go over and say, I know how you feel, buddy.

But I didn’t because I’m an introvert and even if I weren’t, it would’ve been a very strange thing to do. 😉 Instead, I told hubby about the shirt and how it struck a chord with me. It also made me wonder if there are any “I’m a published author” T-shirts out there in the world. In case you were wondering, the answer is yup! (They have them in pink, too—see below!)

Image courtesy of zazzle.co.nz/https://www.zazzle.co.nz/i_am_a_published_author_t_shirt-235621872671373455

The fact of the matter is that while there are 1,696 football players in the NFL (thank you, Google!), most of them won’t be as popular as Joe Montana or Tim Tebow. Likewise, most published authors won’t ever become a household name like J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. (Hmm, maybe the key to success is to have initials in your name, haha?)

But that’s okay. Because most of the time writers write for the pure joy of writing. And writers publish for the pure joy of being able to see their name in print, hold their book in their hands, and to smell its pages—okay, maybe not everyone likes the smell of books*, but you get the idea. 😉 The bottom line is: Authors don’t write and publish books to become famous. We do so because we’re creators and we love to create and share our creations.

And, yup, there are a lot of us out there in the world, way more than the number of NFL players. Since you may not recognize a published author if you happen to pass by one at say, a breakfast buffet, it’d probably be a good idea if we made it easy for you. We could wear a shirt that tells you so. Hopefully if you see it, you’ll think to yourself, Wow, cool! She does look like she could write a book. I wonder what it’s about?  How did she get her inspiration?  Where can I get a copy?

If you do wonder about what it is that authors do, we would be more than thrilled to answer your questions. We’d love to hand you a business card. We could point you to our Amazon author page and show off our babies (the paper ones, not the human or furry ones). If you’d like to get technical, we could even talk about genres, story arcs, characters, and settings. And quite honestly, we wouldn’t mind at all if you wanted to ask for our autograph. (Kidding, not kidding!) 😉

After breakfast that day, I felt an odd sense of camaraderie with that NFL player. 🙂 Weird, I know, considering I didn’t talk to the guy, but I understood his passion for doing something he loved and was good at. Mostly, I admired his confidence and courage to share that part of him with the world—or at least, anyone who happened to see his shirt. Does that make me want to go order my own shirt? Sure … if it didn’t cost $43.50! 😛 Someone needs to let that company know that not every author has sold as many books as L.M. Montgomery. (Hmm, seriously though, I think I need to change my name to initials!) 😀

Take a listen to this cute song, “I Won’t Say I’m in Love”, from the Hercules soundtrack. I haven’t seen the movie, but I came across it on YouTube and it’s the perfect song for my next book’s playlist. 🙂

What would you want to share with the world about yourself on your T-shirt?

*Check out this nifty graphic for the chemical explanation behind the aroma of books.

 

 

Enter to Win a Kindle E-reader!

Love reading? Love electronics? Here’s your chance to combine your love of both by entering this giveaway. The prize? A Kindle E-reader! See below for details.

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The CROWN JEWEL PRIZE giveaway for a Kindle e-reader and 12+ e-books is sponsored by the authors of the “Meet the Authors of 2016 Royal Ball.” The giveaway will remain open until 12:00 am (EST) on Monday, November 14. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced on the event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1755476794702604/) on Monday, November 14 at 1:00 pm (EST). No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only.

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