About Marilyn L Davis:
Marilyn L. Davis is the author of the memoir Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate. A chance encounter with a 74-year-old Native American helped her find her purpose. From 1990-2011, she opened and managed North House, an award-winning residential recovery home for women.
She is also the Editor-in-Chief at her recovery blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. She recently celebrated 32 years of abstinence-based recovery and is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist.
Before her recovery, she was a desperate woman on drugs, managing rock bands at night, pretending to be okay at PTA meetings, but ultimately giving up on herself, losing her husband, children, family, and friends due to her addiction.
Marilyn is widely known for her writing in many literary communities, including her award-winning website, Two Drops of Ink, where she encourages collaborative writing and is the Editor-in-Chief. The site's writers are poets, problem-solvers for writers and bloggers, as well as those who educate, entertain, and enchant us with the written word. The writers represent different countries, viewpoints, and opinions.
When she is not writing, Marilyn is an avid reader, enjoys gardening and cooking. She has raised two beautiful grown daughters, both in recovery, and is a Nana to four grandchildren. None of her grandchildren have ever seen their mother's or their Nana use, so maybe the addiction cycle is broken.
She resides in an Atlanta suburb with a controlling cat named Jackson.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write as I believe that writing helps us heal. Whether it's a journal or a memoir that we publish, writing allows us the emotional safety to fully explore our thoughts and feelings.
Since I was a child, I've scribbled down words once I understood that those black squiggly lines on a page told a story. I was bullied as a child, and these passages helped me feel better about myself and my isolated world.
I don't know that it was 'inspiration' that helped me create a recovery curriculum for my recovery home. It felt more like desperation. I got tired of saying the same thing, so I decided to write it out. The response to Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS) gave me the confidence to start writing at Two Drops of Ink and ultimately write my memoir.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Each of the following authors helps me learn the craft of writing: Joan Didion, Vladimir Nabokov, Roshani Chokshi, Neil Gaiman, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard, William Zinsser, Roy Peter Clark and others.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process starts with an idea, topic, or subject that I want to write about, prompted by a conversation, a question from one of my recovery groups, or emails with other writers.
Taking the idea and doing some looping, brainstorming, prewriting, and then creating a first draft complete that phase.
Next, I research the topic, taking into account whether the subject is saturated or is there an aspect of it that I could develop further. At this point, I decide if I'll write from breadth or width on the topic.
Writing for two blogs, one on recovery and one on writing means there's always a deadline, and those add incentive to get the writing done.
So the process can be most accurately be described as, "You've got to get a post done. Now write."
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
What advice would you give other writers?
1. Don't be afraid to write.
2. Don't call yourself aspiring, soon-to-be-best-selling, or wanna-be. If you're writing, then you are a writer.
3. Stay with it.
4. Read books on how to improve your writing.
5. Find a website that takes guest posts and submit a post to them.
6. Once you see your writing on a site, let that encourage you to write more, start that novel, write the definitive how-to, or finish your memoir – whatever is your big book.
7. Never throw away your darlings. Keep them in a file and review them monthly. You wrote those for a reason, even if you couldn't use them at the time.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I'd been encouraged to publish Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate by my family, friends, recovery professionals, and writers I'd shown drafts to over the past three years. Fear kept me from publishing it until this year.
However, while procrastinating on publishing my memoir, I also wrote a how-to on memoir writing called Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook that will be published later this spring.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that traditional publishing will still factor, but with new and emerging platforms for authors, I think we'll start seeing self-publishing increase.
I published on Amazon and found the experience straightforward. I hired a formatting specialist; my sister is an artist and designed the cover, and I followed the directions once the manuscript and cover were ready.
I also see more diversity in the books that are published. We have lacked diversity for some time. While that may read as "jumping on the bandwagon", I know that living a counter societal lifestyle in my addiction meant that my memoir did not meet the criteria for certain publishing houses.
I think a problem with traditional publishing is that there's not a connection to the reader. In contrast, Amazon understands what readers want and takes the time to recommend similar books. While not publishing sites, Goodreads and ThriftBooks do, also.
I also think that print-on-demand factors for the author, reader, and environment, and it would be a mistake to discount those factors when choosing which route to take as an author. Plus, it means not having 75 autographed copies of your book gathering dust in the attic.
What genres do you write?: Memoir, How to Write a Memoir, primarily non-fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.