I’m so excited to begin a new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well.
The first lovely lady I’ll be interviewing is Maria Marmanides. Maria and I went to the same graduate school, and I adore her. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.
Erin Ollila: Okay so to start, I guess my first question is how and why did you get into copywriting and editing. Is this something you’ve been doing for a while or something that started after the MFA program?
Maria Marmanides: When I graduated from my undergrad, all I knew was that I wanted to be “a writer.” I don’t even think I knew what copywriting was – I just got lucky with a creative director who was willing to take a chance on someone with no real experience, but a lot of drive, badly drawn sketches and a propensity for making puns.
Now I’ve been a copywriter for nearly a decade, so long before I even considered going back to school to get my MFA. In fact, it was being a copywriter that motivated me to go back to get it. Not because you need an MFA to work as a copywriter – you really don’t – but because I was starting to lose my own voice. You write so much in marketing speak, and for various brands and different target audiences – that you start to lose a little bit of what makes your writing yours. That’s why I decided to go back to get my MFA, to get back to the core of what I love about writing, which is, revealing a personal truth, however shameful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable, in hopes of a creating a honest connection with someone else who has felt that same way. I didn’t want to be a writer because of some deep-rooted need to get someone to buy another bottle of shampoo.
EO: I love that you made the decision to get your MFA because you wanted to refine and also redefine your “voice.” As a creative nonfiction writer, building my voice is paramount. I’ve always wondered about voice in fiction. How do you develop the voice of your characters? Continue reading →