Name: Marlen Bodden
Occupation: Author, Roatan Hall, LLC and Attorney, The Legal Aid Society (NYC)
Education: Tufts University; New York University School of Law; 2012 Honorary Doctor of Laws – University of Rhode Island
Previous Job experience: Attorney, The Legal Aid Society (NYC)
HelloBeautiful: Briefly describe your day to day activities and responsibilities as an author.
When I’m in the writing phase, I read for research in the morning commute via train to my job in NYC as a lawyer and during lunch. On weekends, I typically begin writing and researching by 7:00 AM and I write until the evening, eating lunch at my desk. I also write on vacation. When there’s a lot of publicity to be done, I do very little writing, but I continue to read for research whenever I get a chance.
HB: What prompted your interest in writing?
MB: My interest in writing fiction goes back to my early childhood. I have loved stories as far back as I can remember. My dad used to tell us stories and read to us. I began writing fiction when I was about 10-years-old and got my first library card. From that time, I loved reading so much that each time I went to the library I borrowed the maximum amount of books. I was hooked on stories and I dreamed that one day I would write a novel and make readers feel the same way I felt when I read. I also dreamed of seeing my book on a library shelf!
HB: What suggestions regarding networking would you give to those seeking to work in this particular field?
MB: In my experience, the people who were and are the most helpful to me in my writing career (other than professionals such as my agent, editor, publicist, etc.) are family and close friends. So, in terms of networking, I think new writers should first rely on the people with whom they have established and mutually beneficial relationships. These are the people who want you to do well and will share their contacts and other resources.
Once you become a published author, you’ll meet people in the publishing industry and that’s when you have to practice traditional networking. Be careful to not treat anyone, including your loved ones, as being there solely to help you get ahead, though. Be genuinely interested in ways that you can share your resources with others and they will be glad to assist you in your career. Another important tip is to always act in a professional manner, return phone calls or email promptly and meet your deadlines.
HB: What are the major challenges in your role as an author?
MB: The major challenge in publishing is that there’s so much competition; so many books are being published that it’s tough to stand out from the crowd. The solution is that authors have to be fully vested in marketing/publicity campaigns and be actively involved in thinking about ways to get exposure for their books. In my case, in addition to having substantial in-house PR support from St. Martin’s Press, I hired a PR firm to supplement those efforts.
HB: What would you contribute your level of success to?
MB: I would say my success is attributed to my passion for writing, support of my family (especially my husband) and friends, and perseverance
HB: Any advice for younger colleagues?
MB: The best advice I received is just put your butt on a chair write! Do not waste time planning to write or being afraid that what you write won’t be good (that’s what editing is for). In addition to that, don’t forget to live, to travel to distant places, and meet new people, that’s how you stir up your imagination.
Keep Up With Marlen: @marlenbodden
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