Write On! interviews writer Marén Klement.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Marén studied English language and English literature at university. During those years, she was part of a literary club that frequently published small anthologies and held public readings. Having moved to London five years ago, she now works as a teacher at an international secondary school and writes in her free time. Her novel Insight was longlisted for the Write Now program organised by Penguin Random House and shortlisted for the Pen to Print competition. Marén writes novels, short stories and poetry, focusing on dramatic, contemporary fiction.
WO: How would you describe your writing to someone new to it?
MK: I tend to say I write drama with different baseline topics and a focus on characters and their emotions. There is also humour; it isn’t all doom and gloom.
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book?
MK: Insight is about a soldier coming home; he was injured in the line of duty and he and his partner now have to figure out their new normal. There are themes of war, mental health and LGBT.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
MK: I’ve always loved telling stories. My mother used to print them and put them inside small folders. I’m not sure what inspired me back then, but nowadays, it’s watching my surroundings, reading about current affairs and people’s opinions on certain topics and, of course, people-watching.
WO: This issue of Write On! (8) explores the theme of ‘Growth’ and how we navigate Spring as the season of change. With that in mind, do you use changes in the natural world to motivate your writing?
MK: They definitely motivate my poetry, but have perhaps less influence on my fictional writing, as I’m always more focused on character development. I’ve often found I struggle with descriptions of surroundings in my novels and it takes me a while before I’m satisfied. Poetry is quicker in that regard; it comes to me more easily.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
MK: Keep writing and trying. You never know what might happen and what opportunities might be around the corner.
WO: Question from Twitter user: @JunehaChowdhury – What usually comes to you first, the characters or the plot? Briefly explain your drafting process.
MK: In fact, neither. Scenes come to me first and often they are atmospheric snippets that either simply turn into flash fiction, or lead on to something bigger. With Insight, it was that moment of their reunion after the accident, as well as two or three other scenes. I’m generally not someone who plots everything out beforehand; instead, finding my way through the story by experiencing scenes and the characters in my mind.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
MK: My current main project is my newborn baby. But she’s making me think about the past, so I’ve been looking at my old work, to see how much I’ve developed and in what ways. Some of them I’m looking to edit, as most of them revolve around mental health issues, and I’m curious to explore them again now that quite a lot of time has passed.
New ideas are currently in the development stage, meaning I play through scenarios and possibilities in my head to see what I feel comfortable with. There is one idea that has been stuck there for some time, so I think I’ll start work on that soon.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
MK: The rat from Ratatouille. He was passionate and daring, but also cared about his friends and tried to stay loyal to his family. Plus he’s an amazing cook!
You can find out more about Marén Klement here: phasesofpoetry.wordpress.com and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter: @KlementMaren
Insight is available to buy from amazon.co.uk/dp/1789552427/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_3CDK602H5837ZYVZM485
Keep writing and trying. You never know what might happen and what opportunities might be around the corner.