Marissa Burt was forever getting notes sent home from teachers about reading novels during class. She grew up in Oregon, and drifted eastward through Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina before coming back to the Pacific Northwest. She now lives in the Seattle area with her husband, three sons, and heaps of books. To learn more, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
Do you enjoy speaking engagements?
Absolutely! I tend to think of speaking engagements as simply an excuse to get together with other bookish people and talk about books and writing! One of the best things about writing is getting to know other book-lovers, and people who come to author events are definitely committed readers.
Have you ever had a reoccurring dream?
No, although I love that moment when I wake up from an especially vivid and fantastic dream. I’ve always been a bit disappointed that I never dream about flying. For some reason, I feel like flying should be a birthright of dreaming.
What was your nickname growing up or now?
I went on a Louisa May Alcott spree in middle-school, and I remember trying to go by “Jo” (my middle-name is JoAnn), but it never stuck. When I was a little girl, my family and friends called me “Missy”. Believe it or not, there was another girl named “Missie” in my sixth grade class, so, ever since then, I’ve just been “Marissa”.
Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them?
Courageous people inspire me. I love reading biographies of historical figures that spent their lives well by investing in things that made the world a better place. I think one of the reasons I admire that kind of bravery so much is because I’m not like that at all, but oh how I aspire to be courageous!
If you had to be a flower, which one would you be?
What a question! I’d probably have to pick a daisy. Not only are they some of my favorite flowers, but I appreciate their ordinariness. Daisies aren’t showy. I think they might even be categorized as weeds, but they bloom nearly anywhere and are so cheerful and bright. I’d like that to be true of me – joy and growth in any environment.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
I was a big My Little Ponies fan. In fact, I still have quite a few boxed up somewhere, testament to my parents’ ever-hopeful wish that my husband and I might have a girl someday – ha! But I’d have to say my absolute favorite childhood toy is my stuffed bear named “Ho-ho.” (Don’t laugh. I know your stuffed animals sport equally ridiculous names.) I believe that – in a spark of originality – I named him after his long-lost Christmas scarf which read “Ho-ho-ho.” Ho-ho is one of those stuffed-animals: matted fur, tear-stains, and a little bit of kinship with his Velveteen cousin.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh, there are too many of these to answer. Cell phone use in public. People who don’t have their parcels addressed by the time they get up to the front of the post-office line. Allergies when the weather is fine. Now that I’m a parent, my biggest pet peeves often have to do with how other adults relate to children: talking down to them, speaking harshly, placating them. But then again I’ve heard that the things that most irritate someone are pieces of their own personality. Oh, dear. What was that about the pot calling the kettle black?
What commercial annoys you the most? What is your favorite commercial?
All commercials annoy me. I don’t really watch TV or listen to the radio, so whenever I chance across commercials, they are extra-obnoxious since I’m not used to them. And, yes, I realize this makes me an official fuddy-duddy.
Name a turning point in your life that makes you smile.
I’ve had so many turning points! I’ve often felt like my life was this twisty path, criss-crossing and turning in on itself with plenty of out of the way pit-stops. Each turn seemed to be a detour at the time, but looking back, it’s clear how these little surprises were meant to be part of my story all along. My favorite turning point would have to be when I met my husband and, against my “better” (silly me!) judgment at the time, began dating him.
What is your worst personality characteristic?
It’s a tossup between my two bitter enemies: indecisiveness and fear.
If you had to enter a competition for the “Most Uselessly Unique Talent,” what would your talent be?
This isn’t particularly unique, but, on the whole, I think it’s kind of useless. I have a talent for doing things incredibly quickly – whether it’s adding up math problems, typing, or speed-cleaning. There are some perks to this, of course, but a lot of downsides as well, and it doesn’t mean I do things better. Just faster.
What was the best thing that happened to you this year?
You mean besides the release of my debut novel STORYBOUND Well, oddly enough, I’d have to say it was a bit of a dark time that I’ve been through several months back. Though incredibly difficult, that season forced me to choose courage in ways I wouldn’t otherwise and has helped me to reflect and re-evaluate my life.