Book: The Marian
Author: Taylor Hohulin
Release date: September 19, 2014
Page count: 228
Fifteen-year-old Ethan Denby doesn’t know how he got on the Marian. He just woke up one day inside the body of its captain.
The Marian is unlike any ship Ethan has ever seen. It crawls on long, metal legs over dunes of salt in search of water, despite laws granting exclusive harvesting rights to a corrupt organization known as HydroSystems Worldwide.
HydroSystems is closing in, tensions are mounting aboard the Marian, and on top of all that, Ethan is beginning to think the dreams he’s been having aren’t completely harmless. If he doesn’t get home soon, Ethan could die inside someone else’s body in this wasteland of a world. The only way back seems to be through the Cloud, but how can he convince the crew to take him there when it means confronting a dangerous cult and venturing into a place where the very fabric of reality has worn thin?
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The first chapter of this book jumps straight into the crazy, chaotic and sometimes confusing adventure. Soul swapping is a really unique concept, the fact that you’re not in control of your own being any more and I haven’t read about it in any of the other books I’ve read. Whilst a world with out water like in the book seems like it would never happen it could actually happen to us in the future and I think this helps make the background premises of the book appear to be more realistic. In this world water is as good as having all the money in the world and people will go to the ends of the earth quite literally to make sure they have some. Ethan the main character of this book deals with being in an entirely new world amazingly well, his curiosity helps him gather the knowledge he needs to survive. He is a strong and brave hearted character. I enjoyed this book but even with all the action it does feel as though it’s dragging in some parts but overall it was a really fun read.
1. Where did the idea for the novel come from?
It basically came from a desire to write a pirate story that was a little different from the norm. I’ve always thought the elements of fantasy pirate stories were really compelling and fun, but, to be honest, I haven’t read enough of the genre to be able to write a traditional pirate story without being overly derivative. So instead of going that route, I started with a simple question: “What would be the weirdest thing for pirates to steal?” I decided the answer was water. Then I asked, “Why would anyone steal water?” and landed on the obvious conclusion that water would have to be scarce. I kept on asking questions and picking at the edges of this core idea until I ended up with The Marian. It was a bit of a roundabout way of doing it, but I think it helped me to come up with a much richer world to set the story in.
2. Is the main character based on someone you know in real life?
Not really. I’ve never actually based a character on someone I know. Most of my characters start off as caricatures. I define them by one or two over-the-top characteristics, and as I write, I start toning them down and finding nuances in their personalities to hopefully get them to a place where they’re a little more real. It’s usually when I’m roughly 50,000 words into the story that the characters start jumping off the page for me. At that point, I’ve worked with them so much and honed them so much that I almost instinctively know what they’d say and how they’d react in various situations. I do inject small pieces of myself into my characters here and there – for instance, Ethan, the main character in The Marian, plays drums like I do. I think he’s way better than I am, though.
3. What was the first scene you wrote for the novel?
The opening scene. Usually, when I’m drafting a novel, I go from beginning to end. I wrote a few lines of dialog in my original story outline this time around, but no complete scenes. I know some authors like to write scenes out of order, but I’ve never been able to handle that. Writing in the order the book is meant to be read helps me keep track of little things like what clues have and haven’t been dropped yet and what bits of exposition have already been revealed.
4. Is there a book you’ve read that you wish you had been the one to write?
The entire Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I guess if I had to choose one book from the series, I’d go with The Waste Lands, since it’s my favorite of the seven. I love the way he blends genres throughout the whole thing. There’s a little bit of science fiction, some fantasy, some horror, some western…and underneath some really good character drama. I’d love to write an epic series at some point, and if I did, it would probably be similar, at least in tone.
5. Is the end of the novel the same as when you started writing or did it change as the story evolved?
6. Do you have a specific strategy when writing? If so what is it?