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Get a read on otherworldly writings: Melissa Marr

The author whose Wicked Lovely focuses on fairies and folklore will be at the Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 27.

By Taylor Glogowski, Xpress Correspondent
Published October 15, 2007


If you go
Melissa Marr will be among the nearly 80 authors who will speak at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 27 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. For information, go to

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Melissa Marr grew up reading tales of fairies and folklore; it was a part of her family's culture. So it's no wonder her first novel, Wicked Lovely, is the story of Aislinn, a girl who can see fairies.

These fairies, though, are very nasty creatures, nothing like the stories Marr grew up with.

Wicked Lovely began as a short story, but the characters caused Marr to turn it into a novel. "The characters still bugged me," she said. To her the characters were not fully developed in the short story, and publishers said it was either too mature or too childish. Marr then took the short story and turned it into a engrossing novel that took her about four months to write.

The fairies in the novel are all unique; some have skin like bark or a lion's mane. Marr, who is in her early 30s, used a combination of her imagination and the tales of fairies from her childhood to create the characters and fairies in her novel. None of the main characters was based on any particular person, except Grams. Marr said Grams, who is based on her own grandmother, is Aislinn's grandmother. She cares for the girl after Aislinn's mother dies.

"My grandmother was very awesome," Marr said. She was protective, but still let Marr and her family do what they wanted. She also was a feminist, Marr said, even though her grandmother would not have called herself that.

In high school, Marr was voted "most likely to end up in jail." She stated that back then she probably believed that she deserved that, but added "it's like saying here I was and now here I am."

In addition to writing, Marr is a mother and teaches literature and gender studies to college students. During graduate school and when she first started teaching, she also was a bartender. Marr said that she loves teaching and loved bartending because she got to talk to and meet so many interesting people.

With what little free time she has, she likes to go to museums and keep her tattoo appointments. (On her Web site,, Marr says that her love for body art is "held in check by the desire to attend the opera without flashing too many tattoos.")

She said her favorite author is William Faulkner, adding that "he's pretty much everything I aspire to be and never will be."

Marr understands that fairy tales and folklore are not for everyone, and of Wicked Lovely, she said, "People want to read it, cool. If they don't, it's all cool."

Taylor Glogowski, 16, is in 11th grade at Land O'Lakes High School and is a former member of the X-Team.




[Last modified October 12, 2007, 22:27:54]

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