Interview with Marie Davis, Runner Up in the WOW! Q1 2022 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

Sunday, April 03, 2022
Marie Davis works in HIV Prevention as a data analyst and science writer. She has recently started writing creatively for fun and is working on her first novel in a very messy and unstructured fashion. She hopes to continue to learn and improve her writing skills as a way to reflect upon her time living in Tanzania and Botswana, and upon all the other quintessential late 20s angsts. She is an avid reader and adores a dry metaphor. In her free time she likes to take slow, listless walks, binge watch reality television shows and cook unnecessarily complicated pasta dishes. 

----------Interview by Renee Roberson

Read Marie's essay, "A Bad Date," and then return here for an interview with the author.

WOW: Hi Marie, and welcome! Congratulations on creating such a great entry for our contest. Your personal observations and descriptions of your date in this piece are so spot on. Do you journal as a way to keep a document of your experiences for later writing projects? 

Marie: Thank you! I do not keep a formal journal, but my phone is full of nonsensical musings of things I want to remember. The most recent one is "when you're last to receive food at a restaurant and everyone waits to eat." It's a small, awkward moment that's relatable, and I wouldn't have remembered otherwise. I look back on these when I'm feeling uninspired. 

WOW: That's such a great idea. My notes app on my own phone is a hodge podge of links to articles and one-liners I want to save. What is your favorite line from "A Bad Date?" 

Marie: "We’d distract ourselves from democracy’s demise by eating the newest iteration of tiny tacos." This is the first thing I wrote for this piece, which I wrote during the beginning months of COVID-19. It's a little metaphor for the shameless indulgence, yet necessity, of thinking about tiny joys despite a myriad of global crises--like dating during a pandemic. 

WOW: That is a great line! Since you write as part of your day job, when do you find it easiest to write creatively? Early morning or later at night? 

Marie: I often find myself the most inspired when I'm in transit and have nothing else to distract me. Hence--I do a lot of frantic typing into my phone notes. But, when I'm trying to be more intentional and thoughtful about what I'm writing, I write in the morning--which is probably due to the alignment of my caffeine intake schedule. 

WOW: What are some of your favorite genres to read and authors? 

Marie: I love literary fiction, women's fiction and intergenerational anything. Some of my recent favorites are "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, "Writers and Lovers" by Lilly King, "Sorrow and Bliss" by Meg Mason, and everything by Sally Rooney and Khaled Hosseini. 

WOW: Thank you for those recommendations! Now for your own writing. You are currently working on your first novel. What inspired your idea for it? 

Marie: It was inspired by a sad, yet humorous, story my mother told me about an unnamed friend's secret, and it spiraled from there. It's mostly an imagination of modern motherhood set in the town I grew up in. I am referring to it as a beach read that turns a bit dark and stormy.

WOW: I'm already intrigued. We wish you the best of luck on your novel and other creative works in progress. Thank you again for joining us!


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