Friday, September 21, 2012

Author Interview: Marva Dasef

Hello, lovelies. Today I have Marva Dasef, author of Setara's Genie, on the blog. Grab your cocoa and let's get started!

Cover art by

Me: Welcome to my blog! I'd like to know more about your book. Care to share?

Marva: Thank you for the invite, Beth. I'm particularly grateful since I have a brand new ebook released on August 17th from MuseItUp Publishing. Here's the basic info.

Setara's Genie
A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

MuseItUp Buy Link:
Amazon Buy Link:

Me: Is this your debut book?

Marva: Way past debut. I have a fairly extensive publishing history. I did my first self-pub with a set of humorous stories based on my father's tales of growing up in West Texas during the Great Depression. Yes, humorous. It's been a very popular book, especially since I had the foresight to do a large print edition. It's appealing to older folk, especially those who were raised in rural areas. There's at least one animal in every story, both domestic and wild. Here's a list of what I've had published in various formats over the last five or so years:

Tales of a Texas Boy (the above book)
First Duty - YA SciFi
Ultimate Duty - Adult version of the above
Quest for the Simurgh - MG/YA fantasy
Missing, Assumed Dead - Adult (but clean) mystery
The Witches of Galdorheim Series, including Bad Spelling, Midnight Oil, and Scotch Broom.

I've also produced a couple of short story collections. Since I've had quite a few  shorts published here and there on-line, I decided to make a couple of compilations. I like to use the shorter one, Mixed Bag, as a freebie introducing my writing. The longer contains all the stories of the short one, plus a bunch more. It's titled Mixed Bag II: Supersized.

All my books and their buy links are on my website: and I talk about them a lot on my blog:

Me: How long did this book take you, from draft one to ready to submit?

Marva: That's a tough question since Setara's Genie began life as a single short story, which was published by a micropublisher as a chapter book. I wrote another story, continuing from where the first story ended. Then another and another. Eventually, I decided that it would work better as a single episodic novel. I use the frame story technicque of 1001 Arabian Nights with a story teller relating Setara's adventures to a poor girl who needs her spirits lifted. 

I wrote the first story some time in the late 80s. When I retired, I pulled out my various stories, which I never attempted to have published, and started reworking them into what they have become today. 

Me: As an author, who has influenced your work the most?

Marva: My crit partners keep me going. Since they're authors, mentors, and friends, then that covers it. I also have a couple of high school teachers that encouraged me in the first place. Everybody deserves to have at least one inspirational teacher. I'm a huge advocate of spending public funds on education. We're lost if we don't have an educated generation following us.

Me: Random question time: You are stranded on a desert island and allowed only three books. Which books are they?

Marva: Complete Works of Shakespeare, a very large dictionary, and a compact encyclopedia. Hey, I'm a writer, not just a reader. Since Shakespeare covered just about every plot, I can borrow as freely as I wish. Then, if I have no writing tools, I'll etch words on banana leaves or cocoanut shells with a sharp stick. (Interviewer's note: LOVE IT!)

Me: ere's my favorite question to ask authors: "Do you believe in the dreaded Writer's Block?" If so, how do YOU get past it?

Marva: I don't know if my procrastination is writer's block or just crankiness. Since I have quie a few books out, I'm finding lack of concentrated time for writing because of the requirements of marketing. Every writer hates marketing, unless they're a celebrity who didn't really write their book anyway.

Me: Care to tell us anything about your current work-in-progress?

Marva: I have two possibles partially outlined, and have decided to use Nanowrimo as a great kickstart to quit marketing and begin writing again. One is in the Witches of Galdorheim series, focusing on a secondary character who is very popular with readers, especially the female readers. He's the main character's little brother. Both are witches, but the girl, Kat, has problems with magic (think green slime and explosions), while brother Rune is great with magic and charming as all get out. By the end of the third book in the series, he's almost a man, and has some issues of his own to think about. The main one being that he has a vampire father who would love to get to know his son better. Rune, needless to say, is not thrilled with spending a few weeks in a dank castle with a vampire pack.

Me: And last but not least: Do you have any words of wisdom for new and aspiring authors?

Marva: Don't take everybody's advice on how your story should go. It's your story, not theirs. It's hard to stand up to experienced writers when they give you "rules" you must follow. Heed what they're saying, but do it how you feel is right.

Second (notice how I'm getting advice when I just said to not listen), do not neglect careful editing. Nothing to me, as a reader, is more off-putting than typos and misused words. Don't count on your publisher (if you get one) to clean up after you. They simply won't take your work if it's a mess.

Me: Thank you for the interview! Best of luck to you with your writing.



  1. Oh, yeah, I didn't get the cover artist's name in. I was going to ask Charlotte whether she uses Charlotte Volnek or C.K. Volnek. Either way, she's a wonderful CA and dang good writer.

  2. Love this book, and can't wait to read your next one! Yay, Rune!

  3. Oh goodie, another book with one of the same charaters. Use NaNo wisely and pound out that next book. I'm looking forward to it.
    I loved the others.

  4. You're quite welcome, Marva!

    Thanks to all who came and supported Marva today!

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