Interview with Amy K. Marshall – Wicked Women Writers Challenge Series

Car here. This is a series of interviews I’m doing for my author, Rebekah Webb, for the participants of the Wicked Women Writers challenge. ( Since I only interview inanimate objects, I have used the power of booze and lack of sleep to transform my interviewees into various assorted objects.

Hello, today I am going to interview a very talented fishhook, named Amy K. Marshall. When she isn’t dangling from lines, luring fish with tasty morsels dangling from her head, she’s the Library Director of Craig, Alaska and author of dark fiction novels such as The Fishing Widow and In Dark Places ( She’s currently involved in the Wicked Women Writers competition, with her entry titled Paternoster, which a type of elevator and not a British father who eats too much, as I first thought when I misread it as Pater Nosher.

What made you start writing? As a fish hook, I bet your parents expected

you to go into the family business.


I’ve always been a rebel. I mean, yeah, I’ve got friends and family in the

“family business,” but I never really had the stomach for it. Days on a

boat, someone jabbing herring up your … well … you get the idea. And then

hours in the water waiting for .. what? Some freakishly huge floppy cold

thing to eat you? A life spent poking fish just wasn’t what I wanted. So I

slipped off the line, well, gangion. My cousin thought I was nuts–was

sure I’d get caught and they’d make an example out of me, or worse. But I

caught on a greenhorn’s raingear and he didn’t notice. Took awhile, but I

ended up in a drawer in the galley and then up in the wheelhouse. Hell,

I’m sure everyone looked at me at least once and thought, “Sheesh, I need

to get that back in the gear box,” but it never happened. So, I hung out

in the wheelhouse and listened… Then I thought, well, this is too good to

NOT figure out how to write down. So, it was trying to figure out how to

write it down…



How does a fish hook write? Do you dip your hook into a bucket of ink or

poke at a keyboard? Or is there another way to be able to put words to



Well … that takes sacrifice. Of course, not on MY part, but on the crew’s

part. I had to lay in wait and hope I didn’t forget what I wanted to

write. I’d slide inside a drawer or under a piece of paper or coffee mug…

and when one of the crew would slide a hand or something by, then WHAM!

I’d hear “SOM’BITCH!” or something like that, and they’d be hoppin’ around

like a lunatic. Of course, they’d bleed. That’s my ink. I’d have to work

fast and get it all down.

* *


Have you ever accidentally picked up a boot and how does that affect your

confidence as a fish hook?


Yeah, well, that CAN be a confidence-buster. There’s so much stuff in the

ocean to snag on, it would blow your mind, you know? Boots, bottles,

plastic crap, other fishing gear that’s been lost at sea–you know if

takes 450 YEARS for fishing line to go away if it’s been lost at

sea??–sometimes it’s a wonder when you can hook a fish! We try to joke

about it when stuff like that happens–like, Hey! Mike! Nice six-pack! Ha

ha ha!! Ah…gets me every time… Then, of course, we can blame the skipper

for setting gear in a crap spot. That can make us feel better, too.


Tell us about your inspiration for Paternoster. Did it involve staring

into the sun until the afterimages turned into an interesting story? That’s

how I come up with interview questions.


You mean .. the result of reflection or somethin’? Get it? I’m metal, I’m

reflective and … well … never mind. One of the crew was talkin’ about how

there were no elevators on the island we were putting in to and how that

was so backwards–not at all like some of the larger places we go. Pater

Noster is also an “Our Father,” thing. My cousin Millicent is on a crabber

with a priest who fishes (don’t laugh, it happens). Then again, life as a

fish hook has its ups and downs, you know? We’re on a 4-hour delay

elevator. They toss us over and we sink DOWN and 4 hours later, pull the

line and haul us UP. Not much of a stretch to go from that to an elevator.

I guess I don’t see the appeal for humans…

* *


What made you turn to dark fiction? I always imagined fish hooks being

more down home, preferring to hang around in a quiet pond. If they wrote, I

always figured it would be travel brochures or farmer’s almanacs.


You can’t believe what’s down there in the deepest deeps. Strange-ass fish

(I can say “strange-ass,” right?) and you’re helpless, just lyin’ there

and waiting. And THEN, on the way up, the stuff you’ve gotta dodge and

pray doesn’t take you out… ! Seals and killer whales and LARGER whales all

goin’ after the line. I mean, one bite and you’re OUTTA here and lost and

gone … forever. No family, no friends. I can tell you the screams we hear

on the line when that happens–that God-awful jerk and then someone you

know is whirling off into the unknown. Man .. you’ll never see ‘em again.

That’s being helpless. And you just grab on with the hook and pray you’re

not next… It’s experiences like THAT that make dark fiction writing easy.

All that writing from experience, I guess.

* *


Is it true that fish hooks have a certain allure that slowly reels people

in and then hooks them with sharp witted lines?


Cheeky. Yeah, well, I can hook you because I’m the purest form of gambling

there is. Pretty cheap to get into and the rewards are HUGE if you do it

right. People see that curve, that barb, and they think, all fish’ll go

for this. How hard can it be? And then they bait up and spend DAYS out

trying to pull up fish and gaff ‘em and cut ‘em…and then they find that

making a living like that ISN’T as easy as they thought. But, by then,

we’re like the purest drug. There’s that rush of adrenalin when a

fighter’s on the line and you and your human are working so hard to pull

it into the boat.  Yeah … that’s a keeper!

* *


Is there a special rod in your life? Or are you currently unattached?


I’ve sworn off rods, personally. I’m a gangion kind of guy.

* *


What else have you written and how many fish have you caught?


I’m trying my hook at poetry. I figure, there are those “Fisher Poets” who

meet in Astoria, Oregon every year, and I think they should cut a hook a

break, you know? I mean, who would know more about poetry and fish than a

hook who’s been there and done that? Of course, I don’t have the t-shirt….

And how many fish? Honestly, I’ve lost count, but it’s hundreds. It’s what

happens when they keep throwing you back in the water. It’s why I hooked

the greenhorn. I figured my luck was running out, so I’d better stay

topside and get some of my experiences written down before it’s too late!

* *


What hobbies do you have? Do you shark fish on the side or double as a

towel hook?*


Hobbies? Well …. Sometimes the deck boss cleans his fingernails with me.

*shudders* But I wouldn’t call that a hobby.

* *


Do you have any advice for young fish hooks out there who might want to

try their hand at writing?


Greenhorns are the surest supply of blood. They’re awkward and rushed

because they want to impress the deck boss, but, they never learn that

when they do that, they screw up. I got more blood — er — ink — from

the last greenhorn who crewed with us because he couldn’t bait up to save

his life. If you have friends or family on the boat, tell them your plans

to write so they can help out in the blood collection. It saves time and

you can write more.

* *


5 thoughts on “Interview with Amy K. Marshall – Wicked Women Writers Challenge Series

  1. Great interview Car! As always you asked the perfect questions for your inanimate object interviewee to give very interesting answers. I definitely understand the life of a fishhook better now. Intriguing life they live. Who would’ve known?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s