We had the good fortune of connecting with Isaac Marion and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Isaac, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Every day I spend writing is a risk. There’s very little security in creative careers. You invest years into a project with no guarantee that it will make any money. There’s no way to make a budget or plan for the future. Every paycheck might be your last. Every year is its own unique puzzle to solve. Many writers buffer this problem with a reliable day job, like teaching. I’ve stubbornly refused to do that. Ever since my first writing paycheck, I’ve been betting everything on art, and it hasn’t always worked out for me. I’ve had years of big success, and I’ve had years where I didn’t know if I’d make it. Right now I’m living in an off-grid shed in the wilderness because I’d rather fall all the way to the bottom than take a safe route that kills what I love.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been writing fiction pretty much my whole life, since I was a kid. My career took off with my first published novel, Warm Bodies, which was adapted into a big movie with Nicholas Hoult in 2013. But I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. After the success of Warm Bodies everyone was telling me to repeat that formula, hurry up and put out another sweet little love story while my name was still hot, but I just can’t work like that. I’ve never been willing or able to write for the market. If I’m not genuinely excited about something, I just can’t do it. I did continue the Warm Bodies series with three more books, but I took years to finish them and they explored more complex and adult storylines. That probably hurt my career, but I guess I just don’t care? I’ve always followed my gut with my art and my life. Right now I’m diversifying my creative work with video game writing and YouTube, all while trying to build a homestead in the wilderness. Every step forward is a leap of faith. I believe in taking the wild plunge.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live on a high desert plateau in eastern Washington, 20 minutes from the nearest paved road. There is nothing out here but sage brush and spectacular views of desolate hills spreading to the horizon. When you visit me, you’re not coming for restaurants and museums. The only activities are trekking the plains, swimming in rivers, stealing apples from the orchards, and sunning ourselves on the rocks like lizards. There is no nightlife, only a deep dive into the milky way with a dark sky and my telescope while we get drunk and ponder reality. But if all that gets boring, we can drive down to Kodi’s Noon Saloon for a frozen cheeseburger and some laughs with the grizzled local cowboys.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I had been laboring in obscurity for many years until a film producer, Cori Stern, discovered one of my short stories on my blog and made contact. That was the first validation I ever received from the “professional world” and it made me think more seriously about my art. Cori encouraged me to keep going on my projects and made the connections that eventually led to the Warm Bodies movie. My career path would have been very different—possibly nonexistent—if Cori hadn’t found me.

Website: www.isaacmarion.com

Instagram: @isaacmarion

Youtube: youtube.com/@OuterEdgeOutpost

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