My good friend Aniko Carmean recently wrote this brilliant blog post, in which she published her honest author biography. I loved it: it was so much more engaging and interesting than the usual bland and/or boastful biographies that sit at the back of many a novel alongside an airbrushed photo. In fact, it was such a good idea that I felt I just had to steal it (sorry, Aniko).
Like Aniko, I suspect that many an author biography has been sanitised to such an extent that it fails to reveal much of any note. Well, I’m not so proud that a little bit of warts-and-all honesty alarms me, so here’s the truth – or at least as close to the truth as you’re going to get without the use of thumbscrews.
Mari Biella is not going to tell you when she was born. Her early ambitions were to become either a singer, athlete or superhero. All of these ambitions failed due to the fact that she was completely untalented at singing, athletics and superheroism, so she decided to take up writing instead. If she’s completely untalented at that, people have so far been too kind to tell her so.
Mari started writing early. Her mother still has a stack of childhood scrawls to prove it, including a poem called “Thunderboots the Giant”. As a teenager, Mari channelled her adolescent angst and alienation into reading, and was eventually inspired to start writing seriously. She somehow managed to gain a degree in Philosophy along the way, which is amazing when you consider that she really isn’t that bright. She has worked in a variety of alleged jobs, and hasn’t been terribly impressive at any of them. She currently spends much of her time trying to teach English grammar to Italian teenagers. She’s not very good at that either, and indeed hopes to get sacked at some point in the future.
Mari spends much of her time in Italy these days. The main things she has learned during her prolonged stopover in Italy are that: dried oregano actually tastes better than fresh oregano; basil-flavoured ice cream is a lot nicer than you might think; and gastroenteritis really, really hurts. She has yet to find out how Italians manage to eat without getting fat and drink without getting drunk. If she ever learns their secret, she’ll be sure to let you know. Pressures of work allowing, she enjoys gardening, walking, cooking, and embellishing an increasingly complicated fantasy life, which currently involves the Caucasus, herbal medicine, and a lost Neanderthal tribe (don’t ask). Her bad habits include talking about herself in the third person.
Oh, and she writes. A lot. Too much, some might say. In fact, and given half the chance, she’s been known to close the door on her writing space and stay there for days at a time, emerging only to eat and sleep. Frustratingly, for all those hours spent at work, she rarely produces anything with which she’s satisfied, but then her perfectionism is such that it borders on neurosis.
In short, Mari Biella is a silly ass. In a world that’s full of silly asses, she doesn’t consider this to be a major flaw.