I was given the chance to talk with a very gracious author
who took time out of her schedule to visit with us. So,
without further delay, let’s hear from
Mary J. Dressel
You have always known that you would
one day be a writer. Can you still recall the first time you
were published and how it felt?
I will always remember the first
notification I received saying the publisher would publish my
book. At first, it was “Wow, my book is getting published.”
Then, after a few minutes, it hit me. Then it was “WOW, MY
BOOK IS GETTING PUBLISHED!” It was amazing after a long
struggle of submitting. The first time I saw my books on a
shelf at Barnes and Noble, I felt like it was all worth it! I
had to take pictures by my books at B&N.
Is there someone who you consider to be an
inspiration or a mentor to you?
I think that some authors from the past,
like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers inspired me, which in
fact, they did, but now that I’ve met so many wonderful authors, I
have to believe it’s them who keep me motivated and inspired. So
many authors of today are my mentors.
Tell us some of your favorites (i.e. foods,
music, books, authors, movies, colors, and any other favorites you
would like to share.)
Oh, goodness, I never know what to say when
asked my favorite food. Hmm, I like Italian food, and probably a
good steak! I love different types of music for different reasons,
for instance, the sound of Bono’s voice in U2, saxophone to set a
mood, classical or instrumental for writing, and classic rock for
fun. Sometimes I like the scratchy voice of alternative musicians.
Linda Lael Miller, Christine Feehan and Amanda Ashley are a few of
my favorite authors. I read a lot of new authors since I am still
one myself! Somewhere in Time is no doubt my long time favorite
movie. Then Moonstruck, Interview with a Vampire, and the
Highlander Series to name a few. My favorite color is teal. Yes,
no question about it– teal! My most favorite Perfume is Angel by
When writing do you plan your stories out
before starting or do they develop as you write?
When I start writing, I usually have an
idea going on in my head, and usually know something about the
ending, and mostly just keep writing and it comes to me. When I get
in a slump, or block, I make a list of things that could happen in
the story. That usually gets the creative juices flowing again.
I’ve never made an outline prior to writing a novel.
You write in several genres, do you have a
favorite? Is there a genre you would like to try?
I think my favorite genre to write is
paranormal, at least it tends to go that way. Historical is a
runner up to this, because I love so many aspects of the past,
especially the Victorian Era, so I like to write in that genre,
too. Contemporary is easiest because it’s what I know, after all,
it’s the era I live in now. I would like to try writing mainstream
just to see if I could get away from the romance aspect of my
writing. Not for good, though, because I love writing romance.
Where do your story ideas come from? Do you
start with just a character or the whole story plot?
I get my story ideas from everyday life–
news stories, radio, watching people, listening– just everywhere. I
got the idea for my current series from an old Victorian town I used
to drive through for many years. One day I just wondered what it
was like a hundred years ago, so I researched it, and it turned into
a story. All the while, I knew this series would be a time-travel,
but not necessarily a romance. It wasn’t until I got a ways in the
writing of it that I realized it was romantic. From that point on,
it was written as a romance story. I usually start with a
character, either a hero or heroine, and maybe a hint of a plot and
go from there.
What do you consider the most interesting
thing about yourself?
I think the most interesting thing about
myself is the creativity and imagination that lives in my mind. I
guess I’ve been told that so many times, that I think it must be
something that makes me interesting to others. I kind of like it
myself! The creativity isn’t just for writing, though, it seems to
come out in projects, work, or just when I need it. I consider it a
What was the best advice you received when
you were starting out? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The very best bit of information I received
starting out was to Write what you Know. That is so true, and I’ve
even added something to that. Write what you know, and if you don’t
know it, then do enough research so it looks like you know. Also,
my advice to aspiring writers is not to be afraid to write the story
that is talking to you. Listen to your characters, and they will
direct the story. And one other thing– Never give up.
Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and
what is the best way to contact you?
I truly love hearing from my readers, and
corresponding with them I like to stay in touch with them, and keep
them informed of what is going on with my writing career. The best
way to contact me is through my email
firstname.lastname@example.org (no spaces), or through my website,
http://www.maryjdresselbooks.com via my guestbook. I always
answer my emails.
Are you able to write full-time or do you
have one of those pesky day jobs?
Oh, I have one of those pesky day jobs,
so it really limits the time I have to write. At home I have to
share a computer with my family. My job in a middle school allows
me to have summers off, so I try to do a lot of writing then. If I
could stop working that pesky day job tomorrow, to write full time,
I would do it without hesitation.