Author Spotlight


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 Thierry Mugler.

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 gift.

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 (no spaces), or through my website, 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.



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