Author Spotlight

 

I was given the opportunity to chat with a lovely author, recently.  So, without further delay, let’s hear from

Mary O’Connor

Writing has always been a part of your life, it seems. Did you always know that you would be a writer?
I always felt like I was a writer—I have vivid memories of grabbing reams of paper from my parents scrap stack and taking them to my room where I would scribble for hours.  Any writer knows the curse of having stories in your head that keep circling around until you have them on paper.  I’ve kept some of those early writings and it’s funny to look back and see that romance was always my favorite subject.  Later the dream of being published and thus acknowledged as A Writer (they like me, they really like me!) became a part of me as well. 

What do you consider the most interesting thing about yourself? 
That I’m a writer!  I move in many circles where I am the only one of my kind and people are always fascinated by this when they learn it about me.   I suppose in a group of writers I would be rather drab and boring!

I read that you married your high school sweetheart. What is the key to your happiness and success?
Oh, wonderful question!!  The answer—HIM!  Seriously, though, I do feel like I’m very lucky to have found such a wonderful person so perfectly matched to me, my very soulmate, so early in life.  Our key to success and happiness in marriage is mutual respect and support of one another.  This stems not just from unconditional love but from the sense that we are extensions of each other—the left arm helping the right, sharing the load.  If one of us is struggling, the other steps in without reservations or hesitation to do whatever he or she can to make it better.   This also means we must communicate with each other—which is also the key, as everyone says!

You write in several genres, do you have a favorite?
Historical

Tell us some of your favorites (i.e. foods, music, movies, authors, books, colors, and any other favorites you would like to share.) 
Favorites—I love the color blue in any shade, popcorn and M&Ms  (my kids will save the M&Ms from their various goodie bags to give to me!).  Music—I don’t really have a favorite and it’s taken me 40 years to figure out why.  I’m noise sensitive!  Movies and books have always been difficult for me to narrow to favorites but I do love Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and recently I finished the Other Boleyn Girl.  Loved it. 

Do you have a daily writing schedule that you follow?
No, I try to write while my youngest is at Mother’s Day Out, but other than that its catch-as-catch can around my ever-changing schedule.

I read that you like exotic locations, do you enjoy traveling?  Where is your favorite place to visit?
I love to travel and I love coming home after traveling!  Favorite places would have to be Alaska and England.  It’s a tie.  All of those travels and exposures to different places—it helps create settings in my mind for future books.

You have a couple of critique partners, do you find it helpful and would you recommend it to others?
It depends on the person.  Critiquing requires both the ability to provide gracious critiques and mutual support of others as well as receive criticism.  Ultimately, if done correctly, it should help you with your writing.  However, if you can’t take the heat . . . you know.  There are plenty of people who’ve done just fine without them, but for me it was a complete necessity.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing?
Making the time for it.  I juggle a lot of different things and they all have to have a turn being the priority in my life.  I’ve yet to find the key to making it ALL work WELL.  I haven’t given up—still working on it!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?  What was the best piece of advice that you received when you were first starting out?
Keep trying.  Don’t give up.  I know it sounds cliché, but I’m living proof of it.  When I wrote The Seduction of Prince Frog, it was my last effort.  After I submitted it to New Concepts Publishing, I began to tell people, including my critique partners, that it was time for me to accept the truth—I was not meant to be a writer.  Here it is, just a year later, and I’ve sold seven manuscripts.  These next few years (and more I hope) will be very exciting for me as I watch each one debut.  Sometimes finding success might mean changing your way of thinking, trying something new.  For me, it was writing a spicy historical fantasy.  I never saw that in my writing future—but I think it was the catalyst that moved me forward.  Also, join your local chapters—whether on-line or in person.  Being around other writers is inspiring and motivating and they understand and support you like no one else can.  Write, write, write.  Of those seven manuscripts I sold, I wrote four of them more than three years ago. 

How do your characters and stories develop?  Where do your ideas come from?
Usually my ideas start with a setting.  A castle, a Texas Hill Country town filled with charm, a Tuscan vineyard, a mountain pass . . . from there I imagine the characters moving around that setting or perhaps completely at odds with that setting.  Then their personal story starts to unfold.

How would you spend a perfect day?
First of all, a perfect day would last about 48 hours.  I would do all the things I love to do all in that time frame—private time with my dh, family time playing, walking or biking with the kids, plenty of time to write, time to read, time to scrapbook.   I’d get it all in there at an unhurried, relaxed pace.  Doesn’t that sound fabulous?  I feel like a very lucky, lucky person though, because in spite of the reality of only 24 hours, my husband helps me have many perfect days exactly like I’ve described. 

If you could travel to any place or time period in history, where would it be and why? 
As odd as it sounds for someone who loves to read and write historicals, I have no desire to go back in time.  I am too aware of how difficult it was.  We live in an incredible time right now and I’m spoiled rotten by all our luxuries.  I suppose it would be fun to be a fly on the wall and watch major events take place—seeing Jesus walk the earth, the crowning of kings and queens, the discovery of new lands.  I guess that would be my true desire—to be a spectator as history unfolded.  I wouldn’t want to be a resident!

Are your husband and family supportive of your writing and do they read your work?
My husband—yes and yes.  My kids—the oldest is nine so yes they support me and are proud of me but don’t get to read anything yet!  My friends who are like my family—yes and yes.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?  Any current or upcoming releases?
I’ve been thinking this phrase for many weeks now, “Lucky Me, Lucky Me, Lucky Me!”

Here’s what you can expect from me in the future:

The Violet Society: Death and the Neighborhood Watch—Coming Soon from New Concepts Publishing

The Violet Society: Murder and Merlot—Coming Soon from Cobblestone Press

The Destiny Stone: Destiny’s Fortune—Coming Soon from Cobblestone Press

Golden Promise—Coming 2010 from Tiger Publishing

Solomon’s Legacy—Coming Soon from Tiger Publishing

The Lion and the Rose—Coming Soon from Tiger Publishing

 

     

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