Mary Connealy’s interview

» Posted on Jul 10, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Mary Connealy’s interview

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1. What made you start writing?
I wrote my first novel when I was 12. I’ll no doubt have to answer for that when I stand before God on judgment day, heaven knows how bad it was.
I wrote my first novel when my youngest child went to kindergarten. I finally had the time but I know what specific event prompted me to start. My second oldest daughter (I’ve got four) was probably 10 or 11 and she wrote a book. A pretty good book really. I’m not telling you what it was about and of course it was too short but she told a good story. I’ve been wrangling with her for years to let me steal it. The brat. I thought, “If Wendy can do it, I can do it.” So I did. I’ve never sold that first book, but I sold the second…about twelve years later. 🙂

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
Ten long, lonely years!

3. How do you handle rejections?
I got really used to it. I grew a really tough hide and just knew if I really wanted to get published I was going to have to take it.

4. Why do you write?
You know, Margaret, I just write and write and write. It’s not what I do, so much as it’s who I am. I seriously can’t NOT write. It’s just my idea of fun. I think, if writing and reading (my other obsession) were beer, my family would hold an intervention.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
I’d be writing. Sorry. ☺

6. What are you working on right now?
Book Three in the Lassoed in Texas series comes out in February. I just turned in final revisions for it and have had my first glimpse of the cover. It’s cute.
I’ve got another book coming out next July which is also done and the book I’m working on right now is tentatively titled Cowboy Christmas. Yes, another western romance.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
I don’t mean to exactly but I suppose I do. Although I think the female characters are how I wish I was instead of how I really am. They’re so sassy and confrontational and brave. I am a peacemaker and completely non-confrontational. So I put into my characters all these qualities I admire.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Calico Canyon – Lassoed in Texas Book #2 is a suspenseful, inspirational, historical western, romantic comedy. In Petticoat Ranch I talked about a man who’d never been around women, dropped into an all-girl world, so I decided to do the flip side of that story in Calico Canyon.
I took prissy, Miss Calhoun, the school marm, and shoved her, completely against her will, into an all-male world.
I’d a fish-out-of-water story. But despite Grace’s discomfort with men and Daniel’s commitment to never marry again and live like a wild animal with his sons, I still need the hero be heroic, the heroine be delightful and loveable. Not that easy when she doesn’t understand anything about his wild, ill-mannered boys, less about him and nothing about marriage.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Keep cranking out finished books. Do NOT write one and then quit writing and spend five years trying to get it published. While you’re trying to get it published, write a new book. You get better with practice. All the contests, critique groups, online classes, all that is great and necessary but you can’t use those skills if you’re not writing yourself. I remember when I started Petticoat Ranch, staring at that blank computer screen and thinking, ‘Remember everything you know and use it’ Explosive beginning, limited backstory, all five senses, get the Point of View right.

10. How important is faith in your books?
Faith is essential to what I create. One of the reasons it took me so long to get a book published, (besides the fact that I was no good!) is that at the beginning what I wanted to write didn’t fit anywhere. The primary publisher of first time authors is Harlequin. They have a lot of lines these days, but that wasn’t always true. Except for Silhouette romances, which were really sweet, all the lines had profanity in them and a lot of fairly graphic bedroom scenes. This wasn’t something I was willing to write. So with the exception of Silhouette, my books didn’t fit anywhere. I still remember vividly reading that Harlequin was opening a line of Christian romances called Love Inspired. They did this because books like the Left Behind series proved there was a huge market for books that included people of faith. Christian fiction is the fastest growing area of any fiction and I was there, and ready, when that explosion occurred. I was writing, over a decade ago, for an area of fiction that hadn’t been born yet.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
I don’t know exactly how to answer that. I love children in books. I think they bring a scene to life with their twisted view of the world and blunt honesty.
I love really strong women. I love comedy.
Those aren’t themes really but that’s what I love to write.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Right now I’m going through a book with my critique group called The Husband Tree and I haven’t read it for a while and it just makes me laugh out loud. This is my favorite heroine ever. Such a bad attitude.

13. What is your writing schedule like?
I write every spare moment all day. It’s what I love doing. I’m an insomniac so I write late into the night and I have downtime at work that I can use on blog interviews and other promotion efforts. I write all the time.

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