Where Readers & Writers Connect
Growing up I read my brother’s science fiction books. In college I scraped together money to buy and read one classic historical a month. As an adult I devoured hubby’s collection of children’s classics. In the last year or two I have been focusing on reading and reviewing ebooks of Christian Indie authors. I prefer historical fiction, fantasy and sci-fi. Dickens and Austen are my favorites, for their characters and dialogue.
How many books have your written?
I have written six full length novels and one novella, plus two non-fiction books co-written with my husband. All of them are published as ebooks and we are beginning the process of producing print books.
Why do you write?
I write because we have a message to communicate, of the truth and authority of God’s Word and the power it can have to change lives.
My writing resulted from my need to communicate God’s truth in an entertaining fashion.
When did you begin writing?
I wrote my first finished short stories in Junior High, and finished my first novel shortly after college. In between I wrote puppet plays and children’s church curriculum. I majored in English in college, joined a writing club there, and studied books on writing and publication from a Christian perspective. Learning to analyze literature was good practice for becoming skillful at writing my own works. I wrote curriculum for church and christian schools, studied and taught reading, writing and drama. As many writing teachers say, the best way to become a writer is to write. I also worked as an editor and proofreader.I chose historical fiction because of my background in literature as an English major in college, and because I, like many people, nostalgically look back to times when it seems like people had higher character, more honor, and simpler lives in some ways.
Tell us a little about your latest books.
My latest book is the third in my Children’s/Young Adult Historical adventure series, Benny and the Bank Robber. In The Oregon Sentinel Ben goes from his internship at the 1800s Detroit Sentinel newspaper to a trip along the Oregon Trail to start a frontier newspaper. The trip itself is eventful enough, and Ben solves a few mysteries, finds a new brother, a remarkable stray dog, and the possibility of some romance before the story ends.
The Sugar Creek Gang and Tom Sawyer inspired the Benny series. The Black Rose by Thomas Costain was the inspiration for Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion. Send a White Rose and Chasing the Texas Wind were inspired by living in the Southwest for six years and falling in love with the terrain and history there.
Our books are all self-published. I queried publishers and agents for several years and was blessed to get some good advice on story improvement. In the end we saw that we wanted control over the rights and the process. Most of my books were written in early form before we had children, at which point they went into “storage.” Some are expanded versions of stories written as part of children’s church curriculum. Our children were in high school before we really started finishing and polishing our works, and they have only been published in the last two or three years.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t be afraid to self-publish. Make sure you have a cover that attracts attention and then don’t disappoint your readers once you’ve pulled them inside that cover. I don’t write on a schedule, but I have to devote time to it or the will to do it kind of flickers out for awhile. I have lots of ideas, always, but I tend to let other things take priority. I can’t just squeeze a book out a little at a time. I have to spend several hours a day at it over a relatively short period of time or it just gets shoved aside.
I see so many indie-published books with mistakes. So, for beginning writers I would say polish, polish, polish.
Any favorite quotes you would like to share?
I love Proverbs 16:3 — “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
# # #
Visit Mary’s blog at: http://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/