Interview with Bethany House Author, Mary ConnealyPosted by admin on June 18, 2012
Our Winner is Liz Riggs!
Liz, send your mailing information to me at McWrites2u@sbcglobal.net, and I will send it to Mary. Congratulations!
A hearty welcome to my guest, Mary Connealy, author of Out of Control, In Too Deep, and Over the Edge, books one, two, and three of The Kincaid Brides Series published by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Mary is a multi-award winning writer who loves to tell romantic and comedic stories about cowboys.
Win a Book!
Mary is going to give away a copy of Out of Control. To win, leave a comment. A winner will be drawn on June 28th. You have until midnight that night to leave your comment. You will love this book!
Ann: Mary, while you have won several awards and written many books which stand out in Christian publishing, let me just say; I wanted to interview you because I loved reading your books. They are pure joy. I also enjoyed reading your publishing story at your website: http://www.maryconnealy.com/.
Ann: Your humor really stands out, Mary. Have you always been graced with this gift? How have you developed your humor technique over time? Is it about taking risks? Have you ever written something you thought was funny and the editor didn’t ‘get it?’
Mary: You know, Ann, sometimes I write something funny—then when I read it later—I don’t get it. I can read some convoluted sentence and think, “I wonder what in the world I meant by that?” So yes, I have always had a tendency to be sarcastic. I have no idea how that happened! So a lot of the sass between characters is rooted in that and a lot of it flows very easily. An active comedy scene with physical slapstick is much more difficult and takes a lot of revising to get right.
Ann: Are you a big observer of people in general, or do you read a lot of material to inspire your stories?
Mary: I’m not a big observer. So many writer’s are; they enjoy people-watching. But I tend to daydream and live inside my own head. Life inspires me toward book plots, but not characters so much.
Ann: Tell us how you plot your novels. Are you a plodder and planner or do you fly from inspiration to inspiration?
Mary: I have a general plot based on a big picture and beyond that, I start daydreaming the beginning. I try and ‘explode’ the beginning of each book with lots of action and high stakes. I plan this long before I start typing.
Ann: When are you most imaginative? Do you keep a schedule? What drives you?
Mary: I am an insomniac. I’ve learned that when I’m lying awake, it’s a great time to toss plot ideas around. I’ll lay there and daydream—seeing myself juggling. I’ll toss an idea up, catch it, and toss another, change directions, ask ‘what if’, and go at it again. This activity keeps me from losing my MIND while I am unable to sleep.
I don’t keep a schedule exactly. I try and write 1000 words a day, seven days a week. That’s not a set time or in a set place—just a daily goal. I fail at it, especially on weekends when a deadline isn’t looming. But I succeed more often than you’d expect. I guess that goal drives me. It forces me to open the book document and START, and often the first sentence is the hardest to write, since I tend to quit the day before when I stumble onto a problem I don’t quite know how to handle.
Ann: If you could give a new writer in this genre your best advice, would it be to write to the market or dare to be different?
Mary: The thing is—a new writer needs to do both. They need to write to the market but find a fresh way to do it. My books are inspirational, historical western, suspenseful romantic comedy. Okay… I invented my own genre. It wasn’t that easy to sell. So if you get TOO different, good luck. But to be different within the realm of normal genres is actually what I did. Historical romances existed, but I found a way to make mine stand out from the rest. My best advice to a new writer is to keep writing. Write every day. Finish your book. Make it the best book in the world, a book so good no editor will refuse to publish it.
Ann: I read where Carlsbad Caverns sparked your imagination for The Kincaid Brides, but tell us your inspiration for the three Kincaid brothers, Rafe, Ethan, and Seth. The word characters describe them to a tee!
Mary: I created the three brothers after reading a ‘birth order book.’ I made the three brothers classic birth order personalities, the oldest—bossy, organized, an achiever, the middle—charming, likeable, easy going, and the youngest—the baby—spoiled, a little reckless, overprotected.
Then the brothers go through a devastating trauma that ruins their already fragile family. All three brothers blame themselves, and this trauma twists their personalities. So the bossy brother becomes a tyrant. The charmer becomes shallow, refusing to care about anything. And the spoiled youngest, becomes reckless—a daredevil wildman.
And then I try to ‘fix’ each with the love of a good woman.
Ann: Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your all time favorite and why? Are there pieces of you in this character?
Mary: Right now I’m crazy for Callie Kincaid, the heroine in Over the Edge, coming in August.
I love writing feisty lady ranchers and tough heroes, who have no clue how to handle women. I have to fight the urge to do this time and again. Over the Edge is the first time in this series I’ve allowed myself to make my heroine this type. I had so much fun creating her to be utterly confident and tough. Then I teamed her with the wildman—Seth. Over the Edge is definitely my favorite of the three books, but I tend to love the book I’m working on at the time, so it’s not a fair test.
Ann: Tell us about your publishing journey. Did God give you a specific word or promise that kept you going through the years? How did you know He wanted you to write?
Mary: Writers are people who are able to sit alone for long periods and make stuff up. Writers have conversations in their heads. Honestly, if you think about it, that’s not a very normal way to conduct your life. And yet, I love it. I’d rather be writing than doing almost anything else in the world. It’s my default activity, my entertainment, my mental health. So no, I don’t think God exactly gave me a specific word, I just think he made me to be a writer—it’s just who I am even more so than what I do. It’s not that I had this huge awareness that God wanted me to write so much as… I can’t stop.
Ann: I must ask you about marketing. Do you enjoy this aspect of your author role? What are your marketing strategies and secrets?
Mary: I enjoy things like this interview. After all, it is writing. I have gained a comfort level with public speaking, but doubt I’ll ever pursue opportunities to do it. Yeesh. Terrifying. I have one secret… I do many things but none of them are as important as this one secret. I write the best book I know how to write. That’s it.
Ann: Thank you for letting me teethe on your experiences and chew on your ideas, Mary. You are truly a delightful person to know through your stories, and I anticipate the debut of Over the Edge this summer.
Mary: Thanks for having me as your guest, Ann.
Over the Edge
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.
After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.
Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.
Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.