Hi Mary, welcome to Just Books.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a quirky granny, a retiree, a mystic and a storyteller. I’m an artisan, an art historian, a spouse, former ghostbuster. My background is that I was always a bit strange and mystical. My parents were too! After all these years I still dream crazy dreams.
When did you start writing for publication, what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others...?
I always wanted to publish and DID publish poems in school anthologies. Many years ago I attempted to traditionally publish but never received a contract. It’s a good thing! In those days, my stories were not polished enough.
As for putting stories out to be read by others? I’ve ALWAYS told and read my stories to anyone who would listen.
...And what gets your creative juices flowing?
Many things do. They are never predictable but are dreams and visions of other realms, usually. Early in the morning before day I will drink my coffee and think.
Part of the series I’m working on was inspired by a small statue in an Art Museum. Sometimes the image of a celebrity will make me think of a story.
Do you listen to music while you write?
I have, on occasion listened to instrumental music. Meditative music or so-called New Age music works best.
Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Always. I think that’s why the stories are better now. I’ve lived longer and experienced more.
Tell us a bit about the Children of Stone series.
It’s about a man’s journey from mundane and pathetic mortality to that of becoming a hero and a god…and about his helpers, those he helps and those who try to stop him. It’s a story of personal heroism set against the history and myth of Ancient Egypt.
Who is your favourite character from your book?
I really like them all. I like Marai as an ideal man. He’s strong but not oppressive, gentle, thoughtful, but not controlling…a good person and quite easy on the eye. Ariennu of Tyre is my wilder side. She gets away with a life I’d never even try. Naibe is the essence of passion no man can resist. Deka is fractured but the reader is awed by her mystery. The antagonists and anti-hero are no less dynamic and interesting.
How about your least favourite character?
There aren’t any. Even the villains can be pitied more than hated.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The names came to me in dreams. Later I did some research on them to make them sound real in the story setting. Oddly enough, I found some matches or near matches with historical figures. I’ve blogged about this in an article about names:
What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
Start publishing earlier. Don’t wait until it’s perfect because it never will be.
Tell us about the covers and how they came about.
I used Createspace Graphics Department. They are dreadfully expensive, but covers by other less expensive artists just don’t work for me. I’m still looking and may do my own cover for the fourth book. I wanted the images to seem spiritual but non figural, rather than having a person or a torso on the cover that looked nothing like the image in my thoughts.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Books 4 & 5 and some spinoffs featuring some of the characters. There are more series in mind that I’ve written over the years. I’ll work on those. I also have a memoir in mind.
In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?
Jason Momoa would be Marai. I’m not a particular fan but his image, build and size as well as the way he moves in movies are right. I have no idea who I would cast as the others. I don’t see a lot of movies or know particular stars. I’d certainly want to be consulted for casting if it came to that.
How do you spend your free time?
If I had any I might either write more or produce more craft projects and paintings. I might visit my children and grandchildren.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
That is a good question. Marriage. Parenthood. Moving away from all of my gang in order to be married & raise a family – giving up writing for about 20 years.
What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
One where I could actually get everything done I needed to do.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
Being organized and able to make great influence with my stories.
How did you celebrate last Halloween?
Gave out candy to the neighborhood kids and remembered when my kids used to get candy and dress up and even earlier when I was single and my gang and I got in trouble making a magic circle in a vacant house.
What is your favourite holiday?
Any of them when I get to cook traditional food. Christmas Ham, New Years Hoppin’ John, Thanksgiving Turkey, Summer cookouts.
When was the last time you walked for more than an hour? Where did you go?
What foreign country would you most like to visit?
Egypt if it is still there, maybe the coast of Wales. Santorini. These are places where my stories are set.
Were you ever in a school play?
Many of them. I was in plays and musicals for three years. I liked the excerpt from Claire Booth Luce’s “The Women”. I played the Countess – a dim old heiress who was being used by a boy toy so he could be a movie star.
I also loved it when I played madwomen…because I am somewhat mad.
And finally a few quick Q & A.s...
What book are you reading at present?
Down the Rabbit Hole by Raven Williams
One thing you did last summer?
Attended my son’s wedding
Do you have any pets?
Three cats Mama, Hickey & Kali
Who is your favourite female actor?
Dame Helen Mirren
Are you an early riser or a night owl?
I’m an early riser
Thank you for taking time out and joining us today, Mary.