Please tell us your latest news!
My first novel, Highland Treasure, is scheduled for release from Eternal Press on August 7, 2010.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
This is a hard question, because every time I read any of my books I see something I'd like to change or do differently - just when I thought it was perfect. Looking back, I might have written with less sexual content, but medieval inspirationals don't do well. Otherwise, I wish I had written Toril and Julien's story first. I've never written theirs, except as backstory and they have shown up in two of my Highland books. I have a readers group (totally nonwriters) that reads and critiques for me before I submit. They all want Toril and Julien story told.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Here we have a tie. Kathleen Woodiwiss (RIP) is one of my all time favorite writers, and I've always appreciated that she wrote truly accurate historicals. Something writers are no longer allowed to do with submission guidelines requiring all sex to be consensual and all heroines at least 18. Less face it, in the middle ages with life expectancy being 35 for women, 18 was over the hill, so our heroine is at once an ooddity and probably has arthritis. Right next to Kathleen, I'd have to place Julie Garwood and bow to introduction of comedy into historicals. She's never written a book that I wanted to end.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I love writing historical fiction and historical romantic fiction. Interestingly, I see my writing style similar in both genres. I like humor, quirky heroines and alpha heroes who belong in their time period. I don't like formula writing that could be told of any hero or heroine in any time period. It has to be "their" story and I like every book to be different.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. I have worked in nursing, theology, psychology, business and forensics. I have many stories to tell and ideas come from everywhere.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I grew up making up stories about everything. I was a good little liar. From there I went on to write professionally in several fields. One of my claims to fame was telling stories about famous Americans and their medical problems when writing about nursing care. Everyone told me for year, you should be a writer. I kept telling them, I already am.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write the book you love. I know it sounds cliched, but it's the truth. I can always tell when I'm reading a story the author loved as opposed to one cranked out to meet a deadline.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
My family is very supportive. Some have read my books, but not all. They are all very excited about my first romance coming out. And they are also excited that I've decided that after I finish my Highland series, I'll be moving to the Tennessee River Valley and writing a series from the earliest settlement through the time of the Trail of Tears.
What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?
Many things. My favorite was helping patients get money from insurance companies who didn't want to pay for them to be sick. My least favorite was getting hit by a drunk driver and spending six years learning to walk and use my hands again.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I'm do a combination. I pick a time period and write very extensive biopsychosocial and spiritual character assessments. Then I put my hero and heroine together and let them tell their stories. Interestingly, my favorite century is the 13th, but I've never written a story set during the period.
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)
I write all my stories longhand with pencil for the first draft. I like using cloth-covered journal books, which are getting harder and harder to find. I also write ideas that pop up on index cards, because they are easy to carry and go everywhere with me.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
I like to be able to write anywhere, anytime, and not anchor my writing to one place or item. The toughest part of my ritual is convincing my Maltese that we can't play when I'm writing. Since Regina is my little queen and runs the apartment, it can sometimes be a tough call. On a side note, the Maltese breed comes from Malta south of Italy and is nearly 2300 years old. The Roman senators and emperors used to keep them around their homes as ornaments. So I guess you could say Regina provides me with historical inspiration in her own unique way.
"Thanks so much for allowing me to share a few megabytes with you, and remember, if you're on a Valium-Paxil combo, you'll get a better mood lift reading one of my books. Feel free to join me at my blog, Chats through Time, http://marymccall.wordpress.com or my website www.marymccall.net or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Happy reading and writing! Mary McCall"