The girls of Night Owl Romance are pleased that you have granted us an interview
We would love to get to know you
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a writer of course, but I also wear many, many other hats as a wife, mother of three, daughter and sister to seven siblings. I volunteer a lot with my kids' schools and my church, I love to scrapbook and do it as often as I can and that's just to name a few of the things that I cram into seven days a week. I love to travel, take pictures and I have a strong need to be creative (thus the writing and scrapbooking). I live in Cypress, Texas, outside of Houston, in a wonderful, supportive, small-town-feel community. I still can hardly believe I'm a published author--my first published work came out August 2007 from New Concepts Publishing and is called The Seduction of Prince Frog. This was a totally different book for me to write-Historical Fantasy-but I wrote it incredibly fast (for me) and had a blast writing it. It's the retelling of the fairy tale The Princess and the Frog. Who knew a frog could be so sexy? Okay, you have to read the story to get that remark!
Who or what influences you when you write?
Settings influence my writing the most. Something about the hush of an old castle, the mist curling around a mountain or the casual air of a riverside Texas town makes my muse come alive. Then the characters come as my mind begins a story in whatever locale has intrigued me. Oddly enough, I don't even have to have actually been there. If I saw it in a movie, a documentary or perhaps a picture in the book-I can be completely transported.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I have two tricks. I either read what I already wrote (somehow reliving it recharges the brain cells) OR I think of the worst possible thing that could happen to my characters and throw it at them. Poor little people never know what hit them!
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I am so excited about my book coming in February from New Concepts Publishing. It's called THE VIOLET SOCIETY: DEATH AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH. It's set in a fictious town in the Texas Hill Country (a beautiful place for those of you who've never heard of it) and stars a struggling antique dealer named Cassie, a handsome ex-con furniture builder named Porter and a murderer causing all kinds of problems and who shall remain nameless until you read the book! It's romantic and sexy and suspenseful and I had so much fun writing it. The second book in this series, MURDER AND MERLOT, is coming soon, but in the meantime, you can start reading about one of the couples you'll meet in DEATH AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH when you go to my website. I'm writing the story of Matt and Val, and each month you can read the next chapter in this year-long story called Silver and Gold. January is Chapter 1 and you have to come back each month for more! It's FREE!
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I am working on yet another fun project involving lost treasure and foreign places and that's all I can say other than I CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU! Wish me luck!
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I love research-I minored in history in college and those were my favorite classes. I tend to go a little crazy when I need to learn about a new subject. I have to hunt for just the right book, I spend hours on the Internet and become totally immersed in a subject. Not only is this fact-finding for me, it helps me get in the right mindset for a new locale or time period. Once I have a picture in my head, I can write the story. That goes back to the setting as my writing influence as stated earlier. Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
They help me and even my writing friends know this about me. I am much more responsible to others than I am to myself. If I've told someone something will be done, it will be done! Many a story was completed just because I said it would be!
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I've tried both ways. We call it pantsering (by the seat of your pants) and plotting. I think both ways worked for me, but they were so very different. After years of self-analyzing, I've decided the joy of writing comes in pantsering and seeing where the story takes me. So now I just write. I have a general idea of the story in my head, but once my characters come to life, they almost take over. Sometimes I rein them in and other times I let them do whatever they want! Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I have a critique/support group. I wouldn't be writing this right now if it wasn't for them. We all started out together unpublished and then plotted, critiqued and cheered each other on and today we are all published. We've been through so much together-death, family dramas, successes and failures. These women are my sisters and I am nothing as a writer without them. Today our roles have changed-we don't do as much line-by-line, chapter-by-chapter plotting and critiquing like we did when we were all just starting out, but they are still every bit as important to me. If you get the chance, check them out at www.robintpopp.com, www.georgiatribell.com and www.donnagrant.com.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Yes, please contact me by email at email@example.com or check out my website at www.maryoconnorbooks.com. At my website, readers can sign up for my newsletter and a contest and even check out that free chapter-a-month book, Silver and Gold. Readers can also join the New Concepts Publishing readers group at www.newconceptspublishing.com .
Thank you for this opportunity!