Mary Winter

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: March 20, 2007

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Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?

Well, I've wanted to write romance novels pretty much since high school. After borrowing Silhouette Desire novels from the library, I knew THESE were the books I wanted to write. And write, I did. I grew up in rural, small town Midwest, and retain my love of country and the outdoors. I currently share my life with my wonderful hero, six cats (a his and hers household), 2 parrots, other companion birds, a hamster and a horse. When not writing, I enjoy camping, hiking, gardening and outdoors activities.

If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?

Actually I'd love to be whatever heroine I'm writing about at any given moment. My favorite has to be Jaci from StarMyst 1: Prodigal Son. I love reunion stories, and Jaci more than gives Te a run for his money. Although this is an emotional novel, it's one I'm very close to, and this book will always hold a special place in my heart.

What's your favorite genre to read?

I love erotic paranormal romance, the hotter the better! Within the paranormal genre, I love shape shifters.

Who or what influences you when you write?

I have little plot bunnies that hop around my head and when something gets one of them started, I have to write the story! I only wish the plot bunnies weren't so full of ideas. Pretty much, my muse rules what I write. I have series on which I'm working, and I tend to write more than one project at a time, but where the bunnies lead, I must follow.

What do you do on a typical writing day?

Well, I work from home, so I get up, do a few chores around the house, and then I sit down at my laptop. When it's time to "log on" for work, I do. I take IT calls, so during my "work day" I write in the few seconds afforded me on or during a call. Usually I get my writing done then. If not, I log off the work computer, switch out external keyboards (vs. typing directly on my laptop) and finish my writing.

When you have writer's block how do you break free?

I'm too busy for writer's block. Sometimes a project won't flow, but I usually look at it, figure out the plot or character problem and go back. Or, since I'm writing 2-3 books at once, I go onto another project and then return a few hours later, good as new.

Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?

Well, the start of a new series, Arctic Hunger, has been accepted by Ellora's Cave. This book, Bjorn's Mate, once again features my polar bear shape shifters. This time, I've introduced a whole new team, so there will be plenty more polar bears to come.

Please tell us what you have planned next?

I want to finish off some of my series, including StarMyst, the above mentioned Arctic Heat, and work some more on my Elemental Elves.

In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career

In five years, I'd love to be living on my land in southern Missouri and be writing full time.

Who is your perfect hero? And why?

Of course all the men I've written have been the perfect hero. J I think my perfect hero is someone strong and willing to take control, be an alpha, yet tender and caring at the same time. His woman is HIS, and he'll do whatever it takes to care for her and make her happy.

What do you do for inspiration?

I spend time outside with my horse. I also like to play role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons to help free up the muse. I also enjoy reading, watching movies, and really, sometimes, all it takes is to get out of the house for a while.

Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?

I'd love to do a historical. I have an idea set during the Civil War, just not sure how it would all work out.

What type of book have you always wanted to write?

I've always wanted to write a romance. If it can combine my two favorite genres, science fiction/fantasy and romance, even better! But first and foremost, it has to be a romance novel.

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?

I enjoy researching things, though most of my research tends to be internet-based as I'm writing. I do as much research as it takes. I have quite a few studies on Polar science that I'm reading right now to help me with my work on the Arctic Hunger series.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?

I think they help. Even when I don't have a contract or publisher induced deadline, I have personal ones, often that are quite tight.

When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

I finished my first novel and sent it off. I mean isn't that what authors do? They send their work to publishers. Luckily, I got a personalized rejection from Silhouette, which told me I was close, but not quite there.

What would you like to tell your readers?

Live life to its fullest. Don't be afraid to go over your dreams, and when you love, do so fully, giving yourself heart and soul to whatever and whoever you love. Don't hold back. Life's too short for "what if's" and "should"'s.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The worst advice came from the very first agent I talked to. I was told that my work would scare the average housewife who reads romances, and that the science fiction/fantasy crowd would be turned off by the romance.

The best advice? Don't give up!

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I am a chronic plotter. I outline. I plot. I chart. And then in the middle of it all, when the characters yank the story away, I run along for the ride. :)

Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?

I have several fellow authors with whom I share and critique work. I don't have an actual critique group simply because published authors are usually at different points with free time (usually we're all stuck in deadline hell, haha!). So it depends on who is available at any given moment.

What was your first published work and when was it published?

Ghost Touch (Dangerous Spirits 1), published by Ellora's Cave, back in December 2002.

How can readers find out more about you and your books?

By visiting my website and other email links! I love to chat with readers, so come on over to my message board or chat group. Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed! I really enjoyed it. Thanks!

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