Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Mary Connealy - Interview and Giveaway
Here is my interview with Christian Western Romance writer Mary Connealy. She's going to give away one of her books, so leave a comment if you want to be in on the drawing.
Mary, your books are so fresh and fun and different. Stephen King says all writers hate this question, but I can’t help but ask you: Where do you get your ideas?
My books have a jumping off spot usually from my own life but then I start with the what-if. I call Petticoat Ranch my husband’s story because he’s from a family of seven sons and we have four daughters and watching him interact with the girls is sometimes comical.
Calico Canyon I think of as my husband’s life growing up in that family of all boys.
Gingham Mountain is more my family when I was growing up. Eight kids in a two bedroom farm house.
Montana Rose was inspired . . . the original spark of an idea . . . by Janette Oke’s beautiful classic Love Comes Softly. The basic set-up. A widow, pregnant and alone in the west, more or less forced into an immediate marriage.
Of course, I’m not Janette Oke (like anyone was making THAT mistake) and my novel has taken an alarming turn to romantic comedy, suspense and chaos. I think of it as Love Comes Hardly. Or maybe Love Comes Loudly. Or, in the case of the poor, long suffering hero Red, Love Comes Unfortunately.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing seriously, book length fiction, when my baby went to Kindergarten. I was inspired to do it by a friend who wrote a book. I just loved the idea and started one of my own. And once I started I couldn’t seem to stop, regardless of all the editors who seemed to be saying I should.
Your newest book, Cowboy Christmas, comes out in September. Will you tell us about it?
Elijah Walker's lost his father at the hands of a deceitful woman. The one thing he can’t abide is lies.
Citified Annette Talbot is on the run from something and Eli knows a liar when he sees one.
After a lifetime of being a good girl who does what she’s told, Annette’s obedient nature has led her straight into danger. She’s determined to live more bravely and she’s planning to start just as soon as she can be brave from behind her tough Wyoming rancher father.
Her father fails her but Elijah can’t ignore a damsel in distress. He’s powerfully drawn to the little liar. In self-defense he turns his back on her.
That leaves Annette her first perfect chance to stand up and face trouble.
She almost dies running away.
Walker can’t help protecting her, especially since God pretty much dropped Annette straight into his unwilling arms.
But helping her isn’t the same as trusting her, and that he will never do.
As Annette and Walker fight their attraction and danger draws near, Christmas approaches. The bickering twosome will get one special chance to heal old heartbreaks and follow their own star.
Do you have any other books coming out in the near future?
Montana Rose, which released in July is book one of a three book series. Cowboy Christmas isn’t in that series but book two, The Husband Tree releases in January 2010 and book three, Wildflower Bride comes in May 2010.
What book are you working on now? Give us a sneak peek into your future stories.
I’m on the three book series Barbour Publishing has contracted for after the Montana Marriages series. This books are the children from Petticoat Ranch all grown up. I think of it as the Sophie’s Daughters Series but we haven’t given the series an official name yet.
What does your family think about all your success? Has your success changed how “the locals” treat you?
My family has been so great. Melanie, if you knew me, you’d know I am just the most regular person imaginable, honestly. I am a ranch wife. I live a quiet normal life. A stay-at-home mom for twenty-seven years. Now I have a job teaching GED. All very orderly and nice and boring. That I got a book published is still amazing, seriously stunning to me. That people seem to really like them is beyond any hope I ever had. It’s like my dreams came true and now I can’t dream big enough to imagine what will happen next.
Everyone in the area seems so happy for me. Lots of the people from my hometown, where I’ve lived all my life, make such a fuss over my books. It’s wonderful
Do your husband and four daughters read your books? Do they ever “critique” them?
They do. My husband is great, though he usually reads them after they’ve released so he’s a little late to critique them then.
My girls are terrific fans. They’ve all been so encouraging and excited for me. And they’re probably even more surprised than I am that MOM has books that are actually on the shelves in Wal-Mart.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
The advice I always give is write. Write and keep writing. Yes take classes. Yes join a critique group. Yes read books on the craft. Yes enter contests and take the judges critiques seriously. Yes join professional organizations and attend conferences and make contacts, meet people. But bottom line, write. All that stuff you learn had to be practiced, honed. And you can’t do that without putting words on that computer screen. Finish a book. Toss it out into the world in contests and to editors, but don’t sit around biting your fingernails waiting. Start a new book. Just keep writing.
Any advice for writers who have been at it for a long time?
I’m a big believer in perseverance, Melanie. I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published and most writers has similar stories. Yes, you find an occasional troublemaker who gets her first book published but mostly not. Mostly you need to stay in there. Take the heartbreak and disappointment and heartbreak. Grow a tough hide. If you want to be published you’ve got to learn to handle that. And sometimes it’s really not easy. You’d better love writing. In fact, if you can stop, I’d say just stop if it hurts too much. I just can’t seem to stop.