Help me welcome M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes.
She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ.
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I love incorporating strong spiritual themes in each of my books. Here's just a sampling from my published books: Redemption, Reliance on God, Restitution, Fear, Faith, Holiness, Judgment, and my current series which is about God's destiny for your life. In fact, my Charles Towne Belles' series is modeled after three of the seeds in the parable of the seed and the sower in Matthew 13. Each book and each sister in the book represents one of the seeds: the seed that fell on the rocky soil, the seed that fell among the thorns and the seed that landed on the good soil. In fact, I dare you to pick up one of my books and not find it full of spiritual themes!
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?
Normally, I have to squeeze out every agonizing word! Anyone who writes full time knows that writing is a struggle. It's hard work. After a day of writing, I'm exhausted mentally and emotionally. So, on a good day, I can write only about 2000 words. Those writers who can pump out 10,000 good words in a day make me mad. LOL
What is the hardest part after the book is published?
Two things come to mind. Marketing and reviews. Marketing is not my favorite thing to do, but I usually spend about a month before and a month after each book is published doing marketing type tasks: sending out newsletters and postcards, hosting contests on my blog, answering a gazillion interview questions, radio interviews, etc.... It can be quite daunting. Then there's the reviews. So far I've been blessed with mostly great reviews, but there have been a few horrendous ones that really jarred me. As a professional, I've got to let them roll off me and not affect my writing, but that's easier said than done.
Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
I feel very blessed to have so many books published, but I have to say that it doesn't get any easier the more books I put out. In fact, it seems to get harder. There's this underlying pressure to always out do your last book, to write better and faster and to make each book better than the last. Then, of course, there's the cursed sales numbers to worry about. One bad book that doesn't sell well can ruin an author's career. This is not a job for the faint at heart!
How are your inspirational Historical Romance different from other titles out there?
I write Historical Romance, but I wouldn't classify my writing as strictly that. I would say that my books are in an odd category of Historical Romantic Suspense because they aren't purely romance stories. They have a lot of action, adventure and I'm always putting my poor characters through horrible situations in which there is usually no escape! Yes, I do love to be mean to my characters. LOL.
What are you working on right now?
I'm writing the third book in my Surrender to Destiny series, a trilogy in which I follow the adventures of three Baltimore women who find love and destiny amidst the War of 1812, and in the process discover their God given destinies.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Surrender the Heart just released, I have two more books coming out in the Surrender to Destiny series.
Surrender the Night (March 2011)
Amid the war of 1812, Baltimore farm girl Rose McGuire is rescued by the least likely of heroes—British Naval Lieutenant Alexander Reed. How will she keep this enemy officer hidden from her family and friends? Alex didn’t plan on getting shot while rescuing a maiden in distress. Now at her mercy, he wonders if Rose will turn him over to the Americans or if his own troops will find him and charge him with desertion. As their attraction grows, a British invasion of Washington DC begins. What role will these young lovers play to change the course of history forever?
Surrender the Dawn (August 2011).
The only way Cassandra Channing can provide for her younger siblings is to hire a privateer, captained by the rogue, Luke Heaton. Although Luke’s prizes provide much wealth for her family, Cassandra suspects foul play. Luke Heaton spends his nights drinking, carousing, and selling supplies to British ships just off the coast of Baltimore. When Cassandra catches on to his treasonous acts, he begins to have second thoughts. Secrets and dangers abound as the British fleet heads toward Baltimore and begin to bombard Fort McHenry. With the fate of their fledgling nation at stake, what destiny awaits this couple as they struggle to keep their faith, their lives, and their love?
Has being an author been everything you thought it would be? If not, what has surprised you the most?
First of all, I love my job! Writing is a dream come true. I guess what surprised me the most about this career is the amount of marketing I have to engage in (not my strong suit). Out of an eight hour work day, marketing will sometimes steal 3 hours away from my writing. Another surprise was having to deal with the occasional horrific reviews that are nothing but cruel, personal attacks against me. I never would have guessed those type of people were out there and that they would target little ole me.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly from God. He often gives me ideas or help with my current story while I'm doing my prayer walk on the hills behind my house. But I also get inspired by music, movies, and love, life and family!
What has been the hardest part of writing your latest book and how did you overcome it?
I'm not a plotter. When I start a book I have the beginning, the end, and two or three main crises that will happen to the characters. I also have my major theme set. But sometimes as I'm plugging along writing, I get stuck. My characters are all standing around in the parlor or out on the farm staring at one another and wondering what to do next. I tell them to go play... run along and do something, but they just stand there. It's like having a group of bored, spoiled children. LOL. So, that's when I get mean. I think of at least five really bad things that could have happen to them. I narrow it down to the most probably and the one that will move the story along and then I make it happen. It works every time to get me out of that slump.
What is the best writing advice you ever got? The worst?
Best: Write the story that's burning in your heart.
Worst: Write what the market trends say is popular.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I have 7 other books published: A pirate trilogy, a regency, and a trilogy set in 18th century Charleston, South Carolina.
If you could only take five books with you on a journey of ten years, which ones would you take?
The Bible, Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers,
Streams in the Desert What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? Robin Hood with Russell Crowe Did you like it? yes, very much! What snacks did you eat? Popcorn (my favorite snack!) and water.
If you could live anywhere on the planet where would you live?
An island in the Caribbean Why? I LOVE the ocean, the beach and the tropics. My dream house would be a hut on a deserted beach with turquoise waves gently lapping the shore, swaying palm trees, and white crystalline sand.
Other than the Bible, what is your all time favorite book?
Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini. Don't let the title deceive you, it's a great book!
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Make sure this is God's calling for you. Then if so, never give up! Be humble and learn from the rejections and the criticism. Take time to study the craft of writing. Write what's on your heart. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep believing.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Focus on writing the best novel you can and limit your time doing marketing and other nonessential things everyone is telling you that you have to do to be successful. It drains your creativity.
Keep studying your craft.
Read great, best-selling novels.
Don't read your reviews. They will either depress you or puff you up.
A young mistrustful lady, desperate to save her family. A man, burdened by guilt, desperate to please his. Both caught in the brink of a war that could change the course of history forever.
On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can’t receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough money so he won’t have to marry at all.
But when Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out at sea. The situation worsens when Noah’s ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple are impressed into the British navy.
While a young lad’s prophecy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to find a way to escape and fulfill their destinies—destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.
What gave you the inspiration for this story?
I saw a PBS documentary on the War of 1812 and I was awestruck. I never remembered learning about the war in school and I found it fascinating. It is often labeled the 2nd Revolutionary War because Britain was dead set on reacquiring the American colonies back as their own!
Are there any themes in Surrender the Heart that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
There are many themes running through Surrender the Heart, but the major one revolves around finding God’s destiny for your life. The heroine in the story is a rather plain and untalented woman who doesn’t think she’ll ever do anything important. Yet God uses her to save her country and change the course of history. Other themes that developed as I wrote are forgiveness, bitterness, the importance of family love, faith, and honor.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book? My goal with Surrender the Heart is to show that God can use anyone to do great things if we just submit to Him and believe!
Who would you say are your readers?
Mostly women. Although I do have some loyal male followers. Their ages range from 12 to 70, but most of my readers tend to be on the young side (below 40)
Who do your books appeal to the most? Anyone who loves suspense, adventure, history and romance!
And what kinds of things can readers expect from your books? A fast-paced, adventurous ride with a passionate romance and a strong spiritual theme.
MaryLu, where can we find you on the web?
You can find me at http://www.mltyndall.com
Or my blog at: http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com/
MaryLu, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us. To have the possibility to receive a copy of Surrender the Heart leave a comment with your email (name at domain name dot com). Giveaway closes Sunday, September 12, 2010 at midnight (CST). Only US postal codes.
If you're reading this on Feedburner, Facebook, or Amazon please come to AJHawke.blogspot.com to leave your comments.