If time and money did not enter in the equation, what would be your dream?Being a writer is my dream.
If you could only take five books with you on a journey of ten years, which ones would you take?Wow, mean question. Shame on you. The Bible. What else would endure for ten years? I can't imagine.
What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?I'd be writing.
What three things are you most thankful for in your life that others might think silly?A furry blanket I cover up with at night while I read myself to sleep. Glue traps. Tetley's Earl Grey Tea.
What movie most impacted you as a kid? Why?I remember the movie Lord Jim. I think it was the first movie I ever saw…other than the free Saturday afternoon matinees our movie theater owners ran. Those were cartoons. This was the first live action movie. Someone got shot in Technicolor. The blood was red. Awful. Shocking. Isn't it amazing how hard it is to shock someone now?
What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? Did you like it? Who was with you? What snacks did you eat?Wow, I think it's been two or three years. I saw Die Hard IV. My whole family went. Four adult daughters, and one son-in-law. We loved it. We're weird. Huge Die Hard fans. Wait! We're die hard Die Hard fans.
What are you currently reading? What is your favorite genre for personal reading pleasure?I am for some reason crazy into regency romances lately. It's really out of control. I need an intervention.
Whatever different genres I read, I want romance. Regency, contemporary, suspense, chick lit, all of it's fine but it needs romance. I just read Erica Vetsch's Maggie and the Maverick. It's a little Heartsong Presents romance but Erica packs more story into one of those little books than most people do into a much longer novel. Before that I read Julie Lessmen's A Hope Undaunted. I love what she's doing. I'm always excited to see a new book from Julie.
What is the last book you read that moved you? What caused that powerful emotional experience?What I've discovered about myself is, I'm a sap when it comes to self-sacrifice. For some reason that just makes me cry my head off. But I don't want to cry, that's not what I'm looking for in a book. The most powerful emotional experience I've ever had reading a book is A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich. I love that book.
If you had 48 hours to hang out with any TWO people (besides Jesus), alive or dead in the history of the world who would you hang out with and what would you do?Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Not for political reasons, I'd just love it if they'd talk about my book on their show. Can you imagine the sales???
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliff, Audra Harder, Myra Johnson, Missy Tippens, Debbie Guisti. These are six of my Seekerville buddies. http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/ I'd want to hang out with all of them but they write historical.
Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, which six people would you invite and why?Julie Lessman, Janet Dean, Cara Lynn James, Pam Hillman, Glynna Kaye. Okay I'm short one slot in Historical but I've got a couple extra in contemporary. This is a cruel question AJ.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.I'm in my office wearing jeans and a tee shirt and slipper socks.
What is your favorite season of the year? Why?Summer. My family goes boating on the river a lot in the summer and I love having my children around.
Who's your one biggest fan/supporter of your writing?My family has been so wonderful about my writing. I guess I'll say my husband, though my four daughters are right there with him. They're all really amazed I ever got a book published (as I am!) and really happy for me.
What is your favorite period (genre) to write in?Historical western.
They say what a person would take from a burning building tells a lot about them. If you could only save one thing (nothing living) from your home, what would that be?The first thing that popped into my head is my children's baby pictures. But there's a lot of them. I'd probably burn to death trying to get them out.
Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your Christian walk?I'd say my mom, though my dad, too. They had such a solid Christian home for us. It's a real foundation in my life.
If you could live anywhere on the planet where would you live? Why?I'm in Nebraska and I'd stay here. We're the closest to normal of any people I've found anywhere. I'd travel, but I'd come home to Nebraska.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.I read widely in all genres. I want romance, but I read outside that on occasion. Patricia Cornwell, Faye Kellerman, Sue Grafton, but mainly it's romance.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?Not really. I have always been a reader and I still am. Though I think I delight in a really well turned phrase more than I used to.
Other than the Bible, what is your all time favorite book?To Kill a Mockingbird is first. Second is A Lantern in her Hand.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?I started writing when my baby (now 21) went to Kindergarten but much later I discovered I'd been a writer all my life.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?Wrangler in Petticoats is my sixteenth book. You want me to list them all? Nine of them historical western romance. Better to just go to my website http://www.maryconnealy.com/ My main work is romantic comedy with cowboys.
How do you keep your balance in today’s busy world?I don't. I'm definitely unbalanced. I have papers that have been filed with the county attorney to verify that.
Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.I'm shy.
I'm happy alone.
I entertain myself when I write, it's pure fun for me and I think I'll keep writing for the rest of my life whether anyone publishes my books or not.
I'm pathologically non-confrontational.
I pout when I don't get my way, but I'm so quiet about it no one seems to notice so I STILL don't get my way.
Who would you say are your readers?Hey girl, my books are for EVERYBODY!!!!!
What kinds of things can readers expect from your books?Entertainment. Laughter, love, action. I've been told I deal with amazingly serious topics in such a twisted, humorous way it's really different. I've been told God is the foundation of my books but there are no sermons. (well, almost none!)
What does the act of writing mean to you?I think of myself as a storyteller. I have ideas in my head for stories and putting them on paper is fun for me. I've very disciplined but it's not hard when I'm enjoying myself so much. I've never been pressed up against a deadline because I write fast. In fact it's just the opposite for me. I once sold a book to a bookclub that was mostly doing three book series. Knowing that, I wrote all three books and when the editor said, "I think we'd like three books from you."
I said, "They're done."
She liked that a lot. I try to make things very easy for anyone nice enough to publish my work.
Did you have storytellers when you were growing up that influenced you? Were you an avid reader as a child?I have always been a reader. I don't know about storytellers, but my maternal grandmother was a highly educated woman who loved books and she passed that on to my mom. My dad was a big reader too, so books were always a part of our lives.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.I honestly don't think much. I write really tough, feisty, confrontational heroines. That's sooooooooo not me. But I think I admire that in others so I write about how I'd LIKE to be, rather than how I am.
How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published. I had twenty finished books on my computer when I sold my first one. Since then I've sold about ten of those finished books, plus written a bunch more. So I've known for a long, long time.
What is the most important thing on your current ‘To Do ‘ list?Spend more time with my granddaughter. I just saw her two days ago and I'm already lonely for her.
When did you begin to write your first novel?I wrote, "It was a dark and stormy night…" for the first time when I was thirty-eight. I wrote the whole book in about six months. Then I sent it off to I don't know where and started another book. The second one got some interest from publishers, ultimately it didn't sell. It also finalled in a contest. It was enough to keep me writing.
How do you organize your writing day? So many hours per day writing? Use a word count to determine when to stop? Just write until you drop?I don't organize my writing day by time. I write 1000 words a day, seven days a week. I often write more but I rarely write less.
How do you do the research for your books? How does the research differ between historical or contemporary?I mainly do the research online. I try to get out from behind my computer and visit museums and get my hands on real stuff, but I'd say 90% of it is online.
What do you love about writing?Everything. I love starting a new book. I LOVE that opening scene and trying to explode the book onto the page. I love revisions. I even love marketing and publicity, like answering these questions here. I love it all.
What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you?
I suppose a first draft comes easiest. Though revising is fun and I know it makes the book so much better that I love that, too.
What is the hardest thing about writing?Well, it's not even writing but it's part of it. I hate public speaking. I'm called upon to speak to groups about my writing sometimes. I've gained a certain comfort level with it and do it if I can't escape. Mostly, I escape.
What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?Strengths, comedy and action. Weaknesses…I'm always fighting the urge to put in too much backstory and scenes that grind the action to a halt.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?Write.
That's it. Write and keep writing. Put the words on the page. No excuses.
When you are writing do you have an audience in mind?Is it a person, real or imagined, or a group? I write to entertain myself. That seems selfish doesn't it?
What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about him/her?My heroine in Wrangler in Petticoats was a little girl in my first novel, Petticoat Ranch. Sally McClellen the toughest little cowgirl in the west falls in love with an artist. She doesn't understand him at all.
When they see an elk. She reaches for her rifle. He reaches for a sketch pad. The word DRAW means something completely different to them.
Why will readers enjoy your novel?I think they'll have as much fun as a human being should be allowed to have reading a book. They'll enjoy every minute. (okay, just let me believe that, please)
Tell us about Wrangler in Petticoats.
Are there any themes in Wrangler in Petticoats that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?What I was trying to show in Wrangler in Petticoats was respecting a person for exactly who they are. Sally and Logan learn to respect each other, though they're both a little odd. At the same time Mandy, in a sub-plot, is twisting herself into a knot trying to be the woman her husband wants her to be.
So though Logan and Sally seem wrong for each other, in the end they KNOW each other and can honestly love. Mandy and Sidney seem very right for each other, but since most of Sidney's character was a lie, Mandy couldn't honesty love him because she didn't know him.
How do you choose your settings for each book?Texas is so obvious I have to force myself to look elsewhere. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, are all great states for westerns. Most states west of the Missouri work.
What’s next after Wrangler in Petticoats?The grand finale to the series, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.
Find Mary online at:http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/
Mary, thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. To have the possibility to receive a copy of Wranger in Petticoats:
The Sophie's Daughters series.
- Leave a comment with your email (name at domain name dot com).
- To make it a little more fun, go to Mary's blog or web site and find out something of interest that is different from all other comments about Mary or one of her characters.
- Giveaway closes Sunday, December 19, 2010 at midnight (CST).
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Sharpshooter in PetticoatsComing in Jan. 2011