Today on my blog, I'd like to interview Mary E.Merrell. She's the author of several books: House Haunting, Curve Appeal and her soon to be released Affinity-Bird in a Gilded Cage.
Q. When did you start writing? I’ve dabbled in writing ever since high school, but I really started seriously writing about 10 years ago. My husband made a smart ass remark, “Why don’t you write a book.” We were watching Romancing the Stone. And I thought, “Why don’t I?” I have an epic Science Fiction story in my head and we had a computer. So, I started writing it. Then I went into real estate and that inspired my Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series.
Q. When did you first consider yourself a writer? As I wrote my epic novel of love in space, I took some on-line writing classes. There was so much I didn’t know. Then I joined a writer’s group. I think once I received my first slew of rejection letters was when I really felt like a writer. A sad writer, but a writer.
Q. What books influenced you most in your life? My favorite book is Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster-Bujold. She writes all her characters so well, secondary characters as well as the main character. Her books are science fiction but they are character driven and that’s how I write as well. I hope, anyway.
Q. How do you make time for your writing? When I was working, I would get up early and write before work. You know, I enjoyed it so much, sometimes I would wake up, look at the clock and think, no it’s too early to get up yet. Since the company went out of business, I have more time to devote to my books. I still get up early and write first thing in the morning. Nothing better than sitting in front of my laptop with a cup of coffee. Usually in my slippers and jammies. But I can write during that day too, and that’s wonderful.
Q. How did you come up with your titles? The titles for my Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series are puns on real estate terms that coincide with the ghost in that particular mystery. House Haunting and Curve Appeal. Curve Appeal has a stripper ghost. I’m really proud of myself for that one. My editor came up with the fourth book’s title, Soul Pending. Isn’t that clever? The third and fourth books are written, just waiting on revisions and editing.
Q. How much of the book is realistic? In the Real Estate book, I was inspired by an old vacant home I went into when I worked in the real estate business. That house started the whole series. The house in the story is the same house I went into, at least in my own mind.
Q. Are the experiences in the book based on someone you know or your real life? Well, the Real Estate Paranormal Mystery Series is loosely based on my experiences in real estate. Although Rosemary is doing a better job. Geez, and I didn’t even have to worry about the ghosts.
Q. Who is one of your favorite characters in your books and why? That’s such a hard question. It’s like asking who your favorite child is. I do love Marcus from Curve Appeal. And Rosemary’s best friend Laura Toste is a hoot to write. Keith, the ghost from House Haunting was fun to write. I get a lot of comments from people about bringing him back.
Q. How long does it take you to write a book? That’s another really hard question. I think I must have been working on House Haunting and Curve Appeal almost for the last ten years or so it seems. I learned how to write with those books. Lately, it takes about two months to write the rough draft of a novel. I participate in the NaNoWriMo, and write the first 50,000 words in November and finish up the book in December. I’ve written my last three books that way. When I was working it took several months to revise a rough draft, now that I’m unemployed we’ll see how long it will take to revise a book. Soul as Is, the third book in the Real Estate series is due for a serious rewrite.
Q. What writer would you like to be your mentor? I would like Lois McMasters-Bujold to be my mentor. That would be cool. My instructor who taught me most of what I know, Bonnie Hearn Hill, is a published author, and she is like my mentor.
Q. What are you reading now? I’m participating in a reading challenge through Goodreads, so right now, I am reading the first book in the Sentinel series, Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher. I have a whole list of books to read though. There never seems to be enough time, and I’d almost always rather be writing.
Check Amazon for her new book which was published October 24, 2012.
Iris Yorita lived in his old neighborhood in Modesto. Snakes were drawn to her as the big, black birds were drawn to him. She called their ability an AFFINITY. Claimed it was a gift from God, and they should use it to help people. Talon thought she was out of her mind. How could a bunch of mangy crows or slimy snakes help anyone?
When a thief targeted the people in his uncle's neighborhood, all fingers pointed at the new kid, Talon. He decided it was time to put this strange ability to the test. Find out who was robbing their neighbors and clear his name. As Talon worked on communicating with his crows the thievery heated up. Something more sinister than mere robbery was going on, and it would take Talon, Iris, and their new found friends, to discover what really was going on in this up-scale neighborhood.
Please visit Mary's website to see what she’s working on next. www.maryemerrell.com, or contact her through Facebook and Twitter.
Goodreads book page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16060100-affinity-bird-in-a-gilded-cage