Maryann: Hi, Merrie. Thanks so much for having me here on your blog today and sending such fun interview questions. I've been writing all my life, although my career path has not always been a straight one, but it has been a fun journey. I currently live on a small piece of property in the piney woods of East Texas called "Grandma's Ranch" where I have a horse, a goat, a sheep, a dog, and four cats. Guess who the bosses are. In addition to writing, I am an actress and director and strum my 12-string guitar now and then. Other times I am happily playing farmer.
Me: What Genre do you write and what made you decide that you wanted to write in this genre?
Maryann: I write primarily mystery, as that is the genre I read most often. I fell in love with the police procedural novel when I read the 87th Precinct series written by Ed McBain, then later I got hooked on cop shows on television such as NYPD Blue and before that Hill Street Blues. That said, I do write in other genres and that is because the story idea often comes to me before the thought of which genre it fits.
Me: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Me: Do you have any strange writing habits, for instance do you write while in the shower?
Maryann: LOL, It's really hard to get the computer into the shower. I tried, but I couldn't balance the laptop and the bottle of shampoo. However, a few months ago, I did have a book start with a line that came to me in the shower, "I remember the day my father got married." I got out of the shower, dried off and threw on some clothes and went to my office. An hour later I had almost six pages written on what is my current project, which is so different from anything else I've done it's scaring me.
Maryann: Funny you should ask. That story that started in the shower is titled Evelyn Evolving and is the fictionalized version of my mother's life. I really do remember the day my father married his second wife, and that is just one of the many disappointments my mother suffered in her life. I have always wanted to write her story, mainly because she was one of the strongest women I have ever known, and I do love to celebrate strong women. What held me back all these years is that I never knew details of her life that were important. Like why her father left the family. Why her mother put my mother and her sister in an orphanage. And what was her father doing all those years he was away. My mother died just two months before I had that shower epiphany, and I sometimes wonder if she has finally given me permission to write the story and make up what I need to.
Me: What do you think makes a good story?
Maryann: The main element that will pull me into a story is a character to whom I can relate. I have to have an emotional connection to care about what happens to that person and be able to go on their story journey with them. Because of how important character is to me as a reader, I try my best to create engaging characters in the stories I write.
Me: If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
Maryann: I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I worked as a tech for a doctor when I was much younger and thought being an animal doctor would be a terrific profession, except for having to put animals down. When I worked for the veterinarian and was told to put down a cat that we had not been able to find a home for, I would take the cat home instead.
Me: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Maryann: This one is easy, raising my family. I have 6 wonderful children and 8 terrific grandchildren. The children have all managed to reach adulthood being reasonably sane and mature, and all have terrific jobs and happy lives. The grandchildren are following the same path, and it is so thrilling to know that they are all doing so well. One common denominator in the whole crew is that everyone loves to read. We don't all read the same genres, but we all read.
Me: Do you have any Character Crushes?
Maryann: Jack Reacher. The one in the books, not the movie. LOL Nothing wrong with Tom Cruise, and he did a credible job in the movie, but he just didn’t fit the mental image of the character I formed when reading the books. Now Jim Caviezel from the TV show, Person of Interest, would make the perfect Reacher, and he is so good looking. Be still my heart.
Me: Who is your favorite Villain/Monster in Literature?
Maryann: Hannibal Lector. What a terrific character. I think of him every time I start to create a villain, reminding myself that the character needs one small redeeming quality, even though he is the bad guy. Hannibal was so charming.
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