Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surprise! Interview with Mary Connealy

 Mary Connealy is one of the fastest growing writers in CBA - in fact, she's one of the fastest writers I KNOW! Since her first book, Petticoat Ranch came out in 2007, she has published over 20 books! I figured gleaning some info from this fabulous author (and wonderful person) might be a good way to spend our Saturday.

Mary is a blogger at the FABULOUS Seekerville, but you can also find more information about her at her website -

Who are a few of your favorite authors?

This is a mean and cruel question, Pepper. Shame on you.
I am a fanatic reader and the list is not only insanely LONG I also have a lot of authors I love both professionally and personally and I’m terrified I’ll forget one. I love the work my Seeker buddies are doing. Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, Myra Johnson, Julie Lessman, Camy Tang, Debbie Giusti, and Cheryl Wyatt. And several more of these ladies have their first books coming out soon and I can’t WAIT. Glynna Kaye, Cara Lynn James, Ruth Logan Herne. I love Cathy Marie Hake, Terri Blackstock, Susan May Warren, Tracie Peterson, Marcia Gruver. . .I could go on a long time.
I also love Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, Faye Kellerman, Janet Evanovich. Again, too numerous to mention.

I love romantic comedy with suspense. If they’re sassing each other and falling in love while they’re running for their lives, then I’m happy.

Since we’re talking about your tastes in reading-choices, what’s your favorite dessert ever?
This is so easy. First of all, I didn’t get into my generally oval shape by being all that picky. Having said that, Apricot Torte from the Lithuanian Bakery in Omaha, NE. Who knew Lithuanian’s could bake?

If you could be any person (present or past) who would it be and why?
I’d be me. Only thin and cool with a little better sense of direction and some social skills and an improved short term memory and a passion for dusting and vacuuming.

Writing is a big job and I’ve heard you mention before “if you can stop writing, do it”. For those of us who are ‘infected’ by the compulsive need to place words on paper in a narrative fashion, what are your top three tips?

That’s it. If you want to be a writer? Write.
No excuses
No exceptions
No escape.
The three Es of writing.

Do everything you can think of to improve, take classes, read books on the craft, join a critique group, enter contests and study the judge’s comments, join professional organizations, attend conferences. All of that is good, but no matter what you learn from those things if you don’t sit your backside down in a chair and write, you can’t improve, you can’t submit, you can’t get published.

Do it.

You refer to yourself as a Seat-Of-The-Pants writer, or panster, could you give your definition of what that means for your writing? The method to your creative genius?

Well, I do a lot of daydreaming before I start a book. I’m an insomniac and when I’m laying awake at night I flip ideas around in my head, try not to get stuck on one to the exclusion of others, think off the wall and outside the box until I hit on an idea that makes me excited.
I start the book with an explosion and I spend a lot of daydreaming time planning that. I want an inciting incident that you can NOT look away from when you open the book. Action, high high stakes. It can be an emotional explosion but I really prefer for something to actually blow up. A run away stagecoach, bullets flying, a riding plunging off a cliff, a heroine attacked by a pack of wolves. Something fun like that.

Your books are chock-full of humor, which gives them a light-hearted feel, but spiritual depth sneaks out in ways that are unexpected and beautiful. As a Christian writer, what type of role does your faith play in your stories?

I wrote for a long, long time before I got my first book published and back in the day when I started writing, there really was no Christian fiction, or very little of it. When Christian fiction exploded onto the scene, I’d say with the Left Behind books or about that time, here I had all these books on my computer that OH WOW, were Christian fiction except without the faith thread. There are just some
things I’m not willing to write. Graphic sex, profanity. It’s just not gonna happen and that left me with a lot of books and a very, very narrow market to sell them to. I could only find about one publishing house that accepted very sweet romances. Then BOOM Christian fiction appears and I can open my book files on my computer and realize that all my characters are Christians and they conduct their lives by Christian principles but I’ve never spoken aloud the words they live by. Adding a faith thread was simple. It was like I was writing for years for a genre of books that hadn’t been invented yet.

My fundamental desire when I write is to entertain. I don’t think of my books as powerful works of life changing fiction. Instead, I think of them as fun. What I want to do more than anything else is prove that Christian fiction can be just as fun, fast paced, high stakes, roller coaster ride as secular fiction. I refuse to believe that we can’t have that kind of fun with a book without the sex and cussing. So that’s my goal; to entertain within the rules I live by. I do tend to have some heavy issues climb into my books. I don’t know why exactly.

Gotta LOVE Mary Connealy!!!
So - if you've read Mary's books, what's something from her writing that inspires you as a writer? as a reader?
Any important tips here that really resonate with you?


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Oh, how fun, and what a nice surprise! This made me giggle in several places, as Mary does so well. You, Mary Connealy, are a phenomenon of a writer. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone so prolific. Sitting at your feet and taking notes. ;)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Mary Connealy on the Alley! Pepper you sneaky sneak!

LOVE this interview! Your answer about who you would be put a big ole grin on my face. It's still there :)

I am a big time fan and I absolutely love how each of your stories starts out with a bang. That and the personality always seems to leap off the page. My very favorite... Sharpshooter in Petticoats! I need another fix of that one soon.

So happy to have you as our guest, Mary! Can't wait to read Swept Away.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I love Mary Connealy's books. She shocks my attention in the beginning and pulls me in to the story. I flip pages and laugh through to the end.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

OOoooo, what a fun surprise! I love love love Mary's books! And yes...she has the best openings of any book any where!

Pepper said...

Everybody LOVES Mary!
And her hilarious heroes
And her fiesty heroines!

She has the full package of writing spunk going on FOR SURE

Mary Connealy said...

KAREN thank you so much for noticing my proficness (that might not be a word).

It comes in handy that I'm a insomniac, obsessive compulsive loner. I believe I've made that work well for me.

Mary Connealy said...

Amy Leigh. I just now started a new book and I am TRYING to have my 'bang' be emotional for once. I mean you can only have so many people caught in a flash flood or an avalanche.

It feels really wrong though. I'm trying to think of it as a challenge to my writing skills (when probably all it really is, is BORING!!!!!)

Mary Connealy said...

I'll go rewrite the opening.

Jill Weatherholt said...

What a fun surprise! Mary is a writing machine and a true inspiration to any, she's hilarious!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I've enjoyed Mary's books -- and one of the things I admire about her writing is her multi-layered characters. She also packs a lot of action into her stories too!

Mary Connealy said...

Sherrinda, you too? So is this like a...a....a BRAND now? The explosive opening? Because well, that's not what I was doing in my current book.
I'll go fret and maybe gnaw off my fingernails for a while and then reconsider. Hmmmm.........

Mary Connealy said...

Ah, Jill, you sweet thing. I'm an inspiration? Really? You know I think I am, because once people talk to me for a little while, they start thinking, "Hey, if that nitwit can get a book published, SO CAN I!!!!!!!!!!"
So in that sense, yes, I suppose I've encouraged a lot of people to write books.

Erica Vetsch said...

Ah, Mary, you really are the sister of my heart. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Beth. Multi-layered characters. Okay, it's good I'm reading this now, while I'm starting my current WIP, must go back and add action and layers.

Rats! Those are HARD!!!

Mary Connealy said...

KAREN????? I meant.......prolificness

If you're gonna make up words people ought to be able to at least GUESS what they might mean.

Mary Connealy said...

Erica, sweetie, I think we need to go to St. Ansgar again.
We were happy then.

spooked by that creepy deer, but otherwise very happy.

Jennifer said...

When I read one of Mary's books I 'll find myself smiling at a funny seen or being embarrassed with the characters and crying to. I'm glad when all this is going on that none of my family notices or comments because I'd feel embarrassed for real. Do your characters get nervous when you can put them through the ringer? :)

Mary Connealy said...

Jennifer! I really make you cry??? Laugh, I'm going for that, but CRY!!!???

I'm sorry.

Pepper said...

You are awesome! Thanks for visiting us!

And I laugh through your books.
and get all warm and fuzzy.
Btw, in Swept Away I absolutely LOVE the closet scene.LOL

And I can't decide whether I like Petticoat Ranch best or Montana Rose. I absolutely LOVED Red (as I've told you many times before)
He works really well for my post tomorrow on the C.O.R.E. of a Hero :-)