This week I welcome a wonderful and hugely supportive writer Mary Anne Edwards. You can find her on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, Pinterest, you can buy her books, here and here.
I’m currently working on “Criminal Kind,” the third book in the Charlie McClung Mysteries series.
When and how do your characters come to you? Is it in a moment of inspiration, an epiphany? Or do they grow in some murky recess of your mind?
My characters appear when I begin to plot my manuscript. I know what kind of person they are but sometimes they surprise me and morph into totally different people. My mind is a deep and dark place.
There’s an acceptance that authors often write in traits or characteristics of themselves into their work, is there any part of you in any of your characters?
Marian Selby, one of the main protagonists, has a few of my traits, but all of my characters are based on bits and pieces of people I know.
How do you develop your characters? Do you let them brew in your subconscious, use character interview sheets, or something completely different?
My characters are like children. I know how I want them to be like, but they develop a mind of their own and do whatever they want to do. I just follow along and write whatever they tell me to write.
A bit of both. I know the beginning, a few bits in the middle, and the ending. I just let the voices in my head lead me.
When you are developing a book, what tools or techniques do you use, e.g. timelines, mood boards, character interviews, scraps of notes?
I have a three ring binder with loose leaf paper and dividers for each manuscript. I have a page for each character, a page for the setting, and pages for each chapter. I’ll add pages as the story grows.
Has your technique changed over time?
No, pretty much in a rut for now.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you actively look for it?
I don’t look for it but music, especially Tom Petty, gives me wonderful ideas.
What kind of an environment do you write in? Day/night/silence/music/desk/sofa etc. One of my spare bedrooms has been converted into my library. I have a big comfy chair and foot stool next to a window where I sit during the day and write. Sometimes I listen to mood music which varies on my mood, could be classical, movie soundtrack, new age, whatever floats my boat at the time.
Half way into writing my first novel, it’s taking over my brain! What advice can you give me on completing it? Or maybe an easier question. What do you wish you had known about writing a book before you started?
Hmm, hard question to answer. I thought I’d write a book and that would be it. Oh, no, there’s marketing which is harder than writing a book. Beware of marketing. There is no easy answer to how to best market your book.
The publishing industry is in decline across the board. Do you think things like the Kindle are bridging the gap, is there still the same love for the written word, or is it being diluted by the modern obsession with tech and gadgets?
I think there will always be a love for the written word but gadgets have definitely changed how people read. People read on the go and it’s easier to carry a Kindle or phone with you than a physical book. And audio books are beginning to become more and more popular.
50 Shades of Grey author EL James was reported to make around £100k a day at the book’s height, and the upcoming film will make her millions. Do you find it a shame that the most lucrative and famous book franchise of the moment is one so widely derided for its lack of literary value? Or is it just good to have a book going mainstream?
I think there’s a place for both. Some people love the literary stuff, others love fluff and everything in between. I’d love for my books to be mainstream.
If a fascist regime was burning the world’s libraries, what books would you save?
My bible first and then what next, oh gosh, so many books that I love! I love Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, Gretchen Archer, Elizabeth Peters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jean M. Auel, Terry Brooks, and the list goes on. Please don’t make me choose.
I went the self-publishing route which was a huge surprise to me. After speaking with several traditionally published authors, I decided to go that route. The main reason is control of my work. But I may consider the traditional route one day.
What do you wish you knew about the publishing process before you started? The marketing side of publishing.
What is the best advice you could give to aspiring novelists like me? Or what was the best advice you were ever given?
Don’t compare yourself to any other author. Don’t let bad reviews get to you. If a bad review has merit, like poor editing, then learn from it, if not, sweep out the door and forget about it. Books are like vegetables, some people love broccoli, others hate it.
I guess, I’m a one trick pony. Writing is the only creative ability that I have. Well, not unless you consider baking, which I love, and you’ll find it in my books.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
A successful business owner. I’d like to own a coffee shop/bookstore.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved to write but when my husband and I became involved with drama at church, we wrote all of our own skits and did all the acting. We were well received. I thought, what the heck, I should publish some of my short stories. And magazines actually paid me money for my stories. That little spark created a flame, a desire to write, and with the encouragement of my husband, I began to write novels.
What authors do you admire, and why? So many that I admire but I’ll pick one. Agatha Christie because she wrote such wonderful stories and characters.
To find out more about Mary Anne Edwards, read her author bio below:
Mary Anne was born in Mercedes, Texas, but has lived in Georgia most of her life. She has had a variety of experiences in her life. Some were great and some, well let’s just say Mary Anne has learned many lessons the hard way.
Mary Anne has been married for nearly 35 years to the most practically perfect man. They have a newly adopted Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. They enjoy traveling and watching mysteries on TV. Mary Anne is active in Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, Inc., a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.
Although Mary Anne began writing in high school, she didn’t get serious about it until 1999. She writes traditional mysteries that are influenced by some of her favorite authors: Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters.
Her first book in the Detective Charlie McClung mysteries, “Brilliant Disguise” was released on January 21, 2014. The next book in the series, “A Good Girl”, was released on September 23, 2014. Mary Anne is currently working on the third book, “Criminal Kind”; there are seven more to follow.