Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Mary!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Melanie! Thanks so much for having me and supporting writers with your blog. It is greatly appreciated, I know. There’s nothing overly interesting about me, but I’d be glad to tell you what my life is like. My husband and I live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia . The Falls around here are nothing short of breathtaking, but it is really beautiful all year long. We moved here from the suburbs of Washington , DC where we both grew up, so the culture shock was scary, but we’ve settled in a bit now. We have one child, a black lab named Darcy who might just be the most spoiled dog in the entire world! My husband just retired from the Veteran’s Hospital and I quit my part-time job in December to be able to devote a little more time to writing. (Picture me with a terrified look on my face!) That’s about it!
What is your newest book, Beauty in Disguise, about?
I would say the overall message is about forgiveness, but I don’t like saying that because I’d really like to hit the reader wherever they are at the moment. I’ve had a few people share the different messages they associated with the story, so I don’t feel like I’m giving too much away. It is about Lady Kathryn who falls in love with Lord Dalton at 18 years of age, but is then persuaded by a rake that Lord Dalton does not return her feelings and asks her to marry him. He convinces her into an elopement, a serious discretion for any woman, but then leaves her at the altar after discovering Lady Kathryn’s father has disowned her and has removed her inheritance. The blackguard only wanted Lady Kathryn’s money and so he leaves her alone in the world requiring that she would have to get a position as a governess or companion. She believes that even God couldn’t forgive her actions and this new life is her punishment. I don’t want to give too much away, but she is forced into creating a disguise to cover her beauty and when nine years Lord Dalton discovers her true identity, the pain and anger make them hurt each other. Hopefully, they can each find a way to forgive each other and to accept the forgiveness God had never denied them.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
I am a John Wayne fanatic and have been for close to 40 years! I actually saw John Wayne movies when they came out in theaters! (I just really dated myself, didn’t I?) I had a dog named John Wayne. My father laid down the law, “I am not going to the door and yelling for John Wayne to come inside!” So he became J.W., but he was always John Wayne to me! Most people won’t watch his movies with me anymore because I know every line, but fortunately, I brought my husband over to the John Wayne side and he likes to watch them now, too.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
You know, I don’t really know the answer to that question. I’ve mentioned before that I began writing out of necessity; my husband worked the midnight shift, so he was sleeping most evenings. He’s a very light sleeper which ruled out TV, so I just started writing, for me alone. Unfortunately, I told my sister-in-law, Carol (I love her dearly) that I had written some stories and she demanded to read them. I don’t know why I let her, I didn’t let anyone else, but once she read them she was on a mission. I still don’t think that was the start of wanting to be a writer, she made me enter a few contests and send the manuscript to some publishers, but I had no idea what I was doing and, of course, no one responded. The stories were boxed up and put in the attic when my husband switched to dayshift. But Carol had other ideas! We were at a women’s retreat, I guess five years ago, and Carol discovered there was a published author attending. She made it her business to find this poor woman, meet her, and then introduce her to me. The very sweet woman gave me a few tips and a few web sites to check out and I think that is when I thought I would really try. God blessed me with a wonderful agent, Jenni Burke, on my first query and when things started to move along and I found out I was going to be published, I really started to think that this is what I want to do. And I think the major change hit my heart when I realized I wanted to write Christian fiction with a message. It was no longer about me. (Side note: You need to learn to ask writers yes and no questions or else you are going to get ramblings like this!)
How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?
I have six books written (VERY unpolished, needing major overhauls) and many stories half done on paper and several in my head. I think my favorite would have to be The Aristocrat’s Lady, my first one written and my first one published. I loved the story all the way and I was excited to tell people about it.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
That I still write with paper and pen. (Has the laughter died down?) Yep, paper and pen. I was an administrative person during much of my career and typing is second nature. When I tried to write on the computer, I could tell I had misspelled a word after writing that sentence and it drove me crazy not to go back and fix it then. So I spent hours spinning my wheels. I can never say paper and pen is better. I get them written, but THEN they have to be typed in! It is no fun trying to read hurried handwriting and typing in 250+ pages! Maybe soon I’ll find a happy medium, but that’s my quirk at the moment.
Where do you like to write?
We have a plush comfortable couch in the TV room, and I love to wriggle down into it and write. It seems like there isn’t near enough time to write now that I’m published, but that’s my favorite spot.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
The best part is always the stories. When the groups of characters in your head come together as a story it is a wonderful feeling. And if I can put a serious message to go along with it, so that God gets all of the glory, that’s the greatest! The worst part is the promotion needed once a book comes out. I am a very, very behind the scenes person. I hate to get up and talk and I hate to be the center of attention. That makes speaking and book signings dreaded things for me. I know they are necessary and I do them, but I really don’t like it. I do like the blog opportunities that people like you give me. I can talk about the book and answer questions in the quiet of my couch in my pajamas if I like!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
What is your favorite genre to read and why?
The Regency genre, hands down. Since the time I was 15 years old and discovered Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer I have been hooked on them. I love everything about that time period and I am amazed that so many different stories can be written about a time that was only about ten years in history. The glittering clothes and balls are wonderful, but I even enjoy delving in the poverty below the relatively small group of the rich and titled. So, they are still my favorites and that’s also why I write them.
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
Actually, I would love to visit Ireland . I still have family over there, pretty distant now, but it is my heritage. My maiden name is O’Leary and my mother’s maiden name was Callaghan, so I got a double whammy. And while I’m there, I certainly wouldn’t mind taking a few weeks over in England seeing all of the places that I write about! I hope it will someday happen, but my husband has never flown so that’s half the battle!
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
I do. It is Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me, with all your heart.” There’s so much hope in these verses and so many promises from God that should give us peace and comfort; we can just come to him and He will listen and we will find Him. I call on this verse so often. It was the theme of my first book.
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
What is your favorite holiday?
Wow, this one is hard, too. I do love Christmas with all of the lights and decorating the house, but I really love it because it makes us think about Jesus. The same with Easter. I love Spring and the little kids doing egg hunts, but the importance of Easter to me, as a Christian, is about Jesus’ death and resurrection. So I guess they would be my favorites. Life gets so busy with “things” (whatever they are in your life and whatever they are in mine) that I actually need the times of year that take me back to my Savior.
A few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? Snowstorms, by a mile!
Call or Text? Calling. I am so behind technologically it’s not funny!
Early-bird or Night-owl? Definitely a night-owl
Cats or Dogs? Dogs for sure, but…I’ve run into a few cats lately that are affectionate and more like dogs, so cats are not a definite no.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. Again, my website links to twitter, otherwise you’d never hear a tweet out of me.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
Yes, I’m currently proposing a series of three. They would not be sequels, but the themes are the same. But I can’t give away the theme, it would ruin the surprise. It’s different for me and really fun stories. I actually have loved writing these.
Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
This had been a wonderful interview (for me, at least, you made me have to think!) and I appreciate the opportunity to be here. I love your site, too. I hope you like the books. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the web at www.marymooreauthor.com, and on facebook at facebook.com/mmooreauthor. Thanks again, Melanie!
Mary is giving away a copy of The Aristocrat’s Lady and Beauty in Disguise! Open Internationally!
Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to be one of the two winners! :) Ends 3/5