Today, I’m delighted to welcome Mary J. McCoy-Dressel. Mary and I met online over a year ago and we follow each other on WordPress.
I love reading Mary’s blog, especially her Sexy Saturday posts, and I’ve just bought her emotional and compelling, contemporary Western romance Howdy Ma’am for my Kindle.
Welcome to Douglas Bland Artist’s studio in Italy, Mary. So glad you can join me in an aperitivo. What can I offer you? A glass of Prosecco? A spritzer? A Bellini? Or perhaps some Pinot Grigio or Bardolino?
Hi, Siobhan! Thank you for inviting me to your very special place on the web. I’d love a Bellini as I sit here and absorb the lovely Italian culture with you. Mmm, it sounds so delicious and refreshing.
Ooh, think I’ll have one too. (Pours two glasses of Prosecco and adds peach juice). Cheers!
Okay, darlin’, make yourself comfortable! I’m over the moon you’ve been able to join me and would like to start by asking, ‘What inspired you to become a writer?’
In my mind, I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. My dad might have had something to do with it. He made me read and write as a young child. I’ve written a blog post about a 7th grade teacher who was a big inspiration, in that, he helped me to define myself as being a writer. I don’t think I ever labeled it before he told me— “You should be a writer.” But, the real answer is, I’ve always been a writer without knowing it. The movies, Somewhere in Time and Two Worlds of Jenny Logan inspired me to write my first time-travel romance.
Wow! I’m writing a time-slip romance at the moment, and, as soon as I’ve got the first draft of it finished, I’ll read Howdy, Ma’am. Please can you tell me and my readers something about it, and about the follow-on Hey Cowboy.
Howdy, Ma’am is about a bull rider and an Italian photographer he hired to travel the bull riding circuit with him. Caulder is trying to overcome a devastating loss while seeking to win the title of World Champion bull rider.
Velia was a travel photographer and comes from a close-knit Italian family. Her husband was an abuser. To escape him and the abuse, she moved to Tucson, Arizona to start over. After opening a photography studio, she was offered a job to travel with a sexy bull rider, for publicity, he says… Well, what would you do? What happens during the next nine months on the road together, changes both of their lives. Howdy, Ma’am can be read as a standalone. Be aware of unsavory language and sensual love scenes.
He hired her for a season, but what happens after the season ends?
Hey, Cowboy continues with Velia and Caulder’s story and begins after the season ends. What happened in book one has everything to do with book two, and much more… In this book, enemies threaten Velia and her family and her life is in danger. Caulder vows to protect her, and learns that a hero sometimes has to prove he is one. He is injured off-season and his bull riding career hangs in a balance. All they ask for is…well, I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll stop there.
Sounds fascinating, Mary. You seem firmly rooted in the Western romance genre. Will you continue writing in that genre?
I didn’t start out writing western romance. My first romance series was a time-travel romance, going back to the 1880s. This falls under paranormal and historical genres. I write contemporary romance outside of the western genre, and have three stories on the back burner to finish. One is still romance but threaded with women’s fiction. So, really western is new to me. I love writing about the cowboys, and I can’t see that changing, especially since one series seems to keep growing.
And your cowboys are awesome. Can you tell us something about your writing process. For example, are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’?
I call myself a panster, but in reality, I’m a pantser who does a fair amount of plotting, and a lot of research before starting a book. I have to have a goal and a direction. I usually always know the ending, but not always. What happens between the beginning and end is usually a surprise to me. I let my characters run free with my muse. They usually know best, but sometimes I have to smack a hero to get him to listen.
My characters are plotted out as far as their description, personality, family, background, and what they want in their book. I have to know everything about them and their family. They usually come to me with a name and description—some with a career in place. Others make me guess. I don’t outline, but what I do is more like a list, separated into different categories. I’ll write down notes and ideas into this list as they come to me during the story, in the shower, or when they wake me in the night. I also write down things that have to happen in the book.
A new thing for me is to write out of order if the need calls.
Hmm. Writing out of order. Haven’t tried that yet. Tell us, Mary, how have you found the road to publication? Is there anything you’ve done that you’d do differently now with hindsight?
I’ve found the road to publication long and difficult, and I wasted a lot of years waiting, waiting, waiting, before my first two books were published. Something I’d do differently in hindsight? Well, I would have gotten serious about my writing, earlier in life. I’d believe things that I heard, and listen to my better judgement. Others will tell you the good and bad about their book publishing experiences. I didn’t listen to some of the bad. So, I’ll say…listen. Believe what you hear. Trust me, it’s hard to get out of a contract, and you can either be made, or broken by your decision.
I’ll bear your advice in mind, darlin’. On a personal note, what do you get up to when you’re not writing?
Photography is my hobby. I admit that I don’t do much of it now that I’m writing full time. I do miss it. I love going to operas. Theatres across the country have a winter program where they bring Metropolitan Operas to local movie theatres. I love going out to dinner and having fun with my friends and family. Oh, reading and traveling, too!
We have a lot in common, Mary. I love photography, opera, eating out, reading and traveling like you do. As for the next stage in your writing career, please tell us about your plans, hopes, dreams and aspirations!
Like many authors, it’s my dream to be on a bestseller list and see my books as movies. (I’m a dreamer.) I’ll continue to write and publish books for as long as I can. More books are planned in both of my series’ and I’ll finish some other standalone titles. I’d like to write shorter books in the future. My hopes where my writing is concerned, is to have readers love what I write. I want them to feel what I felt while writing the stories…to fall in love with my characters the same as I do. For that to happen, I can be happy.
I wish you every success in achieving your dreams, darlin’. It’s been great chatting with you and sharing an aperitivo. Thanks again for joining me. Before you go, please can you leave readers with three facts that might surprise them about you?
It’s been so much fun to have this chat with you, Siobhan. Thanks for the fabulous company, spectacular view, and delicious beverage. Maybe you should call me a cab after that delicious Bellini. It looks like a long drive down! Thank you so much for having me today.
My Three Facts:
– I moved in with my youngest son. Instead of the kid coming back home, in this case, Mom did.
– I bought my own fire-engine red, pickup truck against my ex-husband’s wishes, and drove my “Lady in Red” Dodge Ram for eighteen years. (I loved that truck so much, I had to have one of my heroes drive the same.)
– I still communicate with my “first love.” We met when we were sixteen. We’ve both been through marriages, divorces, deaths, wars, happiness, sadness, but haven’t’ been a couple since we were twenty. Neither of us are married now, but he’s in a long-term relationship.