Enjoy getting to know Mary!
What appeals to you most about writing fiction?
I find writing so entertaining. I’d rather do it than watch TV, go out to dinner, read a book. Writing is what I do for fun. The fact that someone pays me to do it is one of life’s wonders.
Why Christian fiction?
I wrote for several years before I found Christian fiction. I just didn’t know it existed. I was writing romance, this was in the 1990s, and more and more those books were being laden with graphic sex between unmarried people, profane language and immoral life choices by the hero and heroine. I just couldn’t and wouldn’t write that. As a result, I had all these books and no where to sell them. Discovering Christian fiction was like a door swinging wide into a whole new world. It was wonderful to find it. Christian fiction sets me free to write what I want, how I want.
Name five things you can’t live without
I’m going to assume you’re not talking air and water here.
1) I love Tetley’s Earl Grey Tea with the drawstring bags.
2) I love Master’s Hand Candles, made in a little candle shop by a local lady. Her own recipe for candles. Susie and I have a mutual admiration society. She loves my books and is proud of me. I love her candles and am proud of her.
3) Apricot Torte from the Lithuanian Bakery in Omaha, Nebraska. Best food in the world. And I’m dieting so shame on you for making me speak of it.
4) My soft brown, furry blanket. I cover up with it and read at night. I know, it’s summer. I don’t do it in the summer. But I’m in an overly air conditioned office right now and I’m DYING. I want to drive home and get my blanket.
5) Cowboys. I’m married to one and I can’t live without him. Or at least, I sure don’t want to have to.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
While You Were Sleeping starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.
Castle, though my favourite of all time was Remington Steele.
Where is the most interesting place you have been?
Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My first memory of ‘knowing’ what I wanted to do was once when I road with my mom to Sioux City, Iowa when they first put the interstate highway system around that town. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember when there weren’t highways.) I think we were studying the Roman Empire in school right then because we were going under an underpass and that huge road over my head struck me with awe and I remember thinking, “This will last. This will still be here in centuries like the Coliseum in Rome and parts of the Appian Way.” I wanted to do that. The complexity of it was fascinating, the swooping on ramps and the layers of roads. I think I wanted to be part of something that was survive for generations. And now I write books and you know what? I think I managed to find something that will survive.
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he’s never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he’s gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever. After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he’s got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn’t happy to find out Seth doesn’t remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she’s come to the Kincaid family’s ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.
Callie isn’t a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She’s not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her. Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth’s pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can’t sort things out. It’s enough to drive a man insane–but somehow it’s all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.
Which character did you connect to the most?
No character in any of the three Kincaid Brides series was more fun than Callie, the heroine of Over the Edge, book #3, which releases in August. I guess Callie is what I’d call my ‘wheelhouse’. The other heroines are great characters but I just really love those tough Texas cowgirls, those feisty lady ranchers. It’s just a sweet spot for me when I’m writing them and I had a lot of fun making her so tough everyone took a step back and learned some respect when she came onto the scene.
Which character was the most difficult to write?
Well, I’ve tried to challenge myself. I’ve tried to not just have all my heroines be feisty lady ranchers and all my heroes by tough, slow talking ranchers. But those are so fun. I tend to always love the characters in the books I’m working on now. So it’s not a fair test when I say THIS hero and THIS heroine is the favourite or the hardest, but writing Seth Kincaid was a challenge. He’s crazy you know….I had to get that right and it wasn’t easy. I remember one editorial comment which was so exactly right, that said, “Let’s stop referring to Seth as a madman after about Chapter Six.” I’m laughing as I think of it. I had so much fun making him be vulnerable and tough and a little bit loco. But he had to straighten up eventually. And he did. I ended up loving him too, even hard to write as he was.
What was your favourite scene to write in Over the Edge or share your favourite paragraph
The opening scene is my favourite. I try to EXPLODE a book. Start with really compelling action and I loved the beginning of Over the Edge. But my favourite paragraph is right after the big, bad gunfight is over with Callie, and Seth comes along, too late to do any of the fighting himself.
Callie has come West searching for her runaway husband, scared to death he’s dead and mad enough to kill him if he isn’t.
She’s wounded, bleeding, furious, killing mad and heavily armed when Seth comes riding up. This is the beginning of Chapter Two
Seth saw the stagecoach driver lying halfway in the bushes on the side of the trail. He’d ridden right past him. Seth wheeled around to go help.
A bullet whizzed out the window of the stage and missed him by little more than a foot. Seth drew his six-gun.
“Seth Kincaid you get back here and let me shoot you, you low-down skunk.”
A woman who knew his name.
A woman who knew his name and wanted to kill him.
He’d never had much luck with women.
What’s next in your writing pipeline?
I’m hard at work on a new series we’re calling Trouble in Texas. Rancher Luke Stone comes home from the Civil War to find his land stolen and his pa dead. He and his friends from the war set out to find justice and when a little red-head gets in the crossfire, Luke has to save her. Then he decides he’ll just keep her. She has her own ideas.
Thanks so much, Mary!