Mary Cunningham: Author – Non-fiction / YA – Tween

My last and most excellent writer, may I introduce to you…Mary Cunningham!


Carla: What would you like to share about yourself?

Mary:  I’m a wife, mother, and writer and live with my husband and newly adopted canine, Lucy, in the mountains of West Georgia. The location isn’t as remote as it sounds since I’m within walking distance of a grocery story—a requirement in every one of our nine moves!

I enjoy golf, swimming, a variety of sports (viewing), hate the summer heat and the winter chill, but haven’t found a way to purchase that vacation home in Maui.

On the professional side, I’m author of the award-winning, four book, ‘Tween fantasy/mystery series”,Cynthia’s Attic.  This series was inspired by a recurring dream about a mysterious attic where twelve-year-old best friends, Cynthia and Gus (Augusta Lee), find a magic trunk that sends them through time solving mysteries with their ancestors. Their first adventure finds them traveling from 1964 back to 1914 where they meet their twelve-year-old grandmothers!

I’m also co-writer of the humorous women’s lifestyle book, WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, and Ebooks, Ghost Light, and Christmas With Daisy, a Cynthia’s Attic Christmas story.

Carla:  When did you feel the need to start getting your thoughts on paper?

Mary:  Oh, wow. That probably would’ve been when I was about six-years old! I thought I was the next Robert Frost (My dad used to recite poetry to me at bedtime, along with his own made-up stories). That’s about the time I started writing some really awful verses. But, in my defense, I was just six!

From there, I wrote family memoirs, but never considered writing fiction until the idea for Cynthia’s Attic emerged. Now, fantasy/fiction is my favorite genre.

Carla:  What is WOOF about?

Mary: Best way I can describe WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, is with the book blurb!

Over fifty? Or planning a trip to mid-life in the near future? Bags packed, but wondering about your destination? Well, you’re not alone. With no map to guide us through the “joys” of middle age, three witty, resourceful, savvy women chart our own course. And you’re invited!

Join us as we romp through issues of expanding waistlines, deepening wrinkles, empty nests and muddled memories. And, we even find some good things to bark about! So, don’t just use this book to fan a hot flash. Look inside. Find out if you’re a Springy Spaniel or a Moody Mutt. Discover over 50 reasons to wag your tail.

But, WOOF isn’t just about the book, we also have a great blog (WOOFers Club Blog) where women over fifty can visit, make comments and even contribute to our special posts on “Dog Tails” (stories about the special canine friend in your life) and “New Leash On Life” (stories on re-inventing yourself after age 50). We love guest posts!

Carla:  Genre you’d like to try but haven’t?

I’m working on a couple of adult mysteries and am especially excited about a mystery/satire. I love  dry humor and the MC and her “cast” embody dry wit. I simply love writing, however, and enjoy jumping from one genre to the next.

Carla:  What are your literary goals?

Mary:  Hmmm. Goals for the future. I’d like to make a comfortable living writing. My husband is retired and like many seniors, we’re concerned about the future. How nice it would be to make tons of money doing what I enjoy!

An added bonus is encouraging students to write. When I speak to elementary schools, I usually end the program by asking them to remember that old author who came to their school, and how she inspired them to write. If I motivate one student to start writing, then I’m happy, although a few dozen would be even better! Lol.

Carla:  What’s your advice for upcoming writer’s?

Mary:  A very generous and blunt NY editor gave me a critique years ago that probably led to getting the first two books  in my Cynthia’s Attic series published. “Too much telling—not enough showing.” I had no clue what that meant before researching various writing websites and blogs. But, then I had one of those “light-bulb” moments. I spent the next six months on rewrites that moved the storyline through dialog and action rather than simply “telling” the story.

The second bit of advice is, “Write what you know.” It’s easier to write about the familiar. Since the original setting for Cynthia’s Attic is my hometown, Corydon, Indiana, and takes in many childhood memories, much of the research was already in my head. Since I’m a very visual writer (It’s much easier to write when I can picture a scene or character), old family pictures and stories about ancestors also bring authenticity to the story-lines.

Unfortunately, in WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, I know this subject matter inside-out! That’s why we decided to keep WOOF, for the most part, light and funny. We over-fifty women have enough to deal with when it comes to weight gain, hormones and hot flashes, so our objective is to provide a good laugh.

Carla: Favorite dessert?

I’ve always said anything chocolate, however, my maternal grandmother has been in my thoughts recently, and she made the best rhubarb pie in the world! Not to be confused with those fake strawberry/rhubarb pies! She made hers with rhubarb straight from her garden, along with a fantastic vinegar pie crust (the recipe is included in WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty). One of my fondest memories is her teaching me to make crust. In fact, I got so good at it, I made the crust and she made the filling. So, at this moment, I’d have to say my grandmother’s rhubarb pie.

Carla: Pets at home?

Mary: So glad you asked! Years ago, we adopted a sweet terrier/mix. Molly died in 2008 and we were so heartbroken, another dog wasn’t in our thought process…until a few months ago when we spotted a little dog who had just been abandoned. A great rescue group, 1 Lucky Dog Rescue in Hialeah, FL, took her in, got her shots up to date and then posted her pic on Facebook. One look at her and we were hooked. Thanks to the help of many, and—I’m convinced, a guardian angel or two—we are now adopted parents to Lucy, a Chinese Crested/Maltese mix.

She livens up the house with her playfulness and keeps us laughing throughout the day. I feel so fortunate to have brought not one, but two amazing rescue dogs into our lives, and I encourage everyone to check out the shelters first! Don’t shop – adopt!

Carla:  So sorry about Molly!  Nice that Lucy is such great company.  Would you please share with us, a line ,from one of your books?

Mary:  Great question! This isn’t just a line, but one of my favorite paragraphs. My dad was a huge influence on my life and my writing, so this passage from Cynthia’s Attic: Curse of the Bayou, warms my heart whenever I read it.

I stared at the solid, radiant blanket of stars. “The Milky Way,” my dad would point out. “That’s our galaxy, Gus. Remember to always respect the beauty and vastness of the universe.” A tear slipped from my cheek. “Another night, Dad.” I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate much of anything at the moment. I pulled my knees in tight and lowered my head. Maybe tomorrow will look better.

Mary: Thanks, so much, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Carla! It’s been fun!

Carla:  You are so very welcome, Mary!  Thanks for coming along for the ride 😉   Wishing much success to you, as you travel on your writing journey!

Links:

Mary Cunningham Books

Cynthia’s Attic Blog

WOOFers Club Blog

Amazon

Echelon Press

OmniLit

Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle – Amazon Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Magicians-Castle-Mary-Cunningham/dp/1590806565/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259331208&sr=1-3

YouTube code for video: Cynthia’s Attic Series

YouTube Cynthia’s Attic Series URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EtythWwg28&feature=related

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Angela Roe: Author / Freelance Editor


A warm welcome to
Angela Roe!

Carla: So Angela, what should we know about you?

Angela: Oh sheesh…I’m a bit of a neat freak but my closets are usually messy. Not right now because I just finished cleaning them all out about a month ago! I’m addicted to television, it’s always on in the background. I get my story ideas from silly one-liners that stick in my head for some reason. Once I have that line, most of my books come to me in my dreams and I wake up and scribble them down, praying I can read the writing in the morning! I’m slightly crazy, slightly silly and hopefully a good person!

Carla: Being an editor, Mom and Grandma you must be so crazy busy!  What’s your favorite thing to do, to unwind? 

Angela: It gets crazy but we love it. My husband Phil and I have five kids and seven grand-kids. All of the big family events are at our house so it can be crazy but it’s our life and we wouldn’t change it a bit. How do I unwind? I read. I love to read, I read all the time. My family sometimes gets annoyed because when I read, I get so involved in the story that I forget where I am, or what I’m doing. I get lost in the world the author created and it takes me a moment to refocus on reality! I am also a shopping fool. My mom and I go on marathon shopping sprees. We often have to come home to unload the car and then we go back out…is that bad?? Phil thinks it’s bad but I think we’ve single-handedly reversed the recession!

Carla:  What is your genre?  Give us a description of your books. 

Angela: I write romance novels, children’s books and short stories of all kinds.  I love happy endings but I don’t always write them. It depends on my mood and what’s happening in the world!

I have a short story coming out soon called “The Bar Scene.” I co-wrote this with Stephen L. Brayton who is a good friend of mine and another Echelon Press author. I also have a romance novel coming out, hopefully toward the end of this year. It’s called “Stormy Encounters” and it’s also with Echelon Press.

A very good friend of mine named Dana Etzel is illustrating my children’s books and we’re considering various publishing methods for them, but haven’t settled on any specifics yet. Stay tuned, they’ll be popping up soon!

Angela: What’s the most effective promo you’ve ever done? What’s your advice for upcoming authors? 

Well…you asked…

AngelaKRoe.com

A Write of Passage

My promo experience is pretty slim since most of my published work is non-fiction and client based.  I think the promo style depends on your genre. I know a man who wrote history books that he sold at gun shows and he was wildly successful at it. I plan on hitting a lot of craft shows and art shows with my romance novel. I think it’ll hit the right audience.

Advice for upcoming authors is to learn. Listen and learn and read. Surround yourself with successful authors and editors and you’ll become successful as well. Don’t give up, don’t stop and don’t think this is a short-term gig because it’s not. It’s a long-term investment and if you keep working on the promotion of existing work while creating new work, you’ll be a successful writer.

Carla: Who’s your all-time favorite author?

Angela: Oh man, that’s tough. I love Andrew Greeley, I grew up reading his books. When we visited Chicago, I didn’t fantasize about seeing Oprah, I dreamed of seeing Andrew Greeley…I know, I’m a giant nerd! I also love Diana Gabaldon,  James Patterson, John Clancy, Nora Roberts…I love writers who paint pictures with words.

Carla: What genre you’d like to try but haven’t?

Angela: Good question…probably young adult. I think I’m intimidated by how every word had to count. You have a limited amount of words but you need to create a full story, it can’t be watered down at all. I actually just wrote a first chapter of a book that I think will probably turn into a YA novel…we’ll see how it goes!

Carla: What do you think makes your book unique? 

 Angela: My book,”Stormy Encounters” is unique in a couple of different ways. The characters find themselves in a setting I’ve not seen in any other book and I think my dialogue is unique. Dialogue is my strong suit, and I think it’s really works  in this story. While it is a romance novel, it comes from a place that’s totally new and I’m pretty proud of that.

Carla: If you were a color, what would it be?

Angela: Probably deep green. It’s my favorite color. It’s soothing and warm and wraps me in comfort.

Carla: Favorite dessert? 

Angela: Oh depends totally on my mood, mostly anything with chocolate in it. I love cheesecake and ice cream. I’m not so big on pie or cake…unless it’s strawberry/rhubarb, then I’ll eat it no matter what it is!

Carla: Are you a cat or dog person?  Both? 

Angela: Dog. Her name is Sophie, she’s a Welch Corgie and she’s sitting at my feet chewing her rawhide bone. She’s a tri-color so she looks like a tiny Lassie. She’s a beauty but she sheds like crazy!! Wanna come vacuum?  =)

Carla: Sure!  I’ll be over soon.  Thanks so much for joining us Angela!  Wish you the very best in your writings.

Website information:

Freelance Writer/Editor
Website: angelakroe.com
Blog: A Write of Passage
Twitter: @AngelaRoe
Echelon Press