Author on the Couch: Mary Marvella aka MM Mayfield
Today I’m conducting a session with…Mary Marvella aka MM Mayfield!
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#WIN an ebook copy of Write Dirty To Me by @mmarvellab! #AmWriting Click To Tweet
Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Mary: I’d have to say it was tutoring my daddy when he needed to take the GED. It was the summer before I would begin the 6th grade. Daddy had quit school in the ninth grade to work and then join the army to send money to his family. He had moved around a lot, so his education was spotty. Daddy “got the call” to become a preacher and decided he needed to go to college and get an education. He needed to take the GED test to get a diploma so he could get into college. I taught him the grammar and math he needed to pass that test. It seemed like the natural thing to do. He graduated and became a teacher and a preacher and then went on to get a Master’s degree and a Specialist degree in counseling. Our lives changed!
Because of my tutoring he quit a job as a truck driver and we moved to a small college town. I later became a teacher and a counselor, too. The funny thing is that my parents insisted I was teaching when I was a child, before Daddy made his big decision.
Me: What a sweet story!
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Mary: I have a crazy imagination and I don’t quit easily.I need to tell the stories my characters tell me instead of writing the things that sell. @mmarvellab #amwriting Click To Tweet
Me: Both important traits to have in this industry!
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Mary: I guess it’s my need to tell the stories my characters tell me instead of writing the things that sell. My characters tend to be old fashioned.
Me: Yes. That can be a dilemma. But you can’t go wrong with feeding your writer’s soul!
What was your high point as a writer?
Mary: That was the first time an editor wanted to publish my book. I had Indie published 3 novels and 2 novellas and was working with a small publisher. I was proud of my accomplishments, but I wanted a publisher to want one of my books. An editor I met at DragonCon heard me talking to a critique partner and decided I needed to send him something. He read my post card blurbs and insisted for 2 years that I send him something. I did and he wanted it and then a second book.
Me: Woot! Woot! That kind of validation means a whole lot!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path?
Mary: I started writing in 1991 and had not published 15 years later. I got good rejections but no sales. One editor suggested I self-publish. I finally did and then I got an invitation to be the line editor for a brand new company. That made my confidence rise!
Me: Your story is so typical. So many good writers keep waiting and waiting to be recognized.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Mary: I had been making up stories since I could talk. I made up stories for my daughter. When I stopped teaching I decided to write the stories my grandmama told me. Then characters began to wake me up with their stories. That made my decision! I had to write the stories to make the voices stop badgering me.
Me: How many books have you written?
Mary: I have written 10 books. The shortest time was 1 month for 40, 000 words and 2 months of critique groups and editing. The longest was 6 months for 100, 000 words. I love writing and revision.
Me: Tell me a writing pet peeve of yours. Something that hits you like fingernails-on-a-chalkboard every time you see it. Why does it bug you?
- I don’t like selfish characters or characters who do truly stupid things over and over again. I want to kill them myself. People do stupid things. People who do them over and over again get on my nerves. I almost never leave a book unfinished, so those characters make it difficult for me to keep reading.
- I really dislike bad grammar and punctuation errors and people who tell writers not to use all the words we have at out fingertips. Writers need to learn to use their tools, and editors need to use those same tools. Readers don’t know the rules. They love good stories.
Me: Tell me about your light erotica/romance, Write Dirty to Me.
Julie, a college English professor, writes erotica novels she can’t claim without putting her job in jeopardy. Gray, a retired military officer, has become a New Times best-selling author of military action-adventure thrillers. When they meet at their twenty-fifth high school reunion the raging hormones they didn’t feel at seventeen explode and she feels things she only wrote about before Gray. He wants to see her again, so he arranges a book signing in the town where she teaches. He even gets an offer to teach a course at her university. She had proposed that course because she wanted to teach it. Gray makes Julie want to be one of her adventurous heroines. What will happen when she learns he’s a successful author? What will happen when he learns she writes erotica?
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release, Write Dirty To Me.
Julie resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the childish satisfaction she felt at shocking Beth. “I’m a university professor. And what do you do?”
“Dawn and Beth are busy with fund raising charities. I chair the events,” Patty said as though she felt that was impressive.
Julie smiled. “That’s nice,” she said as she started toward the door. She turned back to Patty. “Oh, give oral sex right and get the really big prizes instead of…“ She nodded toward Patty’s necklace. Hearing a loud gasp and “Well, I never.” from Dawn, she strolled out, wishing she could do a fist pump or a football spike. Six points for the shy kid.
I love this scene because Julie was the shy kid the popular kids excluded and want to exclude even at the only reunion she chose to attend after 25 years. I loved writing this scene. Those same popular girls are talking about her while she’s sitting in a quiet corner in the restroom. The don’t even notice her. Patty is bragging about her new necklace and letting her buddies know she has given oral sex, but she didn’t really want to.
Julie can’t admit she writes erotica, but she can zap the others by letting them know she is a college professor. Her comment about oral sex was intended to shock and leave them with nothing to say. I do love having the last word.
You can find Mary here:
Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.