Name Mary Mack
Where are you from
I live in a small town in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State called Dundee.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am the youngest of seven children and the only girl, which meant escaping to my room with a good book often when I was a child. I have five beautiful children and six equally beautiful grandchildren. I have only a high school education but a Master’s Degree in living. Currently, I live with my wonderfully-supportive husband, Jim, and our adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Moto.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently fulfilled a 20-year dream and published my first novel, Reasonable Regret. A suspenseful romance, it tells the story of 34-year-old, divorcee Adele Hamilton, who has just lost her young son, Spencer, to Leukemia. Beyond depressed, she decides to take matters into her own hands when she arranges for a life-altering meeting with mobster, Carl Nardone. But later, with a fresh lease on life, including a budding new love affair, Adele learns that her fate may have already been sealed if she cannot reach Nardone in time and call off their deal. And the clock is ticking.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been an avid reader, but it was after I read Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts, that I said to myself, “Now, why couldn’t I do that?”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I joined Cowbird.com and one of my stories was selected as the daily story to be published on page one. Cowbird.com has over 70,000 writers from 185 countries contributing daily so I was so tickled pink when my story was selected, and it somehow validated me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was in a car accident about a year and a half ago and had to go to the hospital to have my neck checked out. It turned out my neck was fine, but I had a golf ball size tumor in my brain. The surgery to remove the tumor frightened me more than the actual tumor. On the operating table, I vowed to myself that should I survive the surgery I would get serious about writing my first novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure what I would call my style, but when I write I try to imagine myself telling the story to a friend. I like the end result to be relaxed and easy to read.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Without giving too much away, I considered Adele’s change of heart later on in the story reasonable, a.k.a., a reasonable regret.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, absolutely: That the mentally ill can be trusted.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
When my youngest son was placed in a state facility for the mentally ill, I felt that I had lost him. I became very depressed, like my heroine, Adele, in Reasonable Regret.
The first line of the book, “I’d like to be happy” was exactly how I was feeling when I sat down and began typing.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was 16 and it changed me. I knew then that I wanted to read more and more books, but I never developed the self-confidence to try writing myself until many years later.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love anything by Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Texasville) because, to me, he writes like people speak. Not too many big words that require a dictionary close by or complicated themes. He has a dry sense of humor that comes across, too, that I really enjoy. I also like it that all of his books take place in his home state of Texas. Something I intend to duplicate with my home state of New York.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Without a doubt, it was Melissa Foster, author extraordinaire who took time out of her busy schedule to mentor me. It was actually on Melissa’s Facebook page that I learned about you, Fiona. Melissa helped guide me into the world of self-publishing and taught me some marketing lessons.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I dream of writing as a career, but right now the bill collectors are, quite literally, calling my name so I will be holding on to my day job for at least five more years until I can begin writing full time at the age of 62.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change a thing! J
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Through reading, I love getting caught up in eloquent prose.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m currently finishing up my next novel entitled Jerusalem Hill which takes place in 1963, in Elmira, NY. It is the story of 36-year-old Emma Riley, whom, after eighteen years of marriage and six children, learns that her husband, Mac, has run off to California with another woman. Destitute, Emma is forced to move herself and her six children into an abandoned farmhouse she finds sitting high atop Jerusalem Hill. But later, when Mac discovers that the grass isn’t necessarily greener in California, he returns home with a chip on his shoulder and an ax to grind. And Emma is straight in his line of fire.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find filling the pages with ear-pleasing prose very challenging. I just want to tell the story and sometimes forget the very reason I like to read, eloquent prose.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I do book signings locally as my books take place right around home.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did, with the help of Createspace.com. They provided me with a template but I searched for just the right art work until I found a model that looked like Adele does in my mind for the cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to write was the most challenging. I work full time and have a 50-minute commute, each way, so I would sometimes be up well past midnight writing away.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that you can do whatever you put your mind to.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film that would you like to play the lead.
Oh, Amanda Seyfried as Adele, for sure, and perhaps Paul Rudd as Morgan.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just sit down and tell a story, like you would to a friend, and try not to worry about every little sentence too much as you write. You can fix all of that later.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for believing enough in a first time author to shell out your hard-earned cash to buy my book. I hope you enjoy it!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I just love a good psychological thriller and Paula delivers.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yep! One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. I was in first grade.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny cat videos make me laugh and Michael makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Margaret Mitchell just to sit down and share a pot of tea with her.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
That I was a good mother, because that has been my most important job.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I enjoy quilting and interior decorating, although I rarely have time for either anymore.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I just love Shameless on Showtime and one of my favorite movies of all time is The Talented Mr. Ripley. Oh, to write a book like that one!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Mexican food, the color turquoise and Van Morrison.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have liked to have been an elementary school art teacher.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find me on Facebook at either “Mary Nugent Mack” or “Mary Mack”