Name Mary Calmes
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My new novella, Chevalier, the sequel to Romanus, will be released on the 27th of May and my next marshal book will be out in September.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was 12, and they were stories that always had two men in them but seldom a female love interest. My mom used to ask, where are the girls? Clearly I had a path in mind.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t consider myself a writer because Anne Rice is a writer. Hemmingway is a writer. S. E. Hinton is a writer. I write but to say that that’s what I am just doesn’t connect in my brain. I don’t know why the distinction between saying writer and that I write is important but it is in my head.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s funny but I saw this ad with Mathias Lauridsen for Gucci Pour Homme II back in 2007. I remember I was walking through Dillard’s and there was this ad and I stopped walking and stared at that beautiful man and never once thought wow, I’d love to meet him, but instead thought, what is his story? He became Jory and that was it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m a pantser which for me is not great because it means once I have the names of my people, I just sit down and write. There are much better ways to write but plotting doesn’t work for me at all.
Fiona: How did you come up with your titles?
Without supervision I come up with horrible, awful titles like Frog. So my editor names the books now or I steal them from friends. I got Lay It Down from Rhys Ford because she said she wasn’t using it. She might have used it later on but it’s too late now. Little bit of thievery right there.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
My one message in all my novels is the same, that true love will overcome all odds. It’s shmoopie but I’m a romance writer, I could never be any other kind. I don’t have it in me.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of my books have certain instances that have really happened and most of my people are based on those I know but very loosely. Like sadly, I don’t know any marshals though I’d love to. I’d also love to see the marshal office in Chicago but they said no on several occasions.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
I wish I had a mentor, that would have been awesome but sadly I never found one. As for books, there are many. Probably the most important one was The Outsiders by SE Hinton. That book came along in the 6th grade when I was not at all enjoying the other books we had to read and it opened my eyes to not only the fact that I loved to read but of first person POV and that a girl could write about boys. It was a game changer for me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished First and First by Santino Hassell and as always, loving it. I own all three in paperback. Right before that, I read Power Play by Avon Gale. I love the Scoring Changes series and have all those in paperback as well.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
New to me are Roan Parrish, Avon Gale, and Max MacGowan. I’ve been reading and loving their books.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m sequeling this year so the marshals, Conrad’s book and the last L’Ange book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I think anything can be a career if you love it. I have a friend who said he was going to play video games for a living and he does. He tests them and that’s his job. I have another friend who works for the FBI as a graphic designer. Why the FBI needs a graphic designer, I don’t know, but he loves it. So I consider writing my career because I love it and a writer was all I ever wanted to be. I’m all about the dream job. I have another friend who cuts hair for a living and transforming people, making them feel beautiful, is his dream job. I love that.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I always think I should have made a novella longer so that’s probably it. Longer.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I wrote stories for my family and read them to them at night because we were a bit poorish so sometimes there was money for electricity and sometimes not. When it was not, the stories helped to entertain them.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The challenge is in being a pantser when I’m not sure where the story is going and I have to wait for an idea. When I wrote with Cardeno C, the structure of plotting really worked. CC is a plotter and I’ve never written that fast in my life. It was fantastic. But that was worked out together, not just me. It would be wonderful to have someone to plot all my novels.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t travel that much which is why on rely on places I’ve been, except Egypt and Mongolia, to place a novel. I’m trying to bust out of San Francisco and Chicago and my friend Susan is helping me with a Pinterest board to expand my horizons to new locales that I haven’t been to.
Fiona: Who designs your covers?
I’ve been super lucky to have the super talented Reese Dante do most of my covers with the incredible Anne Cain doing the others. We’re so fortunate at DSP to have such amazing cover artists.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing any book is figuring out what the most important part is, like what you really want to say about the couple, and making sure that that’s what gets shared.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would really love to meet Dave Grohl and talk creativity with him and thank him for all the inspiration I’ve gotten not only from his music but also from just the story of the band and the ups and downs of his vision.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I’d like it to say, her lies a good mother, good wife, good sister, good daughter and good friend. Then people who don’t know me will know I tried really hard and that my children loved me. J
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am a die-hard Hawaii Five-O fan because I ship McDanno big time. I have watched Supernatural since the very first episode and raised my children on it, along with Buffy and Angel which probably explains a lot. I watch Grimm, Lucifer…I feel a theme here…and Penny Dreadful.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
If it’s bad for me, that’s the food I like which is why I’m not a skinny person, my favorite color is maroon, crimson, all those dark, gothic reds and my favorite music is all over the place from The Foo Fighters to Nina Simone.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I wasn’t a writer I would probably still be at FedEx where I worked for 18 years because I loved all my c-corkers so much.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
DSP Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/mary-calmes