Name  Let’s just go with my penname, Mari Collier

Age  I have no quibbles about my age, but if people see how old I am, they might wonder why I am still working so hard.  Yes, all my pictures are fairly recent.

Where are you from   I’m originally from the state of Iowa, then Phoenix, Az, Northbend, WA, and now Twentynine Palms, CA.



A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

Oh that, open the door really wide.  I was born on a farm in Iowa in my parent’s bedroom.  It’s how I knew the old timers used oilcloth to protect the bedding.  Very useful for my first novels.  The education was in a one room schoolhouse, and then a technical high school in Phoenix.  I knew I would need to work for my living.  My parents were supportive, my husband was my high school sweetheart and remained my sweetheart until the day he died forty-five years and thirty days after we were married.  We raised two children, one has returned to the Lord, and had a construction company in Washington.  My husband and a crew (when we had one) did the physical work except for one year when I helped.  Ordinarily, I just took care of the books.  His mother lived with us until a care facility was necessary, and I was working for Nintendo of America.  My title was an Advanced Super Agent.  I just didn’t receive a cape.  They paid me to read, write, talk, do the Elmo folio updating for the Correspondence area, and to play games.  It was a fantastic position.



Fiona: Tell us your latest news? 

Earthbound, Book 1 of the Chronicles of the Maca continues to sell.  I’ve just sent in Book 6 of the series.  It is called Fall and Rise of the Macas.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I was probably in the sixth grade in the one room schoolhouse.  We had to write a story for English.  I wrote about the Wandering Jew.  The other girls (two in number) in the class liked it so much, they wanted a romance.  I wrote it.  They loved it, and I thought it was rather insipid.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

I can’t really date that.  I was writing for the Lutheran Women Missouri Synod League’s local booklet and sometimes newsletter when someone stole one of my columns and put it in the Phoenix paper’s Women’s section.  I immediately began a writing course by mail.  I felt I could at least sell one of the children’s stories I made up our children.  It’s hard to believe, but the first one I sent in sold.  None of my other short stories did.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

It was writing that silly romance at school when I was in the sixth grade.  I decided to write something that I would enjoy reading.  I immediately made it a Western and had Comanche Warriors attack a Texan cabin with the mother and children inside.  I killed off everyone but the daughter and one son.  My brother who was attending the University of Iowa laughed and laughed.  “You can’t do that,” he declared.  I put it away, but kept dragging it out over the years trying to make it work.  I finally resurrected Anna, the mother, and everything fell into place.  It was my husband that encouraged me to continue writing the novel.  He always liked my stories.  He wanted to read the end of Gather The Children. That did not happen, but the book is dedicated to him.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? 

It would best be described as straight forward story telling.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I erred in going to a vanity company for the first written one which was Gather The Children, now Book 2 of the series.  They insisted The Gathering couldn’t be used.  My older brother had changed his mind about my ability to tell a Western/Science Fiction Adventure story and suggested Gather The Children.  I wasn’t going to write Earthbound, but Anna persisted and it has become Book 1 of the series, and also my best seller.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That no matter who you are, or where you are from, it is family, love, and children that are the core of any being’s makeup.  Without the love and companionship, one withers inside.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I write science fiction, but the human issues are things that may or have happened.  It was easy to describe how hard a woman had to work if there was no running water in the house.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

The Bible has influenced me the most.  Them the eleven volumes of Will and Ariel Durant’s Story of Civilization.  It is possible I had two mentors.  One was Pastor Kaning who taught the catechism lessons at my church.  He awakened and strengthened a life-long love of history.  The other would be my brother Norman who laughed so uproariously at the thought of his little sister writing a book where people die.  He made sure I had such books as the Four Georges, Vanity Fair, then F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, Thomas Wolfe’s novels like You Can’t Go Home Again, Krafft-Ebing (he did ask that I keep the latter from our Mother), and introduced me to science fiction.



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?

Will Durant the historian is my favorite, then James Clavell for fiction.  Clavell combined history with a family saga stretching for generations.  There are others, but those two stand out in my mind.


Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. 

That is a difficult question as an entity is a separate thing.  It could be a church, a business, or a school.  The church has its own mission.  Since I have been published some of the members have purchased my novels, but not many.  When someone says, “writing is a lonely business,” they are correct.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? 

It seems to have become one.


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

In my latest published one, Thalia and Earth, I might change a word or two, but no, I would not change the story.  The same holds true for the one I just sent into Creativia.


Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I believe that was answered above.  Schoolmates decided they liked my story and asked for more.  Then my children loved the stories I made up.  There is a powerful tale within my family that I would love to write, but that would cause distress.  It cannot be done.



Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

This is Chapter 1 of The Silver and the Green.

Chapter 1:  The Day of Burning

The Teacher staggered into the small cave overlooking the darkened prairie.  The northwest skyline was a sea of orange-red flames dancing against a blackened skyline. He had fled from the fire raging at the Western Star Shift Institute. He turned to the north and saw the yellow glow emanating from the distant black resin wells and in the sky the Pathway of the Way to the Stars was gone.  Tears flowed down his face to mingle with the sweat that poured down his face and chest.

His hands were bleeding from scraping the rocks, his cassock was tattered from his headlong flight, and his black skull cap lost somewhere along the trail. His breath came in ragged pants and he felt as though his chest was being crushed. It has to be here was the thought that drove him higher into the deepening dark greening night towards the cave the old Teacher had told him about.

Upon reaching the opening, he sank to his knees and offered a prayer for the keeping of the Way. Then he removed the burden from his back and stood, his eyes trying to see in the darkness. Slowly he circled the cave and knocked his shins against the metal chest. He put his head down on it to rest. His breath was improving in here where the green air had not completely penetrated. He opened the chest True Man had left. There was an old blanket, a metal cup, a pot, and a pan. No chickolet tea remained. A shame, thought the Teacher, a last cup would have been a fitting thank you to the man who had once saved Tonath.

He removed the wrapping from the outside of his bundle and put the contents into the chest. With luck it would remain here until the next Teacher found it. If there is a new Teacher, the thought returned to haunt him. He had been remiss in not naming a replacement and writing out his predictions, but he had never believed he should have been The Teacher. When the old Teacher died of a sudden heart attack, the Brotherhood had elected him simply because he was so complacent. He knew it. He had no special talent and now the Day of Burning was upon Tonath. The Star Shift and the 1,000 days of burning so long predicted had arrived. He closed the metal lid and laid the wrap over the chest. The silver embroidery that outlined the Way to the Stars was lost in the gloom.

The Teacher tried to stand and found he had not the strength. His breath was labored, ragged pants. He crawled to the opening. He would open his arms to the Pathway of the Way. At the opening he lay prone with his arms outstretched and tried to chant, but his throat closed and he grabbed at it, trying, trying to pull away this force making his lungs compress.

At first nothing disturbed the bulk lying at the entrance. Then hunger drove the insects to inspect this possible food treasure. Some were able to dine, others were left hungry.

By the tenth day a green-brown, four-legged rodent was tearing at the clothes with his sharp teeth and taking clumps of rotted flesh in his mouth before scurrying back to his newly made hole and emerge again the next day to feast.

By the light of a green moon, a larger quadruped snuffled at the figure consumed with doubt by the way the creature smelled. Slowly, it backed away and continued towards the mountains.

Time, wind, rodents and insects had their way and the bones turned to dust.


Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Time to do all that I want to do.


Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not so far.


Fiona: Who designed the covers? 

The design team at Creativia.


Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Once again the time element.


Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

Yes, with all the research I did for the first three and then for the others, I have discovered fascinating titbits from the history of the United States, and so much about medical problems that I did not know.  The terminology of the latter makes my head feel swollen.



Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

Only the actor called “The Rock, Dwayne Johnson comes close to being big enough to play MacDonald, and even he is several inches too short.  Nicole Kidman would be the perfect Anna.



Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Write, write, write, and for the new ones, never give up.  Learn how to format for an ebook and use Amazon Kindle, their Create Space, and Noble & Barnes Nook to publish.


Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?  

Enjoy the journey through old time Earth and the planet of Thalia or Tonath.



Fiona: What book are you reading now? 

I’m reading a mystery called Murder on the Mersey, and, of course, a chapter out of the Bible each morning.



Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes, it is difficult to say how much I read, but it was A Child’s Garden of Verses.  Then it was one of the Bobsey Twin stories.  This was before I started Kindergarten.



Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I really don’t cry.  I did have tears in my eyes when my husband, and now, my son died.  Absurdities will make me laugh as quickly as a joke would.



Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

I would really have liked to have met Martin Luther, but since I don’t speak German, I wouldn’t understand a word he said.  Will Durant is another option.  Then I could ask him who he considered the more brilliant:  Julius Caesar or Martin Luther.



Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ? 

She was a Child of God.  I can think of no more fitting attribute.



Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I once was quite proficient at baking and cooking.  I even made up my own recipes, but cooking for one person ended that.



Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? 

Ancient Aliens is a hoot.  So is the Big Bang Theory.  The only films I’ve seen in the last few years were all of the Harry Potter films.



Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music  

I can’t say I have a favorite food.  I almost everything.  Blue is my color of choice.  I like the fifties Rock ‘N Roll, classical music, folk songs, and certain jazz pieces.



Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Heavens, I did it.  I was a receptionist for John Robert Powers in Phoenix, worked as a bookkeeper for a loan company, then as a collector.  In Washington, I kept the books for my husband’s construction company and work for Nintendo of America. I was also the care giver for my mother-in-law for nineteen years, a wife and mother for many more.



Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

I seldom write a blog anymore, but you will find all my novels and anthologies at

You’ll also find them at:

Barnes & Noble doesn’t have any of the electronic books, but they have all the printed copies, plus two short stories.  One is free.

Links to my novels and anthologies:

Earthbound, Book 1                 

Gather The Children, Book 2

Before We Leave, Book 3        

Return of the Maca, Book 4     

Thalia and Earth, Book 5          

Man, True Man                         

Twisted Tales From The Desert            

Twisted Tales From The Northwest

Twisted Tales From The Universe