If you want to enjoy the Iceland tradition of Happy Jolabokafloo (our post yesterday), then celebrate Christmas by giving a book. We have a suggestion!

Mary Coley, an author, recently joined our circle of sisterhood – Call Me Sister.  We thought it would be fun to ask her a few interview-type questions.

I love the idea that Mary’s favorite writing spot is in a window-filled room looking out on nature.  I’m a great believer that nature inspires, develops, magnifies our creativity.  Mary’s favorite authors give a hint of her love for crime, mystery and “Whodunit” literature-no doubt, inspiring her to try her hand at a little suspense of her own.

Mary-coley-framed corrected

Were you the girl in high school daydreaming about writing poetry and the great American novel?
Mary: I became interested in writing in Junior High. In the 8th grade, I wrote a complete novel! It was a ‘spy’ thriller. The ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ was popular at the time, and my book was about a girl who was recruited to be a spy!

Who are a few of your favorite authors?
I enjoy Jodi Picoult, Nevada Barr, Dean Koontz, Tess Gerritsen, Dick Francis, Marcia Muller, Nancy Pickard and so many more. My father had an extensive library at home and once I learned to read, I read everything. His interest was primarily in mystery, so in grade school I was reading Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), Daphne du Maurier and even Ian Fleming (James Bond). I also read books more appropriate for my age, like the Nancy Drew series, Hardy Boys, etc.

Is mystery your favorite genre for reading as well as writing?
Mary: Definitely. I also used to read a lot of romantic suspense: Sidney Sheldon, Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Higgins Clark and even some historical romances. I haven’t read a lot of it recently.
Note from Bonnie ~ I love Mary’s confession that she read Romance novels in the past, but not so much anymore.  I, too, tired of the paperback covers showing Fabio’s flowing hair, muscled arms embracing some damsel in distress – and the image of a love-forlorn women sitting in her bed, eating bonbons and dreaming of love.

What feedback about your books have you most enjoyed?
Mary: It’s always wonderful to hear that someone was unable to put the book down from page 1, and also that they loved and were surprised by the ending.

Writers block-is it a real thing?
Mary: For writers who are financially dependent on cranking out novels or articles on a regular basis, it probably is. The creative mind cannot be forced to perform. Ideas come when they come. A writer who is trying to write a ‘best seller’ or a book that would make a good movie and be profitable, could suffer from writer’s block because it is ‘forced’ writing, not coming from their heart.

Do you have a favorite place in your home where you prefer to write?
Mary: I have to be able to see outside when I write. My writing room is a small sunroom on the southeast corner of my house. I have a window wall and a view of our wooded back yard – beautiful in all four seasons.

Writers are notoriously superstitious-do you have a routine that you follow to guarantee success when you put pen to paper?
Mary: I’m not superstitious about writing. The story comes, usually while I’m typing on the computer. I generate ideas while I am driving, or taking a walk – when I let my mind drift.

When did you decide to make your novel a series?
Mary: After I wrote Cobwebs: A Suspense Novel, set in Oklahoma, I received lots of questions about Jamie, my main character. What happened to her? As she was visiting an aunt in the first novel, she definitely had to go back home. But to what? Her husband had died months before Cobwebs, and she had a lot of unresolved issues. So I tackled them, in the New Mexico town where she had lived in the second mystery, Ant Dens. The mystery of her step-daughter’s disappearance became linked to her deceased husband’s early life. Then, I began to call these books The Family Secret Series. The third mystery, Beehives, involves a secret Jamie’s mother kept close to her heart. We’re back in Oklahoma again for this book.

What’s next?
Mary: In 2016, I’m leaving Jamie behind for awhile. My next book The Ravine is being released by Wild Rose Press in the spring. It is suspense and women’s fiction. The setting is my own neighborhood in Tulsa, where three families are in turmoil when a stray black dog runs onto their ‘hill.’ I expect that will be book 1 of the Black Dog Series which will follow those families and their neighbors. I’ll come back to Jamie, or a family member, in books later.

Enjoy a good read by Goodreads mystery author Mary Coley.  Suspense ~ maybe in your pajamas with chocolate like the Iceland tradition of Happy Jolabokafloo!
Mary’s novels are available online at amazon.com and other book sellers. 

Book 1 Cobwebs     Book 2 Ant Dens     Book 3 Beehives

Website: www.marycoley.com
Blog: www.marycoley.me
Facebook: Mary Coley Author
Pinterest: Mary Coley mmcint2415.