Mary wrote for ten years before having her first book published. When she did get her first contract she had twenty finished books on her computer at home. She had just enough encouragement through those ten long years to keep on writing.
She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award.
The following is an April 2013 interview with Mary.
I write Romantic Comedy with Cowboys. I am a Rita and Christy Award finalist and a two time Carol Award winner. Swept Away, which released in March is my 26th book. I'm married to a farmer/rancher and I have four adult daughters.
How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
I started writing with the goal of getting a book published when my baby went to high school. I suppose I always wanted to be an author but to me, out here in rural Nebraska, it seemed like an impossible dream that one of my books could someday be on a bookstore shelf.
The strange pastime of sitting behind a computer makin’ stuff up … well, who knows where that comes from. And who knows why I started it, really. What was I thinking??? I wrote my first story, a romance novel I can barely remember, when I was about twelve. I have no idea what happened to it.
When I was a young wife I wrote a lot of odd short ‘slice of life’ stories that I still have and should always keep just to remind me that I have improved. My girls’ baby books are just covered with writing, I preferred writing to pictures. It’s just so natural to me to express myself with the written word.
How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? First and foremost I want to entertain. That's what I write my books for, to just make them as fun and fast paced and engaging as I possibly can. I also have some things I simply will not write. I have a Christian world view and I'm not going to write things that I would be ashamed for my family to read. So I hope people who read my books have a lot of good clean fun.
What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? One of the things I really love to hear from readers is that a mother is sharing my books with her daughter. A grandmother, daughter and granddaughter are all reading them. I love the idea that my books could stretch across generations and be fun for all of them.
I feel like God has given me this season of life. To be a published author in the world of Christian fiction, I just hope, it is my fervent prayer, that my words are worthy of the blessing I've been given and that I can say more than I am capable of saying. That God uses and blesses my words for His purpose.
Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? Being the published author of 26 books (and counting) is so wonderful. I had in my most private dreams that I could not only get a book published but have a career as an author. Every good and blessed thing that happens in my life now is just more than I had ever hoped for. I consider myself very blessed and my wants are all minor and most extras. I have everything I want.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I read and do Sudoku puzzles and crossword puzzles. I know, very sedentary…like it'd kill me to talk a walk once in a while.
Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't all that upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. She prayed for a chance to get away, and then came the raging flood. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke Stone...so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.
Luke is heading home to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men who killed his father are working hard to ensure Luke doesn't make it alive. He has no choice but to keep moving. Still, he can't just abandon Ruthy, so she'll have to come along.
His friends--a ragtag group of former Civil War soldiers--take a fast interest in the pretty gal. Luke thinks that's rather rude--he's the one who found her. And the more time he spends around the hard-working young woman who is a mighty good cook, the more he finds himself thinking beyond revenge and toward a different future. For the first time in a long time, Luke is tempted to turn from his destructive path and be swept away by love.
Swept Away (Trouble in Texas #1)
[Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?
Swept Away is book #1 in the Trouble in Texas Series. Book #2 Fired Up, comes in August. In the meantime I have a novella releasing in the collection A Bride for All Seasons and also an old book Petticoat Ranch, that was out of print, the first book I ever had published, has re-released just this month.
Petticoat Ranch (Lassoed in Texas #1) - Mass Market Edition
[Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
Calico Canyon (Lassoed in Texas #2) - Mass Market Edition
[Pre-Order: Amazon.com | Purchase: Amazon Kindle]
Fired Up (Trouble in Texas #2)
A Bride for All Seasons
[Pre-Order: Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle]
I just love the idea that someone in New Zealand might know about my books. The world-wide-ness of it all makes me smile and shake my head in wonder. I think of all countries American compares in a lot of ways to the Australia-New Zealand part of the world. I don't do much traveling but I'd love to see New Zealand and Australia.
Do you have any parting words?
Thank you so much for having me on Soul Inspirationz. Find me online at Seekerville, Petticoats & Pistols, My Blog, and My Website. Sign up for my Newsletter, Like me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter.