Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Mary Andrews

Welcome to another edition of Writers' Wednesday! Today's featured author is Mary Andrews. Enjoy!

Welcome, Mary! Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am the eldest of seven children born and raised in the military (US Air Force). I have built the cabs of CAT graters, refitted the tails of Cobra helicopters, done electronic assembly, been a relay operator for the deaf, a licensed airframe mechanic, the editor/founder of Gorbash (a now defunct magazine for aspiring artists and writers in the 80’s) AND a managed a shop as a Gypsy merchant. But all I’ve ever really wanted was to write...and get published. This dream came into fruition when Swimming Kangaroo published The Fireborn Chronicles in late October 2007.

Wow...what interesting experiences! What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Join a writer’s group. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Keep a copy of your original manuscript and save it. Then try out some of the suggestions from the group. If it is better, change it, if not don’t. Leave your ego at the door. If the group does not help u, find another. There are many good ones online: Lea Schizas Muse it up club, Long Story Short’s Writing Friend, Critters are all good starts.

Also, attend online conventions and locate good writing sites. The world has become the size of a Keyboard. Networking works.

When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

When I begin a story, I begin by brainstorming on a piece a paper. I decide what kind of story I want to write and what market I’m targeting. Then I decide who/what my main characters are. I start at the beginning and spiral out with ‘what ifs.’ Eventually something will take shape and I have some idea of what I want to do.

Then, I open a document on the computer and start listing my scenes (i.e.: introduce characters: boy arrives at new school...he meets girl in biology class... when school lets out he sees her forced into an expensive dark car but doesn’t reach her in time and nobody seems to have even noticed...teacher takes him to office and calls parents to get him...)

I just run through the whole story like this, then I separate each scene so that there are only one per line. That becomes my basic outline. I can now fluff out each scene and fill in specifics, and I can add new scenes as needed. I keep my headers pretty general at first to help determine sequence but that can all change too if I decide.

Once I’m writing scenes, I’m pretty well along for the ride myself since the characters tend to take over and direct how things happen. The advantage to this method on the computer is that you do not have to refer to the outline, it is right there on the page as you go and you just fill in the blanks as you go. Helps to keep you on track but can be changed too.

After the story is first draft completed, I activate the TRACK CHANGES option and go back thru again. Then I go back and choose what to keep and what to lose...check GRAMMAR, SPELLING, READABILITY & WORD COUNT.

Then I take it to a writers’ group, let it sit for a while, and then rewrite with a fresh eye and the groups suggestions in mind. Then I take it thru a couple of people who haven’t seen it before and hopefully it’s ready to go and I start the process for marketing it.

That's some great insight and advice for our readers. Now, what do you like to do when you're not writing?

Puppets. I like to make and sell stick puppets, and tiny silver wire dragons (all from one piece of silver nickel wire)..

Very cool! Anything else you’d like to mention?

Yes. My website contains lots of information and links to other sites for writers as well as a sample chapter of The Fireborn Chronicles and direct links to buy it.

Also, I have just signed another contract with Swimming Kangaroo to publish The Fireborn Chronicles Book II. (smile)

Terrific! Thanks so much for being here today, Mary - and good luck with all your future writing~

Thank you for inviting me, Allie!


Devon Gray said...

What an intersting background, Mary. Truly a jack of all trades! I'm glad you've settled into your passion. Congratulations on your success!

Devon Gray

The Blonde Duck said...

Nice to meet you! Congrats on your new novel!

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Thank you for another wonderful interview. It is so interesting to hear how other writers go about their craft.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Allie. Thanks!

windycindy said...

I would love to see one of her handmade dragons! Her background certainly isn't boring! My husband's dad is retired Air Force. Thanks for the introduction to this author and her book. Cindi

Mary Andrews said...

Thanks everyone, and especially Allie for interviewing me. (You have a very nice blog.)

As for the wire dragon, Cindi, I have a couple of pix on my myspace site in the Tornado Gallery album:

Again, thanks. (Now back to work--I've got an impending deadline to beat. ttfn =]

--Mary Andrews