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Sunday, 17 February 2008
Getting to Know Mary Andrews
Topic: Author Interview
Mary Andrews the person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

creative, generous, idealistic

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

      Interesting (?)

3.   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.                    

 I hate waste. Nothing makes me happier than to turn something that has been deemed worthless into a piece of art or a functional item. 

4.     Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

My husband and I cohabitate with 4 indoor cats. 

Taz, my husband's owner, is a huge tabby with Burmese roots. He is the enforcer of rules. All family felines must salute him.

Diamond was born on Mother's day and is a world builder. (He moonlights as a cat burglar and has quite a sense of humor.)  From the start he has set out to teach us how to get along.  He trained me, then my husband, and then one by one he taught each of the other cats what standards they should aspire to and how to achieve them...even the dog.  

Sable is the backyard matriarch of our black cat brigade out back.  She came to us with a damaged leg and we could never get close enough to fix it for her.  Since her health was really bad back then, I had to help her deliver 7 kittens, and she eventually left them under my bench when she knew she could not raise them. 

The lovely little Lilly is the only survivor of that litter.  She has digestive problems and had to be hand fed.  In fact, she was so small that she wore all the hair off of her back while fighting to feed among her adopted siblings (one of which is Diamond).  No matter how hard she fought, no matter what she did, eventually everybody grew large enough to out rank her.  She hates being taken for granted.  (Diamond will frequently stop in the middle of scuffling with her and clean his paws as if she is not there.  She hates that.)  So she remains aloof from the others, keeping interactions brief, and she allows them to live-but not use HER litter box. 

Ichigo Haze is our newest addition to the household. He is one of Sable's grandsons.  When 3 of the backyard cats (all but one of which are black, by the way) decided to have litters almost all at once last year, Ichigo was put in the unfortunate position of being one of the last born.  That meant that when the mommas decided to wean all the young at once, the littlest ones were cut loose earlier than they should've been.  Ichigo has a reddish haze to his black fur so I originally called him Haze. I'd never seen a cat/kitten throw itself on its back and beg for more petting like he does.  That's how he got named Ichigo: from top to bottom, he almost seems itchy, itchy, itchy.  Somehow, he developed some kind of sinus problem but his playfulness and loving disposition scored him an indoor pass despite the fact that we did not intend to be taken in by any more wanna-be house cats.  Oh well.  He currently fills the position of everybody's (except Lilly's) cuddle baby.

And then there's Tech, a fat little minipin who lives to eat.  He won't fetch, play tug-a-war, catch Frisbees, or mind half the time.  I swear he's ADD.  But for some reason, he keeps petitioning everyone who comes by to steal him away.

5.     What is your most precious memory?

I spent days trying to answer this and the next questions, and I finally came to the conclusion, that I can't single out a single one-there have just been so many....

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

same as above

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Collecting a paycheck from whomever offers me the most money and making due with what I've got while dabbling in the arts/crafts.

8.     In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

 Author Mary Andrews died yesterday of a stroke after winning the World Uber Lotto.  Though only 207 years old, her FMO was unable to save her.  In an uncommonly generous last act, she thrust her cybernetic donor card into the care of the EMS team.   There will be many, many, many friends and relatives left behind- now.

 (Oh come on, what did you expect?  I'm a science fiction writer!)

Mary Andrews the writer:

9.   Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

When my first reviews started coming out, and people said they liked the book is probably when it really started to sink in.  I mean, you spend so much time getting critiques and striving to perfect your craft.  You start second guessing yourself.  It was perhaps a revelation to me that readers do not read exclusively to test the art of writing.  They read to be entertained, and can value a good story even above technique.

10.    What is going on with your writing these days?

I'm currently writing The Fireborn Chronicles: Book II.  It has been contracted by Swimming Kangaroo to be sent to the editors on September 1st.

11.   What are your future goals for your writing?

To put out at least one Fireborn book a year.  Also, I need to find homes for several short stories.

12.   Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I crawl out of bed, splash water in my face, pet and brush the cats, let the dog out, feed the cats, eat breakfast, have coffee, decide my priorities and turn on the laptop. I spend about an hour or two a day on email and business things, and then I try to write during the day by putting on my head phones and playing my writing music. (A few decades ago, when I first started writing, I had kids and a husband and a time table to contend with, so I decided to go Pavlov on myself to expedite the creative process.  After the family was all bedded down, I would take a glass of Pepsi to my desk and turn on a tape of Intergalactic Touring band and Alan Parson's I Robot.  I let it  softly play over and over in the background while I wrote.  To this day, whenever I  turn those two albums on, I go creative-and crave a coke.) 

Any way, if life doesn't get in my way via phone calls and natural disasters, I can spend hours in that mode once I've gotten it going.  But usually, I wait til after 10pm and just stay up all night when there are fewer distractions.  Recently, I have found it easier to do rewrites and corrections to previously written sections in the daytime, and to do the original drafts at night.  I have found it very handy to only need 5 hours of sleep too.

13.    Why do you write?

Because I could not afford to become an artist.  Art supplies and training is costly.  Music is the same way, but I am compelled to create things one way or another and I still dabble at these art forms, turning ‘trash' to treasures. 

 So I guess it just seemed more possible to learn the art of writing.  I  started out with a pencil and paper and ‘a song in my heart.'  At my first Sci Fi convention I was amazed to see all the opportunities amidst the fun and games.  I payed my way into them with ceramic unicorns and craft items in the dealer halls.  And the conventions introduced me to professional writers who sat in panels and gave me the benefit of their considerable knowledge in the field. 

I learned from them first.  Then formed writers groups, a fanzine for aspiring writers, Gorbash, which gave me an excuse to approach the pros and interview them.  Life got in my way for a little while there and I was reduced to writing short things like poetry and songs or short stories for a while before I stabilized and got back on my feet again and finally finished my book.

By then, the internet had arrived and it erupted into an enormous wealth of information. FREE Online conventions brought opportunities and knowledge. (I attended and took notes for 30 classes at my first Muse Online Convention), and when I submitted the opening 10 pages of The Fireborn Chronicles as part of an assignment to be critiqued by Dindy Robinson, the head of Swimming Kangaroo Publisher, and the rest is history.  What an adventure, huh?

As I wrote this, I got to wondering if the cost of art supplies was really that much more expensive that writing equipment since though I started paper and pencil, I then moved on to a manual typewriter, an electric typewriter, a second hand Kaypro ‘portable' computer, a refurbished second hand IBM laptop, and now my brand spankin new wide screen Hewlett Packard laptop and notebook cooler. 

Hmmm...maybe I write because it is therapeutic.  Maybe because I like the challenge of following long what-if scenarios to see where they lead me or maybe I'm just reflecting the wonder of God's creation all around me.  Who knows why anyone does anything really? 

14.   What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Tough question.  The most current one would be J K Rowland.  Her easy-to-read, no nonsense style of story telling is perfect for modern readers.  Though the first three short stories in The Fireborn Chronicles were written in other styles, the main body of Part four was inspired by her style.

15.    How do you define your writing?

 Psionic sci fi: The inevitable fusion of Man, Machine, and the Paranormal.

16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

 I love her books.

Mary Andrews the details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

 On my website home page, I provide ‘Me sightings' as well. (see below for address.)

18.   Is there a place where readers can reach you?  Be sure to leave your email address in correspondences if you want me to respond though because they do not automatically register.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

 Until next year when the sequel comes out it's The Fireborn Chronicles

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

 As the Nemesis team searches the stars, prepare to be distracted from work and leave your troubles behind.  Uh...I suspect it would go good with coffee too.   (smile) 

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

My life has been very hard and very trying.  Writing is both a passion and an outlet for me. Amidst my poverty, it has been a form of art that I can afford to learn and practice and I am driven to create.  Feel free to pronounce character names and fill in any blanks you may find in my books.  I want my readers to become a part of the creative experience, and to enjoy it. I believe that every work of art, be it a puppet or a gown or a piece of written fiction has a ‘life' of its own.  Its ‘flavor' is meant to be tasted.  Nothing (other than perhaps an exorbitant amount of financial recompense) could make me happier than to know that my books and I were entertaining.  

Enjoy the ride.

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008 1:31 AM EST
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