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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Author Interview: Mallary Mitchell

The Long and the Short of It is pleased to welcome Mallary Mitchell, author of Virginia Creeper, released this month from Wings e-Press.

When I asked Mallary what got her interested in writing, she said, “I really don’t know. It was just something I had to do.” She began writing songs, then moved to stories. “I began reading romance when my family moved when I was ten,” she told me. “My grandmother loved Harlequin romances. She and I would get those and spend an afternoon reading together. She was a wonderful person and later in life was bedridden. She got so much joy from those sweet romances; it made me want to write them.”

An injury in 2001 gave her the down time she needed to get serious about her writing.

Mallary has several works published with Wings e-Press and The Wild Rose Press, plus several in progress. She told me that normally the plot comes to her first. She might go by a house or pick up a brocher and will get a spark of a plot. One of the books she’s currently working on came about just that way. “I have a book entitled The Widow’s Ransom,” she said. “In writing this title, I accidentally spelled it The Window’s Ransom. That sparked the plot for my current project with the working title: The Lady in the Window. A young man falls in love with a stained glass image of a beautiful woman who comes alive in his dreams.

Once Mallary has that spark, she hashes out what’s going to happen in a rough synopsis. “When they’re ready,” she said, “the characters just appear.”

One thing interesting about Mallary’s characters. She doesn’t want anyone in her books to have the same name as someone she knows. “Maybe it’s not a bad thing,” she told me. “It really makes me dig for names.”

In her opinion, strong characters and a strong plot are the most important elements in a good book. “A story with perfect punctuation,” she explained, “can still be flat and unengaging to a reader. Grammar is very integral, but I would just encourage people to write from the heart, then go back and make corrections.”

When she gets frustrated from writing or she’s having trouble plotting a scene, she takes a break and heads to her sewing machine. “Seeing a finished garment (and yes, I am brave, I sew clothes) or a quilt gives a wonderful sense of completion,” she said. “I love to sew.”

However, ironing isn’t top on her list of fun things to do. When I asked her what scientists should invent she told me, “Chocolate bars with no calories. That’s a definite need. Clothes that don’t wrinkle would be nice too.”

Strange, little known facts about Mallary:

-She has the habit of writing both cursive and print...in the same document.

-When she was three, she ate her sister’s pom-poms. “Well,” she amends, “part of them. My mother caught me. I just remember they were tasty.” She laughed. “I must have had some kind of mineral deficiency.”

-She has pets that aren’t the norm. Her favorite animal is the Red Bearded Dragon. “They are lizards native to Australia,” she explained, “and are the sweetest little things. I can’t have anything with fur—too allergic, but last year my son brought his Beardie over. It crawled up in my lap, snuggled down and went to sleep. I was hooked. I have two adorable Beardies now, Morrison and Smeagol.”

You can keep up with Mallary on her website, http://www.mallarymitchell.us

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