Monday, May 3, 2010

Meet the author, Mary Andrews

Today my guest is Mary Andrews. Mary is a new author with MuseItUp Publishing. Her book, The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances, is scheduled for a December, 2010 release. Mary is here today to discuss her writing and her books.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances
THEY’RE BACK! Once again the Dark Ops crew of the Nemesis is called into action. When a former team member is kidnapped on a Hive drug mining planet both the Universal Government and the new Corporate Overlord have to respond.

For the first time the Nemesis team and the Corporate Archangels join forces against a psychic vampire, his strange twin brother, and the Oracle menace threatening their universe. But is anything truly what it seems?

This is book 2 of The Fireborn Series.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I guess I got the idea from life itself. Times have become hard enough lately that it’s easy to wonder if a person really has much control at all over their own lives. I sat down and thought about the roles that destiny, perspective and free will play in a person’s life. So, if destiny forges us to play a role in the universe, is it servitude or slavery?

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I like to consider myself a full time writer but I’ve got my heart set on becoming an organized writer. Efficiency is everything. In today’s market, it’s part of the business to handle social media, blogs, websites, blog tours, interviews, appearances—and all of that is after you sell the book. Before that you’ve got to have mastered your craft, produced a worthy product, summarized into: one sentence, one paragraph and two pages, and then designed a short and long synopsis. Every agent and publisher has a different set of requirements for submittal... The sooner a writer finds a way to handle all these pesky factors, the sooner they can keep to a productive writing schedule.

Since everybody has to work within the parameters of their own circumstances it’s hard to give specific advice but I’ve found it handy to start by working with a timer. I downloaded a free stop watch called COOL TIMER. Then I took a short song that I really like and replaced their horrible fog horn alarm so I don’t die of a heart attack when it goes off. (I like the tune so much, sometimes I’ll go another round of writing just to hear it again—but I’m like that.) SPECIAL NOTE: Using the timer to check email, update sites, social media, etc can really help a person get a handle on where the hours go too.

But back to writing: I like to race against the timer for one to two hours a day or until I get at least one thousand words. When everything is running smoothly I also try to sit down every day at the same time to do so. I believe in Pavlov. I donn my magical head phones and play INTERGALACTIC TOURING BAND/ALAN PARSON’S I ROBOT in a loop. Without fail I’m ready to write...and I crave a coke (side affect of the system from when I first started).

The key to productive writing is to think about whatever you want to write about in advance. It’s not necessary to go into specifics, just give it some thought while you’re doing other thing throughout the day. I work one or two scenes at a time. I say, in this scene I want to introduce how the corporate Archangels operate differently from the Nemesis team and then I just peruse the options. I may even come up with my opening sentence for that scene but when I start the clock, it’s all about writing. Word count is king. Revision is how I warm up for the next round.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I realized that writing a book was as exciting as reading one. I’m what they call a seat-of-the-pants writer. I know my beginning and I think I know my ending and then I cut the characters loose with a general outline. In The Fireborn Chronicles: The Finding (book 1) even I was shocked when I found out who Tristen’s target was. I had been just tap tapping away at the keyboard when all of a sudden it came to me. I guess it’s like Zen writing because it always works like that. All the clues are there and everything but I’m too dense to see it until it’s time; a reverse Alzheimer’s perhaps.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Escape. In a world full of problems and hardships, I want to give my readers a vacation.
I know I sure enjoy the one I take writing it.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve never cared much for reality but speculation enticing so I prefer Science Fiction to all other genres. I believe we are currently front row witnesses to the inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal. Speculation and elaboration may help us avoid pitfalls in the future...and we should always practice expanding our boundaries.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Fear. It is hard to throw your baby before a train to see if it has super human powers. No sooner do I master one thing and there always seems to be another at the door. It is a very taxing thing to keep up a productive momentum. And then, every time I think I’m getting ahead in this rat race someone enters a new rat...and it’s bigger than mine.

In this way, writing is the same as living. We learn by doing. ‘No guts—no glory.’ If I write a bad book, I’m sure someone will tell me. I’ll learn from my mistakes and do better next time. No one can be a loser until they fail and if a person hasn’t given up on something, it hasn’t failed.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

They say an author’s first book is autobiographical. I think they all are. There’s a little bit of me in all my characters but if I had to pick one reality based concept out it would have to be Tristen’s blindness. Back in the 1980’s I walked into a room where some dweebs were having a rubber band fight and caught one in the eye. A few days later I had a full blown rash of herpetic ulcers in first one and then the other eye. (Cold sores are viral, it seems, and though I’ve never had a cold sore in my life, I now had ulcers in my eyes.) Back then all they could do was put acid on the tip of a Q tip, cauterize it and then treat the eye while it healed. I always assumed I’d be blind some day so I began to think on that when I was creating my characters.

The land of ‘what if’ is a strange place and that is where I came up with the idea of having Tristen surgically blinded by her people so that other mental pathways could be developed, trained and enhanced to give her the abilities she’ll need to save her world as predicted. (Ironically enough, though physically blind, she now sees through the eyes of others around her.)

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
That’s a tricky question. I have four protagonists in this complex tale. I guess one could be my father, one my son, one my husband and the one that links them all together could be me. Hmm. Never thought of that before...hmm.

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I research all the time, even when I don’t realize it. I researched the names and characterizations/history of Archangels, rappelling, parachute/hand gliding, some time/dimensional wormhole theories, anti-gravity theories, weather current tendencies (I didn’t think I was ever going to get those characters off that frozen mountain), gravitational weather control theories, you know stuff like that ...but you won’t realize any of it because I don’t write hard sci fi—believe it or not.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
12) What about your book makes it special?
Like I said before, The Fireborn Chronicles incorporates a fusion of man, machine and the paranormal.

13) What is your marketing plan?
I’m going to try my hand at social media this time around, blog tours, interviews, a Manic Readers site, blogging, tagging, some Amazon promo options still available from book 1, and signing up with MuseItUp Publishing--one of the most industrious publishing houses I’ve ever seen.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
(I have a sample chapter from The Fireborn Chronicles: The Finding and will soon put one up for The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances)
TWITTER: FB_Chronicles
FACEBOOK: Mary Andrews
MANIC READER: (sneak preview excerpts from Resonances though it is still in editing.)

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Check out THE SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS OF AMERICA for this subject. Their site CRITTERS is chocked full of wholesome good advice for one and all.

AND: sci fi critique/workshops/ resources:

For a special treat, Lea Schizas, publisher for MuseItUp Publishing is hosting a Meet the Publisher, Editors, Authors and Cover Artist of MuseItUp and MuseItHOT! Publishing tonight at 9 P.M. EST, in the general chatroom of MuseItUp. Mary’s book is one which will be given away to a lucky winner. Please see guidelines listed below and plan on stopping by.

They're new and eager to meet and let everyone know who they are, what books they have coming out, and have you meet some of the authors, editors and cover artist.
To register: send an email to museitupeditor AT yahoo DOT ca in the body of the email include your name and email address on the subject heading place Muse Publishing.

The authors will be on hand to take questions and discuss their upcoming books, and the publisher will be there to answer any questions you may have about submissions and what genres we accept. Our editors will be on hand to answer any worry you may have about changing a writer's voice during the editing stage, and talk about their two-step process before a book goes into the final stage.

For those attending they'll draw names for our upcoming December e-books as door prizes. Your names will be kept on file and as soon as the e-book is released they'll send you your prize.

E-books to be won:
A Taste of Terror by Chastity Bush (Paranormal Romance)
Fallon O'Reilly and the Ice Queen's Lair by Debra K. Dunlap (YA Fantasy)
The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances by Mary Andrews (Sci-Fi)
For the Love of Rei by Tigra-Luna LeMar (IR Hot & Sizzling Romance-Adult Content)
Harvest Moon by Krista D. Ball (Paranormal Fantasy)
Santa is a Lady by LJ Holmes (Romance - Christmas theme)
The Ghost of Grover's Ridge by James Hartley (Urban Fantasy)

So seven lucky winners on May 3rd will have December gifts coming their way.
The chat room link is found at .

Once in the chat room, if you haven't already done so, you need to REGISTER not LOG IN first to place a username and password. Once you get a confirmation email then you can log in and join them in the General chat room.

TIP: Register before May 3 and try out the chat room. Please read the GUIDELINES of the chat room.

Hope to see you on May 3, 2010.


  1. Thanks for an interesting interview Penny.

    Mary's mention of using a timer is not the first time I've heard this suggestion. Definitely a good one.

  2. Mary, using the timer is an excellent idea. We tend to go through set routines and this might be a great help for me to time emails, and everything else I'm involved with. Thank you.

    Great interview, ladies. Always fun to read another writer's point of view on the writing stage and Mary has grasped an amazing writer's voice I am sure readers will love.

  3. Susanne, You are my number one fan! Thank you for stopping by again today.

  4. Lea, thank you for stopping by. The idea of using a timer seems to be a hit.

  5. I'm still blinking away sympathetic tears thinking about rubber bands to the eye, and cauterizing... Ouch! Thanks for the tips Mary.

  6. Thank you for the interview Penny.

    A note about the timer. I stumbled upon the idea because I was race writing with Marquel White every nite. But after I started really working with it, I came across others who found it handy too. ie: Randy Ingermanson posted an article about using one too in his last Advanced Writers Newsletter. He listed a different timer though--I think.

    Also, thanks for the kind words Lea--as usual.

  7. Joe, thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you interviewed here, too.

  8. Mary, it's my pleasure. Thanks for the additional information about the timer. I'll have to look up the article.

  9. Nice interview. I'm glad to see this series is continuing. This isn't a genre I read much of, but the first book definitely captured my attention, so I am eager for Book 2 to be released.

    Best of luck, Mary.


  10. Cheryl, This is a genre I enjoy reading, so I am definitely looking forward to the release. Thanks for stopping by.