The month of June got away from me and I was ill-prepared for (forgot about) my June Literary Mary Chats interview. So guess what? It’s ME! I’m last month’s guest. 🙂
Mary Lamphere, co-founder of In Print Professional Writers’ Organization, writes poetry, novels, short stories, and her Monday blog. A best-selling, award-winning, and multi-published author, Mary’s credits include four novels and many short stories and poems in both print and digital media. She has led workshops for In Print, UW Madison Writers’ Institute, and the Southwest Wisconsin Book Festival. Mary was the creator, facilitator, and participant of Word of Art, a collaboration of Authors and Artists. She spends time with her husband and their three corgis. She is the proud Gramma to Ben and Van.
Hey there, Mary, thanks for joining me at the last minute! It’s not that you weren’t my first choice, but I was hoping to save this Chat as a tie-in with your next publication. I do have other interview irons in the fire, but due to my procrastinatory ways, and busy schedule, my follow-up is lagging, so here we are.
1. Let’s kick this off with, what is your most frequently asked question? And answer.
Ha! Right now, the question I am MOST asked is when will book two in The Pandoran Legacy be available. Oh, how I wish I had a definitive answer! My goal is next spring.
Non-writers tend to ask about the research that goes into a book. (Writers realize research is a black hole and that although it’s imperative to get the info right, it’s also important to stay focused!) I do enjoy research, but the beauty of fiction is that I get to make stuff up. In MY version of the “real” world, I believe things can be different than expected.
2.What are your writing habits and process? Do you have a rigorous schedule?
Habits? Process? Rigorous? Now you’re just being cruel. Is this an expose?
When I actually think about it, I do have a process, lol. I have found that if I want to finish anything, I need to start at the beginning and write through. I can flesh out details, fluff and cut, with subsequent drafts. I used to write scenes and try to stitch them together into a full length novel. I seem to collect file folders full of INCREDIBLE scenes. Unfortunately, there they stay. I have a hard time fitting the pieces together to make a book after the fact.
Another part of my process is moving between the laptop and hard copy. I need to print out a draft, edit on the paper, then transcribe the notes to the doc file. I am learning Scrivener now, but I work in Microsoft Word.
As for a writing schedule, I meet every other Monday with a group of fabulous writers. We get together for breakfast and socializing at Jessica’s, followed by a block of writing time at the Roscoe Public Library. Other than my Monday blog posts, my writing time is extremely fluid. To a fault. Like, I need to be more dedicated. Writing is hard and it takes a LOT of time.
3. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to writing? Biggest frustration? And, so as not to get bogged down in the negative, most enjoyable part of the process?
My biggest challenge right now is dedicating the time to writing. As I mentioned, it’s difficult and time-consuming. Winter is better for me because I don’t leave my house. I’m also not very organized. I found myself editing a draft yesterday that was NOT the most recent draft.
Frustrations come and go…in addition to the disorganization thing, I am bothered with the whole review process. I realize they’re important. The Amazon algorithm is a god to be worshiped, feared, and sacrificed to, but it’s tough. I both worry about and require honest reviews. People tell you they’ll post but don’t. I hate begging for reviews for my books. Since its upload a year ago, Kinder Garden had reached 39 reviews…I kept waiting and checking and hoping to hit 40! Before it was pulled from Kindle*, I checked, and I had 38. That’s another shitty thing Amazon does. They have refused reviews from my known friends and family and then remove reviews that have been up for months! No warning, no rhyme or reason, just poof, gone. BUT, and this is the part that really gets me, the Amazon method is terribly inconsistent. I was checking out reviews for a book I recently read and every single one of them was five-stars (all 8 of them). I clicked on some of the reviewer pages and this was the ONLY book those people had ever reviewed. I just finished reading this novel. It’s NOT a five-star book. But I’m also not a friend or family of the author who loves and supports them in a personal way. I have a hard time believing that so many authors are gaming the system our reviews need to be vetted!
What was the last part of that question? Oh yeah, the joy of writing…I love me some good story telling. There is NOTHING more enjoyable for an author than to read something you’ve written and know it’s good. It’s almost surreal to read a passage that’s so well put together, effortlessly tapping into an emotion or evoking an image, and know that you created that.
*Both Kinder Garden and Baker’s Dozen are temporarily unavailable for download. I’ve been told I can relaunch them myself! Stay tuned for updates on that! Also, I’m hoping, fingers crossed, that I will be able to publish print copies!
4. I know you had big plans for publication this year. You successfully launched A Stranger’s Child in March, then were included in The Write City Review (twice). What else do you have in the works?
I had hoped to publish another Mary O’Reilly Kindle World Story in June, but with the Kindle World closing, that story has been put on hold until I have a chance to upload the first two through KDP. See * above. The new one is called Safe Harbour and it’s a sequel to my first MOR story, Kinder Garden. What’s good for me is that this story is not Mary O’Reilly-centric. It’s a Kimmie Jillison book so I can release it on my own without compromising Terri Reid’s Mary O’Reilly series.
My focus now is primarily on book two of The Pandoran Legacy. In the next novel, Danny’s part is revealed, we delve into Anni’s duties as a descendant of Pandora, she meets her father, and *spoiler alert* Anni takes on an original ill! There is a lot more mythology, too.
I’m also planning to release a collection of short stories in October called Foe Be Us. Each of the stories is based on some sort of phobia. It’s a pet project that’s been in the works since I first got serious about writing with the DeKalb Area Writers Group (DAWGs) ten years ago. The previously published story, Otis, is an example of what to expect.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your goals as a writer?
Oh, sweet selfish self, this is the give-away that I am both parties of this interview. I don’t know and it’s kind of been bugging me lately. I’ll be honest, because hey, I’m talking to myself and you would know if I was fibbing, but the idea of always writing overwhelms me. When I think about all of the incredible projects I have worked on over the years–everything from Girl Scout crafts to college assignments to Word of Art, I realize it’s in my nature to constantly be seeking new creative outlets. There are so many artistic things I want to tackle–many of which I don’t even know about yet! And I’m not sure where writing fits in… But then, then there’s the part of me overflowing with story ideas! And now that I know I can write, edit, and publish, well, I can’t imagine NOT doing that, either.
Thank you for your time, Mary, especially considering this is a Writer Monday and you have to leave your house at 8 a.m. I look forward to keeping in touch and following up with new (and renew) publication information.
And I promise to have July’s interview ready to go before August.
To (try, *sigh*, and) leave a review for one of Mary’s books, click on the highlighted title.
A Stranger’s Child
Mary, you’re a tough interviewer—you kept your guest on edge and really dug deep into her psyche to get the truth. And Mary, you’re a cool guest, articulate and up to the challenges thrown at you by your interviewer. 😎😂Seriously, though,this was a fun interview to read! Thanks for sharing!