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Interview with Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is a busy woman who wears many hats. In addition to working a day job, she pounds out novels by night, writing fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful LASSOED IN TEXAS, MONTANA MARRIAGES, and SOPHIE'S DAUGHTERS series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award, her novels Petticoat Ranch and Cowboy Christmas won a Carol Award and her novel Doctor in Petticoats is a finalist for a Rita Award.

Today, she shares with us her latest release, Out of Control, Kincaid Bride Series #1. Here's the cover blurb:

Rafe is more intrigued by Julia than any woman he's ever known. But when their developing relationship threatens a reconciliation with his brothers, will Rafe have to choose between his family and this new love that could heal his troubled heart and secure his happiness?

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
To me, absolutely, the biggest step forward was joining ACFW. Through ACFW I found what I think of as the Five Cs toward publication.
Conference, Contest, Critique group, Classes and Connections. I also met my editor and agent but Five Cs an E and an A doesn’t really roll off the tongue, now does it? Maybe I could make it an acronym CCCACCE. Khaki? Cake? Just forget it.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
My biggest challenge is in handling my other responsibilities. Writing is my first choice, my preference. It’s everything else I have to force myself to do.

When it comes to balancing my life between writing and other things I am definitely unbalanced. There is actually paperwork on file with the County Attorney attesting to that.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I wrote for about five years before I even realized there was Christian fiction. I labored along in mole-like anonymity writing my sweet, clean little romances and I could only see one home for them anywhere, Harlequin Silhouette was still doing clean books without graphic sex. That made a very small target for me to aim at. Then I discovered ACFW. I read an article about it in RWR, the magazine put out by Romance Writer’s of America. It was like this whole world opened for me. You’ve got to remember I was the mother of four young children. I live far out in the country. I wasn’t online at home. I wasn’t hanging around bookstores. I’d read Love Comes Softly and most of Janette Oke’s books and Grace Livingstone Hill, but I didn’t realize there were Christian publishers.

Reading about ACFW and joining opened this whole world for me. It was amazing. Wonderful. I looked at these sweet romances I’d written and it was all there. My characters were conducting themselves as Christians. The faith thread was there but unspoken, and certainly not spoken in Christian term. All I had to do was write the subtext out and all my books because Christian fiction. Finding ACFW was a blessing to me.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Oh, this is easy. At the ACFW Conference every year Barbour Publishing gives out a contract to an unpublished author. The second year I attended the conference, they called my name. I got to walk up front with all those wonderful people clapping for me and grabbing me to hug me. I still get chills every time I talk about it. It remains one of the sweetest moments of my life.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
You know, I just love it. I love everything about writing. I love the original creation. I love revisions. I love launching a book and doing interviews like this one. My stories come from all over. I think writer’s play a ‘what if’ game with everything. This book, Out of Control comes from a seed planted nearly 35 years ago when I went to Carlsbad Cavern. This was long before I was writing, but I walked through that cavern and it captured my imagination like few places have ever. I could just BE the first explorer who was down there. I could feel the terror, the darkness, the danger and the staggering beauty that would lure you on, to look deeper. I saw floors that looked like they’d broken. How could anyone know they were walking on stone as thin as an eggshell? I’ve had this story in mind to do for a long time, to try and capture the tug between the lure and the terror. Out of Control ended up being so fun to write. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Tell us three things about you that would surprise your readers.
1) I’m shy. Probably why I sit behind a computer all day makin’ stuff up, rather than going out to talk to actual people. I’ve learned to behave in front of others—and that’s particularly easy with other writers. But all my gut instincts are to withdraw.
2) I teach GED on an Indian Reservation and, although it doesn’t come naturally, after seven years at this job, I can multiply fractions like nobody’s business.
3) I’m the third child in a family of eight. My mom had eight kids in eleven years. And when I really think of that, even I’m surprised she managed it.

Any parting words?
Thanks for having me on, Dawn. This was fun. You can find me online at:
Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Thanks for sharing with us, Mary!

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