Monday, August 18, 2014

Interview with Mary Carter: 'It's a page turner, a free trip to Spain and a Hitchcock-like mystery'

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist.  Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include:  Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.
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About the Book:

A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to
Grace Sawyer's current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn't just Grace's foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she's kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter's intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

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Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

I have published eight novels and six novellas with Kensington Books. I am currently working on my ninth novel. I also lead writing workshops at The Writer’s Loft in Chicago.

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I move a lot. In the past year I’ve lived in NYC, Wilmington NC, and Chicago IL. And I’m not in my forever home so I may have a lot of moves ahead of me.

Q: What scares you the most?

First drafts.

Q: What makes you happiest?

The rewriting process. Reading great books. Friends and family. My labradoodle.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

I take chances. It can be very lonely when you move around a lot. I miss my friends back in New York. But I put myself out there, and always try to make the best of wherever I am.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Oh, boy. That’s a rock, and a hard place, and a brick wall. Writing you can at least control. So I’d say publishing. But marketing is a monster too.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

At this point, I guess I would equate success to having enough money to buy something big and lasting, like a home. It’s taken eight years for me to start making real money at writing. I’ve always worked a second job. I’d like to be able to buy my own home one day. Aside from that, success is writing a story that gets noticed and read far and wide. I’d also love to have the money and freedom to travel more as I write. That would be a dream come true.

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

MEET ME IN BARCELONA is about Grace Sawyer, a country singer who goes to Spain with her boyfriend Jake. She soons find out that someone else is in Spain, Carrie Ann,the foster sister she hasn’t seen in years. When Jake and Carrie Ann disappear in the middle of Barcelona, Grace and a handsome Belgian man must follow scant clues to their whereabouts. In doing so Grace will be forced to confront the dark chapter from her past that tore her and Carrie Ann apart.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

I walk my dog around the block, go to the Lake, drink wine, read. I’ve also just started doing Kettlebell workouts. That’s not relaxing until you’re all done with it.

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

It’s a page turner, a free trip to Spain, and a Hitchcock-like mystery.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

Write. Finish something. Read books on writing. The course I teach is based on Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver.

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