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Writer’s Window: Mary Connealy

Monday, July 5, 2010

I’m starting a new feature on the blog—Writer’s Window, a weekly interview with a writer (published or unpublished) that will hopefully shed a little light (and humor) on this crazy journey we’ve chosen to take.

To kick-start the feature, I’ll be pulling some interviews from the archives to get things rolling. Today’s interview is with Mary Connealy, which was originally posted in March 2009, before a book signing tour we went on together. I’ve known about Mary for many years—I didn’t meet her face-to-face until the ACFW conference in Minneapolis in 2008. Since then, we’ve spent a week together on a book signing tour in Michigan in 2009, and enjoyed each other’s company at ICRS the last two years. Mary is fun-loving and a blast to hang out with!

Doctor Alex Buchanan is a wanted man–a deseter from the army stalked by a bounty hunter–but he’d rather be dead than inflict any more pain on his patients. Beth McClellan is idealistic, believing the nursing training she received will be enough to help her serve as doctor to her home town in West Texas. When Alex and Beth meet in a stagecoach accident, they find that they work well together. But are his demons and her dreams too deeply rooted for either of them to pay the price required for a future together?

What do you like best about being a writer?
I love everything about being a writer but, I will always be a writer, no matter what, published or not, so my real favorite thing about being a writer is that I get money for something I’d be doing anyway.

Pop, Soda, or Coke? What do you call it, and what’s your favorite variety?
We call it pop in Nebraska and when my brother visits from New York State…his children call it pop and giggle. Like it’s the funniest thing in the world to talk like Nebraskans. I’m a huge Diet Coke freak. I really care, too, and I’m not proud of that. I love that stuff.

Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
I’ve got a pair of black boots that I wear almost constantly. Well not to shower in, but you know what I mean. Daily, for all occasions, except when they are absolutely wrong. They are getting battered but I can’t part with them. Low heels, non-skid soles and warm, my office at work is FREEZING. I keep looking for a new pair but they all have THREE INCH HEELS and a surface fit for ice skating. It’s like shoe designers HATE ME. It’s like that WANT me to die.

What’s the most fun/interesting/crazy/scary/unique hands-on research you’ve done for a book?
I had a fair amount of fun with my husband’s rifle recently. I was trying to describe how the heroine (yes, heroine) got her rifle into action fast. How would she wear it, strapped on her back, hanging from her shoulder? Did she grab it with both hands? Could she have managed with one? My husband, Quick-Draw and I fooled with that gun a long time. It’s heavy!

Candles. We all have them. But do you burn them? What scents are your favorite?
I am in love with some candles a local woman makes. They are seriously the very best. She has this cottage industry and a little shop in a nearby town full of these spectacular candles, that burn forever and so clean and smell so wonderful. I burn them constantly. My current favorite is a scent called Cinnamon Candy. But we just burned our last one of those and have a Citrus Splash burning and it’s fantastic, too. And I LOVE the holiday scents, Thanksgiving and Christmas and Halloween, lots of apple and pine and cinnamon, just wonderful. You can order through her website. Each candle is in a pint canning jar and has a raffia tie with a little sign on it with John 18:12. Jesus is the Light of the World. I talk about these candles every chance I get because Susie works so hard and makes such an extraordinary product.

Have you ever re-gifted something someone’s given you?
I do pass along books that people send me, but I think that’s a nice thing to do, a good way to share a new author with someone, it’s not re-gifting. Not that there’s anything wrong with re-gifting.

If you were to write a novel about what your life would have been like if you’d become what you wanted to be at eight years old, what kind of character would the story be about?
I don’t remember being eight. I hope this isn’t one of those repressed memory situations. Great, now I have to go into counseling, wonderful! This interview is going to cost me a fortune!

Have you ever gone on a book-signing tour before? What are you looking forward to next week? What makes you nervous?
I’ve been at book signings away from home before. The nervous part comes from hoping someone shows up. The great part is spending time with other authors and readers and the people who run book stores. They’re about the nicest people on earth.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Write 300 words a day. No excuses.

What’s your biggest dream for the future?
It was almost beyond my hopes that I’d ever even get one book published. So my biggest dream has come true, but now I’d love a career, a body of work. I’d like to see a shelf full of Mary Connealy books.

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is an author, journalist, and teacher.
She lives on a Nebraska farm with her husband, Ivan,
and has four mostly grown daughters.

You can find Mary online at

[And it’s pronounced kuh-NEAL-lee, not CON-uh-lee.]

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  1. Monday, July 5, 2010 8:21 am

    What a fun interview! So many unique questions!

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall…or rather a squirrel in a tree or something like that, and watch Mary play with a rifle! lol Oh My! Too bad they didn’t video it. 😉

    And I wonder what kind of scent is Halloween? My first thoughts are …bat guano, spider eggs, witch’s brew. Nah….Halloween wouldn’t be the scent for me.

    Kaye, I’m looking forward to the Writer’s Window! Great Idea!


  2. Monday, July 5, 2010 8:22 am

    What a fun interview! I always like when interviews have “different” questions and I always love hearing writing advice!


  3. Monday, July 5, 2010 8:53 am

    What a great beginning to your author series! I’m with Sherrinda – I’d love to have seen Mary and Quick Draw (her husband) playing with that rifle! 🙂

    It’s always nice to see into the mind of a writer! And I must check into that candle website – Would Halloween smell like candy corn and caramel apples, maybe? Yum.


  4. Kav permalink
    Monday, July 5, 2010 9:43 am

    I love Mary’s brand of humour. Picking up ‘Doctor in Petticoats’ this week and I can’t wait to read it!!!! Love the whole concept of your Writer’s Window.


  5. Monday, July 5, 2010 1:22 pm

    Hi ladies.
    Quick Draw is out boating today with two of my daughters and one son in law. I need to go join them but I am the WORST for sun burn. So I usually let them go out for a couple of hours and let the sun pass it’s zenith, then go.

    It’s about time I’d say.
    Thanks for having me on, Kaye.
    Halloween candles mainly smell like pumpkin pie, spicy and fantastic.

    We are currently obsessed (yes, Quick Draw likes them, too) with Treasure of Tuscany. Not even sure what it smells like. Just gorgeous, fantastic.


  6. Monday, July 5, 2010 1:23 pm

    And my writing per day is up to 1000 words. I would LOVE to go higher and have for short bursts of time. But so far I can’t sustain it. Do you realize that if I wrote 2000 words a day I could write a 90,000 word book every SIX WEEKS???

    How sweet would THAT be???!!!!!


  7. Sylvia M. permalink
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 9:42 am

    I have enjoyed every one of Mary’s books that I have read! I haven’t read all of them yet, but the one I like the best so far is The Husband Tree. Author interviews are always interesting. Thank you for posting this.


  8. Stumbeline permalink
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 7:57 pm

    Kaye, thank you for sharing such a great interview. =o) Thanks to your post, I found a must-read author, signed up for Mary’s mailing list and won an autographed copy of Doctor in Petticoats! I’m looking forward to more Writer’s Window.


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