13 August 2009

Getting to Know you Thursday's with Mary Connealy

Today on Getting to know you Thursday please welcome Mary Connealy. I love Mary's latest book. Its another historical western with the accompaning issues. Look for a review this weekend. Thanks Mary for taking the time to visit us.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m the author of the Lassoed in Texas series, and Montana Rose begins a new series called Married in Montana. I write romantic comedies with cowboys for Barbour.

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Ivan, a Nebraska farmer/rancher. And we’re the parent of four beautiful adult daughters Josie, married to Matt, Wendy, Shelly, married to Aaron and Katy. I’ve got one beautiful granddaughter, Elle.

2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?

I did a lot of reading as a child. Books were given a lot of respect in my home. My parents were both readers too. Although, with eight kids, I don’t really remember my mom doing a lot of reading for a few years (like twenty) but after she got a little spare time, she was a voracious reader. Dad read to us kids. I have so many wonderful memories of sitting on my dad’s lap, of standing close while all the kids gathered around, and listening to him read Dr. Seuss or whatever book we had on hand. He did great voices and put so much humor and feeling into the reading.

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and right write?

I like romantic suspense with comedy. I always say if they’re falling in love and sassing each other while they’re running for their lives, then I’m happy. I read it and I write it.

4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?

I think the first book I ever read that made me wonder, “How did he do that?” Was the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley. The way he wrote those horse races. He’d go on and on for pages writing about a horse race that probably was supposed to take two minutes in real time. And I’d be completely engrossed. He was right there, hearing the thundering horse’s hooves, feeling the danger and speed. He was really talented.

As an adult I’d say Mary Higgins Clark and maybe Clive Cussler, I love many, many other authors but they way they write, the fast pace, stories so compelling you don’t dare look away, were a revelation to me.

5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I wrote my first book when I was twelve. I have no idea what it was about or where it went, except I remember it was a romance. I started writing again when my youngest child went to kindergarten. But now, when I look back at my children’s baby books and old letters I’ve kept, I can see that I was just always expressing myself endlessly, in writing.

6. How did you go about becoming an author?

I started a book and finished it. That’s what my advice is to any writer. Write. If you want to think about writing and hang around with writers and attend writer’s conferences, that’s okay, but to ever hope to succeed, you’ve got to keep putting words on the page. You’ve got to finish one book and start a new one. So that’s what I did. I wrote and wrote and wrote. When I got my first contract, I had 20 finished books on my computer. I’ve now sold seven of them. I hope one day to have sold them all. I like the stories I told. But I can tell I’ve gotten better and I’d want to go through them and revise. But they’re not historical westerns and that’s what I’m doing these days, so they don’t have a home at this time.

7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?

I’m a GED Instructor. I teach adult students who dropped out of high school. So though it’s not my dream job, I do feel like it’s a job God gave me. Heaven only knows if I’ve accomplished what God had in mind when He gave me this job, but I feel like I’m here for a reason so I try and be respectful of that, even if I’m not sure what’s the point some days.

8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?

My family spends a lot of time boating on the Missouri River. I love that. The rest of the family water skis. Not me. But it’s nice out there. And if my daughter with the grandbaby comes up, I stay home and babysit without one second’s qualm. I love Sudoku puzzles and crossword puzzles. Yes, sedentary, I know. I need to move, exercise.

9. Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?

I’d love to spend some time in the Rocky Mountains. We don’t do much traveling, but I’m hoping, now that the children are grown, maybe we can do more of it. I’d love to see an elk in the wild. A grizzly bear—from a safe distance. I’d like to see an eagle soar across a white capped mountain. I’ve got plenty of natural beauty to hunt for to keep me busy a long time.

The other thing that I find compelling is ancient things. I’d like to see the pyramids in Mexico and the Coliseum in Rome and collapsing castles in Scotland. I don’t know if we’ll get through all we want to see in America, let alone the rest of the world, but I’d like to.

10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?

Wow, tough question. I never have a real good answer for this. How about you, Jenny. That’s one. We’d have fun. Maybe we could just have a meal three separate times. (Jenny here the would be so cool Mary. I would love to show you Australia or maybe I can come visit you on my dream trip back to Canada and the USA)

Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.


Cassie Griffin has always dressed in silks. Now her free-spending husband has died, leaving her unprotected, heavily in debt, and pregnant. No single woman remain so for long in Divide, Montana. But the crude cowboys who want her make her wonder if joining her husband in the grave might even be better.

Red Dawson has a soft spot in his heart for Cassie, even though most of the townspeople see her only as spoiled and snooty. He’d sweeping her off her feet—except she’s a nonbeliever.

The most powerful rancher tramples everyone to claim Cassie. . .and the property that goes with her. Red can't allow Cassie to be forced into marriage with the brutal rancher so he marries her himself. Cassie’s well meaning but disastrous efforts to help around the ranch make Red wonder if someone doesn’t need to rescue him.

Will Red win over this seemingly fragile and spoiled woman. . .and survive her "help" in the meantime? Will Cassie find true love with her cowboy—and his God—when she exchanges silk for calico?


Pepper Basham said...

Your mom had eight kids?!? Bless her...and your first book was a romance? Oh Mary, you had stars in your eyes from way back. Are you sure we're not related? ;-)

Great post, as usual - Don't Aussies know a lot about cowboys? so whether in this country or that, your books hit the romantic comedy in Stetsons spot.


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Pepper. Yes, I'm from a family of eight kids and my husband's from a family of seven. Family gatherings are insane, especially weddings when BOTH SIDES come. Just our immediate family, I'm talking brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews....ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE!!!

Try keeping THAT wedding small!!

Then we have to invite our friends. Fortunately we don't have any.

Janet Dean said...

Great interview, Jenny and Mary! Thanks. I love hearing about Mary's life.

Twelve must be the age when girls start pursuing their dreams. I was twelve when I wrote my first stories, also romances. I wish I had those stories now, don't you? I'm sure they'd be hilarious.

I loved Montana Rose!


Myra Johnson said...

Fun to learn a little more about you, Mary! I'd go out for pizza with you anytime!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, this is great. Love it. So fun seeing the insider's view of Mary and family.

And yeah, small weddings aren't a possibility here either, and I'm talking close family. No one farther than first cousins and we can pack a church.

I love big families. Thanks for sharing yours with us.


Pepper Basham said...

I love big families too. There was only my brother and myself in my immediate family, but I grew up within 5 miles of all 6 of my aunts & uncles, (and their kids) - so EVERY event was a good size...and loud...and always food.

Sunday lunch is usually about 50 people - and it's great (especially at the dessert table)

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, Mary! I want you to water ski and to send photos! :)

I shouldn't make fun. I tried it a few years ago, jumped out there as if hadn't been 20 years since I'd skiied. When the boat took off, I pulled my back out! I almost couldn't get back in the boat. LOL

Thanks for a fun interview, Jenny.

Mary Connealy said...

The last time I tried to ski I came so near to death I think they just tied the ski rope on my leg and towed me to shore, no way to get my bloated carcass on board.
I'm lucky they didn't go all Moby Dick on me and use a harpoon

I pretty much gave up after that.

Ausjenny said...

I would have to say the only time i went water skiing didn't work out well either. i couldn't stand up the force of the water kept knocking me down and getting pulled into the boat gave me huge bruises never tried again.

Julie Lessman said...

Mary and Jenny -- great interview! And, Mare, I'm halfway through Montana Rose and LOVING it!! But I have one question ... where does the title come from? I keep waiting for it to appear somewhere as an explanation. Just curious.


Ausjenny said...

Julie I wondered that too at one stage but then I figured it was Montana for the state and then I thought a rose blooms and figured that was to represent Cassie.

Mary Connealy said...

The title is what it is because I named The Husband Tree first and really loved that title and wanted it badly. Barbour said okay. then they said, "Let's make the other titles in the series fit."

We picked Montana Rose because of the state and because Cassie is delicate, but also because a true wild rose, growing in Montana wouldn't be delicate. It would be tough. So Cassie is in the process of transforming from a beautiful hothouse hybrid tea rose, to a tough, wild flower that can survive the Rocky Mountain winter. That's what was in my mind with the title but now, when I read the book, I can see that I never said it right. Never made it clearn.



Nope, too late. The books on the shelves already.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Great post, gals! Mary, you crack me up as usual.

Love your blog, Jenny!



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