Carol Shields once said, “Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find.” When does a writer’s story begin forming? How long does it take to write? What were the finishing touches? We’ve asked Mary Connealy, one of the authors of A Bride for All Seasons, to tell us the story behind the story.
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did your inspiration spark from?
I found this lovely group of ladies through my literary agent, Natasha Kern. She knew we all had a similar style—there is a bit of a western touch to what we all write, at least most of the time there is. She thought we’d make a good team.
The Mail Order Bride theme was one I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I love shoving a couple together and forcing them to figure out how to get along. There’s lots of room for trouble in that. We brainstormed different ideas but when we came up with Mail Order Brides we all got excited, especially when Margaret Brownley suggested The Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalogue with the very troublesome Mr. Hitch who tries to advance the romances between couples by editing their letters to make them more appealing. Appalling is how it turns out, and there is a lot of trouble when these unmatched couples finally meet.
How long did your book take you to write?
A novella is much shorter than my usual books. At 20,000 words, the writing is pretty fast. I did it in a couple of weeks, I think, but the writing is tricky. You’ve got to get so much into these very short books. It’s a very challenging kind of book, and I hope people enjoy it. I could have gone on much longer.
How long was the editing/publishing process?
I turned the book in about six to eight months ahead. I think this book got turned in last October. The book gets revised, and I get notes with questions about what needs to be changed. Then I have maybe three months to work on it with the goal of turning it in at least four months before it releases. During those four months, the book gets final edits and lay-out. Then I get galleys to look over for any small changes.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write and keep writing. You’ve got to put words on a page <click to tweet>. There are lots of things to do to improve your craft: classes, conferences, professional organizations, contests, critique groups, books on the craft and blogs like mine, Seekerville, for aspiring writers. Whatever else you do, you have to apply it. You have to PRACTICE, so keep writing.
What’s your next book or project?
Fired Up (book #2 in the Trouble in Texas series) is coming in August.
Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up. Dare can’t let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he’s trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.
Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she’s determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she’s terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner—never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.
Glynna can’t help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There’s the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna’s diner into Dare’s back. Are Flint’s cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna’s son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?