Thursday, January 23, 2014

Interviewing: Mary Ann Rivers

Please help me welcome Mary Ann Rivers to the blog today for an interview!

 Tell me about yourself, and your writing.

I’m a writer who is also a voracious reader, and I’ve been writing and reading since I can remember.  I’m 39, and I’ve been married for fifteen years and have a six-year-old son. We live in the upper Midwest in a small college town, where my husband is a professor. I’m also a pediatric nurse practitioner.

My writing is concerned with language and detail, and there is usually an internal and an external story. I like limited point of view and very well-developed settings and characterizations. And sex scenes. It seems like there are a lot of those.

How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?

I’ve been writing since I was a small child. Writing has dominated my private and professional life, and my first professional publications were in poetry, though I also have a wide variety of short stories and essays published in different media. I have two novellas published, and two upcoming novels – all in romance.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

Currently, my publications are in contemporary romance, though I stray from that in my writing on an actual daily basis. I write poetry and non-fiction, and fiction-wise, I have written pieces in many genres. There are very few kinds of writing that don’t appeal to me in some way, or fail to present some kind of interesting challenge to me.

Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?

I am really a kind of hybrid. I typically do some kind of a scene sketch, where I know the general arc of the whole story and where the turning point scenes will go and what they are – often I will freewrite a few of these scenes to get a feel for the pacing and characterization. Between those points, I am composing, which may take me in some unexpected directions. I also do a lot of research for books, which is a kind of pre-planning or plotting, and provides layers and also, detail to reach for as I compose. For complicated scenes, or for very plot-driven books, I make a kind of outline.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I get up really early. Really, really early. And until I need to get my son ready for school, I use that time in a very loose way. That’s the time I use to freewrite and play, or to write on projects not under deadline, or to solve problems in the books I’m writing that are under contract. There are no rules for that time.

After my son is at school I either go to work for a half day, or go to work writing for a half day. I work five days a week as a nurse practitioner, but half days that alternate between mornings and afternoons. The other half of the day is for writing what I have under contract. I usually have goals for that day (what scenes I want to finish writing). While I write, I read scenes given to me by my critique partner and return them, or give her things of my own.

I work at a desk, in a separate area of the house. Because I’m a mom and I work outside the home, I’m very disciplined about the writing time..

Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?

I have so many, so I’ll contain this answer to the romance genre.

I contribute to, and the authors there are all favorites (Ruthie Knox, Cara McKenna, Serena Bell, Amber Lin, Alexis Hall, Shelley Ann Clark, Charlotte Stein, AJ Cousins, Audra North, Shari Slade, Delphine Dryden). I also love Courtney Milan, Cecilia Grant, Molly O’Keefe, Carolyn Crane, Sherry Thomas, Laura Florand, Grace Burrowes, Harper Fox, Isabel Cooper, and I know I am forgetting someone, but these are definitely recent auto-buys.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’d like to finish writing my Burnsides series, finish and launch a couple of secret projects, finish the non-Burnsides novel I’m working on now, and start making some solid roots in this next sophomore year with meaningful recognition and sales (the things that mean you’re reaching the readers!). Really, it’s all about writing, writing with joy, and finishing.

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

Some kind of empathy/healing thing. Or teleportation. Both of these would solve many immediate problems in my life.

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

A talking raven who could be both a familiar, and a kind of spy. I could send him to the school’s playground to make sure my kid was okay, stuff like that.

Tell us a little about your latest release.

LIVE is the first book in a four book contemporary romance family saga about the Burnsides of Lakefield, Ohio. LIVE’s heroine is Destiny Burnside (Des) who is a middle sister and takes up this classic role with caretaking and peacemaking. She loves her home, her family, but she’s at a crisis, a turning point in her life – her father has recently died, she’s been unemployed for a long period, and her obligations to her family are starting to feel overwhelming. It’s at this time she meets Hefin Thomas, a Welshman who’s stranded in the US after a failed marriage. This is a bad timing love story, with a great deal of yearning and personal discovery.

What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)

Some instrument to write with – my laptop, an AlphaSmart. The internet really does connect me in real ways to the world, as well.

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?

I think I’ll be mysterious and say that I’ve done more than think about this ;)

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?

I talked about my time machine fantasies all the time – but I mostly use my imaginary time machine to visit myself and friends and different key points in time, either to intervene, or to provide something that was needed or desired. Even little things that would have made a big difference.

What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?

Hiking/running/long walks – whatever I can get in. Reading (does this count as outside of writing?). I’m starting a new yoga routine in the new year with a friend – I’ve done yoga before so this would be a restart of that activity. Cooking.

What is something you've always wanted to do, but haven't done yet. Why not?

I’ve always want to take an extended vacation with a girlfriend. I’ve traveled with my husband (and boyfriends), with groups, with my kid (a little), but I’d love to travel someplace interesting with a good friend, and with no agenda. I think the main reason I haven’t (beyond college road trips), is that like, me, my dear friends are so occupied with family and work. This is a thing I really dream about, though, and would like to do more than once.

If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?

Lois Lowry’s A Summer To Die.

What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?

Dancing. Absolutely. Dance is so beautiful. I’d love to be connected with my body in that way.

            Favorite color?


Weather: Hot or cold?


Favorite place to read?

In bed!

Favorite meal

Eggs, toast, and tea.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink.

Tea with cream and honey.

If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?

I’d love to take a long and leisurely tour of Northern Europe. Hiking, fjords, cheese, canals, saunas – all of it.

Live: The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers
January 21, 2014

Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.
If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.

Author Info
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
Connect with Mary Ann Rivers: Facebook | Twitter | Website

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