Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Author Mary Connealy - GINGHAM MOUNTAIN - Free Book

I love Mary Connealy's writing style. I'm sure you will, too. Welcome back, Mary. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

What I see is a career, Lena. It’s as if God granted me the deepest desire of my heart. I hope and pray I can keep writing books that are each better than the last. I want to improve and I want to keep writing until I can have a "body of work." Isn’t that a nice term?

Yes. Now, Mary, tell us a little about your family.

Okay, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my brothers and sisters instead of my own husband and children, because Gingham Mountain was inspired by my family growing up.

I’m from a family of eight kids. Boys and girls both. In Petticoat Ranch it was an all-girl family with one man and in Calico Canyon it’s an all-boy family, but now we’re mixing things up a little and the kids are all crammed together in age…which we were, although the Gingham Mountain family was orphans. The eight of us in my family were born in eleven years, so my mom was a busy, busy woman.

Now we’re all grown up with families of our own, but when we were little, living in a small country farm house, with precious little money, we must have been such a rabble. But my parents had this wonderful gift for making us all feel like we were a blessing. My mom acted like she was so lucky to have each and every one of us.

What a nice lady, huh? She still is a sweetheart.

She sounds like a treasure. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

I’d say no. I read like always. I may read a bit more critically but if I’m editing a book while I’m reading that’s a bad, bad sign. I like to get lost in a book and mostly I can.

What are you working on right now?

Gingham Mountain is the last of the Lassoed in Texas series and next up is a new series we’re calling Married in Montana. It’s got the same suspenseful, romantic comedy with cowboys as this series and it was really fun to write. The books are all finished so I’m not really working on them now. My current work is on a series based on Sophie McClellen’s daughters all grown up. I am having WAY too much fun with these tough Texas females.

What outside interests do you have?

I’m a crossword puzzle savant and I like Sudoku puzzles and I read and write. I also like to spend time with my adult children. I’m a grandma!!!!!

I love being a grandma and a great grandma. How do you choose your settings for each book?

I need cowboys. You know, you can be a cowboy almost anywhere. So the location isn’t a big factor. I’m from Nebraska and Nebraska is a good setting for cowboys. I ought to write about Nebraska cowboys next.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Tough question. Thomas Edison, maybe? I like how that man’s mind works. I’ve heard George Washington had a quality about him that inspired utter respect. I’d like to see if that’s true.
Here are some others who popped into my head…which is why I’ve been thinking about this question for far too long.
Walt Whitman
Julius Caesar
Thomas Jefferson
Queen Victoria
St. Patrick
Gutenberg (they guy with the printing press, not the guy from Three Men and a Baby)
Martin Luther
Louis L’Amour
Adolph Hitler (I want ten minutes alone with him and a big, big stick)
Kit Carson
Okay that’s enough.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

How important getting connected is. Meeting people, attending conferences, connecting online.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

The Lord has his hands full teaching me anything. I have a very seesaw personality, up and down, one day far too self-righteous, the next day feeling like I’m steeped in sin. I suppose the second is more true than the first.
Here’s one thing I have recently begun to believe. Of course the Bible has us learn in new ways all the time so my truth right now is what I need to learn and it may not be what’s necessary for someone else.

BUT, with that disclaimer fully spoken….

I’ve been reading the Bible with a different focus lately. Read it with it fully in mind that God is far more interested in our souls than in our bodies. I try to explore that in Gingham Mountain, why God allows children to live on the streets, cold and hungry. I think it’s a deep and difficult truth that God sees our souls as this bright, shining part of us, this seed of eternity within us, and is focused on that far and above our bodies.

So many of the stories you read, if you understand that Jesus is intently interested in the state of your soul, the stories read differently. God knows what’s in your heart and His work in our lives is focused on what’s in our heart. So two people can do almost the exact same thing but one is condemned and another lauded. It’s because God sees the truth of what is in your heart.

This is at the heart of Martha and Mary. It’s also right there when Jesus heals the man lowed on the pallet from the ceiling. It’s also there when He tells Peter, Get Thee Behind me Satan.

I think the Bible reads in a different, richer way if we keep this in mind. And I think we cope better with the bad things in our lives, illness, death, financial hardships, etc. if we know God is always working toward refining our souls, and He isn’t all that interested in the rest of us. They loom very small in His considerations.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

Study then write to exercise what you’re studied
Allow yourself to be critiqued, then write what you’re learned from that critique.

Mary, tell us about the featured book.

A rancher runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he’s made slave labor out of eight orphaned children.

Grant Cooper crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is being cranky just like all the others, except she isn't really bad to his children…it's Grant she can't stand.

And none of that would be so bad if Grant didn’t catch himself kissing Hannah every chance he got.

I can hardly wait for my copy to get here. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Mary, thank you for spending this time with us. It's always a pleasure.
Readers, you can order Gingham Mountain using this link:

As usual, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Don't forget to check back a week from Saturday to see if you have won. Sign up for Feedblitz, in the upper right hand corner of the blog, if you're afraid you'll forget.


G.R.I.T.S. said...

Loved the Interview Lena! And I can't wait to read this book! My library doesn't have it yet...but owning it is so much better than borrowing it! :)

Rae Byuel

Tina Dee Books said...

Wonderful interview Lena and Mary. The book sounds like a great read--so I'm hoping I'll win!

Tina Dee

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Rae and Tina.
Nice to see you here.
Lena's blog is the best, I'm always delighted when she has me on.

Good luck with the drawing.

Sue said...

Can't wait to read your new books.
Will have to stop at the Abby to see if GM is there yet.
Looking forward to the "mouse mysteries."

Kendra J. McBroom said...

This looks like a book that I will just love. Can't wait to read it and it was a GREAT INTERVIEW.

Lacy J. Williams said...

Please enter me! I absolutely loved Mary's first two books of this series and can't wait to get my hands on this one. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Sue. I love it that you stopped by.
Thanks for the kind words about my books.
Sue is a neighbor from back in the old days.
Her parents were raising six kids while mine were raising eight. What were these people thinking????

We had fun, though. :)

Mary Connealy said...

You liked the interview, Kendra? Well, Lena made me sound good. :) Of course I do better with words, rather than face to face. I always prefer having both sides of a conversation myself, though my characters.
Sort of a trouble loner, really.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Lacey. I'm glad you liked the books. I keep having people tell me they want more from this crowd in future books, but this is the end of this series, but just wait'll you see what I did to some hapless cowboys in Montana.

Montana Rose is coming in July and is the first of a three book series. Romantic comedy with cowboys.

Michelle Gregory said...

if's Mary's written it, i want to read it!

Sandee61 said...

What a great interview...nice to meet you, Mary. I absolutely love the name of your book, and would love to read it as well as your other book. Their new to me.
Please enter me in your giveaway, thank you!



Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Michelle. Thanks so much for the nice comment. God bless you.
Sandee, good luck in the drawing. I had a lot of fun writing Gingham Mountain. Just loved the hero Grant, he has such a tender heart and loves his family so much. But as much as he has a father's love, he has no idea what to do with romantic love, a complete babe in the woods, and Hannah isn't much better.
They've both lived for others for so long they aren't real sure how to take something for themselves.

Debra Ullrick said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so excited to hear that Mary's new book is out. I've read everyone of her stories and loved, loved, loved them! She's an amazingly gifted author. Her characters are zany, fun, unique and fabulous! So, please, add my name to the drawing.


christianromancewriter @ gmail dot com

Debra Ullrick
The Bride Wore Coveralls
Déjà vu Bride
Dixie Hearts

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary and Lena, what a fun interview. I love envisioning Mary's family, her childhood, her sainted mother and those girls of hers, the cutest, sweetest, (all right, a little snarky, I wonder where they get THAT from????)absolutely most wonderful daughters.

Of course if they're not nice, she'll put 'em in a book and tell everyone.

Or blog about it.


And do I get to vote on the sweet or steeped controversy???

Definitely steeped!


Have a great day, gals.


Mary said...

The interview was very interesting. Lena and Mary, you both did an awesome job.

The book sounds like one that I'd love to read, so will be looking for it.


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Deb.
Deb Ullrick wrote one of my favorite Heartsongs last year.
The Bride Wore Coveralls.

Great story with the terrific twist of an odd, fascinating occupation. I loved it.

I felt like I learned from it too.
And learning, with my atrophed brain, well...that's sayin' something.

Mary Connealy said...

My sainted mother did a lot of yelling.

Not saying we didn't deserve it, but still...

And really, when you think about it, SAINTS did a lot of yelling too. About important stuff. And I suppose my mom would say shutting the door so flies don't get in was important.

Mary Connealy said...

Hey! Another Mary. We're getting to be an endangeed species with this name, though I did meet a twenty-something girl named Mary the other day.

It gave me hope.

Love the baby picture, Mary. Thanks for stopping in.

Bethany said...

Mary is such fun, and her books are great reads! My mom is down for a month after foot surgery, and I know she would love to be able to read something that would uplift her spirits and give her a laugh.
Thank you!
momofjimmy [at] yahoo [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I've heard about Mary's books and how wonderful they are. Calico Canyon is in my TBR pile, and I'm dying to get to it! Please enter me in the drawing for Gingham Mountain. Thanks!


Becky C. said...

Very interesting interview, and I would love to read the book.

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.


sherrinda said...

Another great interview! This book sounds great and as not having read any of Mary's books,I am definitely going to have to get her backlist!
Please enter me in...I would love to a chance to win!


Katie said...

Great Interview.... I'd love to read this... please enter my name

Mary Connealy said...

Bethany, I'm sorry your mom is hurting. I've got a mom who's getting older and that really hits close to home.
God bless you all.

Mary Connealy said...

Deb, you go dig that book out and put it right on top of your pile. I promise you won't regret it.

I give these pep talks at the drop of a hat. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Becky C. Thanks for stopping in. I think you'll like the book if you win it. Good luck.

Mary Connealy said...

That's the spirit, Sherrinda. :)

Katie, thanks for stopping in.

Good luck in the drawing.

~Ley said...

Mary Connealy is such an amazing author... and person! I would love to be entered in this drawing. Thank you!


Marta said...

I'd love a chance to read this...

tbbycatt at gmail com

ladystorm said...

Great Interview! I would love to win this book.


Mary Connealy said...

~Ley, great blogger name btw, you do not know me well at all, which is how it is for most people who say I'm a great person.

As a favor to you, I will stay far from you and sustain the illusion.

You're welcome. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Marta aka tbby ct
and Lady Storm.... wow, Lena, you get the coolest named people hanging around here.

Good work.

A J Hawke said...

As always, Mary you are a joy.
Hitler and a big stick, yes, I can see you now.
I look forward to reading Gingham Mountain. Hopefully I'll win a copy.

windycindy said...

Hello! Please count me in. Mary is one of my favorite authors. Many thanks, Cindi

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, A.J. they'd make a movie out of me.

I hope they put Katie Holmes in a eye patch. I was never CLOSE to that cute.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Cindy, thanks for stopping in.

I'm talking about Valentine's Day over on my other blog today,
Petticoats & Pistols
Not to lure anyone away from Lena's make sure and go over hers thoroughly.

I may have laid on the sarcasm a bit too thick...as always.

Katterley said...

Great interview, sounds like a great book, please enter me! I'll have to check out your blog, too, Mary, sounds fun!

mez said...

I'm so glad to hear the girls from Petticoat Ranch have their own stories, I look forward to reading them. Please include me for Gingham Mountain, thanks.

Jo said...

What a great interview. Loved it! I would also love to get entered in the drawing and win a copy of this book.


hippmom said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Nice to meet you Mary! and everyone else. I'm new to this blog - and very interested in what you all have to say...

I love your titles. I'm looking forward to diving in to your stories. Many blessings on increasing your "body of work" for the body of Christ...


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Katterly

Today I commented on Cupid in history....oddly enough...told in almost exclusive nude paintings from the 1500s....HEY, it's not racy if it's ART right?

It was like there was a sale on flesh colored paint or something.

Cleda said...

Great interview, Lena, thanks for the opportunity to be included in the drawing... Bookmarked Petticoats and Pistol and will add your Web page Mary..... sounds like you are a very busy lady and your stories sound wonderful..... have a great day....


Mary Connealy said...

Mez, I'm working on those books right now. Sophie McClellen's daughters were raised to be tough and now that they're adult women, who need to be lady-like to snare a husband, they're having trouble being proper.

I'm having a lot of fun writing the books, I love visiting these characters again.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Jo, good luck in the drawing.

Mary Connealy said...

And hipmom, are you really? I mean a hip mom? This sounds like something my children would torture me for...but then no one's ever accused me of being a hip mom.

Cleda said...

I noticed those pictures Mary......

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Ashley, thanks for stopping by and for your word of encouragement.
Also for the look at your little cuties. :)

I'm a grandma for the first time, a granddaughter named Elle, born in January.

She's such a doll. I'm TRYING not to just have 'all-Elle all-the-time' on my own blog but it's to TEMPTING.

Mary Connealy said...

Morning Cleda, so, what do you think? Am I in trouble?

Very strange pictures. If nudes are really okay...I mean what? Clothes were??? Hard to paint or something???

Yeah right it's ART.
Sounds like a line a creepy college professor would use on a co-ed who desperately needs an A.

Stacie said...

Great interview!

Carole said...

It would be a joy to win this book! Thank you for the interview and publicizing Mary's book.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anita Mae Draper said...

I love Mary's style of writing. From her list of historical figures, you can tell she's witty and down-to-earth.

Thanks for the interview, Lena.

Mary Connealy said...

Glad you liked the interview, Stacie.

Good luck in the drawing Carole

Hi, Anita Mae, thanks for stopping in. We run into each other all over don't we. :D

peachykath said...

Sounds like you had a very wonderful childhood and has only made adulthood more joyous. I enjoyed reading your interview and would love to try a copy of your book. Thanks


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Katherine.
I did have a wonderful childhood. We had to be such a rabble though, probably dressed in rags.

No one was fat, I promise you that.

(hey, that's a poem!-Or maybe a potential country western song!)

Marla said...

Great interview. This sounds like a good read, one I would enjoy. Thank you for the entry.

lisa said...

All I hear is good things about this author! She must be really good! Please enter me for chance to win!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Marla and Lisa, good luck in the drawing.
Remember if you'd like the read my books but don't feel like it's a good time to be spending money, ask at your local library. Many will have it, many others will buy it if it's requested and almost all of them have an inter-library loan program where they'll get it from another library in your state, either free or at a very low price.
I love being in libraries so you won't hurt my feelings a bit if you go that route.

Maureen said...

The book looks wonderful and it is great fun to read Mary's posts at Petticoats and Pistols.

Martha A. said...

You have alot of entries!! I loved your other books so I would love to read this one! So please enter me! Your family sounds like alot of fun!

Audra Marie said...

This looks like a great read. I read the first one in the series. :)

Cheri2628 said...

I found this to be an interesting and insightful interview. Thank you, Lena.

Norma said...

I have a soft spot in my heart for orphans and would love to read this book.

hippmom said...

I've enjoyed Mary's writing in the past. Please enter my name for this book. THanks.

sarahw said...

i love Mary's book and would love the chance to win this one. please enter my name.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to read this series very much!

Ausjenny said...

dont enter me i have the book and love it infact I love Grant best out of all the men in the series.