We’re talking about a lady cop with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits who is chasing a serial killer while romancing a mission pastor. None of this is me, trust me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Wow, quirky? How about writing books? That seems mighty quirky to me.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first book when I was about twelve. I suppose then. And I was a broadcast communications major in college and I knew I loved the writing assignments. But I started writing as an adult, with the goal of publication when my fourth daughter went to Kindergarten. So let’s say then.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
If they’re sassing each other and falling in love while they’re running for their lives, then I’m happy. I want action and comedy and romance. I’ll take that in about any form. I do read outside romance some. Usually really famous detective fiction authors. Sue Grafton, Faye Kellerman (she’s MEAN, be warned) Clive Cussler, Mary Higgins Clark. But mostly it’s romance.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
you’re assuming I have kept it. That is an open question.
I was trying to give you an out here, Mary. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I don’t get too attached to names. It’s not uncommon for me to change the names multiple times during the writing of a book. I realize I want something more from a name that I first thought. The heroine of the book I just finished is named Calista Petra, her parents were from
Italy and are now frontier folks. So they Americanized
their names to Stone from Texas
and Calista is now Callie. I had to fool around forever to find the right names
for that. And that was based mainly on how I visualized my heroine. Black hair,
snapping black eyes. So who looks like that? I decided to go with Italians but
not until after a lot of research. Petra
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That first contract is awesome all right, but you know, Mary, every contract after that has carried a punch for me, too. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d probably be a cat. Lay around in the sun all day. I’d like that very much. Can we have a cat that reads?
What is your favorite food?
Again, not an easy question. I’m quite an all purpose eater. Not picky at all. I guess I’ll say an apricot torte from the Lithuanian Bakery in
Absolutely fantastic, mood altering. The world recedes and I have no problems
when I’m eating that torte. Omaha, Nebraska
I think a huge roadblock for me was that I was writing in sort of an odd genre. I wrote Ten Plagues, which is sort of in the classical romantic suspense mode before I got my first book published. What finally hit was the romantic comedy with cowboys and there just wasn’t much out there like it. So I’d pitch it to an editor and they’d say, NO. And I’d go home and write some more.
Tell us about the featured book.
This is a book written under a pseudonym, as Mary Nealy. I love this book but I want to WARN people it’s different. BE AFRAID!!
An inner city mission pastor draws the attention of a madman and becomes the focus of his rage.
A lady cop with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits gets the case and is confronted with an evil unlike any she's ever known.
The pastor and the cop race to stop a murderer, knowing that the plague of the first born and the plague of darkness are being saved just for them.
Please give us the first page of the book.
With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the
Nile, and it will be changed into blood.
A cold chill of evil sleeted through Keren Collins veins.
Wind howled like a tormented soul between the
tenements. Goosebumps rose on her arms. Her hair blew across her eyes and
blinded her. Being sightless made the evil more powerful as if it cast her into
the presence of a blackened soul. Chicago
She felt impending door so powerful her hands shook as she twisted her mass of unruly curls into a messy bun and anchored it with an ugly but functional leather contraption.
She had parked her rust bucket Impala a block away from the decrepit brownstone she was watching. The front stoop and the young punks gathered there were visible. She looked around, listening. Did the evil have a source? Could this feeling be coming from inside that run-down building?
No way was Keren going in alone.
cops were about as popular in this part of the South Side as the Cubbies. She
sat in her car, and waited and itched. Chicago
O’Shea, why’d you pick today of all days to be late?
To keep from fretting over this strange premonition, Keren pulled her notes out to reread what she had on Juanita Lopez, missing for a week. She’d read about two sentences when she snapped the little book shut and jammed it back in her blazer’s inside breast pocket. She couldn’t sit still when things felt this wrong. Pushed to action and against all common sense, Keren reached for her door handle.
Pounding footsteps drew her eyes to the left and behind her car. A man raced down the sidewalk on the far side of the street. The beat of his sprinting feet made Keren's heart speed up. He raced past her, straight toward that cluster of thugs Keren figured for Juanita’s old gang. They saw the man running and straightened like wolves scenting blood.
The runner went up the brick steps right between some of the meanest scum in the city. He collapsed against the wall, gasping for air. Keren narrowed her eyes as he lifted a small piece of…something…and pressed it to the side of the door, sliding it sideways and jamming it into a some crack he must have found because the thing stuck. A sign maybe, brown wood, a foot or so long and half as high. If it had a picture or words on it she couldn’t make them out. Just as the man pressed it against the wall one of the gang members slapped a hard hand on his shoulder, jerked the door open and shoved the runner inside.
That sense of evil grew but Keren didn’t have to be a genius to know that guy who’d just been shoved inside could be in big trouble.
A half-dozen Hispanic boys erupted from the brownstone and took up positions in front of the building as if they’d been assigned guard duty.
Keren slumped low in her seat, sitting on her backside while someone was being killed. But she couldn't take on a gang alone. Minutes ticked by.
“O’Shea, where are you? C'mon.”
She couldn’t stand it anymore. She reached for the door handle and her phone at the same time.
Then an explosion blasted brick loose from the building’s foundation. The kids standing guard were mowed down by shrapnel.
Keren’s car rocked on its axle. Its car alarm went off and the airbag deployed and punched her in the face.
A blast of heat hit next and gritty dust enveloped the car. She leapt from her car and charged toward the crawling, bleeding boys.
Petticoats and Pistols
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Thank you, Mary, for dropping by in your persona.
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