Author Mary Malone is a very exciting voice in women's fiction. Her latest novel Never Tear Us Apart has received rave reviews and is published by Poolbeg Crimson, an imprint that promises 'fiction with an edge'.
How did you first get published Mary?
Persistence was my route to publication. After receiving numerous rejections for my first novel, I accepted it wasn't good enough and knew I had a lot to learn. I researched the craft of writing as well as doing an editing course and a journalism course. I had some short stories and newspaper articles published but I also worked hard on my second novel, Love Match. Second time around, I was a lot more cautious but finally submitted it to a few publishers. I couldn't believe my luck when Dodder Books called and offered me a contract a week after they'd received the entire manuscript. Love Match was published in July 2006, followed by All You Need Is Love in October 2007. In December 2008, I signed with Poolbeg Crimson and Never Tear Us Apart was published in May 2009. My next title, Playing With Fire, is due for publication in May 2010.
Is there a particular book or author that inspired you to be a writer?
My love of reading began with an obsession for Enid Blyton books. I used to write my name over Enid's, fantasizing that one day I'd be a writer too. But the real inspiration came after reading Patricia Scanlan's first novel, City Girl. For the first time, I could relate to characters I was reading about. For me, this was a turning point, a true inspiration to give my imagination free reign.
What is a typical writing day for you?
Every day is different. My intentions to write all day are always good but unfortunately life has a habit of getting in the way. For July and August I was in the lucky position of writing full time. I loved that. Losing myself in a storyline is magical, even more so when I'm not looking at the clock. But for the rest of the year, I work in the Central Statistics Office four days every week. Then I write at night, usually for around four hours - or as long as I can stay awake. But I love it and am addicted to it, so if a story is going really well or I'm under pressure to meet a deadline, I'll write through the night rather than leave my characters waiting for more.
Never Tear Us Apart is a psychological suspense novel and you have also written two romance novels, what was it that inspired you to write darker material?
The storyline itself was the inspiration for change. What goes on inside a woman's head has always fascinated me - how we over-analyze even the smallest thing. To explore the subject thoroughly, I had no choice but to be true to my characters and to do this effectively, I had to take a trip to the dark side!
Never Tear Us Apart focuses on two very different women - Vicky and Ariel. Which of these characters did you most enjoy creating?
That's a difficult one, a bit like asking me to choose between two very good friends. I empathized with both characters, growing to understand their fears, aspirations and the reasons behind their actions. But if I have to choose...I'll choose the challenge of creating Vicky. The experience brought me (as a writer) to very new levels of my subconscious. I have to admit that there were times when I thought I was going a little mad - just like Vicky. I wrote a lot of her scenes very late at night and as a result, she stayed with me in my dreams and nightmares. Her paranoia became mine.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I'm knee deep in my next title, Playing With Fire. I feel as though I'm on the hundredth draft at this stage and the characters are still growing wings. But that's the magic of writing fiction.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Persist, persist, persist. Never give up. Don't forget to turn up at your page and write. Read as much as you can in the genre you're writing in as well as reading books about writing. Stephen King's book, On Writing, is a must-read for writers. Put constructive criticism to good use. But most of all, allow yourself to enjoy the process of creating a story from beginning to end and be proud of your achievements.