MAE: Hello! I feel privileged to be here today. Thank you for featuring The Charlie McClung Mysteries. My books are hard to pigeonhole into one genre. They are considered traditional mystery or romantic/suspense and someone once classified them as a modern cozy. There is also a very tiny bit of a foodie element. They are set in a small town in Georgia during the early 1980s.
GP: I know that in reading Brilliant Disguise I knew I could almost duplicate the food with the detailed descriptions that sounded so yummy! Mary Anne, I’m sure that everyone here would like to know more about you as a person, tell us, what do you do when you aren’t writing?
MAE: If I’m not writing, I’m marketing. But when I do have free time, I spend most of my time with my practically perfect husband of 34+ years. We watch a lot of mysteries. I also entertain my Tuxedo cat, Gertrude. Every night before turning out the lights, I try to read a chapter or two.
GP: I have three part question for you. When did you begin writing, what made you decide to begin publishing your work, and has self-publishing changed the way you view your writing?
MAE: While growing up, my mother was usually writing something, a song, a poem, family history. I thought it was normal to write. I began writing poems, next came short stories, and then the novels. My husband encouraged me to submit a few of my short stories for publication. Low and behold, a few magazines wanted to pay me to publish them. Hot Dog! I originally wanted to go the traditional route. But after speaking with a few authors who started off traditional then went to self-publishing, I was convinced that was the path for me. Self-publishing is hard, very hard. I’m responsible not only for writing the manuscript but for editing, formatting, book cover, marketing. Everything! One day, I may begin a journey to the traditional side. We’ll see.
GP: Tell us, is your writing style more like a planner or a pantser? That is, do you outline your books then write the story or do you just take an idea and run with it, letting the story unfold without an outline?
MAE: I guess I’m a hybrid. I have a three-ring binder for each book. I have a very simple outline. Once the writing begins, the characters do their own thing. I just follow their lead.
GP: I sounds like you have a plan then let the characters tell their story. Who gave you the best advice you ever received as a new author and what was it? What advice would you give new authors just getting their feet wet in the world of writing and publishing?
MAE: I was told, I think it was Kelsey Browning, “Don’t compare myself to any other author.” True, I have to follow my own path to success using my own unique abilities. The advice I’d give to a new author is write the manuscript, polish it after it’s written. Get a few alpha and beta readers to help you polish it. Make your presence known on social media. Network like crazy.
GP: I read the first of your Charlie McClung Mysteries recently. Would you tell readers a little about your mystery novels and how Charlie McClung came to be? Can we expect many more Charlie McClung novels?
MAE: My mysteries are fairly clean. I try to leave things to the imagination. I decided on the early 1980s because technology was just emerging. I wanted my detective to rely on his observations, people skills, and logic to solve the crimes. Charlie is different. I didn’t want him to be like every other TV or movie detective. I wanted Charlie to be real. My father-in-law is a retired chief of police, so I know firsthand what a real cop is like. As far as how many novels there will be, well, that’s hard to say. Right now, I have a total of ten plotted out, beginning with “Brilliant Disguise.” I’m sure there will be more.
GP: When I read a book sometimes it seems that the author’s interests and beliefs become apparent. How much of yourself do put into your characters? How is Marian from Brilliant Disguise like you?
MAE: I write what I know. So, yes, you will get a peek into my beliefs, interests and warped mind. My characters are Frankenstein-like. Pieces of me, my family, friends, and observations of strangers are melded together to populate the world of Charlie McClung and Marian Selby. I want my characters to be real, believable, likable, and hated. There are a few of my traits in Marian but she can do most anything. She has a green thumb; mine is more pale green.
GP: Can you give us hints about what you are working on now and what we readers can expect to see from you in the future?
MAE: I’m working on the fourth book, “Sins of My Youth.” This book centers on Joan Delaney, Marian’s dearest friend. Joan is accused of murdering her first ex-husband. Even though Joan is practically caught red-handed, Marian refuses to believe her friend is guilty. Charlie will need a miracle to prove Marian is right. Another tidbit, in the third book, “Criminal Kind,” there is a hint of a stalker. In “Sins of My Youth,” it becomes apparent that Marian is being stalked. The stalker is not revealed until the fifth book, “Flirting with Time.”
GP: Mary Anne, I’m sure that readers would appreciate links so they can find you and your books. Do you have some links to share with us?
MAE: My books can be found online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They can be special ordered at any bookstore if you prefer to shop local. If you would like to see my books on your local library’s bookshelf, just ask them to order it. Here are my social media links and Amazon buy links.
Social Media Links
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Edwards/e/B00HZ28TIQ
“Brilliant Disguise” – Amazon – http://goo.gl/OaJGwc
“A Good Girl” – Amazon – http://goo.gl/CBW00b
“Criminal Kind” – Amazon – http://goo.gl/7EzXn8
GP: I’d like to thank you again, Mary Anne, for taking your time to visit with us today.
Please come back on Friday to read my review of a “Brilliant Disguise: A Charlie McClung Mystery.”
MAE: Thank you for having me today. I love talking about my books. It’s such a thrill to have readers and bloggers ask me about Charlie McClung and the gang. I adore inquiring minds!
Here is a little teaser from Brilliant Disguise: