Welcome to the thirty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with urban fantasy / paranormal writer Mary Ann Loesch. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hello, Mary Ann. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Mary Ann: Like many writers, I’ve been writing from a young age. I dabbled in it through out high school and college, but it wasn’t until seven years ago that I really got serious about it. That’s right about the time my daughter was born, and I experienced a crazy burst in creative energy. Must have been all the hormones!
Morgen: Not having children, I don’t think I can attribute mine to my dog. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Mary Ann: I consider myself an urban fantasy writer who also dabbles in stories with paranormal elements. Occasionally, I will write other things, but I can always feel the creepy spirit or fantastical witch calling me back to them.
Morgen: I like my dark side too. What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Mary Ann: I’ve published several short stories and my novel, Nephilim, will be coming out on July 18 through Lyrical Press Inc. I’m also involved with two anthologies that will be available later this year, which I’m really excited about. One is called Red Reader #1 and features a funny, non-fantasy story called Stealing Jesus. The other is called All Things Dark and Dastardly and contains several of my darker short stories. Marketing is such a tricky thing! I find myself spending a lot of time on it. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who loves to write, but has a tough time taking the first step to connect with others. I always have the feeling that there isn’t much interesting about me so why would anyone want to know the facts and details of my life? However, as a writer, you have to let go of those fears and insecurities and learn to promote yourself.
Morgen: And you’ve let go here. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Mary Ann: I currently do not have an agent. This is such a big question right now in the business. Just how important is that agent? Well, I just saw a whole series of Tweets on it that were from an agent stating exactly all the million things they do for writers. Ultimately, I think it depends on what you want as a writer. If you are looking to have the next best seller on the NY Times list, then yes, get an agent. They have connections to publishing houses that will assist you. They can negotiate contracts, edits, and publicity—all the things many writers don’t want to deal with. I do think the role of the agent is going to change in the next few years because so much is happening in the publishing industry right now. If you aren’t as concerned about the bestseller thing, many small presses will publish quality work without the author having an agent. And of course, there is the self-publishing route. No need for an agent at all in that scenario, though I feel it’s vital to have a professional editor look over your work before you self publish.
Morgen: I couldn’t have put it better myself. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Morgen: Absolutely. It’s a hot topic at the moment (especially in the forums, on Twitter etc). Speaking of hot, how yummy is your cover? OK, back to business. Serious face, wipe the drool… What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Mary Ann: My first acceptance was for a short story I wrote a million years ago when I was in college. I still get that same thrill of excitement when a story gets accepted.
Morgen: Half a million in my case. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Mary Ann: I’m pretty sure my middle name is rejection.
Morgen: A lot of writers clearly have cruel parents.
Mary Ann: At first, it was hard to take, but receive enough of them, and they suddenly stop being so personal. The ones I value are the rare letters that explain why they passed on a story or what didn’t connect with them. Those are the rejections you can learn from. I’m a big believer in constructive criticism.
Morgen: Me too. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Mary Ann: Currently, I’m working on a young adult novel set in the bayou of Louisiana. I have an editor who is slashing away at it right now with red ink.
Morgen: Me too, too. Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Mary Ann: Writing every day is a huge task. I try to do it, but sometimes life gets in the way. I do have a day job that keeps me busy so I write in the wee hours of morning when my family is still sleeping.
Morgen: I’m a morning person (Morgen means morning in German). What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Mary Ann: Writer’s block stinks! Oh how I wish I didn’t suffer from it, but from time to time, I do. It doesn’t last very long normally. Sometimes a good night’s sleep or just taking a break from the work helps. I’m so jealous of people who never face this particular stumbling block.
Morgen: Other interviewees recommending mixing writing topics. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Mary Ann: I use to never plot out my stories. I liked the idea of just writing and writing until it was done which could take a really long time. As I’ve progressed as a writer though, I’ve found that I work best with a short synopsis at my side. So I’ll write that out—it’s usually pretty rough—and then start working from there. When writing a novel, I write the first draft fast and furious.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Mary Ann: Of course! I have pieces of work that should never see the light of day because they are so bad!
Morgen: I have a few of those although I’m hoping that with experience there’s some mileage in them. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Mary Ann: Time. There is just never enough of it.
Morgen: Oh yes, I know that feeling. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Mary Ann: I have to shamelessly plug my writing group’s blog All Things Writing. We cover a variety of topics designed to help writers. You can visit us at http://www.allthingswriting.blogspot.com.
Morgen: Shameless writing-related plugs always welcome. In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Mary Ann: I am based in the USA, specifically Texas. Nope. I do not wear a cowboy hat or boots. Or eat my young. Unless they are really bad…
Morgen: That’s funny. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Mary Ann: I am on Twitter and Facebook. At first, I wasn’t sure how useful they were going to be, but as I got better at using them, I found them to be a great way to meet other people and exchange ideas. I think social networking is a must for writers. It’s a simple way to build up your courage and get the word out about your projects.
Morgen: Absolutely. If you don’t talk to anyone how will they know that you have something they may be interested in (but a mix of chat and plug is important, too much plug and you’ll lose their interest; I’m letting everyone off lightly so far as my books aren’t available yet) . Where can we find out about you and your work?
Mary Ann: You can find me at www.maryannloesch.com or follow me at Twitter (@maryannloesch) or Facebook me.
Morgen: You have a lovely-looking site. Thanks so much Mary Ann.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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