Mary Beth Magee interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Jun 5, 2018 10:30:45 PM

Mary Beth Magee interview with David Alan Binder

Short bio from her website: (Mary Beth Magee) I'm a writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, reader, dreamer, gardener, crafter and like Rudyard Kipling's Elephant's Child, I am filled with " 'satiable curiosity." I love the innocence of kids, the affection of animals and the joy of God's creation.

My website:

My Amazon page:

My BookBub handle: @marybethmageewrites

1. How do you pronounce your name?

Mary Beth Magee – pronounced Muh-gee

2. Where are you currently living?

South Mississippi – like Mercy McKay (my protagonist) I’ve come home at last.

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Keep writing, even if it’s not on your main work. The plot may resolve itself in your subconscious while you’re working on something else.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I do some of my best story-plotting while bush hogging. Something about the rhythm of the tractor and blades, the aroma of the freshly cut hay and the back and forth patterns of each pass open my thought processes to all sorts of stories.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

The publisher who accepted my first novel couldn’t work with my timeline for publication. I wanted the book published in my mother’s birth month, since she always encouraged my writing and I wrote the novel in her memory. The date was important enough to me that I declined the contract and self-published. I was glad I did. The publisher was gone within a year.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

My publisher is my own company, BOTR Press, LLC in Poplarville, MS.

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I don’t believe eBooks will put print books out of existence any time soon. Each mode has a place in the reader’s world. While I love the feeling of a book in my hands, I also have an eReader for those authors who want to send me their book for review in the electronic format.

Conventional publishing gives control of my work to someone else. I’ve become very fond of holding those reins myself. Maybe one day, I’ll relinquish control, but not yet. For now, I’ll stay with self-publishing.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

a. Get published wherever you can. Blogs, magazine or newspaper articles, or letters to the editor all count. Keep copies of those publications. Each piece adds to your credibility as a writer.

b. Get involved with a group, which will give you meaningful feedback, not just “Wow! Great Job!” but real feedback. Listen to what they say and apply the advice you believe is worthwhile.

c. Once your book is finished, have at least one person you trust to tell you the truth go through it page by page and make notes. (I have three wonderful beta readers.) Take the advice seriously, but not personally. The book may feel like your child, but you can’t sell it if it isn’t the best it can be.

d. Attend conferences, which offer pitch sessions and bring your samples with you, along with the pitch for your book.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Conferences offer the best opportunities for acquiring an agent. If a writer wants a mainstream publisher, an agent is a definite necessity. Look for conferences with agent interview periods.

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Keep writing, no matter what. Edit, edit and edit again. Don’t show your work to anyone who doesn’t believe in you. Only share with people who have your best interests at heart and will tell you the truth to help you grow. Above all, don’t take feedback on your work as a personal attack. It’s not about you; it’s about your story.

For all of those who think, “I’ll write someday” – SOMEDAY is TODAY! Get started. You can edit a poor first draft. You can’t edit a blank page.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I’ve always thought of myself as a good speller and grammarian. I was amazed at how many things I missed in my multiple readings. We tend to see what we meant to put down, not what actually went down on the page. Thank God for my wonderful and gifted beta readers!

11. How many books have you written?

To date, I’ve written two cozy mystery novels (Death in the Daylilies and Ambush at the Arboretum) and one short story collection (Cypress Point Confidences). Two devotional books (Devotions from the Road of Life: Hitting the Road and Devotions from the Road of Life: Devotions for Caregivers), one children’s book (Grandpa’s Mustache), one craft book (Storytime Crafts, Games and Gifts Using Recycled and Inexpensive Items) and one poetry collection (Songs of Childhood, Echoes of Years). I’ve also created five journals (The Storyteller’s Journal, The Rose of Friendship, Getting Started on Your Memoirs, Getting Started in Your Own Kitchen and Devotions from the Road of Life: Caregiver’s Medical Log). So far, I’ve appeared in twelve anthologies on various topics, including two Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes.

12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Get to know your cast. Look beyond the physical description to the motives and traumas, the myriad experiences which color their perspectives. As you learn more about them, you’ll find the quirks and flaws, which help to provide you with the twists. Don’t try to force a plot point. Let it happen naturally out of the people and circumstances in your story. Listen to your characters. Human nature brings enough twists of its own.

13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Believable behavior by believable people in believable circumstances make a book work for me. Notice I didn’t say realistic, I said believable. When the characters are true to themselves and their values, I can suspend disbelief about realism. All the gritty realism in the world can’t get me past inconsistencies. I’ve been told I achieve believability in my novels and short stories because I keep my characters, imperfect though they are, consistent to their values.

14. What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?

Each of my novels contains a recipe. After all, food plays an important role in Southern life. I give away recipe cards with the recipe and ordering information on the books.

15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have taken more art when I was younger, so I could do my own illustrations. Finding affordable artists can be difficult.

16. What saying or mantra do you live by?

Writing to share God’s light in the world

17. Anything else you would like to say?

I find writers to be some of the most generous hearted people I’ve ever met. We pull together to help each other. I work hard to give back the same sort of help I’ve been given through the years.