Mary Lawrence author of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jul 9, 2017 1:40:26 PM
Mary Lawrence author of the Bianca Goddard Mysteries
Interview with David Alan Binder
1. Where are you currently? I live in a small rural community in Maine on 7 acres of land about 25 miles west of Portland.
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far? Being a writer is a never ending lesson in patience and humility. You must learn to deal with rejection. No author escapes criticism.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk? I don’t know if it is interesting, but I practice the piano before I start writing. Also, when I get stuck trying to figure out how to say something or which direction the story should go, sitting at the piano and playing music helps me sort it out.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher? I haven’t gone the self-published route so I wouldn’t be able to compare the experience. I know there are benefits to both. At this stage in my career, if I had chosen to be self-published, I know I wouldn’t have been able to reach as many people or sell as many books. Having your books carried in bookstores without having to knock on doors and convince people to take a chance has helped give me, as a new author, credibility. I still have a lot of marketing and promotion to do on my own, publishers direct their budget to tried and true authors with a known brand. (Or, to those debut authors lucky enough to get a big advance--the publisher will then feel compelled to earn it back by pushing the book.) Also as a traditionally published author, my books are being picked up by libraries and that is significant exposure.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located? I am published by Kensington Books out of NYC. They are the largest privately-owned publisher in the country.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? I don’t believe eBooks will ever fully replace print. Maybe future generations will make the aesthetic leap, but I still feel a reverence for print when I can hold a book in my hand and turn a physical page. Touching and handling a book is a meditation for me and takes me into the story. I guess it is just what you grow up with.
But, so long as people love stories and keep reading, I don’t care in what shape or form they use.
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? Threats, bribes, sleeping with an editor, blackmail--whatever. Nothing works except writing a manuscript that someone loves. Oh, and if you are a celebrity or are already an agent or an editor known in the industry--piece of cake.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one? Go to conferences or pitch sessions. Get yourself in front of an agent physically. They get tons of cold queries and they don’t have time to slog through them all. It’s easy for them to delete a name that means nothing to them. But if you can make an impression on them, if they can associate you with your story then that helps.
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)? Foremost, you have to love the art of crafting a story or you’ll never survive the long hours of isolation, self-doubt, rejection, and disappointment.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating? Long car drives work better than anything when I’m trying to hash out plots. I turn off the radio and let my mind entertain me.
10. How many books have you written? I have three published, The Alchemist’s Daughter, Death of an Alchemist, and Death at St. Vedast with a contract for two more. I have three others that will never see the light of day in their present form.
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? Watch out for melodrama in your scenes. Go ahead and write it that way if that’s what you have to do in order to get it down. Then go back after you’ve given it a good rest and tone it down. Subtlety is more arch--more interesting.
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? Sometimes you need to do the opposite of what you think your reader expects.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd? I’m lucky to have such striking covers. Every time I look at them I see more detail.
I make my stories transportive. I want readers to feel as though they are on the streets of Tudor London alongside my characters. Historical accuracy is important, but I write for an intelligent, modern reader. I have fun with these stories and those who like them understand that. I don’t take myself too seriously.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work? The only thing I do that might be different from the average writer is that I attend Renaissance Faires. My series works very well in that setting. It fits in naturally.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? I would have gone to more conferences and met more people earlier on. It might have saved me from the endless pain of cold query submission.
16. What saying or mantra do you live by? Don’t think you can, know you can.
17. Anything else you would like to say? The Bianca Goddard Mysteries appeal to people who love a twisty mystery, or who might have an interest in Tudor London. But even if you aren’t attracted to the Tudor period the stories are worth a try if you like an engaging, quick read. Please follow me on facebook, I aim to entertain! Thanks, David, for inviting me to your blog.