Please welcome my guest Author Mary Gillgannon.
Mary writes historical and paranormal romance and fantasy. She’s worked in a public library for over twenty-five years and has the enviable task of ordering fiction as part of her job. She’s married and has two grown children. She now indulges her nurturing tendencies on four very spoiled cats and a moderately spoiled dog. When not working or writing, she enjoys gardening, traveling and reading, of course!
Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.
For me, the impetus to start writing was a health crisis. In my early 30’s I had emergency back surgery. As the doctor went through all the potential risks, including death, I thought: “I can’t die, I can’t leave my children.” (They were three and four at the time.) And then, “I can’t die, I haven’t written a book.” Only at that moment did I realize how important writing a book was to me. Although I didn’t start writing fiction seriously for another year, that event triggered everything.
The other passion I discovered as an adult was gardening. When I was young, I didn’t have the patience for it. But I’ve always loved flowers and when I finally realized that my husband wasn’t going to do much more than plop a few bedding plants in the ground, I decided to become a gardener. I started gradually, with some annuals bought from the nursery and wildflower seed, then gradually expanded into bulbs and perennials, adding more and more each year. My husband thinks I’ve gotten a little obsessive about it, and maybe I have. Gardening is a challenge here in Wyoming, where the growing season is short and late spring blizzards, summer hail and early fall frosts are a constant threat. Maybe that’s what makes it so exciting and satisfying when I walk out into my garden in late summer and smell the blooms and savor the colors and watch the bees and butterflies and birds that are benefiting from my efforts.
Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?
Although I’m not a morning person and am barely functional before 10 a.m., I’ve always done most of my writing in the morning. It has something to do with the creative process being a continuation of the dream state.
I started out writing in our dining room on an electric typewriter, then graduated to a word processor, and then a computer in the family room of our new house, and finally, my own office upstairs overlooking our back yard. It’s a very girly room, with pink, green and purple predominating. And it’s a bit cluttery with pictures, knick knacks and my Yardley vintage cosmetic collection. Most of the time I have the dog and a couple of cats hanging out with me.
I usually have a cat wanting attention while I'm trying to write too. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?
I’ve always loved history, so writing historical romance was natural for me. Life in the past seems so much more intense, with “life and death” situations that provide automatic conflict for the hero and heroine. And even in the Regency era, when my latest book is set, the rules were pretty rigid. For women, their whole future depended on who they married, so it was a huge deal. So that adds a certain tension to the story.
I’ve recently begun writing a reincarnation/time travel series, with the majority of the books set in the modern era. To make the present day seem more exciting, I’ve started to add suspense elements. In the current book I’m writing (the second in my Soulmate series), there has already been one murder and I suspect there will be more.
How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?
When I get stuck (which is pretty often), I try to “dream my way out of it”. I think about the book before I go to sleep, and also when I wake up in the morning. I go over the last scene where I got stuck, and very often in that hazy semi-aware state, an idea will come to me and I’ll know what to do next.
What a good idea. I'm going to try doing that the next time I'm struggling with a plot point. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
That's funny. I did something similar with my nephew. What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
My first editor pointed out that there is no magical pathway to success and that a lot of it is luck. She also said that the one thing I could control was the creative aspect. If I keep writing and keep getting better, I can improve the odds that I will be successful.
Definitely good advice. What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Leisure time? What’s that? But I do take time off to read, to work in my garden, to spend time with friends and family and to travel. Those things fill my soul and feed my creativity.
Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.
In Wicked Wager my heroine is a country girl who’s happy raising horses and spending most of her time outdoors. The hero is a cynical London gamester, who doesn’t have time for much of anything other than playing cards and winning money. From the beginning, they both try to outwit the other and get their way. But before long, they start to forget what they thought they wanted and fall in love.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
My current WIP in progress is about a Viking metalsmith who travels from 10th century Ireland to modern day L.A. to reclaim his lost love. It’s been fun to combine my passion for dark age Ireland and the energy and fast pace of L.A., where I lived briefly when I was first out of college.
Mary's newest release is a historical romance set in the Regency era.
When hardened gamester Marcus Revington wins Horngate Manor in a card game, he is delighted to finally own property. Even discovering he must marry the heiress of the estate doesn’t deter him. The heiress, Penny Montgomery, is happy with her life raising horses at Horngate and has no desire to wed anyone. When she learns about her guardian’s Wicked Wager, she schemes to convince Marcus she’s unsuitable as a wife so he’ll forget his plan to marry her.
As soon as she saw Revington, she felt a kind of breathless panic. She couldn’t forget how angry he’d been when he’d found her talking to the stablemen at the inn in Petersfield. This time it would be even worse. Not only would he be angry about finding her with a group of stablemen, he’d also be upset with the way she was dressed and the fact she’d gone riding by herself. She could easily imagine what he was going to say: What were you thinking? Going riding in a public place… and dressed like that!
As he approached, she braced herself. She didn’t think he’d strike her, not in front of all these men. But she dreaded a tongue-lashing almost as much. These men were treating her as their equal. They respected her skill and her knowledge of horses. It would be humiliating to have Revington deal with her like a recalcitrant child.
He halted a few paces away. After nodding curtly to the men, he spoke. “I was a bit worried when I found you’d gone riding. But I realize now I shouldn’t have been concerned. You obviously know what you’re about.”
Penny felt her mouth drop open. Was it really possible he was praising her?
“But you should come home and have some breakfast now,” he continued. “I did promise to take you around the city. What would you think of a boat ride down the Thames this afternoon and then the theatre tonight?”
“I… that would be lovely,” she mumbled.
One of the horsemen helped her mount Nero and she simply followed after Revington, still struggling with her sense of disbelief. Was it really possible he’d expressed confidence in her ability with horses? That he’d treated her as his equal, someone whose opinion he cared about?
She could tell his reaction had impressed the horsemen. Like her, they’d expected him to be angry, or at least condescending and curt. When he’d seen fit to be polite and gracious, they could hardly believe it. She very much appreciated his courtesy. She valued the opinion of those men. They might be servants and by the standards of society, beneath her, but she’d rather have their regard than that of most gentlemen and ladies.
Just thinking about what he’d done made her feel strange. She’d longed for some hint of warmth or kindness from Revington. For him to react to her with something other than cold politeness or unbridled passion. At last he was finally doing so, and she found herself unnerved. It was as if the ground beneath her feet had shifted. She didn’t know what to think or feel.
Release date: May 6th
Pre-order from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/ B00VU8L64K
Pre-order from Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wicked-wager-mary-gillgannon/1121799505?ean=2940151266314Pre-order from The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1207
You can learn more about Mary by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or by checking out her website and blog: