Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guest Blogger Mary Connealy

A big howdy to Mary Connealy, my good friend (and who I want to be when I grow up.) A couple weeks ago, I blogged about Mary's fantastic trio of mysteries: Nosy in Nebraska. And about phobias in our writing. It struck a chord with some of you readers, and I thought it might be fun to have Mary here to talk about writing phobias and character quirks. So, welcome, Mary!

My Personal Phobias and Quirks Finally Have a Purpose

I’m a writer of Western Romance. But I’ve been moonlighting, too.
I wrote three cozy mysteries for my publisher and they released in June, titled Nosy in Nebraska. For these three books I plunged head first into ‘Write What You Know’.
Book #1 Of Mice. . .and Murder has a heroine terrified of mice.
Book #2 Pride and Pestilence has a heroine who is a shy, insomniac bookworm.
Book #3 The Miceman Cometh has a heroine who is a complete klutz.

Okay that’s allllllllll me.
I am terrified of mice.

Just because I’m bringing this misunderstood phobia out of the shadows, does not mean I should be mocked.

Some may read Of Mice…and Murder and see the humor, mystery and drama. But for those of us who are musophobes (look it up, I can’t do EVERYTHING for you) this is an intense, life and death struggle.

You know, I decided at a very young age (too young to be deciding anything) while pondering eternal things like heaven and … well…NOT heaven—to avoid a four letter word.

I gave considerable thought to whether instead of eternal darkness, or a lake of fire, I might possibly end up in a room full of mice.

God knows each of us. God knows what our definition of—NOT heaven—might be.

The worst of that youthful pondering was the horrifying thought that maybe, since we’re talking having eternity to adjust, I might actually get so I didn’t mind being in a room full of mice.

That makes me really sad.

But I’ve made my peace with God and accepted Jesus as my personal savior, mice being the least of that decision, so I don’t dwell on—NOT heaven—that much anymore.

In Of Mice…and Murder my heroine Carrie is afraid of mice. Nothing else. She’s a very brave woman in nearly all other ways…except mice…….EEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!

In book two of the Maxie Mouse Mystery Series, Pride and Pestilence, my heroine is a shy insomniac bookworm. Hello, borrowing from my life again!

Yes, I am a shy, insomniac bookworm, musophobe, klutz. My life between the pages of a book. And yes, when I meet people they inevitably say, “You’re not shy.”

But my shyness is all internal. I know how to behave myself in public, but inside I’m a squirming, twitching, overly sensitive, lunatic. All my reactions are--Go home, go pull the covers over my head, better yet, GO WRITE. Have both sides of the conversation myself. Create COOL tough, bold women. Exactly NOT like me.

Or read books with those same cool, tough, bold women. Now THAT’S living. Or maybe pretend living, but if I pretend well enough, who’s gonna complain???

And it’s all set in small town Nebraska. Now THAT’S me. That’s the world I know.

So get a peek of Mary-the-Lunatic within the pages of the Maxie Mouse Mysteries, and a really nice, if somewhat exaggerated, look at life in a small Nebraska town.

The best thing and the worst thing about a small town is the same thing.
Everybody knows.

If you need help, have a death, lose a job, are sick or injured, everybody knows. They’re at your door with food and lawnmowers and company and even cash.

If you mess up, humiliate yourself, get caught in some outrageous act (you ALWAYS get caught) everybody knows.
Taking a break from cowboys for one book.
Welcome to Melnik, Nebraska
There is no escape.

Erica Here: Mary, I love Melnik, Nebraska! What a delightful cast of odd-ball characters you've surrounded your heroines with. (You'll notice that I did NOT say the heroines were odd-ball.) Thank you for sharing about your phobias and how you used them to create characters that are memorable, delighful, and relatable.

If you've not read any of Mary Connealy's work, hie thee to the bookstore or and snap some up. You won't be disappointed!

Other books Mary has coming out now and in the near future are:


  1. Erica, this is great. Mary is sure to be funny everytime I read about her! Her books are awesome too and the greatest thing about Mary is that there is never a new one far behind to be released. None of those year-long waits to get your fill of Mary's wonderful, funny writing.

  2. Great interview! And I still have my $50 Amazon gift card that my hubby gave me for our anniversary. I have one of Mary's books on my list to get!

  3. Loved the interview!! Mary - I'm reading Petticoat Ranch right now. I just started (finished ch. 2) and I'm liking it a lot. Trying to figure out if the mystery man really is her hubby! Nice.

    Thanks for the interview, Erica. Great stuff!

  4. Gorgeous covers and very entertaining writing! Thanks for the guest blog!

  5. I'll have to check out the Nebraska stories. Just finished Montana Rose and loved it!

  6. Hi, sorry I'm slow checking in today.
    Thanks for the kind words about my books ladies.

    The bad part is that the phobias and quirks in my books, though very funny there, aren't all that funny when it comes to ME!

  7. Love this peek into Mary's personality! She's great, phobias and all1

  8. Ooo, I'm with you on the mice! We had mice in our parsonage in Oklahoma and it about did me in! I would pull out my husband's size 12 work boots on and cook at the stove. (like the boots would prevent a mouse from scurrying up my legs!)
    And while you don't sound shy AT ALL, I totally get you with the internal shy thing. I'm a shy preacher's wife which is a kinda of oxymoron. I gotta be out in front, all the while wanting to be home with a book or my laptop!
    Great post!!!

  9. Sherrinda I had my heroine do all the things I want to do. Like tie ropes around my ankles to keep mice from running up the inside of her pant leg.

    The one thing I would have done that she didn't, was stay in that house.

    No way.

    I've have gone to live with my mommy.

  10. I didn't talk in the article (I see now-duh) about the third book and the klutzy anthropologist. I had such a ball with her. I don't know why but the profession of anthropology amuses me. Mainly because I don't think anyone quite understands what it is.

    So, I made a thousand anthropologist jokes (sure there are a thousand) and had the poor woman tripping over her own feet pretty steadily through the book.

  11. I read that book and it is so good, it is always great to read an interview with a great author.


  12. Mary, you always make me smile! Sometimes I even spew coffee. The world is in need of a little more mirth! Thanks for bringing that.

  13. Carla, HI! Are you coming to the ACFW Conference? Who's gonna keep people in line if you're not there?