Welcome to this week’s episode of Interview with the Awethors! I know it has been pretty quiet on this end of the blog-o-sphere, but I’ve been compiling a list of some awesome authors that pack a punch in their novels. Now, today I have USA Today’s Bestselling author Mary Buckham! Her world in The Invisible Recruits Series will bring you into a mysterious world of magic and discovery oneself.
William: Thank you for joining me today, Mary. I appreciate you fitting me into your schedule this week! What inspired you to write the Invisible Recruit Series?
Mary: I was talking to a Terrorist Threat Assessment specialist (some plane trips are worth their weight in gold) and he was talking about the fact that here in the US the recruitment process for undercover operatives eliminated some of the very people who can infiltrate foreign situations. He said the screening process often eliminated everyone except farm-bred boys who’d never been away from home. I thought it was a fascinating insight. Who would you recruit to blend in best in real life situations? So I created a cadre of female operatives who came from diverse backgrounds—a debutante, a hairdresser, a kindergarten teacher, a temp and a fortune-telling con artist—for a new kind of black ops group. The first book in the series featured the debutante and was published as a contemporary romantic suspense. The month before the second book in the five book series was released, the publishing line folded and I received my rights back for the final four novels. There were very few options for the types of stories I wanted to write—strong female protagonists, sexual tension without sex for the sake of sex, women finding out exactly how powerful they were when things got bad, until Indie publishing arrived. I added in paranormal elements as well as supernatural and preternatural aspects and resurrected the series.
William: Thank goodness indie publishing came along because your story is truly a page turner. I know following Alex’s adventure took me only an overnight read and I was hooked!
In the story you describe many different types of magic and cultures across the world, what type of research went into creating these different types of magic?
Mary: I loved reading myths and fairy tales growing up, especially stories from around the world, so I knew there was a rich heritage of magic to pull from when I first started writing the series with a half-witch, half-shaman protagonist. I made sure she wasn’t well versed in her magical abilities as part of her back story, so as she learns about the magic and her gifts, so does the reader. The important issue to me about using magic as a large story element is to make sure that magic has limits and consequences. Nothing I hate more than when a character has a get-out-of-jail free card, meaning that because she is in a certain situation I as the author suddenly make it easy for her to whip out a new magical spell or a way to use her magic. For Alex Noziak, her gift of magic is her greatest asset and her biggest bane. That keeps things interesting.
William: And that is why I enjoyed your story from front to back. There was too many situations where Alex had to discover herself with her skills. So is there a specific person in your life that inspired the idea for Alex Noziak?
Mary: : I think Alex is the kind of person a lot of women would like to be—willing to lead with her heart, deal with the consequences, and not really worry about keeping everyone happy. I don’t know that she’s an easy person to be around all the time, and often strikes sparks off her equally strong-minded teammates. But she’s a good person and she cares deeply about those who can’t always care for themselves. That keeps her vulnerable and kick-ass at the same time.
William: Judging by the cover, she definitely looks kick ass in this series! When did you discover your passion for writing?
Mary: I knew I was always a storyteller but it wasn’t until I was an adult, and I lost a two-month old son to SIDS, and I had to find a reason to get up and take care of my three other children, that I had to find the kernel that became turning stories into novels. It was a promise I made to my son. He didn’t live long enough to leave something lasting, so I’ll do it for him.
William: I am so sorry to hear about your son. A very motivational and admiring way to remember him and bring a lasting life for him.
How does it feel to be a USA Today Bestselling author?
Mary: Shiney! Actually it doesn’t change a lot. You still have to face the blank page. Expectations increase because the title is a form of external validation that reassures readers who don’t know me personally that I might be able to write a good story. It doesn’t mean they’ll like my stories, but that I’ve paid enough dues and made enough sales, to warrant giving my work a try.
William: Do you have any upcoming releases for the readers to be excited about?
Mary: In January, 2016 Writer’s Digest is bringing out a print version of my Writing Active Setting book, titled, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting. This means more writers around the world as well as libraries and bookstores will be able to order it. Plus, it’s chock full of new examples. So I am excited about that. I am currently working on two under wraps fiction projects, which I will be sharing on my Facebook mary.buckham.author and Twitter @MaryBuckham pages. I am in the midst of wrapping up my first set of online workshops to teach hooks to writers (You can find more info here: MaryBuckhamOnWriting) and already looking forward to the next series of classes that I will be creating. 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year!
William: You are truly a very busy woman and an adventure seeker! Where was your favorite place to travel?
Mary: I don’t think that there is one favorite place, because I like how varied and unique our world is. It’s hard to compare Bangkok with small town Missouri, or Santa Fe with rural England, as each has it’s own magic.
William: Are any of your stories inspired by your travels?
Mary: Absolutely! To me the more you travel the more you find common treads of humanity that link us together and speak to all of us. Some of my stories have locations that I have been to personally and others include places I plan to visit one day.
William: If you could have magical abilities, what would be your strength and why?
Mary: I would like the ability to instantly transport to any location. What a time saver! Except, I haven’t figured out how to carry my luggage.
William: Oh, that would be a time saver! Also, if it was me, it would take away that fear of flying I have.
For people who are searching for that magic touch in their writing, what advice do you have for them to be as successful as you?
Mary: Like many novice writers, when I started out I thought all I had to do was write the story and it’d be a story worth being acquired by a publisher. Wrong. Writing never gets easier. The doubts never go away. But the craft elements can be learned with enough attention and work. You have to do the work. There’s no getting around it. Some people sell their first novel and that’s wonderful. What we don’t hear is how many times that novel was worked and reworked before it went through editorial review boards and the editorial revision process.
William: And that about wraps it up for this weeks episode of Interview with the Awethors thanks to all the readers and writers joining in on this episode. Please check out Mary Buckham and give her the joy of sharing a piece of her magical world of The Invisible Recruits Series.
Also, check out her guides Writing Active Hooks.
If you would like to connect with Mary Buckham and find out more about her upcoming books, or you would like to purchase her books, go to the links below:
Facebook: Author Mary Buckham
Hooks Class: MaryBuckhamonWriting
If you’re an author looking to be featured on the Interview with the Awethors Series, please leave your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org