Interview with the Awethors Featuring Mary Buckham

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.

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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.

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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:

Twitter: @MaryBuckham

Facebook: Author Mary Buckham

Hooks Class: MaryBuckhamonWriting

 

If you’re an author looking to be featured on the Interview with the Awethors Seriesplease leave your inquiry at lloyd.jr@aol.com

Review: I’m Okay, You’re Not by Kim Mullican

Title: I’m Okay, You’re Not

Author: Kim Mullican

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

 

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Book Description:

Abby Remington has been locked up in a mental institution twice for suicide attempts she doesn’t recall. She’s not allowed to see her only surviving blood relative, her little sister Rachael. While she’s been deemed incompetent, her step-siblings, Cam and Brit, pilfer her fortune and keep her prisoner.

A doctor, who believes her delusions and hallucinations may be real, helps free Abby and Rachael from the clutches of their devious step-family. There’s a price to pay for freedom as the Abby and her little sister soon discover when Cam and Brit kidnap Rachael and sell her off to a mobster.

Abby discovers the true nature of her suicide attempts. She has to do everything she can to save Rachael, her own sanity and their fortunes from the clutches of their malevolent step-siblings. Help comes from an unlikely ally, but will it come in time?

How I Came Across This Novel:

Kim Mullican is actually an author that I follow on my blog. She had posted something the other day about delaying the release of one of her novels, and I was intrigued to check out one of her books. I went with the one that interested me the most first because if I like the book that’s the most interesting to me, then more than likely I’m going to check out the rest that maybe interesting but haven’t caught my interest just yet.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

I thought that a decent amount of the novel was focused a lot on money. Every chapter seems to fall under something about money which is fine, but it seemed to be the main focus. Every time some unusual event would happen it would always generate large and outrageous sums of money that has an unrealistic feel to it. 

I did have an issue with a scene where Abby was humiliating her step-sibling, Brit, at the club. I just don’t understand why Abby would feel this is necessary. Also, I think it would’ve been even better if Abby didn’t reveal herself at the club and just let Brit go home with this broke guy. Now that would’ve been hilarious to have dialogue about that with Abby and Brit in a different chapter.

Also, in the first chapter there were a few errors that made it a little distracting near the end of the chapter. I let it go and didn’t think any of it because that’s nothing that bothers me too much, but I found multiple typos as I got to the middle and conclusion of the novel that really started distracting me because I had to guess what words this author was using to form the sentences.

What I Liked About It:

By far, this book has been one of the best books I’ve read this year. I literally read it within a day. (I had to do it in two sittings because of some errands I had to run.) The first chapter really grabbed me when it started off inside of the mental institution. I find this intriguing because many questions pop in my head about why Abby Remington is in a mental institution.

The author did a great job with really making me hate the antagonists in this novel. It was almost like I was living inside the shoes of Abby throughout the novel, and I loved that feeling! I especially enjoyed the struggles she faced with trying to protect her little sister, then finding out some of the bombshell discoveries about her step-siblings really made me hunger to know more about the life Abby’s sister, Rachael,  lived through. I wish I could have read more about the lifestyle that Rachael lived through because I think this would’ve played a huge role in the character development. 

I really enjoyed learning about Bob. At first, I was questioning myself about who he was. It was actually pretty interesting to see all of these ghosts helping Abby throughout the book. This whole book makes me wonder if all of us have ghosts that protect us from danger. It was very thought provoking and I will definitely be reading another novel by Kim.

My Verdict: 4 Stars

I would have given this book five stars, but the distractions from the typos really made it difficult to stay focused on the key scenes that made this novel an amazing read.