Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn't until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.
The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released June 30, 2017. Mary Anne is currently working on the sixth book, Good To Be King, with at least four more to follow.
Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
What qualifies you to write books with characters in their late forties?
I'm 61 years old and I've been married for 39 years. I have gone through tough times, sad times, and happy times. I base my character's actions and feelings on my own experiences.
What are your current/future projects?
I working on the next book in the Charlie McClung Mystery series, Complex Kid.
It's about the murder of a staff member at Haven Place, a day program for developmentally challenged adults. There are too many suspects but only one claims they did it, Ryan, a client of the program.
Chief McClung doesn't believe him even though is prints are all over the murder weapon.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I have loved mysteries since I was born. LOL! I love reading them. I would binge-watch mysteries 24/7 if I could. That's why I write mysteries.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I am an indie author. My original plan was to go the traditional route but after speaking with a few authors who were indie, traditional, and hybrid authors, I decided indie was the best fit for me.
I won't lie, it's been a struggle. Indie authors are responsible for the jobs a traditional publisher does for their authors, editing, proofreading, and graphic design.
Searching for the best, yet affordable, graphic designers and editors is a challenge. I went through several editors before I found the right one.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
My books are traditional mysteries. The clean, non-graphic aspects of traditional mystery attracted me to the genre.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I have heard that rumor. It's sad to believe that happens, but one never knows how far someone will go to outshine their competition.
I can't say for sure I've had experience with this but there have been one or two bad reviews that I wondered if the person even read my books. I remind myself to focus on all the four- and five-star reviews.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
Once I publish my baby, I hold my breath for judgment time. All authors want only 5-star reviews. But like anything else, not everyone enjoys the same cup of tea.
So when the less than 5-star reviews are posted, my husband reminds me of Elaine in Seinfeld, how she hated the movie The English Patient when all of her friends loved it.
Dwell on the positive. Dwell on the positive.
What is the intended audience for you book?
My books appeal to women. Although, I have a solid fan base of men who love my books.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)? Tom Petty's music is the inspiration for a few of my book titles and storylines. Yep, I love Tom Petty. I cried the day he died.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Hmm, one message? My books have three.
You never truly know a person and what they are capable of doing, good or bad.
It's never too late to find love.
Don't be afraid of having fun. Don't let others steal your joy. No matter your age.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I read my reviews. No, I don't respond to them. My advice is to concentrate on the positive ones. If the bad ones offer any real feedback, learn from them. If not, forget about them.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
I had a dream while vacationing in Boise. When I woke up, I knew I had to use it in one of my books.
There is a scene in Brilliant Disguise when Marian is home alone and falls asleep. She wakes up when she feels someone sit on the bed. It's all a dream, but it feels real. That happened to me. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
I make up most of my characters from people I've observed. They are like Frankenstein's creations, attributes from many people stitched together. I base the two main protagonists on my husband and the dream version of me. I'm not an amazing cook or gardener like Marian.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
I set my books in the early 1980s. I have to do a lot of research to make sure things did or didn't exist during that time period.
I'm lucky to have several experts I can consult, such as a forensic pathologist, an expert in poisons, a retired chief of police, an FBI agent, just to name a few. I want my books to be accurate.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
The disadvantages of self-publishing are I have to do all the work, pay for it, and no advance. It's continual learning about marketing, the craft of writing, etc.
Plus, there's the stigma of being an indie author. Oh, you couldn't get a contract because you're not good enough.