Interview

**Bracketed comments are Mary’s commentary**

Tell us, what do you write?
I write YA bordering on NA fantasy romance. I have a NA fairytale retelling series coming up, too after The Belgrave Legacy is completed.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
It varies depending on the book. For The Belgrave Legacy, I’m using 3rd omniscient, but with each of the 4 fairytales I’m doing something different (but how I plan to do that is a surprise I’m not ready to reveal just yet).

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I start with an idea that normally comes to me in a dream, as hokey as that sounds. [Not hokey at all. I’ve had that happen, too!] Then I start writing a scene before I do anything else, just to get a sense of the story.

Do you draft quickly?
I completed The Belgrave Daughter in 7 months (4 for the first draft, the rest for editing). [Nice! That’s pretty quick. Mine first took 8 years!]

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I research as needed along the way. Normally, my stories don’t require much research to begin with…

Do you outline? How?
I generally do a barebones outline to begin with after the initial free write (see my answer to #3), but sometimes I make it more detailed. It always evolves either way as I continue writing.

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don’t lose the flow of what you are working on?
I try and write linearly and as completely as possible. I always know edits will happen, but I still try and get a semi-polished piece in the first draft.

Do you work with CP’s (Critique Partners) or Beta’s (Beta Readers)? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I technically HAVE a beta group, but haven’t sent them any of my writing because I kept changing stuff every two days. For my next book, I’m going to actually use them. [I had to learn to wait to get feedback back from my CP’s before working on revisions (which really is harder than it sounds!) as I would make sweeping changes before they had a chance to read any of what I’d sent.]

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
Writer’s Digest (books, magazine, and blog), as well as Veronica Roth’s blog, and the Go Teen Writers blog.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
A first draft is NOT the final one, so don’t rush the writing, revising, or editing processes. It will only create more work down the road. [That’s a great piece of advice!]

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A book trailer? Anything else you want to share?
My debut novel, The Belgrave Daughter (1st in The Belgrave Legacy trilogy) came out November 14, 2013. And my friend just made a book trailer, too! [Congratulations, Zara! I am so thrilled for you!]

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