My most recent novel, Question of Time, is a sequel to my science-fiction novel Time Will Tell. The third of a trilogy with the last book entitled Time Was, it is about extra terrestrials seeking each others’ secrets. One group, the Torpians, forces Earthlings to help by claiming credit for a meteor hitting Earth and threatening to send more if Earthlings don’t persuade Svarians to provide a cure they’ve discovered for their leader’s fatal condition.
2. When did you realize you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
I always took writing seriously, but after receiving an assignment from a publisher to write a biography of Governor George Wallace and having that publisher go out of business in the middle of it, I decided to pursue publication on my own. I returned to college and wrote that book as my Master’s thesis. It wasn’t published but I continued writing in different genres.
3. If you could attribute your writing success to one turning point in your life, what would it be?
I think the above statement covers the turning point.
4. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?
I schedule time for writing. I like to treat it as a job, so I get dressed, put on makeup and sit at the computer. My goal is to write at least 1,000 words at one sitting.
5. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
The hardest part of writing for me is to keep track of time. I get so caught up in the characters and the plot, I sometimes forget whether I made the day long enough or even if I’ve moved from lunch to dinner. I know I should make a time chart, but I don’t always do that.
6. Do you sometimes find it difficult to switch between genres? If so, what are some tricks you’ve learned to make it easier?
Since I write in many different genres, I’m accustomed to changing gears. It’s like life. Many things are happening at once. When I’m writing sequels, however, I always try to make sure they can stand alone. A reader may read the second book before the first and I feel hints as to what has happened before are helpful to keep them on track.
7. When you write a novel set in a real place/time, how much research do you do before starting your first draft?
I always research places before writing about them, even if I am familiar with them. I like to be sure I’m accurate with things like what type trees are there and exactly where streets are. I sometimes visit unfamiliar places; being authentic is very important. Readers are quick to spot inaccuracies.
8. What have you found to be the most effective method for marketing your books?
As in every other field, word-of-mouth is the best advertisement. Book signings run a close second. One year, I had 50 signings/presentations and that’s very effective. In addition, TV, radio, and newspaper exposure is good.
9. If you could give an aspiring writer only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Seek instructive criticism from the best editor(s) you can find. Heed it, but don’t get discouraged.
10. What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?
I am currently working on several things–editing of the two sequels to my science-fiction book, a sequel to a suspense/mystery novel and a semi-historical novel which deals with the paranormal, both under consideration by my publisher.
Bio: As a college English instructor, I love words, people and travel. Writing allows me to share my enthusiasm for all of those with readers.
You can purchase Mary S. Palmer novels here.
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