Welcome, Mary – tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?
I started writing in my late teens, early twenties, but more as entertainment for myself than with any dream of being published. Sometime after my son was born, I decided to try and take my writing to the next level and publish a book. Five books and three novellas later, I’m still working at it.
Recently I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from my writing as my real life became a bit more hectic than normal. I haven’t written anything in about six months, and I miss it. In fact, I miss it so much that I’m back working on the next book in the Faery series. So, if you’ve been waiting for that story…be patient with me. I’m working on it.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m a mother, wife, full-time worker. When I’m not working, I spend lots of time at the ice rink or lacrosse field watching my son play. I enjoy reading, watching TV (I’m on an anime kick right now!), and dabbling in drawing. This year I took pictures at the lacrosse games and had fun seeing how they turned out and playing with software to make them look even better.
Is Valendrian Nights your first book? How many books have you written previously (if any?)
I have a total of seven books currently available in multiple formats. There are four books in my Princess of Valendria series (Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, Different Kind of Knight, and Vaendrian Nights), a Cinderella retelling with a twist in The Mystery Prince, the first of my Faery series (Faery Marked), and a modern romance novella in The Boyfriend Project.
What genre is it and what is it about?
Valendrian Nights is a compilation of short stories set in the Princess of Valendria world. Each of the six stories features a character from the three novels and tells something from their past. See Rielle’s knighting ceremony. Experience Bri’s first day in Palindore. Ride with Kaylee as she meets her groom-to-be. See Devlin’s reaction to learning he is to wed the daughter of his enemy. Read Trevor’s love letters to Elsbeth. Watch Brody’s first encounter with Rielle under a starry sky.
What inspired you to write this book?
There were things alluded to in the other novels in the series that I wanted to give my readers a glimpse of. Things that shaped the characters into who they are when you encounter them in their own novels. Plus, with Devlin asleep for most of Quest of the Hart (not really a spoiler), I wanted my readers to get a better sense of who he really is and why Kaylee could fall for him so quickly.
What does your writing process look like?
Up until my current book, I thought about an idea, then started writing. Halfway through I’d make a change and have to go back and do a massive rewrite on the entire story. After doing this across four novels, I decided a simple outline (that I give myself permission to veer from) was needed. I wrote such an outline for Faery Cursed, and was typing right along quite merrily until I hit the halfway point, and something happened, and I was like… “Oh! I’ve been writing all this from the wrong character’s POV!” The good news, I can shift some of it to this other character’s POV. The bad news…I may have to do something to a character that some readers might get upset with me about. Guess I’ll have to see if that’s really where my character wants me to go or if he has a trick up his sleeve.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Brody is my favorite of all that I’ve written to date. Although Ryan is a close second (and might take over the lead depending on how things go with the book I’m working on). The thing with Brody is he’s faced so many things that should make him want to crawl in a hole and give up. But he doesn’t. He keeps pushing on, hoping that around the next corner is the thing that makes it all worth it.
How do you choose names for your characters? Based on sound or meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Sometimes I name my characters based on a specific meaning. Often I search the baby name website for a name beginning with a specific letter, or a specific nationality. While not necessarily a character name, I do like to play with words. For example, In Quest of the Hart, there’s the Stygian Swamp, which was a fancy way for me to say Black Swamp. And Aureal’s (the golden dragon) name is twist on the French for gold. For things like this, I use a thesaurus or Google translate and let my mind do the rest.
Do you have a pet or pets?
I have two cats. A tortoise colored one and her sister is a black cat. I had lots of fun petting the black one as she crossed my path on Friday the 13th.
What is your favorite snack food?
Chocolate. Is there anything else? Oh, maybe Twizzlers. Yeah, chocolate or Twizzlers. That’s all I need.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author is Nora Roberts. I devour her books. In fact, I tried to read her stories to learn how to write, but two paragraphs in I was hooked into the story (even though I’d already read it about four or five times) and forgot to read to learn!
Fairytales and happy-ever-after are strong influencers for multi-published YA author Mary Waibel’s works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale. Her works are showcased at marywaibel.blogspot.com.