Guest Writer: Mary Pat Hyland

This week I am happy to bring yet another guest indie author to Get Jack’d — this time in the form of Mary Pat Hyland. Purchase Mary’s Top 100 Bestseller, 3/17 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Create Space, and Powell’s Books. Learn more about Mary on her website. And now, for the goods!

1. Tell us something about your latest book you haven’t told anyone else. Describe it in such a way to give it a completely different perspective.
My new novel, “The Terminal Diner,” is the story of a family that owns a diner near an airport in upstate New York and tells how their lives were affected indirectly by the events of Sept. 11. When I wrote this, I drew upon my own experiences. I was working at a newspaper that day and kept trying to call my former boyfriend who worked at the World Trade Center to see if he was all right. It was terrifying. We did connect by email later that day, but a few days later I found out an old friend who also worked there was killed and another friend lost his son, a firefighter. It’s been tough to see how the loss of these two good men affected their families and the long process they’ve endured of working through their grief.

2. Of all of your books, which are you most proud of and why?

“The Cyber Miracles”—my first—was at least 10 years in the making. I quit that newspaper job, with no safety net, to get it published and commit to fiction writing as a career, so it holds a special place in my heart. That said, I’m most proud of the writing in the new book. However, writing “3/17”—a parody of Dante’s “Inferno” in which musicians from Ireland, lost in upstate New York, are subjected to St. Patrick’s Day revelry in the States—was the most fun I’ve ever had writing.

3. Among your genre, what makes your book(s) different than others?

In different parts of my life I was very shy, so my people watching skills are highly developed. Because of this, I can write believable characters that readers tell me they’d love to hang out with in real life.

4. If you could be one of the characters in your book(s), which one would you be and why?

Probably Brídgeen Griffin. She’s in my Maeve Kenny series that includes “The Cyber Miracles” and “A Sudden Gift of Fate.” (The third book in the series—yet unnamed—will be published late this year.) In the latter book, she and her husband are given a Finger Lakes winery to manage as a wedding gift though they have no experience. That would be a dream come true for me. Brídgeen has courage, a great sense of humor, mad business skills and one terrific husband.

5. Who do you prefer to write, good guys or bad guys?

Definitely the bad ones. Creating Toni Sellars, the conniving uber-bitch in the Maeve Kenny Series was pure delight!

6. What is your writing process like from beginning to end?

First there are images, moments caught walking down a street, lyrics to a song heard that trigger a flicker of a plot. I write these in little notebooks I carry with me always. Often after a long walk, I’ll come back with ideas to add to that flicker and expand upon it. This process can take months, years. A first draft is written in longhand on cheap spiral notebooks I buy in mass quantities during back to school sales. The second draft is typed into the computer. By the time I get a fourth draft, I ship it off to my team of editors and proofreaders. I discuss their findings and write at least two more drafts, finalize the cover design with my artist and then publish it.

7. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?

I want to be able to quit my day job so I can write full time.

8. Have you ever written something, given up on it, only to pick up later and realize you had a gem on your hands?

Yes! My new novel grew from a short story called “Spice of Life.”

9. Who are your influences and in what ways have they influenced you?

Eudora Welty and Anne Tyler are two of my favorites. They showed me the way to make everyday lives fascinating.

10. Do you have anything in the works and, if so, could you tell us about it?

I’m finishing the editing for “The Terminal Diner” right now. It will come out in June 2011. Then on to the second draft of the new Maeve Kenny book. In November I’ll start my sixth novel, “The House with the Wraparound Porch” for NaNoWriMo.

You can purchase Mary Pat’s book The Cyber Miracles from the following:

Check out Mary Pat’s book, A Sudden Gift of Fate, here: