Even from beyond the grave, there are no limits to the havoc a vengeful family member can inflict on his or her mourners. Such is the premise of Irish debut novelist Mary Bradford’s new release, My Husband’s Sin. Like many an aspiring author, she took to heart the encouragement of family and friends who told her she should seriously seek out publishing opportunities for the stories she was writing. We’re glad she did … and happier still that we can introduce her work to our global readership.
Interviewer: Christina Hamlett
Q: Tell us about your journey as a writer and, in particular, what led to the decision to write your debut novel.
A: My writing life began many years ago when my four children were small. I wrote down all the mischief and antics they got up to. People read them and said I should think about writing other stories. I started with short stories and the buzz of seeing my work in print was wonderful. I never thought about writing a novel, but one day, a short story I was writing just kept growing and hey, I had my first novel.
Q: Having penned short stories prior to My Husband’s Sin, which do you feel upon reflection is the greater challenge – writing a full-length work or stand-alone vignettes?
A: Oh good question! I think a novel proved the greatest challenge for me. I can spin off short stories and enjoy it. But now that I have completed a novel, I know I can do it, so it is not the daunting prospect I once thought, but yes it’s still a challenge.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser (and why does your choice suit your personality)?
A: I am a pantser. When I get an idea, it percolates in my head for a while and I talk to myself, asking, okay I know how it starts but how does it end? Once I have a vague idea of the ending, I am happy. I sit then and write. As the story goes along, I find all these channels open up and the characters bring me along with them. I do not make outlines or plot ideas or writing boards etc. I trust my story idea to run on its own legs.
Q: Who are some of the writers that not only fueled your passion for storytelling but may have also influenced your own writing style?
A: I have been reading since a young child. Enid Blyton was my favourite as a child. I became a member of my local library at four years old and devoured all I could get. I never saw myself as a writer when growing up. I don’t have a favourite author as an adult as I read a lot of different genres. Regarding my style, I seem to write like I speak when chatting with someone, so I’m told. Maybe I can be bold and say Maeve Binchy’s warm easy going style appealed to me.
Q: If you could sit down for dinner with one of them, who would it be and what question would you most like to ask?
A: I think it would be Enid Blyton. I would love to learn more about her life as a writer. The question would be, who influenced her?
Q: Where (and when) is your favorite place to be creative?
A: I go to my local library each morning for three hours. Then if I am on a deadline, I continue at home. But I prefer to write outside of my home as there are less distractions. When I am really being creative, I try to get away on my own for a few days and enjoy the solitude of having uninterrupted days to write and think about new projects.
Q: You live in Ireland, one of the loveliest countries on the planet. How does it feel to be in the spiritual company of Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Maeve Binchy, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce and Jonathan Swift? (Seriously, is it something in the water that makes all of you such savvy and prolific wordsmiths?)
A: Honestly I don’t think of it. All these wonderful authors you mention and hundreds more are just people who write. I think it is like a lot of things in life, when it is on your own doorstep, you can take it for granted. Now that you have brought it up though, it’s great to be an Irish writer, J
Q: Has there been a defining “Aha!” moment in your career that affirmed your dream of being a writer had come true?
A: Yes, when I got offered a contract. I was thrilled, there was someone else out there who believed in me. So thank you, Tirgearr Publishing for making my dream come true.
Q: There’s no shortage of people who make wishes for a second chance to reset their lives, make amends, and reconnect with family and friends that have fallen by the wayside. In your own case, you underwent the risks of open heart surgery. Upon successfully emerging from this experience, how did it affect the way you look at life, relationships and the world in general?
A: I was so ill before the operation I did not think about what was involved, I was so glad to be given a chance to become better again. But after the op, I thought how precious good health is. It is everything. Without it, how can one enjoy life? I don’t worry about tomorrow anymore, I take each day as it arrives and I do not plan days ahead. I live for now and I have found I have more peace of mind living like this.
Q: Tell us a little about the premise of your new book and the inspiration to open with the unsettling reading of a matriarch’s final will and testament.
A: The idea for My Husband’s Sin came to me while at a funeral. I looked around at the other graves and wondered what secrets were buried there. Then I thought, what if someone spilled a secret deliberately to cause hurt and harm? So working with this, I picked on Lillian, the mother, because for most people, the heart of a home is their mother, the person who loves you unconditionally, who will always hold you close to comfort and listen to you. So to have the mother shatter the family intentionally is unbelievable and disastrous for Lacey, the youngest in the Taylor family.
Q: If Hollywood came calling to adapt this novel to a feature film, who would comprise your dream cast for it?
A: Gosh I have not thought about something as wonderful as this happening, honestly. Right now I don’t know, so I shall have to get back to you on this one.
Q: How did you go about finding the right publisher for your work once the book was complete?
A: I googled publishers and made a list. I sent My Husband’s Sin off to many and got the rejections which is part and parcel of writing life. When I was going through my list of publishers, I saw that I had not sent it to Tirgearr Publishing Ireland, and for some odd reason, I kept putting it off. Then when I did eventually get my ass in gear and approached them, they very promptly got back to me with the offer of a contract.
Q: What do you know about publishing now that you didn’t know when you started?
A: I have learnt that whether you are traditionally published or self-published, the author has a ton of promoting and marketing to do. Publishing houses no longer promote their authors with massive media coverage, especially new writers. So a big part of my day is finding new ways to promote and get my work out there before new readers.
Q: What’s next on your plate?
A: Since, My Husband’s Sin has been published, as an Ebook and in paperback, I have signed a new contract with Tirgearr for their City Night’s series in erotic romance. My novella titled, One Night in Barcelona, is number 13 in the series. I have also being contracted to write two novellas under the auspices of Writers of the West. My first, The Runaway, set in America’s 1800’s, is a story about a young lad who leaves home to better his life, but unfortunately his past catches up with him. My second, a romance, Destiny, again set in Americas 1800’s is due out before Christmas. All are available on Amazon, Nook Kobo, etc. I am also at present writing my second full length novel, a paranormal. I like to stretch myself as a writer so I am writing across genres at present before settling on a favourite.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you?
On Amazon US at the following link http://amzn.to/1PAW9l2
On Amazon UK at the following link http://amzn.to/1PPBfOX
Tirgearr Publishing http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Bradford_MaryT/
Readers can find out more at my blog, http://marytbradford-author.blogspot.ie/