Author Interview: Mary Connealy

December 6, 2016 Author Interview, Christian, Christmas, historical, Mary Connealy, romance 43

Author Interview RIMSP

Yay!!

Guess who is here today?

Well, if you didn’t guess from the blog post title, I’ll tell you: MARY CONNEALY!!! Are you clapping like I am?

I had the ultimate privilege of meeting Mary (and later, her cowboy!) at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat in August, and she is super sweet and also hilarious.

Mary_Connealy_Profile_PicMary Connealy Mary Connealy is the bestselling author of romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner and a Rita and Christy and IRCC Award Finalist.

She is the author of several bestselling series and novella collections, including The Cimarron Legacy Series, The Kincaid Brides Series, the Trouble in Texas series, and With This Ring. Under the pen name Mary Nealy, she also wrote Ten Plagues–a romantic thriller, and The Historical Society Murders–three cozy mysteries.

Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and a small bevy of spectacular grandchildren.

Connect with Mary on her website, Seekerville, Petticoats & Pistols, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Her newest book, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming, is a novella collection written with authors Julie Lessman, Ruth Logan Herne, and Anna Schmidt.

cowboy christmas homecoming“A Cowboy For Christmas” (Ruth Logan Herne) – They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.

“Longhorn Christmas” (Mary Connealy) – Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.

“Last Chance Christmas” (Julie Lessman) – Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.

“Connie’s Christmas Prayer” (Anna Schmidt) – And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.

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Yaaaaay!!! I’m so honored to be chatting with you today, Mary! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:

apples or oranges

Mary: Apples, they are easier to eat.

Carrie: Truth.

winter or summer

Mary: I HATE WINTER. On the hottest, sweatiest, windless, bug crawling, 100 humidity in early August…..I still hate winter.

Carrie: but… but … pretty SNOW… and CHRISTMAS … and HOT CHOCOLATE.

dogs or cats

Mary: We have cats. Our dog died a while ago and we decided not to get a new one because we’re gone enough we wouldn’t take good care of it. The cats are all wild, they live in our barn or around the edges of our lawn…out in the tall grass. Whether I prefer them on not … I just can’t say. I honestly prefer cows.

Carrie: Your cow stories on Facebook make me laugh! As long as I don’t have to get up close to the actual cows…

coffee or tea

Mary: Both, sort of. I drink one cup of coffee a day unless I am with someone else. I enjoy that cup but I would never make myself a cup of coffee. I drink tea and like it enough to actually make it myself. Earl Grey is my favorite but I love many flavors.  I may drink TWO cups of that a day, in the cold weather.

Carrie: You party animal, you! A whole TWO cups of tea 😉

Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower.  If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

 

One of my fave pics from CFRR

One of my fave pics from CFRR

Mary: I do have a superpower, Carrie. I am HUMAN XANAX. I am the oil you pour on troubled waters. I am the eye of the hurricane. I have extremely emotional people in my family, children, husband, many….I’m the one who ‘handles’ all the angst and calms everyone down.

And then I go write books where I kill people, I’m sure there’s no connection.

Carrie: Hahahahahahaha! I literally laughed out loud just now. Zuzu is my witness.

Books are kind-of a big deal around here. So the next few questions are all about the books.

Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

Mary: The Black Stallion…can I pick a horse?

Carrie: I suppoooooose so 😉

Which books are “on your nightstand”? 

Mary: A Lantern in her Hand and To Kill a Mockingbird. I’d have picked Atticus Finch as my favorite character but I don’t think I read that book when I was a child. It came later.

Carrie: Ok, I had to go look up A Lantern in Her Hand and now I’m adding that to my TBR list!!!

Tell me some good books you’ve read recently.

Mary: I’m a big detective, thriller type reader. I’m reading right now, the latest Michael Connelly book about Harry Bosch…titled The Wrong Side of Goodbye. I’m on the waiting list for Lee Child’s newly released Jack Reacher book, Night School. And David Baldacci has a book due in maybe a week. November is fantastic.

Carrie: I really need to read your cozy mysteries, by the way. Because I too love a good mystery 😀 And I’ve been meaning to read the Jack Reacher series for a while now. Must get to that eventually.

If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?

Mary: THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. I WOULD NOT ALLOW THAT! Yikes, Carrie, this is a cruel question and you should be ashamed of yourself. I’d guess it should be LONG and a complex book right? I’ll take the first two books in Francine River’s Mark of the Lion Trilogy. Um…Louis L’Amour, How the West was Won. This is terrible. Can I have Jesus Calling for a devotion? That’s four. (you can’t tell it but I have been sitting here staring at the computer screen for five minutes) I’ll take To Kill a Mockingbird I guess. A Lantern in her Hand makes me cry. I might not like that after a while.

Carrie: LOL! I do always get grumpy authors after that question. But it’s so fun to see what y’all end up saying haha!

When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?

Mary: Always to find my own books. I have several bookstores I haunt when I get free. I look for my own books, then take them up to the Customer Service Desk and ask if they’d let me sign them. I know the ones that will or won’t so I don’t ask anymore where they don’t like it.

Carrie: Why would anyone not want you to sign the books? As a customer, I love opening the book to find an author has autographed it!

Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?

woman-865111_1920Mary: I write in mainly two places. At my desktop in a room we call The Computer Room, which is only a little enclosed porch that’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. And on my laptop which I hold on my lap in the living room, so I can ‘spend time’ with My Cowboy husband. Since he’s usually asleep in the evening, he’s no trouble. I occasionally take the laptop away and write somewhere but not often. I like sitting in the library and writing. I love to be surrounded by books. I’m very low maintenance as a writer and can write anywhere and tune out the whole world to an extent that is probably NOT GOOD!

Carrie: Low-maintenance is good though! (And you and your Cowboy are so cute together!)

Your novella in Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is “Longhorn Christmas”, a humorous but meaningful story about a wandering cowboy who stops to help a single mom and her young son and gets uh… roped in … to staying longer. Of the three characters – Netty, Jeremiah, and Roy – who did you most relate to?

Mary: I feel like Netty was the most fun. Her life became so much better when Roy came to stay. But Roy was the one who had the farthest to go. As a wandering man he had to realize he wasn’t on a lifetime journey to see over the next horizon. He was just a man searching for home. I suppose I’m more Netty, but I could love Roy and that’s what being a hero is all about.

Carrie: I adored all three characters … as well as that first line!

What is one of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Mary: On Thanksgiving day, while we are cleaning up after the meal in the kitchen, I and my four daughters (or however many of them I can gather, this year one of them is in PARIS. Try and compete with that?!) But while we clear away Thanksgiving dinner we always drag out the old Mannheim Steamroller Celebration album and listen to it. It kicks off the Christmas season. That music, especially Deck the Halls, just puts me in the holiday mood.

Carrie: Oh that does sound delightful!

What do you most want readers to take away from “Longhorn Christmas”? 

Mary: I have spent a lot of time studying the Christmas Story because I wrote Sunday School Christmas Program plays for my small church for years. So taking those nativity characters on a journey and trying to reflect that same journey in Roy’s character, was what I wanted to accomplish. All the Christmas characters coming from far and wide, end up in this stable, kneeling by a baby in a manger. And in Longhorn Christmas, Roy the wanderer, who likes to see new places and walk on over the next horizon, discovers that he hasn’t been wandering, he’s been searching. He finally finds home and his journey is complete.

Carrie: It’s such a sweet story because of that perspective…

Again, Mary, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂  I just love you! Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.

Mary: I’ve got book #2 in the Cimarron Legacy Series releasing in February. Long Time Gone.

long-time-goneConnealy Combines Western Action and Charming Historical Romance

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

What about you? How do YOU feel about cows? Or any of Mary’s other answers? Isn’t she fun? 🙂

Carrie

43 Responses to “Author Interview: Mary Connealy”

  1. Anne Rightler

    Thank you for Mary’s interview! I enjoyed her so much at CFRR. I love Mannheim Steamroller music. Our kids got us tickets to go to their concert this year.
    And, Carrie, you can have hot chocolate in summer too. Sometimes the AC is cranked too high (or low) and I’m scouting around for something hot to drink!

    • Mary Connealy

      ANNE, I have never been to a Mannheim concert. I live in Nebraska and Mannheim is a Nebraska based group. Chip Davis and American Gramaphone, huge fans here. They wind up every Christmas tour in Omaha and so I’ve known people who’ve gone and I’ve heard it’s spectacular.
      Have a great time.
      And wasn’t CFRR wonderful? Really unbelievable, great day.

  2. Yvette-Bookworlder

    I’m suddenly wanting to go home, make tea, play my Mannheim Steamroller CD, and get my kindle out to finally read Cowboy Christmas Homecoming! 😀 (And yes, I was clapping too!)

    • Carrie

      oh good – i’m so glad someone else clapped with me 😀

  3. Andrea Stephens

    Mary is fun! I still can’t believe you ask this question “If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?” I loved Mary’s initial response 🙂
    I don’t mind cows so much. I’ve been up close and personal with them (when I was young) but prefer them on the other side of a fence.

    • Mary Connealy

      Cruel, right, Andrea. I guess I should have picked books I do NOT want to read. I bet I’d plow through them eventually.
      Plus, To Kill a Mockingbird is pretty short.

  4. Kelly Goshorn

    Great interview! She’s always so much fun! I wish I had the opportunity to meet her at the ACFW conference. I agree with her about Earl Grey tea and cats but that’s where we part ways. Winter all the way baby! Even on the coldest, windiest days of winter I don’t long for the heat, bug-sticking humidity of summer! I’m looking forward to reading this collection of novellas! It’s already on my kindle waiting for me!

    • Carrie

      YAY for winter!!! And yay for wonderful books waiting on Kindles 😀

    • Mary Connealy

      I might agree on Winter if not for air conditioning.

      I don’t think I’d have survived on a wagon train. Maybe, deep inside, I possess a hardy pioneer spirit. Maybe I’d come through when the goin’ got tough.

      But if I did, it’d be a surprise to everyone….most especially ME.

  5. Rebecca Maney

    I thoroughly enjoyed being in the same room with Mary at the Readers Retreat. I have read, re-read, and looking forward to reading, all of her books. I may have to make a trip to Lifeway this week to purchase a copy of this novella collection, because the writing quartet is an exceptional bunch!

    I do share her love of Mannheim Steamroller. My husband took me to see them in concert years ago. It was thrilling, to say the least.

  6. Katy C.

    Oooh. That 5 book questions is hard! And I think cows are cute and funny. =)

  7. Winnie Thomas

    Thanks for the fun interview, Carrie and Mary! I don’t think I’ve read any of your books yet, Mary, and I must rectify that soon. I’ve heard so many great things about them. I’m with Andrea and Carrie about the cows. I enjoy looking at them, as long as they are safely ensconced behind the fence.

    • Carrie

      WINNIE!!! My dear BFFF, you can’t possibly be the blog sidekick until you read at least one Mary book 😀

    • Mary Connealy

      Winnie it is good and right that you stay on the other side of the fence. Mama cows can be killers. My Cowboy (my facebook name for my husband) pretty much spends February, March and April checking on newborn calves and fighting for his life.

      He’s had a lot of practice, though.

      • Winnie Thomas

        Mary, my husband is a cowboy, too. He grew up on a farm, rode horses almost from the time he could walk, and his dad raised cattle. He’s retired now from teaching math for 38 years, but he now has a horse, goes riding a lot when the weather’s good, and sometimes helps his brother (who still raises cattle) herd the cows up the canyon in the spring and back down in the fall. My husband can usually be found wearing his cowboy boots and hat.

        I just looked on my Kindle list and found I have The Boden Birthright already, and I have Swept Away and Out of Control, too! Yay! I must get to them soon. Can you tell I’m an incorrigible book hoarder? LOL

        Carrie! Have you already started putting conditions on my sidekick position? You’d better tell me all the rules and regulations up front! LOL

        • Carrie

          hahahaha!!! It was a spur-of-the-moment condition 😉 Get it? SPUR hahahaha

          • Winnie Thomas

            Very punny, Carrie! LOL My husband actually has some spurs, although he seldom uses them. I guess I’d better get reading one of Mary’s books so I can begin my sidekickerly duties. Haha

    • Mary Connealy

      Winnie, I’ve got one free right now on Amazon. A novella prequel to my current series. The Boden Birthright. Go grab it and give it a try.

  8. carylkane

    Howdy Mary and Carrie! Thank you for the fun interview! I recently read the Wild at Heart series and LOVED IT! My Uncle raised longhorns. I would appreciate them through the fence. Those calves are so cute! 😉

    • Carrie

      isn’t that a terrific series?!? You’d love the Trouble in Texas series too, Caryl!! 🙂

  9. Pam K.

    I love Mary’s books and have read all of her novels (I think), though I can’t keep up with all her novella collections. This is one I’d very much like to read. My dad had dairy cows when I was growing up. I hated when they’d get out (often at night) and we had to go out and help get them back in their pen. “Stand right here and don’t let them go past you.” That’s pretty intimidating for a kid (it would be now, too!). I enjoy the cows on the Chick-fil-A commercials, but that’s about it. I agree with Mary about winter. My body doesn’t deal well with cold (a thing called Raynauld’s) so I much prefer warmth. Thanks for this fun interview with Mary, Carrie.

    • Carrie

      oh yikes, Pam! I would be terrified if I was in the middle of a bunch of cows. I was surrounded by them once – in my CAR – and just knew they were about to murder me haha!

  10. Janet Ferguson

    Mary always makes me smile! I love her sense of humor in her books, interviews, and articles! I don’t much about cows, but I look forward to making time to read her book.

  11. Ann Doohan

    Another interesting author Carrie, i will check these out, actually i am a coffee drinking brit ☕

  12. Bonnie Roof

    Such a fun interview – thanks Mary and Carrie!! Mary is a “hoot”, for sure – I laugh out loud at her comments, also, Carrie, LOL!! Thanks for including that beautiful reminder pic of our time with Mary (and Ruthy)at CFRR – I so enjoyed spending time with her and meeting her “Cowboy”. He was such a sweet, gracious man to talk to and it was very evident how much he adores Mary.

    I grew up on a farm which had both beef cattle and milk cows so cows don’t bother me, although I always spent far more time in the house baking/cooking dinner for farm hands and helping my mother and grandmother can/preserve fruits and veggies than working outdoors on the farm. I did drive the tractor and plant and strip tobacco, and play with your other fave animal (chickens/roosters) until one almost ripped my eye out at the age of about 2 years. Our cats were wild “barn” cats as Mary’s are, our dog lived outdoors – most animals were cared for by my father and brother, including horses, ponies, mules, many litters of pigs, etc.. Being knocked off a pony backwards when my brother, cousin, and I were kids dressed in our cowboy/cowgirl attire and riding our ponies was the last time I rode. I was always such a “klutz” so never embraced working outdoors on the farm as much as some people do, although my parents still live there and it’s such a beautiful place where I still love to spend time.

    As with Kelly – I never was a hot weather lover, probably another reason I spent more time indoors than outdoors on our farm. And like Pam – rounding up cows who had broken through the fences and gotten out on the road is one of my childhood memories. They always seemed to get loose on Sunday mornings when we were preparing to leave for Sunday School and church, LOL!!

    • Carrie

      LOL that’s funny about the timing of their escape haha! And your story proves yet again that CHICKENS ARE EVIL! 😉