Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview with Mary Carter author of our July featured read The Pub Across the Pond + review

 Interview with Mary Carter
author of The Pub Across the Pond

Mary welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction Book Club forum, we are so happy to have you as our featured author in July when we read your spirited novel The Pub Across The Pond.

Debbie - Mary you will have your 6th novel published on July 31st,
Do you still get butterflies on release day.
Mary - First, thank you for having me. Yes, The Things I Do For You, will be out on July 31st. I don’t necessarily get butterflies because I’m not physically present when the “release” happens, but I do look forward to it. I now have an image of thousands of butterflies being released—I like that, I think I will hold on to it. There is always a lot of anticipation when a book comes out. You’ve spent so much time on it, it’s like your child and you want people to like it, and be nice to it, and invite it to their birthday parties. But you also have to learn to relax because you really can’t control how your book will be received. I try to spend most of my energy on writing the best story I can, and am learning to be a bit Zen about the rest.

Tell us a little about what inspired you to write The Pub Across the Pond
I’ve always loved Ireland and the Irish in general. My great grandmother emigrated from Ireland on my mother’s side and the culture is so strong that generations later I still felt “Irish”. In my lifetime I’ve also fallen for more than one Irishman. None of the relationships worked out the way I wanted so I think it was cathartic to write a novel where I could control the outcome. It was also a great excuse to drink in pubs and visit Ireland. Whenever I’d raise a pint, someone along the bar would invariably say—“She’s working.” Complete with air quotes. Guinness used to actually run a contest where you could win a pub in Ireland, and every time I entered I had this elaborate fantasy of what that would be like. I never did win the real thing, but once again writers have the luxury of changing their luck.

Tell us about your new project The Writers Den, how did it come about and why did you start it.
I love talking about writing and I always have aspiring writers ask me for advice. Years ago I took an online writing course that helped me tremendously while writing my first novel. The course later became a published book—Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. He’s been teaching his course in Chicago for 26 years and running. We’ve stayed in touch with each book I’ve published, so one day I emailed and asked what he thought about me teaching his unique 6-week writing workshop in NYC. He loved the idea, and it all snowballed from there. So I’ve franchised the workshop, but as a working novelist I have practical experience of my own to offer my students as well.

Tell us where you were and how you felt when you first learned you were going to be a published author.
I was living on a houseboat in Seattle at the time. It was a very small houseboat but it was just “down the block” from the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. Speaking of which—I have to tell this cute little story—I was told that there was a little boy who lived on the houseboat they used to film Sleepless in Seattle, and one bright summer day they were filming and this little boy fell asleep on the dock. While he was napping they set up for a Christmas scene. So he wakes up to find Christmas lights and fake snow. The poor kid thought he slept through summer and fall. Don’t know if it’s true, but that’s what you hear when you hang around houseboats. Back to me. Believe it or not I don’t remember exactly where I was when the call from my agent came in, I think I was on the houseboat—but I do know that shortly afterwards I walked up and down the pier with this incredible feeling of joy. It had just rained (Really? Rain in Seattle?) and I looked up and there in the skies over Lake Union was a double rainbow. I took it as a promising sign. It was a very special moment.

Tell us about the history of your writing, did you always want to write, are you an overnight success.
My first short story was written when I was four-years-old. It was called “The Boy and the Mouse.” Then in third grade I won a state-wide writing contest with a story about a boy and a muskrat. I don’t know why I was so fascinated with boys and rodents, but hey, whatever gets you going, right? I continued to write poems, essays, short stories, plays, and even a screenplay up until I attempted my first novel. So technically I was very lucky in that the first novel I’d ever written was published, but I had many years of practice behind me.

Tell us about your life as an author, do you write full time, do you belong to a writer’s group.
I am getting close to the dream of writing full time. I still do some freelance work in another field but it’s trickled way down lately. I also conduct the writing classes now. I’ve always thought about writer’s groups but I’ve never actually joined one. Maybe there’s one in my future because I do love meeting and being with other writers. The act of writing is so lonely that we need the support and like-mindedness at times.

Do you do your research behind a desk or do you get to go to the places you write about.
A bit of both. For The Pub Across the Pond I went to Ireland for a month. I’m currently writing a novel set in Italy, but I was only able to go for 8-days so a lot of my research will be online, books, travel videos, etc. Whenever I can, I prefer to be free of the “behind the desk” syndrome and actually get out and see, and do, and touch, and smell, and eavesdrop.

Take us on an average day in the life of Mary Carter
I truly don’t have an “average” day. Sometimes I write on my couch in PJs. Sometimes I go to a coffee shop. Sometimes I go to my writing space. Some days I do other freelance work. Some days I have class in the evening so I am preparing for that. I guess I shake things up quite a bit. I also try to balance it with a social life—friends and activities. I live in NYC after all, so there’s never the excuse that there’s “nothing to do”.
Now let’s step away from the world of books, tell us what’s at the top of your bucket list, if you have one.
I guess I keep mine in my head, I’ve never actually written it down. I want to travel more—if I were rich—I’d probably always be going to a new place. I’d love to spend more time in Italy and learn to speak Italian. I also want to visit Madrid and Portugal. Hong Kong. An African Safari. Machu Piccho. Some day I’d also like to have a house on a beach with a labradoodle.

Mary, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for answering these questions and for being an integral part of our discussion. 
Thank you so much, it’s so much fun answering these questions, and I can’t wait for the discussion on July 9th!

My review of The Pub Across the Pond
originally published October 2011
The Pub Across The Pond
Mary Carter
Kensington
336  pages
ISBN 13:9780758253361

Carlene Rivers is unlucky, at love and at life it seems but something told her to buy a raffle ticket at an Irish fair in Ohio, only $20.00 to win a pub in Ireland.
Ronan McBride is a rogue and a gambler, he’s never found the right woman to settle him down but when he looses the family pub in a poker game the women in his family take matters into their own hands, they offer the pub in a raffle, in America open only to Yanks.
Carlene and her winning raffle ticket show up in Ballybeog Ireland to take ownership of her new pub, she leaves the baggage of her old life behind determined to become a new woman. Will she run screaming back to the US or will the locals welcome her with open arms, will it be more than she hoped for or worse than a nightmare at A Pub Across The Pond.

Get ready to kiss the Blarney Stone with this fun, quirky, entertaining Irish Adventure, full of spirit and energy. Mary Carter takes us across the pond to the most unremarkable yet quaint little village in the middle of nowhere Ireland and tells us a tale for a Celtic story lover. Her plot is an amazing mix of intrigue, romance, family drama and Irish hospitality. The narrative goes between the yank speak of Carlene and the Irish brogue of Declan and the rest of the locals, it will keep you in stitches and give you a rare authentic taste of real Ireland, it can get a bit raw but that’s what authentic is all about. Her characters all deserve Oscars for their performances as they are all amazingly believable and utterly charming. Her heroine Carlene is a wonderful portrait of a woman aspiring to be her best by reinventing herself. Her hero Ronan is an irresistible cad that woman  can’t help fall in love with and men want for their best friend, he’s also a genuine caring person who just can’t seem to make the right choices.
It’s a romance, a drama, a contemporary piece of literature and it’s a whole lot of fun. So if you’re in the mood to take a closer walk with the wee folk, or to walk in the Steps of Brigid or Patrick pick up your own copy of this memorable novel.
Thank you Ms. Carter for my must read of October
Buy the book here visit the author’s website here.

            

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