Interview with Mary J Hicks

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Over the last few years, numerous articles and polls debating the pros and cons of indie publishing peaked my interest and I began to watch and study. Almost everything I read kept pointing to the fact that if you write a good story, get professional editing on your manuscript, it seems you can't stress the editing enough, and do your homework on other aspects of indie publishing, such as marketing/spreading the word, then you stand a good chance of some success.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Absolutely! Smashwords makes it easy. I was ready to publish my short story for weeks before I finally decided to jump in. I was scared to death that I wouldn't be able to do it. I'm not an expert on the computer, but I followed the step by step instructions. I printed them out first, I wanted that information in my hand when I started. I won't say I didn't stumble a time or two, but nothing bad.
What is your greatest joy about writing?
Oh my, where to start on that question. Just let me say, I used to live in a clean house, I used to exercise regularly and I used to love working in the yard. Then I decided to try my hand at writing, something that I've always wanted to do. I signed up for a two year writing course. Finished that and signed up for another two year course. In the mean time everything else was going to pot! I have friends over once a month just so I'll vacuum and dust.

I love everything about writing. I never get discouraged. Never. I get excited over a rejection letter, that's one letter closer to the acceptance letter. That's another point in favor of indie publishing, you get feed back on your work quickly, helping you to hone your craft more quickly, in contrast to years of submitting and of possibly never being accepted by a large publishing house. Don't get me wrong, I'd be thrilled if a large publishing house wanted a book that I'd written, but I'm grateful for indie publishing too.
In answer to the question about the greatest joy in writing—there's nothing not to be joyous about in the writing life!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Thankfulness to the Lord that I love, that he has given me another day. Knowing that I am blessed with many good friends and my large family, The smell of coffee perking in the kitchen, and a fully charged battery on my Mac laptop—In that order.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm doing some of the household chores that are essential to living in the house, like laundry, and washing dishes. A lot of that other stuff is not essential, contrary to what I used to believe. I attend church services, ladies bible class and visit with some sweet friends in the local nursing home.

Ever now and then I have coffee with my sister next door, or we take a day to run to town. I try to make time once a month to spend a day with friends.
Other than that, I'm at the keyboard, my choice of places to be.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search the online sites, I first scan the covers and titles. I love covers and titles. When one catches my eye, I enlarge the cover and if I still like it, I read the sample pages. If all that comes together for me, I read the book.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. It wasn't really a story, but a long poem about the Dr. Trimmer yard equipment that my husband bought for me. It was expensive and he didn't think that I'd ever use it. I loved it and used. I wrote the story/poem to amuse him. It did.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, it was Dick and Jane. I had a crush on Dick. I was about six years-old. I would spell out the words that I didn't know and my mother would pronounce them. That's giving my age away! I remember I was so excited, learning to read. I still get excited over a new book!
How do you approach cover design?
I've always loved the old covers that were illustrated by some of the famous artists of the day. I do my own art work for my covers. I take something from the strongest point in the story and illustrate an image that brings that element of the story onto the cover. In The Summer Boarder, Ashley, the main character mentions a white top and skirt, I put her in that outfit for the cover illustration. Painting and illustration has been a lifelong interest. I hope I illustrate my covers in a way that people can enjoy them along with the story.
What do you read for pleasure?
Woman's fiction is probably my favorite read. I like romantic suspense and cozy mysteries. I like finding old, interesting books at thrift stores and antique malls. I used to anyway, don't have time for that anymore.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Oklahoma farm land was my playground as a child and I still like living in the country. It's easy for me to find the quiet time I need when I'm writing. I don't play music when I'm writing. But I do watch TV when I paint. When visiting with friends who live closer into the city, I'm very aware of the sounds there in contrast to what I hear when I'm at home. I don't mind long stretches of time alone.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The manuscript I'm working on is about a young woman who becomes intrigued with a house that's nestled in a stand of woods. She's been looking for a house to buy for her permanent home, and she falls in love with this house at first sight. She's determined to have it, at any cost. But the owner has reason of his own to hang onto it, at any cost. They both come to learn a lot about themselves and both their lives are enriched by the journey. I love this story. I hope I can do it justice so that it finds a home in the hearts of women of all ages who love a good story. Tender hearted men are welcome too.
What do your fans mean to you?
Right after the Lord, my family and friends, you'll find my fans. Building a strong following of fans who appreciate my writing is what writing and publishing a book is all about. If I don't care about my fans, how could I expect them to care about me, and I might as well sit in my closet and hug my book to my chest and glory in being the only person who knows what a wonderful story I've written. I'm a people person anyway, and people who like what I do, validate me as a writer. I owe those people my very best.
Published 2014-07-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Front Porch Romance
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,750. Language: English. Published: June 3, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Miss Peaches may just be a dog but she knows how to get her way when it comes to her favorite porch! She helps bring two nice people together who enjoy an old fashioned porch as much as she does.
The Rose Arbor
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,160. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2014. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Coffee Break Humor-Short Story Alert! Wayne Pope wanted to help his neighbor, but who would have though he could come up with a plan to solve a problem and make so many people happy all at the same time? Thelma and Hal Kitchens would be grateful for a long time. A gentle man's heart and a gentle old bull were both given a reprieve, thanks to Wayne.
Back In The Saddle
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,390. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Madison expected things to be different, it had been ten years. But would her summer at the ranch as a sophisticated young woman, be as happy as the summers she remembered from her childhood? She'd never have guessed how some of the changes would affect her. Could she adapt?
Books Beads and Baubles
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,740. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Books Beads and Baubles is a fun, short, 'Coffee Break' read about two ladies, Bertie and Wanda. They own a unique shop that's half thrift store and half book store. They love the people who keep them in business, even 'old Grouchy' could call on them for help. New people don't stay new for long after Bertie and Wanda meet them. The sisters discover a theft in their store; who's the culprit?
The Summer Boarder
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 14,030. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Two people spending the summer in the Colorado Mountains have no idea how fate will play with them and change their lives forever. Romance is the farthest thing on either of the minds of Ashley Green and Steve Carson. But sometimes Mother Nature knows what's best for her children, and with a little creative planning from well intentioned others, good things can happen when least expected.