Interview with Marylou Stewart

What is your writing process?
In writing historical fiction, I gather all of the hard facts that I can, and then I write down all of the oral stories about individuals. I weave the facts and the oral stories into a credible manuscript. I am concerned with the reasons that people do the things they do, and the reason is seldom plain in viewing just the facts. I use my knowledge of human behavior and my experience as a teacher/counselor to figure out why they did what they did.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, I don't remember the first story that I ever read, but I remember Mother reading The Ugly Duckling to me long before I could read. It was my favorite story, and I would have her read it to me many times every night for a very long time.
How do you approach cover design?
I have no artistic ability at all, so I pay Melody Simmons to create my book covers.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My most favorite book of all time is the King James version of The Bible, particularly the Old Testament. I love the stories about people who succeeded in spite of extreme opposition, and I love the stories of human beings who failed, and got up to try again. My second favorite work is Tolkien's work: The Hobbit and the Trilogy of the Rings. Every now and then, I read Bram Stoker's original Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
What do you read for pleasure?
Every now and then I get one of J.K. Rowling's books down, particularly The Order of the Phoenix, and read it to remind myself that if a little boy who grew up unloved and unnourished can grow and use his talent for his benefit, and for the benefit for his friends, so can I. One of the books that I am reading right now is Mark R. Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. I take several newspapers and magazines and read them daily.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I find them all excellent.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don't know yet because I am just getting started. I intend to tell everyone about my books.
Describe your desk
Well, to type this, I had to remove enough clutter from in front of the monitor to see the screen. I am going to let you imagine the rest.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in central Texas in a large family and an even larger extended family. We had many get--to-gathers where we mostly played and talked. I think I got my ability to tell a good story from sitting around listening to the adults telling stories.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing stories as soon as I learned to write. It was a compulsion. It still is.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My mother had been trying to write a story about her life for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I would get up in the mornings and go into the kitchen and she would be sitting at the table, still cluttered with breakfast, scribbling stories on a Big Chief tablet. I took an early retirement in 2002 because Mother wasn't doing well and I wanted to help her finish her story before she died. When I started interviewing her, she pulled out the Big Chief tablet and gave it to me. It is strange to me that, although I started to write Mother's life story, what came out when I sat down to write was the story of her mother and father. I finally gave up and let the stories about Billy and Rhoda Penland fill the pages. Mother's story is yet to be written.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The Billy Penland series is a story of love and war. It is about normal people who succeeded most of the time, but who have weaknesses that cause them to do destructive things. I tried for about four years to find an agent, but even though they said that it was well-written, interesting, in some places mesmerizing, and that "the characters jump off of the page at you," no one seemed to think that they could find a publisher for this work. I am grateful to Mark Coker for starting Smashwords.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am a published writer. I am not yet sure how successful I shall be because I am just getting started.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Joy? Hummm. Writing is hard work to me. I enjoy seeing the finished work.
What do your fans mean to you?
I am not there yet. I think that they will be extremely important in my life.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on two books. I was the primary caregiver for my mother from 2008 until she died in 2011. I kept a journal and am turning it into a nonfiction work. The second book is about an ancestor who committed premeditated, cold-blooded murder in self defense.
Who are your favorite authors?
Louis L'Amour, Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Ann McCaffery,....almost anyone who can tell a good story and do it in Standard American English.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I like living on the planet earth.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing I clean house, cook, work in the yard, work in the garden, read, visit friends. Occasionally I take a day trip.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
On the internet.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, It was about a murder and I was so little that I really didn't know what murder was. It was terrible.
Published 2014-04-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Billy Penland book four Keechi
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,220. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Life in Keechi was peaceful until Charlie Willheit discovered that it was Billy who had taken his wife home to her parents. Charlie began to spread licentious stories about "his" Betsy and Billy. When the gossip did not discredit Billy, Charlie began to lay-in-wait for Betsy. His hatred escalated to attempts to kill Betsy and everyone around her. Billy took drastic measures to protect his family
Billy Penland book three Finding Home
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,700. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
While searching for a home, Billy and his family stopped at the Bohannan's farm to pick cotton. There two of his children found future spouses and they rescued a young woman whose husband frequently beat her. Bus and Jess, two of Billy's children, took her home to her parents in Keechi where they found a hundred-and-eighty acre farm for sale that was perfect for them and their future families.
Billy Penland book two Home to Palestine
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,960. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
When his mother deeded him 640 acres and built him a house, Billy moved his growing family home to the plantation near Palestine. Dealing with his step-father, keeping the plantation running, and working with the Rangers was stressful for Billy. Thinking that he could keep his drinking secret from Rhoda and his growing family, Billy drank heavily until his sister Mandy intervened.
Billy Penland book one The Early Years
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,380. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2014. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
When he was twelve years old, Billy's father died and his mother remarried within a year to a man who drank heavily and frequently beat his wife. After Billy almost killed his step-father for beating her, Mrs. Penland sent her three Penland children to live with their father's relatives in West Texas. For the next ten years, Billy sacrificed his own personal goals to take care of his siblings.