Interview with Mara Kalyn

What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own an ereader, although these days I prefer ereading on my tablet because I get color and I'm addicted to colors.
Describe your desk
Let's just say I strive to pile things up in an orderly fashion. This doesn't prevent frantic searches for that very important note I made on my latest creation. I've got one or two notebooks that I keep handy because I have a memory with many tiny escape hatches in it, so I write things down.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small mining town in northern Quebec. It was a special place, built by immigrants from just about everywhere in Europe, as well as many, like myself, of Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish descent. There were also many Francophones, Anglophones and First Nations. Thus, I was exposed to many different nationalities and cultures up close and personal and grew up with a very well developed sense of acceptance. I was also exposed to some racism, as were other immigrants to the area. I feel that having lived in a microcosmic community prepared me to understand different cultures and as a result, better understand humanity.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing and drawing at a very young age. I fell in love with writing in the first grade. I came to class speaking only Russian and learned by new first language from my first grade teacher whom I still idolize. I recall the 'Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot' picture books, and devoured them without encouragement. By fifteen I had written a short romance and submitted it to 'Ingenue' magazine at the time. It was rejected, of course, but the editor sent me a sweet letter encouraging me to continue to learn the craft. I've been writing for over fifty-five years now, and have knocked on the traditional publishers doors a few times. They pretended not to be home. Since the advent of ebooks and self publishing made so easy, I am more than delighted at the opportunity to publish my work without the tight framework dictated by the restrictions of paper book publishing. Mind you, I do love to hold a paper book in my hands, turn pages and inhale the scent of paper. It's an exciting time in the world of e-publishing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have to confess, it's a rewritten story that I'd submitted to a writing course I took many years ago. I felt the subject was timeless, and with a few tweaks and updates it turned into a beautiful little story about human desire for relationships versus desire to fulfill professional dreams. Because this is a short story of approximately three-thousand words, it's given me a smaller canvas to work with in terms of revising, editing, formatting and cover creation. It's given me a very good idea of what is involved in the creation and production of a self-published work. I'm confident that my next work, a short mystery novella that will be published sometime in April 2014 will be, pardon the pun, less of a mystery to publish. If readers choose to enjoy 'Dare to Dream', they will find an excerpt of 'The Widows Applebee' at the end of the story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Like many people who write fiction, I want to share my work with others because I have something I want to showcase by creating a fictional environment around it. As we know, traditional paper publishers have many restrictions - length, subject, category, genre - and the biggest question: will this book appeal to enough people to cover our extensive costs to publish and promote it. As an Indie author, my mission is to write the best fiction and make it available to as many people as wish to read it at a modest price. Indie authors don't need to pay salaries to editors, assistants, support staff or typesetters. Our expenses are modest, depending on our abilities and desire to format and edit our own work and create our own book covers. Of course, it's also much more satisfying to receive higher royalties more frequently than once or twice a year, as in traditional publishing. Not the least of the attraction is that our books are out there for as long as we want them to be.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing for me is therapeutic. You cannot dispose of someone, or tell them off in no uncertain terms in real life. You can in fiction. Creating characters, both good and bad gives an author the power of the almighty in dealing with them. We can show much empathy with those who grieve, we can deliver swift or agonizingly slow justice to evil doers, we can expose hypocrisy, and laud the righteous. I am a curious person by nature, and humanity and all its quirks and mysterious psychology stirs up the desire to understand why it's so. When I have finished a particularly challenging or emotional segment of my work in progress, I am drained, physically and mentally. But I'm happy. I feel I've been doing what I am meant to do.
What do your fans mean to you?
People who read my works are very dear to me. Especially if they continue to read my stories because what I write resonates with them, amuses, teaches and entertains. I feel writers have a responsibility to provide quality entertainment. When I read some of my favorite authors, I learn from them, either facts, or approaches to situations or about types of human beings. If my readers are nodding their heads as they read my words it validates their own emotions and confirms that they are not alone in this big world. The human condition is the common denominator for all people.
What are you working on next?
I'm a fervent mystery fan, and my ambition is to publish one of my many mysteries that are gestating at the moment. My next publication is a short novella, 'The Widows Applebee', which I hope to publish by mid-April. A workaholic textile plant owner is murdered in his office, leaving an ex-wife and a current wife as his widow. The ex is still bitter about the terms of the divorce, and believes she is owed a large inheritance. The current wife is considering divorce, but wants to give her husband one more chance to redeem himself during a forthcoming Caribbean cruise vacation. I won't say more, but there is an element of suspense as well as mystery as the story unfolds.
I've also developed a series character, Tori Carlin, a 'young' retiree who will have the unfortunate knack of stumbling over dead bodies. The first in the series is called 'The Deadly Indian Summer'. The hope is to publish this full length novel by fall of this year. So many ideas, so little time to do them justice. I'll just have to tackle them one at a time.
How do you approach cover design?
I feel that the cover is as important as the verbal description of the story and the title. It must attract, pique interest and definitely reflect some facet of the novel to reference the theme of the story. I like strong colors themes, and having some art training I'm very sensitive to color combinations and their impact on emotions. In my short story, 'Dare to Dream', the object of the main character's desire is a golden haired young woman, and his dream is to go to Paris. Hence, a background depiction of the Eiffel tower, which is a very well-known symbol of Paris. In the story, the young lady wore a pink robe as she does on the cover. Because it's also the story of initially unrequited love, we only see the back of the young woman's head showing her braided hair, which also ties in with the description of her in the story. As we look at the cover, and read the title, we get a sense of what the story will be about, and as we read it, we'll loop back to the cover art. The true meaning of the title dawns on the reader at the very end of the story.
What do you read for pleasure?
I adore mysteries. My mother had an extensive collection of the Agatha Christie books and the 'Perry Mason' series by Erle Stanley Gardner, which I devoured the moment she put the latest one down. It took her some time read them, because English was not her first language, and she referred often to an English-Russian dictionary. She hid romance novels from my father because he considered anything written by other than Dostoyevsky junk literature. Later I came to doubt that he'd even read Dostoyevsky, but that's a story for another time. One day I found one of my Mum's secreted romance novels and and was initiated into the world of 'chick-lit'. I'd been a fan of what we used to call 'love comics' in those days, but was forbidden from reading them because my mother felt those stories would give me too romantic a view of 'real-life relationships'. I also love to read biographies, self-help books, books by modern day philosophers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Andrew Weil. I'm the kind of person who will read labels and cereal boxes if there's nothing else at hand.
Published 2014-04-06.
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Books by This Author

The Deadly Judas
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 29,390. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
Never in her wildest nightmares did Tori Carlin ever imagine she could get into this much hot water. Two days into a new job, she discovers her new boss's lifeless, battered body in his office. While she struggles to make sense of events that make no sense, she antagonizes the case detectives, one of whom is her nephew, the other a former flame.