Sunday, August 6, 2017

Author Interview with Mary Marks

Today we have a special interview from Mary Marks, author of the Knot What You Think quilting mysteries. Don't forget to enter her contest at the end of the post. 

What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels? 

Thank you for inviting me to the Mystery Playground. 
I’d love to talk about the incredible changes in my life since publishing my stories. First you need to know that my first book wasn’t published until I was 70 years old. That means I spent most of my life doing something else. So to find a new career at this stage in my life has been a tremendous gift. I’ve met fascinating people, authors whose work I’ve admired, plus law enforcement and legal professionals I never would have otherwise known. I’ve heard from many of my readers, which gives me a thrill each time it happens. Plus, my teenage granddaughters think I’m kind of cool.

What was the last mystery novel you read, other than your own, that you LOVED? Why did you love it?

I just finished reading James Ziskin’s Heart of Stone, a fast-pace story featuring a young female reporter. I love the series because the stories take place in the 1960,s an era I lived through and identify with. And he does something I don’t think many men could pull off as well: he dares to write in the first person from a female perspective. I also like the fact that he’s chosen to make his main character Jewish – something I’ve also done in my stories.  

If your protagonist were actually a real person, would you be friends with them? Why or why not?

LOL! My protagonist is a real person – sort of. Martha Rose was loosely modeled after me; an overweight, Jewish quilter of a certain age living in the San Fernando Valley. So I definitely know all about her. But the biggest thing that sets us apart is the fact that I do not stumble across dead bodies wherever I go, and I’ve never been shot at. I lead a very sedate life, except for coloring my hair turquoise and getting my nose pierced. Martha Rose hasn’t done either of those – yet, but I have. 

If you could meet any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?

It’s a toss-up between Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling. Christie because I’d want to thank her for firmly establishing the cozy mystery genre. That’s where I found my writing voice. And I’d love to meet Rowling because she’s such an enormous talent. I’d like to thank her not only for her fabulous stories, but for making children want to read again. She changed the literary world forever. 

How long did it take you to get your first draft done of this book? How much time do you spend in revisions? 

I’ve developed a schedule that seems to work for me. I begin writing Chapter one on October first of each year. I finish a chapter a week and bring those pages to my writers workshop every Friday morning. After receiving valuable feedback from authors I respect, I bring those critiques home and work in revisions and suggestions that make the story better. In this way, each chapter is written and revised as I go along.

I do this for nine months and complete the first draft by the end of June the following year. Then I check this finished draft for things like continuity, pacing, and plot points. When I’m satisfied I’ve done all I can, I send the manuscript off to my agent for another round of editing, and finally to my publisher. By adhering to that schedule, I’m able to take a summer vacation and enjoy time with friends and family. When October rolls around again, I’m refreshed and ready to start a new book.

Mary is here courtesy of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Here are the other tour stops:

August 1 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
August 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
August 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
August 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 4 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 5 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
August 6 – Mystery Playground – INTERVIEW
August 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW
August 9 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 10 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 11 – My Funny View of Life – REVIEW
August 11 – Teresa Trent Author Site – SPOTLIGHT
August 12 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
August 13 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
August 14 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 14 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST


  1. I love that you start a new book on the same day every year.

  2. Congratulations for writing and publishing your books.

  3. Your books are intriguing and unique. Best wishes and much continued success.