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Sunday, November 16, 2014

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes: Book Tour Introduction to Author Mary Pat Hyland

 This week I am pleased to introduce a talented fellow local author, Mary Pat Hyland. I went to the book launch for her latest work (see right) at RiverRead Books in downtown Binghamton last evening. RiverRead Books is a jewel of a bookshop located along the edge of the Susquehanna River. People gathered close in rows of chairs as Mary Pat described her inspirations for each short story in the collection. We were rapt in our attention. Mary Pat is a gifted oral story teller, as well as a writer. The "onion domes" are the ornate, onion-shaped crowns of several of the orthodox churches in the Binghamton area that stand out from the less distinctive buildings along the highway.

Mary Pat Hyland is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author and has published six novels and a collection of short stories. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Seasons Readings and Lost Love Letters: An Indie Chicks Anthology. In 2013, the Arts Council of Yates County selected her as an Artist in Residence. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and has worked in the commercial/fine art, journalism, education, and culinary fields. Mary Pat resides in upstate New York, the setting for her novels, and enjoys organic gardening, gourmet cooking, visiting the Finger Lakes and teaching the Irish language.

Mary Pat answered the following questions for our interview:

1. Name
Mary Pat Hyland
2. How long have you been an indie writer?
Since 2008
3. What formats do you publish in?
Paperback & ebooks
4. What genres do you write in?
Short stories, chick lit, suspense, humor, family saga
5. Are you on Twitter or Facebook?
6. What’s your current book?
In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, Collected Short Stories
7. How do you want your readers to feel after they’re read your book?
This book is like a Whitman’s Sampler of my writing styles. I hope it will bring smiles, maybe a few tears, and leave you thinking.
8. What’s your next book about?
It’s a humorous suspense novel that I’m currently writing as part of National Novel Writing Month.

9. What types of jobs have you had other than writing?
Cook, journalist, art director, portrait artist, greenhouse assistant
10. What did it feel like when you were first published?
Finally, a long-held dream came true.

11. What’s your go-to song when your writing muse needs to be recharged?
“Coyote” by Joni Mitchell. Her writing is exquisite and I love the sense of being on a road trip somewhere through the strumming of the guitar chords and Jaco Pastorious’s beautiful bass notes.
12. What do you do when writer’s block strikes?
Go for a walk. There’s something about the fresh air and change of scenery that helps re-charge the imagination.

13. What’s the best compliment your writing ever earned?
That the reader kept thinking about the characters and what they were up to, months after reading the book (
The House With the Wraparound Porch).
14. If you’re stranded on a desert island with a solar battery recharger, what would you be reading on your Kindle?
I think I’d need something humorous. My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber.

15. If you could have dinner with three other writers, who would they be?
Dorothy Parker, Eudora Welty and Frank McCourt. All dead, unfortunately, but if it were possible, the conversation would be anything but that.

16. What’s your blog and/or website address?
17. Cats or dogs?
Dogs. Border collies, to be specific
18. Cake or death? (To soothe the boisterous Eddie Izzard lobbyists…)
Cake with thick chocolate frosting
19. What fictional character do you identify with most?
Sybylla Melvyn in My Brilliant Career

20. What’s the closing line of your latest book?
At that moment, knowing she was nearing the bridge between this world and the next herself, nothing else mattered but the fact that for the first time in six years, she felt fully alive.

Thank you for spending time with us, Mary Pat! If you would like to read her latest or explore her previous works, please check the following links:

Barnes & Noble

The Author’s eStore

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway contest to win an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, copies of her ebooks or a piece of original art created by the author.

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Mary Pat Hyland

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Introvert and the Not-So-Solo Writing of a Novel

Photo by Laura Bear
I'm an introvert. I say this with confidence after reading a recent post on social media about how to interact with an introvert: . According to this article, an introvert is defined not by who we are, but by how we recharge. I love that! It's true that introverted people don't dislike company. We do! It's just that it's draining and we need time alone, in our own space, to replenish that energy drain or we get grumpy, even nasty. Introvert, on social media? Actually, it's easy for an introvert to engage with other people over social media because there's no immediate demand. There's time to reflect. Reflection is important to introverts. We do a lot of staring at our navels, gazing at nature, sitting in the quiet. It seems like writing a novel would be an isolating experience--perfect for someone who needs to work alone. And while writing is often a solitary labor, it does require a certain degree of social interaction: with other writers, with readers, with editors, and, for some of us, working with a talented publisher. I relish those interactions. But, publishing comes with its own challenges. If you want to sell your book. If you wish to give other people the opportunity to read this thing that you labored over for weeks, months, years at a time, you must engage with fellow humans. And they are often delightful, but it still sucks the life out of me. And now there is an article explaining this to the extroverted people who are recharged by the very interaction that depletes us. A roomful of people is daunting to the introvert. On the other hand, the extrovert thrives on that same crowd. Let the party begin, right? I love a party, but I will need at least a day--maybe a week, depending on the party--to  recover in quiet solitude or one-on-one intimacy. Call me what you will, I know what I need to stay healthy and happy and to have enough energy to write. Wine helps, too, but not too much of it!

Many writers are introverts by nature, but I'm sure there are many who are not. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you recharge your energy" What do you love? What rubs you the wrong way?

Join me next week when I introduce you to a wonderful writer who blazed her own successful trail in publishing her books: MaryPat Hyland . I can't wait to share her story with you! Recharge this weekend, in whatever way you need.