Monday, July 21, 2008

Mary Connealy:Building Highways to Imagination

Mary Connealy was my very first "Kid" interview on the Chat 'n' Chew Cafe'. Now, she is a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year contest. See what brought Mary to be the kind of writer that she became.

When I Was Just a Kid....
Mary Connealy

Childhood Ambition: I wanted to build interstate highways. I thought that, like the Roman Appian Way, they would survive forever. I liked the idea of being part of that.

Fondest Memory (then): Oh, good grief! That's hard. We lived in this miniscule bedroom, six kids. Insane crowd. And we bought another house and picked it up and brought it over and stuck it on our house. That was a cool, cool day, seeing that house coming down the road. I was, maybe six. And the house was now HUGE. Four bedrooms and six kids, then finally eight kids. It took me years to realize that, even with the extra house added, it was STILL a miniscule house.

Proudest Moment (now or then): Now? I've got four daughters who have made me so proud, again, not an easy question.

I had two daughters graduate from college on the same day, one with a MBA and another with her Bachelor's degree, and a third daughter was home from her job in Pennsylvania for the graduation party and announced she was moving back to Nebraska. A great day.

Biggest Challenge as a child or teen: I am insanely shy. That's true. I've got it pretty well under control but inside I've got this powerful withdrawal reflex. It isn't true of me when I'm writing, and again, I've got it under control in public, but it's there.

My First Job: Babysitting...oh, that's everybody's isn't it? I walked beans, detassled corn, cleaned a bakery, waited tables.

Childhood indulgence: We had pop once a year at this year-end bonfire we had at the rural school I attended. I remember agonizing over whether to take grape or orange!!!! We had candy once or twice a year, at Christmas mainly.

Favorite Outfit as a child: I actually know this one. I was a flower girl when I was five. I was the third-born of eight kids, the older two were sisters and we were three in a row, one year apart. And I got picked by a cousin to be his flower girl. I got this unbelievably FLUFFY pink dress and I just loved it and it made me feel special and valuable and loved. I wore it to church the first week after the wedding and there was another girl (they were way richer than us) who had just been a flower girl in a wedding and her dress was icky old GREEN. Mine was way, way, way prettier. It was a great moment.

Favorite Childhood Movie: The Wizard of Oz. We watched it every year. Funny thing is, we didn't have a color TV. I quit watching it after I got older and never watched it again for years. I never got it that Kansas was in black and white and Munchkin Land and all of Oz was in color until I was an adult.

Favorite Childhood Book: Mean question, Crystal, as even then I was a reader. I loved: Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, the Happy Hollisters. I read and read and READ.

Childhood hero: My dad. I thought he was handsome and strong and funny. He read to us a lot when we were little, doing all the voices. Mom cooking, Dad in from the farm work reading. My folks were both great.

When I was growing up, I never expected: To get a book published. If you knew me at all, I mean REALLY, away from this writer's world, I am just the most ordinary person imaginable. There is no way I would have predicted that this pasttime that I love so much--writing,--would lead to publication. I kept submitting books but I didn't really have a lot of hope. I think that's a pretty good mindset for an aspiring writer. No hope, and then if you DO get published, well it's a great miraculous surprise.

Mary is a teacher, an author,book reviewer, mother of four girls and married to a farmer. She used her family (sort of, of course) in writing her first published novel, Petticoat Ranch. She may well be one of the funniest people I know.

You can find Mary Connealy at her blog, on My Space and at Barbour Books, as well as linked at various places on the internet!(Yes, Mary, look to the right--you are there!)

Petticoat Ranch, historical romance (love the cover!) is out(Barbour Books,) and her Heartsong Presents book, Golden Days, is out soon.

1 comment:

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, girl, I found a younger picture of myself than that. :)
It's true, I doubted it for a while but I did have a childhood. Had to shake the picture loose from my mother though.

I'd about decided I was a pod person.