CW: What is a typical day of writing like for you?
MC: I'm kind of all over the board so it's hard to say typical. I have a job three days a week. Then home the rest of the time. I try to write 1,000 words a day seven days a week. I often write more but try to never write less. But sometimes I do that in one long run and sometimes I do that in five short sessions. I'm an insomniac so it's not unusual for me to write late into the night just to pass the waking hours.
CW: Of all the characters you have created, who is your favorite?
MC: Right now I am just crazy about Belle Tanner, a secondary character in Montana Rose. I had more fun with her than is legal is seven states. She is the absolute antithesis of Cassie Dawson, the sweet, overly-obedient wife in Montana Rose.
I also really loved Elijah Walker in Cowboy Christmas. For some reason I always have a lot of fun with heroes, the heroines are who give me trouble. Elijah is just more of the same. The clueless guy with the knight-in-shining-armor-against-his-will reflex. He doesn't want to get stuck taking care of Annie Talbot, but it falls to him and he can't shirk.
CW: How do you find inspiration to create the villainous characters in your novels?
MC: Giving villains a real character is often easy to forget. We tend to just make them all unflinchingly bad and that's it. But I try to not do that. A villain needs a back story to be truly interesting. And honestly, though I don't think we're that aware of it when we read, a truly three dimensional villain is often the real strength of a story. It gives the story depth. I had Claude and Blanche Leveque be nasty characters but I hope I made them the kind of villains you love to hate.
CW: Some of the action scenes in your novels are very graphic (falling down a flooded ravine in Petticoat Ranch, avalanche in Calico Canyon, etc). how close have you come to the things that have happened in your stories?
MC: Wow, Chelsea, you're talking to a woman who once tripped on her way to the mailbox and almost had to just stay there on the ground. MY KNEE HURT. I live a very sedate life. no avalanches, no floods. I hit a cow once with my car. Very upsetting. The cow wasn't real happy either. That's about the extent of drama in my life.
CW: Cowboy Christmas was recently released, and we know there are two more books coming in the Montana Marriages series. What can we look forward to after that?
MC: I already mentioned The Husband Tree. Here's a little bit about The Husband Tree:
Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She's learned her lesson. No more men.
Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he's had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He's learned his lesson. No more women.
Belle Needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there's no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly. Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such things as hiring drovers, only to find out he's the lone man going with five women, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speeds up the process of being embarrassed to death.
A fast approaching winter.
The toughest lady rancher you've ever seen.
A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he's right for their ma... and then convince himself.
And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.
And just a bit about book #3 of the Montana Marriages series. Wildflower Bride release next May:
Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has never met a man she didn't want to pull a knife on, including the man who's determined to marry her.
CW: As as member of multiple blogs, how do you feel the internet is affecting the way authors interact with their readers and fans?
MC: I love it. I can't stand to think about my life without all the great writer friends I talk to daily and all the great notes I get from people who've read my book. It can really end up taking a lot of writing time so I need to be careful. But I love the internet.
Thank you Mary, for taking the time to talk with me!
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