Today, we have another fascinating woman in our interview section. She is a published author, has a personal blog, cooks deliscious dishes, teaches English and takes photos! Yes! All of these things! I don’t know how she does it’! Her name is M. Reed McCall from mreedmccall.com , and here is my interview with her.
What was that particular moment that made you decide to become a writer?
Well, I can’t say there was one particular moment. I’ve always loved books and reading. It began when I was a little child and my mother would read to me each night before bed. Soon, I was reading on my own, and I read voraciously. By age 10 or so, I discovered I had an ability to describe things – people, places, emotions – in a way that other people enjoyed reading, and that got me thinking about stories. I dabbled in college and tried to write short stories, but they were too confining. After I finished my Master’s degree in English I embarked on my first attempt to write a novel, and I’ve been doing that ever since.
How much time do you spend writing a book? Is it different with every book?
When I was under contract with HarperCollins/Avon for the seven medieval romance books I published with them, I was on a one-book-a-year schedule. That included research, planning, writing, editing, and polishing. Since branching off on my own, timing is an unknown factor. My most recently completed book, Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, which is a very different kind of book from those I’ve previously written, took me almost five years to write. It is a poignant, humorous, quirky General Fiction/Women’s Fiction novel about coming to terms with life and death – basically about remembering how to keep living fully and openly when someone you love has died. A link to the back cover description can be accessed here: http://mreedmccall.com/the-books/the-contemporary-books/
The manuscript is in the process of being edited now, and it will be available very soon (by early spring of 2015 at latest).
What do you enjoy more – writing a book or writing in your blog?
That’s a difficult question! I enjoy each for different reasons, I’d say. The blog allows me to highlight or talk about things that are meaningful to me or interest me in a much more shortened framework than in my novels. By nature, novels require a slow building of character, story, and theme…and I do enjoy that as well, but it takes quite a long time and I sometimes experience more frustrations along the way than I do in my blog writing – which I guess makes sense, since writing a novel covers so much more space and time.
You’ve studied in Russia. Did you like the country and would you like to go back there one day?
I truly enjoyed my time in Russia. Of course, it was the USSR then, and so I imagine the atmosphere is quite a bit different now than it was when I was there. The people I met were all wonderful – so welcoming and friendly. And the architecture is stunning. The palaces, the Hermitage, the churches…all stand out in my memory almost 30 years later as incredibly beautiful. I would indeed like to go back one day (though I’m afraid my Russian language skills are now very, very rusty)!
There are probably a lot of people out there thinking “I want to become a writer” or “I want to be as successful as she is”. Dare to share some advice with our readers?
Every writer’s path is different; however, I do believe that to be a writer, one must read, and as widely as possible. Getting the rhythm of the language and the music it makes – depending upon the author one is reading of course – in your head and heart, helps one to develop one’s own “voice”. Also, don’t try to write what is popular, unless that is the kind of material that calls to you anyway. Readers can tell if a writer’s heart is in her work, or if she is just going through the motions.
In your blog you have a page with recipes. Do you like to make new recipes or you prefer to follow old ones?
I enjoy both. Cooking and baking are two of my favorite “creative” pastimes, when I’m not writing. There is something comforting about making an old recipe (especially if it’s a family recipe), but I also love to try new things. Sometimes I even make up my own new recipes.
If any of your children decide that he/she wants to be a writer, would encourage him/her?
Yes I would – although I would stress that it is a very difficult career to choose as the sole occupation, as is true of any creativity-based career (including music, dramatic performance, etc). I think it’s always a good idea to build skills in other, perhaps more practical areas as well, that one can fall back upon or rely upon for steady income.
You live in New York State. Why did you choose that place?
I was born and raised in New York State, so it is home to me. Aside from that, I love Nature, and I really and truly enjoy the seasons and variable weather in New York State (including winter!)
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
As mentioned above, I have a passion for books and words, and I also feel a great calling to help others. Teaching seemed a wonderful way to combine the passion and the calling.
What was the feeling when you saw your first book published? What about the first book you signed?
It was an exciting moment – though by the time it came (approximately 18 months after I’d signed my first contract with HarperCollins), I had had time to adjust to the idea of being a published author. Still, it was a little surreal to see a book with my name on it sitting on a bookstore shelf. The first autographing session was very similar: exciting and surreal.
What would your life be like, if you were not a writer?
I think my life would be similar in a day-to-day aspect to what it is now, only I would have no outlet for my creative passions and ideas; I feel a need to share those things with the world at large, so I suppose my life wouldn’t be as interesting and would perhaps be more frustrating. Words are magic to me, and to have the opportunity to string them together in a way that might have meaning and resonance for someone who might pick up one of my books and read it is thrilling, humbling, and gratifying to me.
Would you like to say something to our readers?
Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little about me! I love to interact, learn about, and engage with readers as well, so please drop me a note and say hello (through email: firstname.lastname@example.org by visiting my blog/website http://mreedmccall.com, or through Facebook at Mary Reed McCall, Author or Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryreedmccall)
All of the pictures in this post are taken from M. Redd McCall’s blog!