Author Interview: Mary M Schmidt

Photo of Mary M Schmidt

First off tell me about yourself?

Let’s see, I really am as old as the atom bomb, born in 1945. I got my degree in English at Notre Dame University in Baltimore during the turbulent ‘60s. I’m one of these crazy old ladies who loves cats. And my nose is usually in a book.

Now tell me about some of your favourite authors and why you like them?

Sophy Burnham for her spirituality. J. Courtney Sullivan and James Carroll for their understanding of the Irish American Catholic experience. Crime? Lee Child and George Pelecanos. Science Fiction/Fantasy? Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Jean Lorrah and the late Ann Crispin. Of course I’m into poetry and my all-time favorite is Dante.

Tell me about anything you’ve written and please feel free to provide links?

Out of print: Gemini Lynx, a fan novel for Star Trek followers. Persephone’s Song: a gay man dies of AIDS. His best friend becomes a rock star and tells his story in a song. Still available: Cat Lady, winner of Jaffalogue’s Picks award for best long narrative poem published in 2015.

What is your writing process like?

A gradual thing. I’ll write several chapters, decide a character is dragging everything down, kill him off and totally twist the plot.

What market/demographic do you write for?

Mature older teens and adults.

What genre do you tend to write in?

Anything! I’ve done general literature, science fiction, and horror. I still have an unpublished manuscript which is historical fiction. Set in 1963, it’s about an unhappy housewife who escapes into a fantasy romance with John F. Kennedy.

Are you working on anything right now?

I’m working out ideas only the protagonist is considered by many to be insane, so I still have a way to go.

What advice do you have for other writers?

The fact that someone is an agent, editor or critic does not mean he or she has any sense at all. Write because it pleases you and don’t limit yourself to whatever you think they like.

What does literary success look like to you?

It does not mean getting rich though that might help. It means finding satisfaction in being able to share your stories with as many readers as possible. After all, you can be rich and miserable.

What’s the best way to market your books?

Lots of reviews and not all 5 stars. Readers will think your reviewers who give all 5 stars are your family and friends and you won’t be taken seriously. Lots of media exposure because readers have to know your book exists before they will buy it. Lots of attention on social media.

And last question, how do you deal with writer’s block?

Just get away from the story for a while. Let it stew. Then gradually come back and decide what needs to go.


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