Hi Mary Ann Finley, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hello, and thanks for inviting me. I’m an independent author and the founder, operator and CEO of Mayrann Speaks Productions, L.L.C. I didn’t get into writing as a career until I was 48 years old, and wrote my initial novel, Thicker Than Blood, as a therapeutic way to overcome the grief of losing my mother in 2009. I’ve published three books besides that one: Corn Rowing Mama’s Hair on a Sunday (poetry), Somebody Say Grace (spiritual meditations), and Thicker Than Blood II: The Rahsurrection, which just went on sale December 12, 2016. January 1, 2017 I began collaborating with other authors who solicited my services, and their books will be published under my subsidiary company, McCurtain Press. That’s so exciting to me. I’m also an ordained minister with 23 years of experience.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’ve always dreamed of having one of my works turned into a cinematic production or television series. I’m working with a film producer, Annette Colbert-Latham, CEO of Visage Productions Inc., toward making that dream come to fruition within the next 5 years. Slowly but surely we’re making progress in meeting that goal. Patience is definitely needed in this industry.
Which writers inspire you?
Anyone who knows me well knows the love of my reading and writing life is Walter Mosley. Second to him is the late, great August Wilson. These two wonderful writers have given me life down through the years. My goal was to meet them both in my lifetime, yet August went on before. I still hope to one day shake Walter’s hand and thank him for being such an important influence on my career as an author.
What are you working on at the minute?
I have contracted to be ghostwriter for two biographical books and currently working on finalizing both for publication under McCurtain Press by March 1, 2017.
What genre are your books and why?
Family Drama and mystery/suspense are my favorite genres to write. I find it easy to keep readers on their toes with those genres. The element of surprise is something I love when reading a novel, and I deliver that best within those two genres as an author. Although I have decided my next novel will be a romance, just to switch it up a little.
In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
An author whose novels are good to the last period!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
The lead characters in the Thicker Than Blood series are three brothers: Patrick ‘Tip’ Collier, whom I would love for Daniel Carlton, this awesome veteran actor from Harlem, to portray, Gerald Lamar Jr., whom I see maybe Idris Elba portraying, and Ramon ‘Rah-Money’ Lamar, whom I haven’t quite figured out which actor would be best at portraying, perhaps Dwayne Johnson. Doesn’t that sound like a blockbuster cast?
When did you decide to become a writer?
My writing fascination began at age 8, when I wrote a little short story and my sister, Edith, loved it. Poetry is my first love and it seems like I’ve written a million poems in my lifetime on various subjects.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
In December, 2015 I became fulltime self-employed as an author, copy editor, and proofreader.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I do my writing when it hits me. My muse is special. I could be up all wee hours of the morning writing, which happens more than not.
Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day? Yes, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing 2 chapters a day, regardless to the length. My writing is best when I take my time.
Where do your ideas come from? My ideas come mainly from having lived over 5 decades and experiences I’ve had or know others have gone through.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I mainly see where the idea takes me; however, on this last novel I did work with an outline for the second and third parts of the book. It really depends on where my muse takes me.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? Since writing my first novel I’ve come to realize less can definitely be more. If I can convey an idea fully with fewer words the novel tends to flow smoother.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Editing, editing, editing—being told to ‘cut out little darlings’ is one thing that will sure get a writer out of his/her ego!
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Writing the sequel was a little more difficult because I didn’t want to rehash too much of the first novel. Yet I had to give enough of it so the sequel stood on its own and didn’t confuse the readers. The sequel puts closure to the story that began in the initial novel.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Ideas flow freely for me. I always have a story in my head and characters telling me it’s time for them to be introduced to the world. Yes, that is the insanity of being a writer.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Once I get going I normally finish within at least 3 months time. It’s the ‘get going’ part that takes me awhile sometimes.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Walking into the premier of Thicker Than Blood—the movie version or having a watch party for the television series premier.
What advice would you give to your younger self? I’d advise my younger self to come out of her shell, know she’s beautifully and wonderfully made by The Most High, and own her gifts because tomorrow’s not guaranteed.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Ms. Oprah Winfrey is my number one hero in the entertainment world. She’s withstood the test of time, other people’s ignorance and prejudice and is still going strong, reaching higher heights. That sistah is boss! I hope to meet her some day.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Wow, that’s a hard question. Hmm, there are many, but The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson tops them. Her research into the migration of blacks from the south to the north was incredible and she laid out their stories in such a manner that each one touches a special place in my mind and heart.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Research your craft. Make sure you know what a professional book looks like; both in content and physical aspects, so even an agent or traditional publisher will be impressed. Always have your book edited and proofread, so as to put out the quality that will keep readers coming back for more. Being a published author is more than about telling a great story. We never know in whose hands our work will end up. Not everyone who reads your work will like it, so what? This industry requires thick skin. Do this mainly because you love it. Realize most don’t get wealthy from being an author. Always be supportive of other authors. There’s enough room for everyone at the table. Write on!
Connect with: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Ann-Finley/e/B007V6VOHO