When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I actually became an author by accident. I began my career by beta reading for Linda Kage. She was very encouraging about my feedback to her and strongly encouraged me to write my own stuff. She was a tireless cheerleader and incredibly supportive mentor. Until the Stars Fall from the Sky was my first attempt at writing fiction. I published it two years ago this month. I would’ve never been able to do it without her help.
Do you write in a particular genre or do you like to bounce around to different ones?
My books are contemporary romance novels and new adult novels. They tend to run on the clean and wholesome side.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?
Surprisingly, I’m finding that I like to write short novellas in the young adult genre.
Do you have a favorite genre to read?
Without question, contemporary romance novels are my favorite, but I also like romantic suspense and true crime.
What books have most influenced your life?
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? That’s the book that turned me into a lifelong reader — without that step, I would’ve never become an author.
What author has most influenced your life?
This is a tough call for me because Judy Blume was the author who started my love affair with books, but Linda Kage was the author who gave me my start in this industry.
Do you have a favorite book or series from another author?
As a person who used to read 700 books a year, this is an impossible question to answer.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I cook and decorate cakes.
What is your writing process?
I am actually about 85% Pantser and 15% plotter. I have some general ideas where I want the story to go, but I let the dialogue direct the story.
Do you have a writing routine?
I try to write every day, seven days a week. Usually, I write between three and five thousand words a day — although recent health challenges have slowed me down.
How long does it take you to write a book?
About four or five months from start to finish.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your books?
Although my family is convinced that all of my novels are about them, I really do make up my characters. The exception to this rule will be my upcoming novel Love Is More Than Skin Deep (A Hidden Hearts Novel #4) which will tackle the topic of skin cancer and is loosely based on the story of Judy Noble Cloud. She has graciously given me permission to fictionalize her story to bring awareness to the topic of the dangers of sun exposure and tanning beds and she is helping me with the project.
What does your family think of your writing?
My dad thinks that my books are filthy. My husband is very proud of me. I suspect that my twenty-six-year-old son wishes I would have elected to write under a pen name. My twelve-year-old son is just now figuring out that I actually do something with all this time that I spend on the computer.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?
Actually, a bunch of authors got together and wrote a book called #AmWriting: A collection of letters to benefit the Wayne Foundation to give ourselves the writing advice that we wish we would’ve gotten when we started writing. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in becoming an author. It’s a very candid look into the inside workings of the world of publishing.
What is the most surprising thing you have heard from your fans?
I’m always surprised to hear how personally my fans take my writing. It’s what I always hope for, but I’m still a little stunned when people tell me how profoundly moved to they are by my stories.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Facebook please. Although, you can reach me on all of the above.
Tell us about your journey in becoming self-published/Did you always want to go that route?
When I first published Until the Stars Fall from the Sky, I was with a publisher, but it wasn’t a great fit with my style so I became an independent self publisher and republished Until the Stars Fall from the Sky and have been an indie ever since March 2015
Is there anything you'd love to share with us about yourself?
I currently have eight full-length novels released and two novellas that are in anthologies which benefit charities. I have a third one ready to go in the fall. My novels can be read as stand-alone novels but are organized into two series. Love Claimed is the sixth novel in my Hidden Beauty Series. The novel I am currently working on, Hearts of Jade will be the third novel in my Hidden Hearts Series. I donate 15% of my net profits to a charity related to the storyline of each novel. For Love Claimed, that charity is Safe Kids Worldwide to help raise awareness of safe use of child safety seats.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing?
The most difficult thing about writing is that you’re in charge of what happens. You as the author are responsible for the fate of your characters. That’s a big responsibility there are lots of options in the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine which is the best path to take.
What is the most fun part of writing?
I think one of the best things about writing is that it gives you a platform to speak about difficult topics.
1. Favorite Food: cheesecake
2. Favorite Color: purple
3. Favorite Animal: dogs
4. Favorite Book: Abstract Love by Samantha Christie
5. Favorite Movie: An American President
6. Favorite Drink: sweet tea
7. Favorite Restaurant: Amadeus Café
Title: Love Claimed
Author: Mary Crawford
Series Name: A Hidden Beauty Novel # 6
Page count: 302
Genre: Multicultural Romance /contemporary romance
Price: $3.99 Kindle version $13.99 Paperback
Mary Crawford has been lucky enough to live her own version of a romance novel. She married the guy who kissed her at summer camp. He told her on the night they met that he was going to marry her and be the father of their children. Eventually she stopped giggling when he said it, and they just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. They have two children. The oldest is in medical school, where he recently found and married the love of his life, and the youngest will soon venture into middle school.
Ms. Crawford writes full time now. She recently published her ninth book and has several more underway. She volunteers her time to a variety of causes and has worked as a Civil Rights Attorney and diversity advocate. Ms. Crawford spent several years working for various social service agencies before becoming an attorney. In her spare time, she loves to cook, decorate cakes and of course, obsessively, compulsively read.
Donda has seen more than her fair share of tragedy. Between the assaults she suffered as a child, her eating disorder, and addictions she feels like she's the last person who should get a second chance.
Jaxon has spent years trying to move past his own inner demons. His ex-wife was a junkie who let their young daughter die rather than miss a score. Though he has committed his career to saving lives, he can't shake the feeling he should have done more back then. When the single mother and doctor finally meet, it seems like fate. A car accident turns a shared glance into a chance at happiness neither one expected or believes they deserve.
Becoming a teenaged matchmaker extraordinaire, Donda's son, Gabriel, is convinced the two are perfect for each other, but they aren't so sure.
Can the pair get past their troubled histories, self-doubt, and bad experiences to find love at last?
How long did it take to write the book?
About five months total.
What inspired you to write the book?
I became a writer because I was tired of not being able to see characters that looked like me in fiction. Disability is often dismissed or downplayed in novels. Characters are often portrayed as bitter, angry or helpless. If they are ever to find love, they must be healed by two-thirds of the way through the book. I set out to change those stereotypes.
Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
My books often feature complex medical or psychological issues and I want to make sure that I depict them accurately. I do a great deal of online research. Whenever possible, I try to speak to medical professionals and individuals who are impacted by each disability involved.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
My first goal is for my readers to come away believing in a good love story. But beyond that, I want them to feel like they’ve walked in someone else’s shoes for a few hours and experienced something that they might not have otherwise thought about. I want people to see the world through new eyes.
Where can we go to buy your book?
All of my books are available for free on Kindle Unlimited or for members of Amazon Prime through their Kindle Owners Lending Library. You can see all of my books here. Author.to/MaryCrawford. More information about the charities I donate to is available on my website MaryCrawfordAuthor.com.
Excerpt from book:
1. I’m just a tenuous collection of hopes and dreams held together with a few should’ves, could’ves and really-wished-I-hadn’ts.
2. Either my son watches me much more carefully than I give him credit for or I wax poetically about men far more frequently than I realize, because the man in the car next to me looks like something I could’ve ordered off a fantasy wish list. His Royal Hotness is apparently old enough to know what he wants in life and how to get there. He obviously takes care of that gorgeous body. When he smiles at me, I literally feel the ground move.
3. How?” I practically breathe the question with my soul. “How do you even start to let someone get that close to you?”Tara reaches over and grips my hands with hers as she responds with intensity in her eyes, “One breath at a time. There are no shortcuts, no magic pills; it just takes one brave breath at a time. Inch by inch, person by person, relationship by relationship and your little world is built.”
4. It turns out that he’s a doctor that goes on a coffee break. He also happens to think you’re pretty smoking hot. Lucky for you, he’s single, if you’re interested. I’m not telling you what to do here, but Mom, if you’re smart — be interested. The dude is totally cool. He treats me like a regular human being and doesn’t try to talk down to me and he isn’t creeped out by the fact that I’m smart and artistic.”
5. You’re very easy on the eyes, you have above average taste in food, my son apparently thinks you’re the best thing since Oreo cookies and you’re a fun conversationalist. The only thing more I could wish for is for you to be a world-class kisser, and for the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that you are.”“I can’t have that. You know I’m a logical doctor, I like to have things shown to me by empirical proof,” I comment, as I stand up from the ottoman and lean over her.Her eyes widen and she licks her lips as she replies, “Is that so?”“Yes, I don’t like to rely on assumptions,” I whisper before I brush my lips across hers in a soft kiss.
6. All I know for sure is that my beautiful baby girl, Jasmine, never saw her third birthday. Marquette was too high to remember she left her to bake to death in a hot car. Jasmine died thinking that Elmo was the center of the universe and that counting to twenty was the hardest thing she ever had to learn to do.
7. “Jaxson, I think I’m going to feel pain either way, and I’d much rather feel pain with you in my life than without you.”
8. Jaxson tilts my chin up so that I’m looking at him and says, “Donda, any scars you have are beautiful to me. They are part of who you are. If Kevin Buckhold put scars on you, whether they are visible to most people or not, you should wear them as badges of honor because they made you an incredible human being.”
9. To me she looks perfect. She is my claim on love. She is the life I always dreamed of and never thought I would find. I know she will never understand her true value, but to me she is everything.
10. I’m so happy right now. I can’t even be mad at the train. If it wasn’t for that train, I would’ve never found this much love to claim.
What is in store next for you?
I am working on Hearts of Jade (A Hidden Hearts Novel #3), the third novel in the Hidden Hearts Series. This novel tackles the story of what happens to the survivors in a family after someone commits suicide and how does a person go about deciding to live their hopes and dreams rather than what their family expects of them.
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
I think every author leaves a little bit of themselves behind in every book. It’s an occupational hazard. The way you see the world colors the way you write and your sense of humor and personal taste informs your dialogue.
Tell us about your cover - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
Ada Frost is my cover designer. She is an author herself and understands phenomenally well how to convey my ideas through art. She takes my words and makes them beautiful.
Who would you recommend this book to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
This is not a fluffy bubblegum beach read, it deals with lots of really tough subjects, but it does have a happily ever.
If you could turn this book/series into a movie, who would be your dream cast? Dream director?
I would love Halle Berry and Shemar Moore to play the lead characters in Love Claimed.
Who is your favorite character? Why?
I would say that Mindy Whitaker is one of my favorite characters. It has been fun to watch her grow in change throughout the series. It will be fun when she is finally old enough for her own love story.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The most difficult thing about writing Love Claimed was that it deals with a lot of very sensitive issues. It was hard to stay true to those issues and emotions knowing that I was a very likely going to offend some people just by talking about them. Yet, I also knew that there were lots of people that will likely dealing with the same struggles that my character dealt with and that I needed to be honest and candid through the voice of my character to speak for them. It was a gut-wrenching book to write.
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