Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interview with Mary Benton

Meet new Avalon author Mary Benton.

Is this your first book for Avalon?

Yes, Winds of Time is my first book for Avalon. I do have another book out, Dulsey, first published by Awe-struck E-books. At my request, my publishing rights were returned to me and I published through iUniverse. My third book, Plain Molly, is now being considered by Avalon Books.

Tell us about your book(s)

Winds of Time is a Western, set in Texas, 1867. When ex-Confederate soldier Jed McCabe returns home to discover his only surviving sister, Kate, is missing, he vows to find her, tracing the wagon train he believes she is with into Texas.
A chance meeting with a young cowboy leads to employment on a local cattle ranch.
There he meets the boss, Ida Mae Greeley. A widow, she runs the ranch with the help of her foreman, Cotton, and the young cowboy, Kyle. Wearing men’s clothing and toting a .32 Smith & Wesson on her hip, Ida Mae has no patience for drifters, especially ex-Confederate soldiers. But her cattle are being rustled, and she sees Jed as someone who might be able to help her, if he’s willing to follow the rules.
Jed doesn't follow rules well, though, and he has his own agenda: finding Kate. What he didn't count on was being drawn into the lives of the people around him, and against his better judgment, becoming attracted to the scrappy Ida Mae.

Dulsey, an Historical novel, is set in 1860. Honoring her father’s last wish to find an uncle, who he hopes will return and help the family, seventeen-year-old Dulsey, accompanied by her best friend, Carla, and the mysterious Harvey Kendall, leave Tennessee and travel on horseback to Fort Smith Arkansas. Along the way, their lives become entangled in those of runaway slaves and bounty hunters. Charges of murder haunt them as love blooms and justice struggles to prevail.

What do you like most about your Avalon novel?

All of my books are character driven. In Winds of Time, my character, Jed McCabe, is embittered from the tragedies he suffered during the Civil War. Ida Mae Greeley is a woman who has been forced into a man’s role of being tough in order to survive. My characters, Cotton and Kyle, are people you meet everyday. We all have a Cotton, or a Kyle, in our family somewhere. How these people overcome their differences and bond together, is what I like most about this novel.

Have you developed the plot from something you have experienced personally?

No. Winds of Time is my own creation. Dulsey, however, is another story.

What prompted you to become a writer?

My mother. She was a wonderful writer who wrote heart-warming stories and poems.

When did you start your first novel and how long did it take you to become published?

My first novel, Dulsey, has been with me since I was a teenager. It was a story that begged to be told. I didn't start writing it until I retired. It took me eight years to write, and another two, to get it published. Winds of Time took me one year to write, and another two years to get it published.

What comes first for you? Character? Story? Setting?

Characters. You must have strong characters in order to hold your readers’ attention.

Where do you find inspiration when you write?

Staring at a blank wall. Too much goes on outside my window.

What do you find is the most difficult part about writing?

The endless editing and rewrites are a must, but tiring. The marketing aspect is a new challenge, and to be truthful, scares the daylights out of me.

What is the most satisfying?

When you know you have the ending nailed is a great feeling. But the best is when readers tell you how much they enjoyed your book.

Do you have a writing schedule?

I've always been an early riser and find this is the best time for me to write.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I work part time as a bookkeeper and farm a small walnut orchard. I also participate in two critique groups and belong to several writers’ organizations.

Do you have a website or participate in another blog?

My website is: http://www.mmbenton.com/. This is my first experience at blogging.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Mary,

I am so thrilled for you! I know how excited you must be, it's definitely a new journey.

Marilyn Meredith

Donna said...

What a great interview. I've read both books and enjoy Mary's writing style. She definitely has a story-tellers voice. Her tales grip the reader from the start and keep your attention to the last page.

Sandy Cody said...

Nice interview. I've spent some time staring at blank walls myself, Mary. Your books sound interesting and you sound like a busy lady. Good luck with Winds of Time. I hope Plain Molly (intriguing title) finds a home at Avalon too.

Beate Boeker said...

Wow, Mary, I admire your perseverance! Your novel sounds very interesting, and I can tell your characters are very special. Thank you for blogging with us for the very first time!