April 16, 2008


First, a big thank you to Cynthia Leitich Smith for posting an interview with me here. And an even bigger thank you to Cynthia for generously sharing incredibly useful information with the children's writing community here.

And now, fabulously funny and genuinely generous author extraordinaire -- Mary Hershey.

You can read about Mary here or check out her fun blog here or her insightful blog about book promotion with Robin LaFevers here.

And you can pre-order her brand spankin' new book here.

Or check out her other great books here and here.

Thanks, Mary, for agreeing to do a guest blog and sharing your wise words with Wild About Words. Mary and I not only have an affinity for long titles, but we both like to make up interviews, like the one here or the following . . .


DONNA: Both your first book and my first book have thirteen words in the title. Comments on that? Mere coincidence, or is there something bigger than the both of us at play at here?

MARY: Clearly something bigger at play here. Even though the number thirteen is frequently associated with bad luck, it is a little known fact in the sacred field of Titleology, that odd number titles have some seriously powerful mojo. Editors are completely powerless in the face of them! Novels with fifteen words in them, as is the case with my new book coming out in July, causes the eyes of book reviewers to spin, leading them to hand out starred reviews. Titles with numbers in them, as we both do have leads to movie options. (Just watch and see what happens to Jay's Asher's book
Thirteen Reasons Why) Donna, you use '12 3/4', a fraction, which was a bold move. Can't wait to see what happens!

DONNA: As a writing coach, do you have any tips you want to share about writing practice?

MARY: Why, yes, Donna I do. Thirteen of them, in fact. Making their grand debut on your blog today!
1. First things first. I stole this-- I mean borrowed this from author Steven Covey. Writing needs to be the first thing you do in your day. Just trust me on this.
2. Create a sacred writing space. Even if it is a corner in a room or a limb of a tree. Claim it. Honor it. Make a small altar there. Return frequently.
3. Thou shall not checketh email during a writing session (Even if though doth expect to hear from thou editor or agent that day.)
4. Breathe and hydrate freely and frequently.
5. Write as if no one else is ever going to read what you're writing, and take some risks. Throw your nice girl (or boy) right out the window.
6. At least once an hour, get up and do a Downward Facing Dog pose from yoga. If needed, call Donna, and she'll come by your house and demonstrate it. DFD leads to inspiration.
7. If you get to the proverbial 'stuck' place, grab some paper and hand write a letter to your main character. Do a check-in with them.
8. If possible, don't answer the phone or door, or incoming messages from carrier pigeons.
9. Live in a place of absolute gratitude for the gift of writing you've been given.
10. Read everything you can get your mitts on in your genre. The good, the bad and the ugly.
11. Find a writing buddy. Someone with whom you can share both the agony and the ecstasies.
12. Be a volunteer in your local/regional writing network. Even if you don't have extra time. Do it anyway.
13. Be the most generous writer you know. Help anyone and everyone on their writing path!

DONNA: I love lemon bars. Care to share your favorite dessert with our readers?

MARY: This is my new fave which I get at the best vegetarian restaurant on the planet--the Sojourner in Santa Barbara. Start with one warm vegan chocolate chip cookie. Add a big scoop of coffee ice cream on top, then smother in hot fudge until the cookie nearly sets sail across your plate and off the table. Nirvana.

DONNA: If you were stuck on a desert island, and only had one tune on your iPod, what would it be?

MARY: Easy squeezy. Bari Improv by Kaki King from the August Rush CD.
I could listen to that until my brain exploded. That actually happened earlier this week.

DONNA: Favorite inspirational quote?

MARY: “Wherever you are is the entry point.” (Kabir)

Mary, thanks again for stopping by Wild About Words and sharing your writing practice tips . . . and favorite recipe!

Happy writing trails,


Natalie said...

Loved the interview! Best of luck to you both with your 13-word titles. :-)

(who is off to try and brainstorm another 11 words for her MS title...)

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Thanks so much Mary, and Donna! These are great key points to live by as a writer. Now...how do I NOT check my email every 10 minutes...!

Mary Hershey said...

Wheee! Fun to be posting in beeeyoootiful Florida today. Hi, Natalie and Ghost Girl! Thanks so much, Donna. :->

Mary Hershey

Stephanie J. Blake said...

Wonderful interview! I love long titles. Plus, I think the key points are going to become my next tattoo. No, I'll just print them out and place them above my computer.

Wild About Words said...

My, my, that would be one long tattoo! Putting them above your computer might be less painful. Slightly.
Glad you liked the interview. Hoping all is well.