24 Jan 2014

Come and meet chick lit / historical author S.R Mallery

Do dreams inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
Unfortunately, dreams do not inspire my writing, but music sure acts as a muse! Just listening to songs, instrumentals, etc., I can conjure up a scene, some motivations and/or characters. And if I really love the piece, my juices roll big time. I think the last dream I had (after having chocolate at night) was not great––it involved losing a manuscript and not remembering what I had written …occupational hazard??

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I started late in life––never thought I could do it, frankly. But when I tried my hand at my first short story, talk about juices rolling! I had already published how to articles as a quilt designer, but my first published fictional work was a flash fiction piece that takes place in a battered women’s shelter (published by descant 2008).

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I’m pretty eclectic, so I enjoy different genres, not only chick lit. I mostly write historical fiction, but all read all kinds of books, except vampire, heavy paranormal, or extreme erotic. Those genres tend to go in one ear and out the other. Oh, I do wish I did like them, though; they’re very hot right now!

What’s the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
The title is Unexpected Gifts. The chick lit/historical fiction combo novel is about Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.

What inspired you to write it?
I have always appreciated looking at photographs from both my grandmothers’ photo albums. As I studied my individual relatives, I wouldn’t just think, ‘Oh, that’s my Aunt So-and-So!’ I would scrutinize their outfits, their faces, their postures. Were they sad? Happy? Bored? Annoyed at suddenly being put on display? That strong ancestral interest dovetailed nicely with my love of U. S. history, so when I decided to write this novel, putting those two themes together just kind of clicked.

Is it part of a series?
No, Unexpected Gifts stands alone.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
Not yet. Can’t wait for that day!! However, when I was writing my longer stories (see upcoming Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads on my website, www.srmallery.com), I was also
teaching a reading Lab for adult ESL students. One of them, bored with the assigned books, asked if she could read one of my stories. She never went back to the regular text….now that felt good!

Who designs your covers?
Jamie Johnson at my publisher, Mockingbird Lane Press.

If your latest book were made into a film, whom would you cast?
That’s such a hard question. Definitely unknown, but extremely talented actors, so there’s no ‘recognizable persona’ attached.

What’s your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
I have several. The Help, Bridget Jone’s Diary, Pride and Prejudice, The Nanny Diaries, The Jane Austen Club, etc. etc.

What were the last two books you read?
1) Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer; 2) Deadlight by Lasher Lane. Both great books!

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
I believe Lasher Lane is a female. Her book is really lovely and beautifully written.

Where do you write?
I write mostly at home, either on the computer or at my desk, scribbling away next to a chirpy-purring cat named June. Her brother Rocco is usually nestled at my feet. But then, as I’m doing right now, I can sit waiting in a car, a restaurant, a school and write away, to be typed up and edited later.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had always wanted to and convinced I would be a singer. Now, that was a dream. I got tons of vocal training, was a music major throughout high school and college, and did classical and light pop singing as a young adult. Then, I discovered something very important: I really didn’t thrive on performing; it just wasn’t My Thing….so I moved onto professional calligraphy, production art, quilting, English teaching and then my greatest love of all––writing.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Heavens, do I have to answer that??!!

Top drink to make you tipsy? Chardonnay/champagne
Shopaholic or shopadon’t? Shopadon’t (except for Amazon books!)
Sky-high heels or closer to the ground? Flat on the ground these days…..(sigh)
E. L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Cry baby or tough cookie? A cry baby, trying to morph into a tough cookie.

Unexpected Gifts by S. R. Mallery
Contact: Sarah Mallery
Email: srmallery@gmail.com
Publisher: Mockingbird Lane Press
Book trailer

When Ancestors Come Back to Help
Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives’ behaviors help mold our own? In Unexpected Gifts, that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her families diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the 1910 immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, weaving yesteryear with modern life until finally, Sonia begins to make the right choices.
Unexpected Gifts is a work of literary fiction, laced with historical events for ages 16 and up.

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