29 Jan 2014

Interview with the delightful Mary Metcalfe

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
When I’m writing, I usually wake up to one of the characters talking to me. It really gets me going. I had an amazing dream the other day. I dreamt that a band of wild horses was running over the ground. They were ghostly horses so they made no sound. People around me were afraid of them but I didn’t feel threatened. It was quite surreal yet peaceful. I was smiling when I wakened.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I did a lot of writing when I was studying journalism. I was first published in about 1975 by my home city newspaper. It was quite exciting!

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I find Chick Lit covers so many styles and subjects of writing. It’s not formulaic, which as a reader, I really appreciate. I read a lot of biography/autobiography, mysteries, historical fiction, historical romance, non-fiction. I read A Lot!

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

My latest book, which is not the one on tour today, is the third in my Look to the Future Series. It explores the impact of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) on a young military family. The story is very uplifting in giving hope that women (and their children) can escape abusive marriages and forge a new and empowering life.

What inspired you to write it?
My father came back from World War II with severe PTSD. It was called shell shock back then but no one received treatment. Today, the RAND Corporation estimates over 300,000 veterans and active duty military personnel have varying symptoms of either or both injuries. Twenty-two vets a day commit suicide. Suicides now outnumber combat deaths in the American military. And all other countries involved in armed conflict are having the same problem. I want to raise the issue through an entertaining medium so people understand it and know what to look for and perhaps save a life.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
Friends were staying with us last summer. I gave her my books to read. She barely spoke to me except at meals for three days!

Who designs your covers?I choose the cover photo and the rest of the cover design/layout is done by Travis Miles of Probookcovers.com. I’ve had excellent feedback, including contest judges.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast? 
I’d like to see Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Brokeback Mountain) take on the role of the central character and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) as her love interest. Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) would nail the abusive husband character.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen? 
Eat, Pray, Love.

What were the last two books you read? 
Other than the ones I’m editing that would be Child of the Mist, an historical romance by Kathleen Morgan (Excellent!) and Warrior Rising: A Soldier’s Journey to PTSD and back by LCol Chris Linford (Well written and very informative).

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Alice Munro. She’s a Canadian treasure who I don’t think is widely read … yet. Winning the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature will certainly help!

Where do you write?
I have a large office with a window overlooking the forest behind our house. Two walls are turquoise and two are chocolate brown. I have a small fountain and three tea lights on my desk and an electric fireplace in one corner. It’s quite Zen.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
When I was a kid I really didn’t know and there weren’t a lot of options for women. By the time I was in university I knew it would have to involve writing and it always has. So yes, I did follow my dream!

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc
Michelle Williams as the young me and Meryl Streep as the older me. They are blonde, have many facets to their personality and both can do introspective as well as outgoing.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopadon’t
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Ground
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly, please!
Cry baby or tough cookie? Both
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Forest

Mary Metcalfe is the author of three novels and currently at work on her fourth. She and her long-time husband live in the foothills of the Laurentians in Quebec, Canada with a small herd of cats and a Canadian Eskimo dog. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author.

Twitter: @MetcalfeMary

Find New Beginnings at:
Barnes & Noble
Chapters / Indigo


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