What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
Claiming the Evil Dead – Jessie Garrett is a half demon soul catcher. She lives a pretty normal life and hides her ability. A sexy, noble, heart thumping vampire finds her and offers her a job to claim the soul of an evil vamp who is preying upon children. Though she doesn’t trust him, she takes his offer. They run into a few problems along the way, overcome their differences, and somehow they manage to fall for each other. When the time comes to catch the bad guy, she has to make a choice.
Tell us something about yourself.
Well, I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana. Not much goes on here unless your a Colts or Indy 500 fan, which I’m not. I have a business and technical background–totally unrelated to writing. I’ve always loved writing though. I began in the 1980’s writing to penpals. My husband was once my penpal (met him in 1989, married years later). Anyway, in my twenties, I wrote a book, but never pursued doing anything with it. Time passed and I got wrapped up with life. A few years ago, I started writing seriously, full length novels. I’ve reached at a point in my life where I can pursue a career in writing.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love reading novels from first person POV and I enjoy fast paced novels. I wanted to write something different, so over several days, I thought about it. I’ve always loved the paranormal, vampires, and the struggle of good vs. evil. Yet, I didn’t want a story solely about vampires. I hadn’t read or heard anything about a half demon who could catch souls. I thought, why not? And a vampire would be my second main character. Gotta have a vamp!
How did you choose the title?
I actually made a list of titles, narrowed it down to a few, and asked my daughter for input. We both agreed on Claiming the Evil Dead. The Evil Dead being the bad vampire she’s after.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I had a lot of agents tell me they liked the premise. But when they read my ms, they said it wasn’t edgy enough or the characters weren’t strong enough. I made a few revisions and decided to go without an agent. Noble Romance was quick to pick it up and they liked my characters.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I always wanted to be a writer simply because I love writing. But I really couldn’t pursue it as a career. Too many other priorities were in my life. Now that I’m much older (still young at heart and mind) I would like to make it a career. A few years ago I sat down and wrote a novel. It didn’t go anywhere, but that was ok. I wrote another novel. Still not good enough, but ok. Then I came of with Claiming the Evil Dead. All the while, I kept reading, including books about writing. I made revisions here and there, went to the RWA conference, made more revisions…. basically, I refused to quit, I have a passion for writing, I have patience, and I’m open minded/willing to make revisions, to an extent.
Did you change the setting in any of your books?
Yes, I did. In Claiming the Evil Dead, they are in Indy and Chicago. In Catching an Evil Tail, most of it takes place in Arizona. In Fighting Evil, some of it takes place in Indy and some is on a remote island. The 4th novel takes place somewhere I’ve never been, but would love to visit.
How much research do you perform for your books?
Not much. I’m familiar with places in Indy, Chicago, and Arizona. I changed some details though. The places I’m not familiar with I google and just make up details.
Do you have any writing rituals?
No, not really. I try to write every night at least 500 words. I don’t smoke after I finish or celebrate with a big party–LOL. I finish and move on to the next book.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I’m a thinker, so the best way to come up with names is not to think about them. Sounds a bit crazy, but it works. i look at a list, say a name, and if it sounds good, I run with it. Oh, and I come across odd/different surnames in my line of work so I keep a running list.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned to be persistent. What one publisher didn’t like, was not always the case with another publisher. The business is very subjective.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I’m still new in the writing business, so I can’t say I’d do anything differently. Ask me in five years and I’m sure I will have an answer.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I read paranormal romances and urban fantasy books. I have way too many favorites…Kelley Armstrong, Kerri Arthur, Kim Harrison, Jeanine Frost, Jocelynn Drake…
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
My current WIP is the fourth soul catcher novel. All I can say at this point is Jessie still has some personal struggles she needs to overcome. Is she still with Drake? You’ll have to wait and see (smile).
What’s next from Mary Abshire?
Catching an Evil Tail comes out 2/21 and Fighting Evil is due out 3/21. I have an urban fantasy novel I’d like published this year. After I finished the 4th Soul Catcher novel, I’d like to start the sequel to my UF novel.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Never give up. Don’t be afraid to make small changes. Don’t be afraid to go to a publisher instead of an agent. Find an honest critique partner.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Since I write in PR and UF, the perfect reader is one who prefers the same genre. They don’t have to love vamps because that’s not what my Soul Catcher books are all about. If the reader has an interest a different kind of paranormal romance, then I think they may like my books.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?