Sunday, August 4, 2013

2nd Chance Romance Writer Mary E Hanks

Welcome Mary! I'm intrigued by your tag, 2nd Chance Romance. Is there a story behind your book WINTER’S PAST?

Yes! When I was young, I made strong declarations about marriage. “If my husband ever did that, (big eyes showing exactly what I mean) that would be the end of it!” My friends agreed. There’s a line in the sand that can’t be crossed. Ever.

Fast-forward a couple of decades of marriage, add some struggles in our relationship, and an increasing awareness of God’s grace, and I really had to wonder. Could God heal even that? Could He bring a couple back from marriage-death, and through forgiving the past and experiencing His ultimate mercy, could love be reborn?

My ponderings birthed WINTER’S PAST.

What started you on your writing journey?

My mom gave me a typewriter for Christmas when I was thirteen, and I started a novel. At fifteen, I was writing skits for youth services. As a young adult, I took a writing course and had a handful of short stories published. I loved reading inspirational fiction, so I wrote those too. But after I accumulated a stack of rejection slips, I stuffed my dream of publishing a book in a box. I directed several musicals for schools and then started writing my own plays. Today, I’ve written 19 full-stage productions—and directed 24. But still, there was a part of me that was sad I hadn’t pursued my dream of writing books. So, I finally dug into WINTER’S PAST with new passion, had it professionally edited, and one day in January of this year, I held my first book in my hands. What joy!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? 

I love reading stories about married couples going through struggles, figuring out how to stay true to their vows, and falling in love with each other all over again. My favorites in married-fiction are…
The Princess by Lori Wick
And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? 

When I thought my story was finished, I gave it to several friends to make comments. One lady gave a negative report about Ty. I couldn’t believe it! In my mind, he was great. But, through her critique, I came to see his character was lacking. I knuckled down and worked on Ty. I needed to get inside him and see things from his POV, show his humility and regrets. He had to be kinder, sweeter, someone we’d all fall in love with. My editor wanted him to be more heroic, so I worked hard to bring out those strengths in him.

Let's have some fun! What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’m not a morning person. My husband is. One day he needed me to sign something. He woke me up—or so he thought—and when he put a pen in my hand and placed the check in front of me, I drew one straight line across the signature area, then fell back asleep. Ha! Was he ever surprised! We laugh about it all these years later. Lesson learned: don’t give me anything important to do first thing in the morning!

Me either! At least not until I'm sitting up with a cup of coffee. What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

I have the joy of working with young people in theater. I’ve written the words, but they take my stories to heart and transform them into delightful comedy. Sometimes the young adults come up with the most hilarious character traits imaginable. Their antics make me laugh out loud for days!

Young people keep us young! What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

I grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. It’s an island town, and you can only get there by boat or plane. I loved the idea of living in the “last frontier”. It has a romantic air about it, and so most of my inspirational romance books have something about Alaska in them.

We love Alaska. Returning in September with a stop in Ketchikan. Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

The Oregon Coast is my favorite place to visit. I love the ocean. The dynamic sounds and rhythms pulsate through me, bringing peace and awe. Walking on the wet sand is a favorite pastime. But mostly, I just want to listen.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Yes, I like to write about forgiveness and reconciliation. I think Jesus is all about love and forgiveness, mercy and 2nd chances. If we’re really living in love, we’re walking in grace, extending it to strangers, relatives, family, and of course, our spouse.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

I live in the country. Sometimes an hour passes without a car driving by. It’s a pretty amazing place to have devotions outdoors, as long as the weather cooperates. We made a fenced-in area in back of our house to keep the deer away from our flowers and fruit trees. The students in my last play gave me a beautiful canopy-swing that I sit on. It’s a delightfully secluded area to spend time with God in His beautiful world and Word.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My next book in the 2nd Chance Series is HARMONY’S CALL. It’s in the rewriting phase.

Harmony Gray, a young pastor’s wife, is clumsy in matters of church-etiquette, and is overwhelmed by life in the parsonage. Not because she doesn’t want to be a good pastor’s wife, but because her husband is married to his ministry. Frustrated and hurt, it seems there’s only one thing left to do—leave! But when Pastor Chad finally gets his priorities straightened out and comes after her, boy, do sparks fly!  

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Connect with Mary E Hanks at:

Mary E Hanks is giving away a copy of Winter's Past. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


squiresj said...

After 34 years of marriage sometimes I feel like walking away, only my faith in God has held us together. But now if that is being shaken and I don't know how to be happy any more.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Jo said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds like a very interesting book to read and thank you for the opportunity.

azladijo (at) aol (dot) com

cjajsmommy said...

Second chances are what it is all about. Please enter my name to win a copy of the book. djragno (at) hotmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Please enter me for this book. I also like the sound of the upcoming book you are working on. Thanks for the chance to win.
Brittany McEuen

Linda Kish said...

I didn't have any luck in the marriage department but that doesn't mean I don't believe in them. Count me in, please.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Patty said...

Sounds like an interesting series. Especially the next one about the pastors wife!


sharon m said...

When I was younger I often said, "I'd never do that!" for marriage, child rearing, relationships--boy, have I eaten those words many times. I no longer say "never". Love to win and read your book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Hello Mary. I enjoyed reading about your life and your book. I bet it is pretty at your house out in the country. Sounds like you have a lovely backyard, but you must built a very high fence because Deer can jump pretty high fences. But, it would be nice to be able to watch them come around. I would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance. Thanks Karen for having Mary here. She is a new author to me. Please put my name in the drawing. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Boos Mum said...

I have been married for 18 years, and I am so glad I didn't know in advance all the stuff we would be going through. I would have missed out on all the blessings too. Your second book sounds great too.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

Mary E Hanks said...

Thanks to all of you for your encouraging comments. I appreciate you! I love 2nd chances, and don't we all need them from time to time? :)
Blessings on your journey...

Jo said...

Please enter me! Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.


Cindi A said...

Second chances are so important. Please enter me in the contest to win a copy of the book. Thank you!


KayM said...

It is really interesting to hear about how you developed your character, Ty. I am looking forward to reading Winter's Past to see what kind of a person he became. Thanks for offering a copy of your book.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Library Lady said...

I would love to win this book for my church library.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

bonton said...

Love books about relationships - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!


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