Monday, June 23, 2014

MaryJo Dawson, Guest Author

Welcome to my new blog site, and my first guest this week is MaryJo Dawson. Honestly, I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I have one waiting for me. I jumped the gun and read the first few pages of The Disappearance of Douglas White, and I’m hooked already. I can’t wait to get started on it. So settle down and learn a little more about MaryJo. I think you’ll enjoy her interview. Welcome, MaryJo.

Marja:  I understand you’ve lived in several different locations, including the Philippines.  Was this job-related, military, or what? This certainly must have contributed to an interesting life.

MaryJo:  The moves were all job-related.  The 27 months in the Philippines was due to my husband’s, and I did several tours as a travel nurse, from Ketchikan, Alaska, to Corpus Christi, Texas. I still love to travel, but those days are over.

Marja: Tell us a little about hobbies and the traveling you’ve done. Your life sounds like it’s been exciting, especially to me. I’ve done very little traveling over the years.

MaryJo: Walking is almost an addiction for me; I walk or hike as much as the weather and my activities allow. Summer flowers in the yard is another hobby, and baking when I can find someone to eat it.  My killer chocolate cake is very popular.

Before hanging up my stethoscope I took two trips to Europe, Italy and Great Britain.
It was a great experience for a lover of old places and history.

Other travel assignments included several months with Indian Health hospitals in Arizona, and three months in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Those battlefields are great places for a walker.

Marja: I’d love to try that cake, being a chocolate fan, and I live in Arizona, so I can relate to walking there. What prompted you to start writing mysteries? You’ve mentioned letters you wrote were instrumental, and I can relate to that. Did those letters have as much to do with your career as I’m imagining?

MaryJo: I knew I could tell a story and write an interesting letter.  It was totally spontaneous, deciding to write a mystery with my favorite authors as a focus.

Marja: I understand you were a nurse before retiring. That must have been fascinating. Your protagonist, Sally Nimitz, is in the medical profession. How much of your own experiences have you used to write about Sally? Is there any of you in Sally?

MaryJo: Absolutely, some of my personality is in Ms. Nimitz, no doubt about it.  She has other characteristics, too.  Her nursing career takes many episodes out of my own, or an adaptation of a personal experience. 

Marja: You really whet my appetite and I can’t wait to get started on the book. I also understand you have an interest in history. Do your books include any history, even peripherally? Does this require a lot of research?

MaryJo: What I love about history is people and how they respond to the extra-ordinary situations.  I strive to make my scenarios realistic, so some research is required, although obviously not to the extent of other genres.

Marja: Getting started in publishing must have been daunting, as it is for many of us. What did you find to be the most helpful in figuring it all out?

MaryJo: My ebook publisher at Elderberry Press, David St.John, was so helpful.  He is gone now, and my latest book is dedicated to him.  The author chat site members had great advice.  And, I’ve gotten input on editing from some experienced individuals that was invaluable.

Marja: I have to admit I haven’t read one of your books yet, as I said in the introduction, but one of them is sitting at the top of my To Be Read stack. I sneaked a peek and was hooked right from the beginning. Please tell us a bit about the series.

MaryJo: The first book, The Death of Amelia Marsh begins when Sally’s next door neighbor is killed.  The shock of that experience, and the oddity of a sweet and charming older lady getting herself murdered, motivates Sally and two of her friends to learn more about Mrs. Marsh’s past.  Sally finds out she has a gift for solving a puzzle and putting facts together correctly.  So it begins.

Marja: I understand you’re married and have two sons and a grandchild. Have any of them been helpful in getting your writing career off the ground?

MaryJo: They’ve all been a cheering squad, but without the computer expertise of my husband, Bill, I’d still be dead on the water!

Marja: I can relate to the cheering squad, but not the expertise. Is there any one thing you’d like to say to new authors about getting started? What was the most important step you took, other than actually writing the book?

MaryJo: If you know in your heart there’s a market for what you do, don’t give up.

Great advice! Thank you so much for stopping in today, MaryJo. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a little more about you, and I wish you the best with your books. Now I’ve got to finish the book I’m currently reading so I can get started on The Disappearance of Douglas White.

Buy Link:

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
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  1. Thank you for introducing me to another new writer for my to read list. Enjoyed interview as always want to know about writers since enhances reading experience.

  2. I enjoyed this interview, MaryJo and Marja. I'm always fascinated by how people from all walks of life come to be mystery writers and how we often use our past "careers" to enrich our stories. Nice to meet you, MaryJo!

  3. I'm putting Mary Jo Dawson on my TBR list. Fascinating interview--and I love to travel but my traveling days are over also.

  4. This sounds like a very interesting series, another to add to my TBR pile. I hope my traveling days aren't over, but they are becoming fewer, alas.

  5. Wonderful interview, Mary Jo and Marja! Mary Jo I also would like to try your killer chocolate cake.

    I'm presently reading your first Sally Nimitz novel. It's an interesting mystery and you are a wonderful writer.

    Best wishes to you, Mary Jo and for all of your novels.

  6. "Nice to meet you, Jake, Patricia, Palmaltos, and Susan. Thank you for all of your nice comments and putting the

    Sally Nimitz mysteries on your reading list. Palmaltos, my traveling days may not be completely over, but certainly

    my nursing travel days are. Here's to new adventures for all of us, whether they be large or small!"