Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mary Deal Howls from Hawaii

A native of Walnut Grove, in California’s Sacramento River Delta, Mary Deal has lived in England, the Caribbean, and now resides in Kapa`a, Kauai, Hawaii.
Mary is an award-winning author of 8 books and also a Pushcart Prize nominee. She is a newspaper columnist and Associate and Contributing Editor of a magazine. Additionally, she is an oil painter and photographer and maintains an online gallery,
Learn more about Mary and read short stories and novel excerpts, and watch video trailers for each of her books in the Video Theatre on her Web site:

Welcome back, Mary. How has living in Hawaii affected your writing?
             My home is on Kauai, the northern-most island in the Hawaiian Island chain. It’s the most remote inhabited island on earth. It’s peaceful here. If I can keep my mind off the beach, I get good writing done.
How many books have you written?

            Eight published, with 5-6 more still waiting for final polish or re-editing. Of the 8 published, 5 are suspense/thrillers. One is a collection of zany short stories and flash fiction. Another is a reference for authors.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.
             The Howling Cliffs is the 1st sequel to my award-winning River Bones. The synopsis:
             Sara Mason’s dedication to solving missing person cold cases with love interest, Huxley Keane, takes them deep into the unhealthy and dangerous Vietnam jungle searching for his MIA brother’s remains.
            Sara has purchased a home in Hawaii as an R&R stopover for veterans who make frequent trips between the U.S. Mainland and Vietnam. Sara learns that a six-year-old neighborhood girl went missing ten years earlier and strangely, dogs howl when taken high on a cliffside trail. Accompanied by a retired forensic dog, Sara wants to learn why dogs react in the forest.
            Continued attempts are made on Sara’s life as she investigates the girl’s disappearance. She investigates two known perverts and wonders about a police officer’s son. Sara is gravely injured after being run off the road. Her backyard trail is undermined so she would plummet into the gorge. Her home is broken into. Then she is pushed over a cliff deep in the forest. Dazed and alone at night on a narrow ledge, she discovers a frightful scene. The forensic dog later leads Sara and the police to a second disgusting site that explodes the case wide open and exposes an elusive murderer’s motives, revenge and victims.
I loved River Bones!
What sets your book apart from others?
              The Howling Cliffs follows two plot lines. One is that Sara Mason solves cold cases. The other is that her love interest, Huxley Keane, searches for his MIA brother’s remains in Vietnam. This story opens deep in the Vietnam jungle, moves to Sara’s cold case location on Kauai in Hawaii, and then back to California’s Sacramento River Delta, which is her home. It’s also the setting for the original story in River Bones. In the next sequel, a young Vietnamese boy holds a clue to finding Huxley’s brother’s remains; and, Sara solves a cold case in San Francisco based on those findings.
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?
             The Howling Cliffs is presently in eBook format at both Smashwords and Amazon. It will go to paper sometime this year.
What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give other writers?
            When writing, it’s imperative that the story read like real life. Fiction must emulate real life in order for a reader to suspend disbelief that it’s fiction. That is, in order for the reader to feel a part of the story, it must feel real.
            My advice to other writers is to live life and experience as much as you can and observe everything. Your experiences will be fodder for your plots, no matter how much you alter the real occurrences. If you haven’t lived fully, how can you write about anything?
 We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
            Kauai is an island with only two books stores. Actually one is a coffee house trying to become a book store. I have book signings at the other when I can. I’m waiting to hear if the coffee house is willing to schedule me for my first signing there. I gave them free books to promote myself and to help the store make a little profit. The books disappeared the first day they were on the shelf. That should be reason to have me for a signing. I’d make it a gala event. I’m widely known on the island, thankfully.
            The rest of the promotion is word of mouth wherever I travel, and on the Internet. I frequent many, many sites and help others when I can. Sometimes all it takes to gain interest in our books is to answer a nagging question for a struggling author.  The major portion of my promotion is online.
Can you tell us your writing goals/projects for 2012 or beyond?
  My Write It Right – Tips for Authors, Vol. I will not have a Volume II. The new title is Write It Right – Tips for Authors – The Big Book. Well, that’s the tentative title. I have written so many articles pertaining to writing that have been published in myriad places, it’s difficult to single out a handful to publish in a second volume. So I’m going to publish nearly all of them in one volume. That will go to eBook and paper.
            I receive wonderful comments from writers about how my articles help them. I just can’t single out any particular topics to publish in the next volume and the next. So they’ll all be together. My expected date is 2012; that’s the closet I can nail it right now.
             I also wish to publish more of my short stories. People love the craziness of my flash fiction in my collection Off Center in the Attic. I have some stories that are zanier than those in the first collection.
            Too, I have several nonfiction manuscripts written which address aspects of my former career field of clinical hypnotherapy.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
             My website for writers, which one publisher called “a valuable resource for writers,” is
            Go to my Author page at to see the list of all my books:
            My books are also available at
            My art gallery, which has been perused by writers looking for book cover art, is
Great questions, Susan. You pack a lot of information into one of your interviews. No wonder people seek you out!
Thank you, Mary. But I have to say that this new Blogger is killing me. ( I'm sorry that spacing is wrong and there's no color. I've tried to fix it, but Blogger hangs up. Very frustrating, indeed.)




So folks, all you have to do is click above . I can attest to Mary's fine writing. Mary, best wishes and continued success with your writing endeavors.