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Adventures in Writing » Interviews » IWU Interview with Mary Pat Hyland

IWU Interview with Mary Pat Hyland

Mary Pat Hyland is an award-winning former journalist who writes short stories and mainstream fiction.Her Irish-American heritage (and sense of humor) inspires much of her work. She published her first novel, “The Cyber Miracles,” in 2008 followed by its sequel, “A Sudden Gift of Fate” (2009). They comprise her Maeve Kenny series. Her latest work, an Irish-themed parody of Dante’s “Inferno” called “3/17,” was published in 2010 and in Kindle format in 2011. In June 2011 she plans to publish her first suspense novel callled “The Terminal Diner.”

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How long have you been writing?
Since childhood. I began writing a novel after graduation from college. Spent 15 years as a journalist which was a great way to hone writing skills.

What is the last book you read?
Stephen King’s “Under The Dome”, an amazing work.

How many books, and in which genre, have you written?
I have written five, three are published already. “The Terminal Diner” comes out in June and the third book in the Maeve Kenny series comes out in December. I also have several short stories written that I may compile into a book one of these days.

What is the best writing advice you ever received?
There’s an old Irish saying: Listen to the music of the river and you will catch fish. That applies to writing dialogue, especially. You have to listen to and emulate the music, the cadence of real life dialogue to make your characters sing.

What do you most enjoy about writing?
I enjoy creating characters so vivid that readers tell me they miss them when they finish the book.

What advice would you give a new writer?
Don’t stop to edit a first draft. Just keep plowing ahead so you can get the gist of the story out. It won’t always make sense, but you set out the frame for building up the story and that is key. A great way to instill this technique is by participating in National Novel Writing Month in November. Every day you have a word goal to reach to ensure that you complete a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Believe me, there is always time (and room) for editing once the first draft is done.

What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
A writer is just like an athlete. You must “work out” every day to stay in shape and give your best performance. It doesn’t have to be your work in progress. I think something as simple as tweeting every day is a good exercise because you have to focus on getting out a clear message with 140 characters.


© 2011, Steven R. Drennon. All rights reserved.

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