I’m very happy to have Mary Carter, author of the women’s fiction novel,The Pub Across the Pond(Kensington), here with us today at Red Room! Mary is a freelance writer and novelist. The Pub Across the Pond is her fifth novel with Kensington. Her other works include: My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written two novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is currently working on a new novel for Kensington.
Thank you for this interview, Mary. I’m very happy to host you today on the end of your 2 month virtual book tour. Can we begin by having you tell us what your book is all about?
Mary:It’s about life inside a pub in Ireland from the viewpoint of an American woman who wins the family pub in a raffle.
Carlene is a gutsy girl! She goes to Ireland to claim her pub on the west side after she wins it in a raffle. Can you give us a brief character sketch of her?
Mary: She’s a thirty-something who considers herself unlucky in love and life. Up until she wins the raffle, she leads a predictable life in Cleveland Ohio, putting everyone ahead of herself working for her father who deals with OCD.
What kind of a raffle would give away a pub in Ireland?
Mary: In the book it’s a way of making quick money on the property that locally wouldn’t fetch the price the McBride family needs to pay off a bet. In reality, Guinness held a “Win a Pub in Ireland” contest for five years in a row. Of course their pubs weren’t in the middle of nowhere like this one, but it helped inspired the idea.
What were Carlene’s feelings after she found out she won?
Mary: I think like anyone would be, first she’s in shock, then she’s on top of the world. And of course, when reality hits, she wonders if she’s capable of running a pub in Ireland.
What kind of challenges did Carlene have to face after she got over there and started wearing the hat of pub owner?
Mary: Oh, constant challenges, at all levels. Like the old writing adage, “Put your character up a tree and throw rocks at him.” Carlene definitely gets a little pummeled. But when she needs it, it’s easy enough to get her hands a wee drink.
Is there a love interest for Carlene?
Mary: A pub in Ireland never has a shortage of men. But in particular she finds herself drawn to Ronan McBride, the former owner who lost the pub in a poker game.
Your byline for the book reads “Sometimes leaving home is the only way to find where you belong…” which is really beautiful. What does Carlene find out about herself as the book moves along?
Mary: I think anyone who lives in a foreign country learns a lot about themselves on all levels. An Irish pub can really become like a second family. Given that Carlene’s first family suffered from numerous dysfunctions, she learns the most about herself through bonding with the regulars.
Is this your first book with Kensington?
Mary: Each book feels like the first, but this is actually my fifth novel with Kensington.
Can you tell us if you have an agent?
Mary: Yes, I have an agent. I would give his name and phone number, and favorite food, but unfortunately he’s not taking on any new writers at the moment.
What challenges do you believe authors face today in terms of getting their book published?
Mary: I think the challenge is and always has been a bit of a numbers game. Agents and editors get thousands of submissions a month. You have to write a manuscript that will stand out from the slush pile. Writers should focus most of their energy on submitting their very best work. The first few chapters should be something that makes them want to keep reading.
I understand you have been to Ireland to do research on your book. What can you tell us about the natives there?
Mary: Well, the natives are just like us, only maybe a little friendlier, funnier, and a tad more sarcastic. I loved Ireland, and of course the people. Granted some of the folks I met were through friends which helped speed the “bonding” process, but everyone I met welcomed me into their homes and in for cups of tea with open arms.
What’s your favorite place to visit there?
Mary: Although I hit the big cities, my favorite places were the smaller towns outside the cities.
Mary: I think a “last meal” would have to be a good steak and mashed potatoes.
Favorite time of day?
Mary: Not too early, but lazy mornings when I don’t have to rush anywhere and I’m not out of coffee.
If I were to travel to Ireland to write a book, where would I go to find inspiration?
Mary: It’s a small enough country that you can cover most of it—especially if you’re driving! I loved Dingle, Killarney, Cork, Limerick, Kinsale, Dublin, Galway, and Aran Islands. I have to go back and hit the places I missed.
Thank you so much for being here, Mary. Do you have any final words?
Mary: Thank you for this interview, and for all those out there, keep reading and keep writing!
Readers are welcome to visit her at www.marycarterbooks.com.
Visit her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Carter-Books/248226365259.