08 May

Blog Hop – Let’s Get This Hopping!!!

My wonder writer friend Betsy Ashton author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences ( passed me the baton for the Writing Process Blog Tour. This means I have to answer four questions about my work.

 So let’s get this blog hop kicked off!

 What are you working on?

I am currently preparing for the upcoming June launch of my new book, “The XYZ Affair.” (

And, of course, editing the sequel, “The ABC Controversy.” I’m also wrapping up work on the third in my mystery series, “One, Two, Three.” I think I’m conditioned to juggle many plates in the air!

So “XYZ”, “ABC”, “One, Two, Three” – yup it’s kitschy, but my publisher and I are discovering that kitschy titles sell!

Why do you write what you write?

I wrote “The XYZ Affair” during a six-week semester break from graduate school. I followed up by writing the sequel “The ABC Controversy” during the next semester break. Combined with writing a weekly column for Wyoming’s statewide paper, The Casper Star-Tribune, I am driven by deadlines! I’m convinced it’s in my DNA!

A former editor once said I came from “journalism royalty.” It made me laugh – just because my father was exceptional in his craft, it doesn’t mean I will be! Every byline, every book deal, I’ve had to earn on my own merit.

If anything being the daughter of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Bill Billiter has made me work harder because more was expected of me – especially when I began my radio news career in the same city (Los Angeles, CA) where my father wrote.

And ironically, I was never going to be in the newspaper industry – that belonged to my father. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Northridge in Journalism – however, I focused my career on news radio. But then my father unexpectedly died.

I was so lost. Who was I when I wasn’t trying so hard not to be my father?

So I began to write – not 30-second news spots or top of the hour features. Suddenly, I started writing from the heart, not the head. And I found the healing power of prose. Words opened and then gently closed old wounds. No matter the genre, no matter the purpose, writing heals.

I finally understood why my father loved the craft. Why he always wrote. Why he was pulled to the page. Writing is magical.

Fiction writing is the best of all worlds. Through fiction, I can be anything or anyone. In the second grade, I wrote a poem about being a maple tree! It was crazy, but I’ve never forgotten the poem or the power of being something I wasn’t. It was transforming.

When I write fiction, I step into a world of my own making and my characters come alive. I can pick up “Not My Kid…” or now, “The XYZ Affair” and flip to any page and know exactly what I was feeling when I wrote a line. Emotion drives all my work – from my columns to my novels – I don’t skim the surface – I delve right in!

My weekly column and links to my works of fiction can be found on my new website:

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Emotion drives my work. It’s the foundation, the mortar from which the rest of the story is built. As a writer, I delve deep beneath the surface and into my subject matter, which typically centers on family dynamics. I pull on a reader’s heartstrings because, well, that’s one of my strengths as a writer!

What is your writing process?

Writing emotion comes naturally to me because when I write I shut out the world. I do this by writing to one person and telling them a story. I’m not broadcasting these emotions to the world – that comes later!

During the writing stage, the intimacy I feel from addressing my work to one person comes through. This is what connects with my readers. It’s the intimacy of details, the depth of emotion, the raw vulnerability of placing myself on the page – these are my strengths. And they begin and end with writing to one person.

Now, the next obvious question is – who. Who do I tell my secrets? Who do I write to? Well, you’ll have to wait for the next blog hop for that answer!

And with that little tempting tease, I’ll pass the baton to my fav author of all time – Ms. Dana Volney!

Dana Volney ( is the Crimson Romance author of “Holiday Hoopla” and “Paradise Point.” She’s also the best critique partner a writing gal could have. We swap stories and critique them right up! Dana has a great backstory of how she came to be a published author. So I know you’ll want to hop on over to her blog and read it up!


–          Mary xoxox


1 Comment

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Weekly Columns


One response to “Blog Hop – Let’s Get This Hopping!!!

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