Meet Debut Novelist Mary Moore

Mary Moore writes inspirational historical romances set in the Regency era of London, England. She has been an avid student of the Regency era since the 1970s and is a member of the ACFW’s historic fiction community. She’s been writing historical fiction for over fifteen years, and her debut novel, The Aristocrat’s Lady, releases September 6th from Love Inspired.

Mary had to put her writing on hold while undergoing a battle with breast cancer. Because of that, she’s now even more excited about her writing as she incorporates her struggles throughout her books. She’s dedicated to encouraging others in the Lord and using her talent to His glory.

A native of the Washington, DC area, Mary and her husband now live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with their only child: a black lab named Darcy. Mary and her husband are very active in their church. When she’s not writing or reading, Mary enjoy festivals and fairs, loves to go antiquing, and looks forward to weekend getaways.

Mary’s Writing Journey

When did your love of romance and history compel you to start writing your first story? Did you give in right away, or were you hesitant to put down those first words?

It’s funny really – I never was compelled to write. I read Regencies voraciously and I always thought about characters I would like to see and how much a story would be better with a different plot, but I never thought about writing my own. And when I began reading Regencies there were no “inspirational” stories; they were all secular.

Back in 1995 my husband started a job at a hospital on the 4:00 pm-12:00 am shift, so I was by myself in the evenings. One night I just pulled out a spiral notebook and decided to write a book with all of the ideas that I guess had been floating in my head for years. I wrote about five stories during that time in my life, all for my own pleasure.

What sparked the idea for The Aristocrat’s Lady? Did you begin with a name or place? Did scenes begin playing in your mind? Or perhaps your characters began chatting?

Actually the first book I wrote those evenings was The Aristocrat’s Lady. After reading Regencies for so many years, I will admit that some of the stories seemed done over and over. There is no malice whatsoever in that. The Regency period is arguably a nine to twenty year span of time.

So when I started writing, I just knew I wanted to try to come up with a storyline that I had never read before and that had spiritual influences as well. I thought about the premise for the story and The Aristocrat’s Lady is what came out!

What is it about the Regency period you find most fascinating?

Wow, that’s a hard question; at least without filling up pages and pages of answers! I love the elegance and language; the gentlemen and the ladies and their courtships; the beauty and the estates; the codes of honor; should I go on? I can even appreciate that so much during that time was also horrible: the poverty, the plight of the servants and the tenants of bad masters, the poor returning from the war, even the seedier side of the elite. All of that makes the time period so interesting to me that I read about it before I read anything else. And I want to incorporate all of it into my stories.

You’re a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers as well as a number of chapters in each. In what ways has your involvement in these organizations helped you grow as a writer?

In a word, tremendously! Each of those organizations has their loops of emails where everyone writes to each other. I started there. I just lurked at the beginning. But when I started to see valuable information that I would need to come back to someday (if I ever got published) I began making actual file folders by subject and printing out each one for its file. After awhile, it became a little overwhelming, and I realized I needed to break off into smaller groups that applied more specifically to what I write.

As you mentioned, I am in several of the chapters of RWA and ACFW, but there are three that have been so helpful in actually learning the business of writing and publishing.

The Beau Monde is a wonderful group of writers that solely write Regencies. The amount of knowledge they share with each other and the support they give to one another is incredible.

The second is HisWriters who are devoted to European history. They also have a plethora of knowledge on so many topics.

The third may be the most important at this particular time of my career and that is the Love Inspired Authors loop. They have been there for me through this entire process and are eager to impart their wisdom and knowledge and it is wonderful to be able to share even our deepest prayers because we are sisters in Christ.

I am indebted to them all, and recommend these associations very highly to anyone interested in writing.

Mary’s Challenges and Victories

Sometimes, despite our dream of being a published author, our determination, and our dedication, life intervenes. You faced a number of major hurdles that sidetracked your plans of pursuing publication. What happened, and how did you handle the challenges that came your way and keep your dream alive?

My particular hurdles have been of a physical nature. And can I say here that I don’t put my hurdles above what anyone else has had to face. I truly believe God doesn’t give us the ones we can’t handle, so mine were meant for my growth and my faith. I know others who have gone through much harder trials.

In particular there are two physical battles I faced. The first is Lupus and it is ongoing. I wasn’t well for a long period of time in the mid-late 90’s and we didn’t understand what it was. We went from doctor to doctor, got contradicting diagnoses, and felt kind of lost in the medical world. It took almost two years until we met a rheumatologist that diagnosed it as Lupus. I do not have it as bad as some others, so I’ve been blessed, but joint pain and fatigue are my constant companions.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That year of the mastectomy and chemo was one of the hardest in my life. I thank God for my husband who was there for me through every minute. It is funny, but we found my box of manuscripts in the attic (we had relocated since I had written them) and it was during the chemo when your body has absolutely no concept of a time schedule, when I pulled them out and started reading them again and even adding little bits of things I had been learning.

And that is when my sister-in-law, the only one of a very few that had ever read one of my manuscripts, went into overdrive to get me to try to get them published!

You learned and grew as a result of the challenges you faced—and you persevered. And one memorable day you received The Call. When did it come, and how did you react? Tears? Cheers? Or stunned silence?

My agent, Jenni Burke, was in constant email contact with me after she sent out the proposal, but one afternoon she called me on my cell. It was wonderful. She was so encouraging and so supportive. It is actually the first fictional manuscript she had ever represented, that’s how much she believed in me.

The offer from Love Inspired came in October 2010.  They had an opening for September 2011 if I could get the changes they wanted done by January 2011. Jenni asked me if I thought I could and I wasn’t going to let that opportunity go, so I pretty much said good-bye to Thanksgiving and Christmas and got it done!

Jenni was so sweet; the name of the book was originally The Scent of a Rose so imagine my surprise when the day after the contract was signed I received a dozen roses from her. I cried the rest of the day (in happiness, of course) and I thanked God for her and this opportunity.

Please tell us about The Aristocrat’s Lady

She was resigned to a life alone—until she met him…

For a few moments on a moonlit balcony, Nicole Beaumont was just a beautiful woman catching the eye of the handsome Lord Devlin—but she knew the illusion couldn’t last. If the enigmatic aristocrat knew her secret, he’d realize that her disability left her unfit for love. So who could blame her for hiding the truth a little longer?

Devlin had never met a woman like Nicole. Her unique combination of innocence and wisdom left him utterly intrigued. Yet what was she hiding? For a man who did not trust easily, discovering her secret was devastating. Overcoming their pasts and forging a future would take faith, forgiveness and trust. And second chances could lead to new beginnings.

Reactions and Reviews

What was it like to see your book the first time, hold it in your hands, feel the smooth cover, and inhale that new book ink on paper scent we writers love?

It was a little surreal! I mean, this is my first book! I didn’t know exactly when to expect my copies of the book, so when I saw the box on the front porch from Harlequin, I really felt excited. I really loved the cover of the book the first time I saw it on Amazon.com. It was just as I had described it to them. But on the cover of the actual book, it was amazing.  I wanted hundreds of copies to send to everyone I know so they could share my excitement.

I’m looking forward to that day when the book is actually released and my family and friends, hopefully, will feel the same excitement as they had been feeling with me throughout this whole process.

You’ve already received a number of glowing reviews, including 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews. Which have meant the most to you, and why?

My husband and my sister-in-law would be the most important, because they believed in me and the story from the start. Then my agent, Jenni, and my editor, Rachel Burkot, because they actually made it happen.

I didn’t realize that the Love Inspired book club received their copies ahead of the release, so my first one by an unknown reader was a great blessing. The review in itself was a surprise, but she was so kind and told me specifically how certain parts of the books affected her. I knew by those comments that she really listened while she read, and that she understood some of the points I wanted readers to feel personally.

Finally, the review in the RT Book Reviews really had an impact. I wanted Regency lovers to like the book and feel like they got their Regency “fix.” I hoped some book club members would like the book and begin an excitement for a genre they might not have read much about. But when an industry review specially mentioned that you might like this book whether or not you liked Regencies normally, I got stoked. If readers value that reviewer’s opinion, they might sit through a Regency and an inspirational that they never would have before. And that allows the opportunity for the reader to be exposed and perhaps impacted by God as well as the genre.

Mary’s Journey Continues

Your first book will be in readers’ hands soon. What are you working on now?

Actually, I’m still busy with The Aristocrat’s Lady at this moment. I’m enjoying the opportunities to be interviewed by writers like you, and more interviews are scheduled throughout the upcoming month. I also have two book signings scheduled as well as visiting outlying bookstores and WalMarts to sign the books that they have in their stores.

In addition, my agent and I have proposed a new manuscript to Love Inspired. The interest has been heartening, however, it definitely needs tweaking and I’m earnestly working on that.

Five Things That Make Mary a Unique Character

1 ~ I want my work to glorify the Lord more than I want to become a famous author.

2 ~ I know the blessing of marrying my best friend.

3 ~ My Irish heritage – it is what makes family so important to me.

4 ~ I am such a night owl. Age is catching up with me, but I’m still hanging in there!

5 ~ I’m a cheap date!  Arby’s and a movie – I’m there.

Mary’s Questions for You

Even if I know what book I want on Amazon.com, I find myself still going to the reviews just to be sure. Perhaps that is fallout from less money to spend these days. I also find that I don’t always like something just because I loved the author before…most of the time I do, but I find I still check the review before I buy.

So, do you read the reviews first on Amazon.com when you go online to order a book? If you don’t use reviews, what is a common way you use to choose a book? Do you go by a friend’s recommendation? Do you stick with the authors you love? Can a book cover grab you in the grocery store?

Mary’s Drawing

Mary has generously offered to give away a copy of The Aristocrat’s Lady.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Mary by midnight August 29th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On August 30th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to the winner of Mary’s debut novel, Judy Strunk Burgi.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes will be mailed to US addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Mary

Visit her website ~ www.marymooreauthor.com

Friend her on Facebook ~ Author Mary Moore

Follow her on Twitter ~ sugarbean1020

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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26 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Mary Moore

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Mary. It’s great to have you here.

    I choose most books based on the back cover copy and reviews I see on blogs. I do have favorite authors whose work I enjoy and read many of their books.

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Keli,

      I’m with you, too. That’s why I think the blurb on the back of the book is so important. I was really happy with Love Inspired’s wording on the book. Hopefully, others will too!

  2. This is one book I’ll be sure & get. Sounds like a great read.
    I get most of my books from Amazon because I don’t get out much & it’s so easy to order them or download to my Kindle. I read the reviews but don’t always go by them. I also like the samples for the kindle but I go by interviews like this even more.
    I would love to win this but will watch for it on Amazon too.
    Wilma

    • Mary Moore says:

      Thanks so much, Wilma!
      I’m excited to hear that you also choose from blogs. I’m so appreciative of Keli giving me this chance to talk about my book…because I want to reach people like you! I hope you win the drawing, too!! :0)

  3. Thanks Keli!

    Mary, i’m so glad your sister-in-law gave you a good push. I’m looking forward to this debut!

    thanks for sharing your story. I am thrilled for your successful fight against cancer. I’m still learning about Lupus. What a complicated disease it is.

    As for your question – I hear so much about so many great books it’s very rare for me to pick up a book that I haven’t been exposed to. Other than that? I’m a sucker for a great historical cover and there are SO MANY beautiful ones out now. I love yours!

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Debra!
      I’m so glad for my sister-in-law as well! Her name is Carol O’Leary so I want to give her tremendous credit for her support and love.

      I’m also glad you choose by covers! We have lots of input into the cover, but never really know if what I see in my head is going to match the art department’s rendering. I give so much credit to Love Inspired for the cover. It is absolutely perfect (and I can say that because they created it) and hearing that you like it, just makes me happier about it. I really hope you like the book, and I’d love to hear your comments after you read it!

      In Him,
      Mary

  4. Mary, there is a softness I feel in you that tell me you are strong inside. It is not unusual to find that those who are given a challenge that would stop others, not only do more with the precious time we are given, but always inspire others. Thank you so much visiting Keli and giving me the chance to “meet” you.

    I belong to a book club, am a member of the wonderful RWA-Women’s Ficiton On-Line Chapter and we have a loop every so many months of “what are you reading now?” and I love to travel all over the amazon.com site, word of mouth or a book from a friend. I don’t have any one way to find the stories I know I will love.

  5. Jillian Kent says:

    Hi Mary,
    You and I have a lot in common with our love for the Regency, a book out this year, marrying our best friends and hero’s named Devlin. Mine is Devlin Greyson, Lord Ravensmoore. 🙂 I’m also a member of the Beau Monde and His Writers though I seem to be on a chronic deadline and don’t find much time to post. I LOVE your cover. Like Deb, I’m a sucker for a great cover too. Congratulations on the 4 1/2 stars. I look forward to reading your novel and wish you much success with your career.
    Keli, thanks so much for getting Mary in your schedule. Awesome interview.
    Blessings,
    Jill

    • Mary Moore says:

      Wow, Jillian, we do have a lot in common!!! I’m always happy to meet another Regency lover and I LOVE the hero’s name! Is your book alreay out? I’ll be sure to look you up on Amazon. And now I know why I recognize your name; from the Beau Monde and HisWriters! I don’t get much time on them lately either, but I’ve learned so much.

      Thanks for your good wishes. The author community has been so supportive…I can’t think of any other business where there’s no competition only encouragement and support. It is great to “meet” you and I’ll be looking forward to reading your book as well.

      In Him,
      Mary

  6. Mary Moore says:

    Thank you, Florence, for your sweet words. Like I said, most people face serious trials at some time in their lives. And, hopefully, we come out better on the other side…I know that is God’s purpose.

    Wow, you have great ways to choose a book! The RWA is an awesome resource. And if you are on the loop that discusses good books, you’re way ahead of the game! I’m very glad you follow blogs or you might not have come across mine! :0) Let me know what you think of it….

    In Him,
    Mary

  7. Jane Wilson-Winners says:

    Thank you for posting the interview. I’m really looking foward to reading this book, I love the Regency period but I truly enjoy books even more when they are inspirational. I would love the chance to win a copy.

    • Mary Moore says:

      Jane,

      I’m always surprised at how many Regency fans there are out there! It never seemed like there were enough books to read if I wanted to read a Regency, but, thankfully, I think that is changing. I was thrilled to find a publisher who not only was on the lookout for Regencies, but with inspirational messages as well. I truly hope you enjoy the book, and I’d love to hear from you to let me know!

      In Him,
      Mary

  8. candidkerry says:

    Hi Mary and Keli,

    What an encouraging interview! Mary, it’s wonderful to meet you and learn about you and your writing journey. Your book sounds very intriguing and I look forward to reading it one day soon!

    I’m also a night owl, though often I wish I weren’t. 7am rolls around too quickly. 🙂

    To answer your question, I actually find out about great books to read by friends on Facebook or from other reader/writer friends. Recently Keli mentioned Sarah Sundin’s books, and I just found her first at a local bookstore. I picked it up, and I’m looking forward to reading it soon. Another writer I’ve heard great things about is Jody Hedlund. I’m currently devouring her 2nd book, The Doctor’s Lady (also thanks to Keli’s heads-up). 😉

    So, I guess word-of-mouth is the main way I find good books! 🙂

    God Bless!
    Kerry

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for taking the time to say hi and be so encouraging. Word of mouth is a great way to find good books…I have, however, realized that I listen more to some recommendations than to others. It’s almost like picking a book because of the author, just because you like one book doesn’t mean you will like all of them, but you probably will. So when Jane Doe recommends a book and I like what she has recommended in the past, I take the chance and listen to her again. The best thing about word of mouth is the variety of books you find out there. Me, I would pick a Regency everytime. But there are so many other stories out there that people recommend that reminds me I want to keep up with the world! :0)

      Hope you win the book…and if you do, I’d love to hear your review! Thanks again for coming by.

      In Him,
      Mary

  9. markrhunter says:

    Mary, I’m sorry about your health problems, but you’ve clearly overcome them in a big way!

    Hope you didn’t get shaken up too much by the earthquake …

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Mark!

      You won’t believe it, but I didn’t feel a thing!!! I was at work, and my co-worker came running into the office saying “did you feel that, did you feel that?” I had no idea what he was talking about. Then we turned on the news and heard about the earthquake. I called my husband and he was sitting out on the deck and he said it swayed and groaned. So I pretty much missed all of the excitement and can’t brag about my experiences during the one and only earthquake on the east coast!

      Thanks for coming by!

      In Him,
      Mary

      • markrhunter says:

        I do believe it! Back when the Illinois earthquake hit a few years ago, I took a 911 call from a guy who insisted there’d just been an earthquake and wanted to know if we had any reports on it (I’m in northeast Indiana). We just laughed him off — until a few minutes later when my fiancee messaged me, asking if we’d just had an earthquake. I didn’t feel a thing either!

  10. Mary, It was nice getting to know you. I enjoyed learning about your writing journey. I’m with you on being a cheap date. I keep telling my husband how lucky he is! I don’t need fancy.

    I was sorry to hear about your battle with cancer in 2004. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and I’m a survivor like you! Through God’s strength I made it through!

    I would love to win a copy of The Aristocrat’s Lady. This book sounds like a good read.

    Blessings!
    Judy

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Judy!

      PTL! You’ve made it past the 10 year mark! Isn’t it funny how we make that an anniversary in our lives now? I’m so glad you had God to help you through, I didn’t even always rely on Him enough, but I knew He was there…that’s huge! I don’t have to tell you though. :0)

      I hope you win, too (I wish everyone could win)! Thanks for letting me know about YOUR journey!

      In Him,
      Mary

  11. tammybarley says:

    Howdy, Mary! (A big wave to Keli–It’s peach season at Apple Hill!)

    By the time I visit Amazon to buy fiction, I already know what I want. I discover new books through blogs like this one, then I make the purchase at Amazon. I don’t read the reviews. I do, however, read the first few pages, if I haven’t already. That’s just me. =)

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Tammy!

      I’m sorry I’m so late in responding, but I’m very glad you visited. I usually know what I want, too, when I go to Amazon. But I have to admit that I sneak a peak at the reviews just in case…. :0) I find that sometimes someone will say something that sets off my radar and I check a few more. Nine times out of ten, I still buy it! Good luck in the contest.

      In Him,’
      Mary Moore

  12. Hi Mary! (And hello to Keli, too!)

    Congratulations on your release, Mary! It was fun getting to know you better. I love inspy Regencies, and I wish you the best with your new submission!

    Please don’t enter me in the drawing–I’m reading The Aristocrat’s Lady now and am thoroughly enjoying it!

    • Mary Moore says:

      Hi Susanne,

      Thanks for coming over! I hope we get more and more readers who love Regencies. Those are what I’ve got coming! Thanks for the nice comment about the book; I especially want to hear (the truth!) from other Regency lovers. Let me know when you post your review.

      Thanks again,
      Mary

  13. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Mary and to those who left a comment for her.

    I’ve held the drawing for the copy of The Aristocrat’s Lady, which Mary so generously offered as a prize, and the winner is Judy Strunk Burgi.

    Congratulations, Judy! I’ll be in touch.

  14. Mary Moore says:

    I want to thank everyone who stopped by and those who left such encouraging comments. Blog interviews are a little new to me since this is my first book, but I really enjoyed this one and meet so many nice people.

    I want to thank Keli as well. Her week long blog and her professionalism is really great, it’s a special site. I’ll check the box to notify me by email if you have any other comments for me. Thanks again for all of the support. I am blessed, indeed!

    In Him,
    Mary Moore

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