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 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