Escape from Ronwyn
by Mary Eggert
Today’s interview is with physical therapist, mom, and writer, Mary Eggert
LQ: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
ME: I work part-time as a physical therapist in a community hospital. I’m currently off in this time of pandemics to care for my 2 kids, but I dearly love my job. I typically meet people on one of their worst days – because no one ends up in the hospital on a good day – and I get to come in and make a plan with them for how we’re going to do better. How do we get them moving again? How do we work around whatever limitation they have? What’s the next step to best get them back to their baseline? I’m sure while most people think of PTs as “Physical Terrorists,” I still view my role as filled with so much joy and the possibility for what can still be ahead for them. It’s great.
I’m married to an astoundingly wonderful and patient man, and we have two kids and two dogs together. It’s alarmingly ideal. He has been one of my biggest supporters to go from writing as a hobby to being a writer who now prioritizes time to write or edit regularly and now I actually have a published book! I could not have done it without the confidence and support from him. I’m sure other moms can appreciate it, it’s really hard to carve that time out when there’s always more laundry, someone needs a snack, they’ve lost their best-stuffed friend, or there’s an emergency art project that must be completed immediately!
LQ: What does your writing process look like?
ME: I am in the process of working on a series. I have the first book recently published, and drafts on the next five in various stages.
I start out with notes for where the story arc is going broadly, then I break that up into the details of what that means for the next 4-6 chapters I’m writing specifically. I have two kids 5 and under at home, so I find if I don’t write down my good inspirational ideas when they hit… well, there’s no telling when the time to write and the right ideas might actually meet face to face.
Best case scenario, I get my notes down for the next section I’m writing, then block off 4 hours or so and bang out as much of that as I can. If I hit writer’s block, sometimes I’ll take a week off if it’s really bad and honestly, doing a puzzle is my best cure to clear my head and solve the problem, but mostly I’ll just try and bludgeon through the section I’m stuck on and come back to it in edits.
I find if I get stuck in one spot too long, I’m more annoyed because I’m delayed from getting the really cool part that comes next. (The next part is ALWAYS really cool. It’s a writing fact.) so I just do what I can to get through, then enjoy what I’m writing again, and fix it in the edits. Usually moving on helps me to look back and see what’s missing.
LQ: What was your favorite book to write so far?
ME: Book 4 of the series is my favorite. That seems like a cruel thing to say when only book 1 is out, but you’ve had a chance to really see some character growth and get invested in the choices they’re making – a lot of really fun things happen in the plot, and a couple of the characters are pushed outside their comfort zone to great effect.
I feel like as an author, it’s a very proud mama moment, and as a reader, it’s very satisfying to see the character arcs. There’s a new character introduced in this book also who is just so fun and fascinating.
LQ: Who is your favorite character to write about?
ME: It’s like asking which child I prefer more!
That said, I do think I prefer to write about Cedric. He has a rough past, and his character is a lot of bravado and humor on the surface. There is no situation where he won’t be making a joke about the circumstances. He keeps things light when they’re not, and it’s fun to write that in. It’s also satisfying to see him grow and make peace with events from his past and learn to find forgiveness, whether that’s from another or from himself. He’s probably my favorite because he has so much depth, but he’s also such a force for levity.
LQ: Who are your favorite authors? Have any of them influenced your work?
ME: I love Madeleine L’Engle. I’ve read her books as a child, a teenager, and an adult and I find different pieces in them at different ages. It’s positively witchcraft the way she packs so much meaning and so many layers into what is happening in her works without reaching some war and peace type page count.
Anne Bishop is another favorite. The Black Jewels trilogy remains a favorite of mine. It’s unafraid to be dark, it is not hiding anything in the shadows – it really takes you in and gives identity to so many emotions and traumas and offers both permission for some aspects and redemption for others. Her worlds are rich and full-throated and completely draw me in that by the time I’m done, I feel as if I’ve lived there for a time.
I love authors that can pull me in so deeply, I’ve forgotten I’m reading, that I’ve forgotten I’m not one of these characters. I want to think back on their crucial moments as formative moments of my own because they are! I think that’s what stands out about both of these authors – while wildly different, their characters are so fully formed, with vulnerabilities and strengths – no one is purely good and infallible, and even the villains have sympathetic strains, and the worlds their novels exist within are fully built.
They’ve invested in figuring out the background. I don’t have to know every detail of the history, but they put enough in the novels that the author clearly does, which means there is a timeframe, a history, and a cohesive background to help support the world the characters are inhabiting.
How are you doing during the current pandemic? We are very fortunate that we’re all still healthy, we have access to any food or supplies we need, and all of my complaints are a complete privilege. That said – I miss school and daycare. I’ve had to take a sabbatical from work to be home with the kids. Having my 2 and 5-year-old at home 24/7 now has been an adjustment for us all. My daughter can tell you that I’m not quite as good a teacher as hers normally is. My writing time is significantly diminished, which makes me cranky. However, a cranky momma is far less bad than an unsupervised 2-year-old. (He’s tall. It’s a problem. His reach exceeds his wisdom in a very literal way.)
LQ: What are you currently working on?
ME: I am doing a final edit on Book 2 of my series, the Queen Reborn. I just published my first novel at the end of March – Escape from Ronwyn, the first book in the series, and am hoping to have the second one, Hands Over Hearts, out shortly.
I will admit, my editing has been slower than I hoped [see children at home] but it’s coming along. Once that’s done, I’ve been percolating on some ideas for where I left off my book 6 draft. Then it’ll be a final edit on book 3. Jumping between them gives me the distance I need to have fresh eyes again when I look at one for an edit.
LQ: Anything else you would like to share?
ME: Writing has been such a gift to me. Each character gives me a new way to process the world. They each see the world in such a different way, so seeing how they all react to circumstances, and for better or for worse figure it out and move forward – it helps me to reflect on my own situation.
In this crazy time of pandemics when the self-isolation exacerbates our own internal doubts and fears, as well as some very real external ones at times, I think how lucky I am to have an outlet to work through my own emotions and escape into someone else’s adventure for a time.
Escape from Ronwyn – Book 1 of the Queen Rebown Series is available on Amazon now – please check it out, join me on this journey with these lovely characters. Book 2 won’t be far behind. And is now officially brought to you by Nap Time.