Interview with Mary Elizabeth Fricke

Hi Mary Elizabeth Fricke, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Booksonline : Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : I have lived my entire life within five miles of the Missouri River--on both North and South sides. I am a country girl, raised in the middle of Rural America and am quite happy to remain that way. Country is my life, so country is what I write about. I've had articles published nationally but the past few years I've concentrated on writing fiction, primarily rural-based romantic fiction.
Booksonline : What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : Wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, certified catechist, and 4H Leader are all accomplishments I have achieved in my life. I feel like writing is the one thing I have kept just for me. If selling my books, stories, articles brings in a little extra income, well, that's a good thing.
Booksonline : When did you decide to become a writer?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : I made up stories before I could write them down. Being a storyteller, to me, is as natural as breathing. I actually wrote my first story on paper when I was twenty-one
Booksonline : Why do you write?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : I want to breathe. I am also concerned about the diminishing way of life on the 'family farm'. While I was growing up, small 60 to 100-acre farms sustained many families. Today that is no longer possible. In order to remain productive, my husband and I rent land of these once family sustainng farms. Their owners are either elderly or city-living weekenders. We are small potatoes. Most productive farms have begun to operate this way or to actually become something of corporate entities. We are fast losing the family farms where one family, lived and prospered for generations. My intent is to preserve memory of those farms through my writing.
Booksonline : What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : I don't remember. Just the ambition to produce something physical from all those stories always running around in my head was cause enough to make me put whatever I wrote on paper.
Booksonline : Where do your ideas come from?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : My settings are rural or small town. That is the only kind of setting I am comfortable with. My characters are imaginary but they might have been born as a likeness of someone I knew or someone who impressed me in some way
Booksonline : What is the hardest thing about writing?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : Life on a farm is hectic. It dominates every aspect of my days. I have a family I adore and they demand my time as well. So actually finding time to sit at my computer to organize these notes, paragraphs, conversations I have handwritten on scraps of paper becomes the most difficult thing to do. I have long set aside at least two hours every night for 'my writing time' but I also have to be in the right frame of mind to concentrate on writing. Things don't always go as planned.
Booksonline : What is the easiest thing about writing?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : I don't believe any of it is easy. Perhaps, the way characters develop their own personalities over time. That amuses me.
Booksonline : If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : At this time I am working on two manuscripts. One is a story I began many years ago that just will not leave me alone. I don't know how many times I've rewritten 'Sweet Pea' or when/if it will ever satisfy me enough to publish. I am also working on the 5th addition to my 'Birds In Peril Series', tentatively titled, 'Wise, Bold Eagle'. Here is the general series description: Five women met, fell in love with and married men who aided the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Sheldon Humsler. Even though the events that disrupted their lives, did not necessarily involve Humsler, they certainly invoked the conviction that one day Humsler would find a way to enact his revenge. All of these women and the men they married are in some way closely connected to Humsler’s arch-enemies, Benton Cromwell, T.J. Harvester and Thad Hunt. Because of Humsler, Benton Cromwell’s life and livelihood has become so precarious he now lives as an invalid on borrowed time. However, his friends, T.J. Harvester and Thad Hunt continue to grow in family and in deed. Both are well loved by many. The time is near when a final confrontation with Humsler must occur. Humsler has an accomplice--someone closely connected to Hunt Real Estate and Construction…but who could that possibly be? Update: August 11, 2018. Wise Bold Eagle remains unfinished. My plans for it now include yet another installment to the Birds Series titled 'Bluebird of Happiness'. Neither is scheduled to be published in 2018. Instead, I followed the heart of the 'muse call' and published the Sweet Pea Trilogy--that story I began in 1976 that has never allowed itself to be put on the back burner for long. Last fall, 2017, I published the Sweet Pea Trilogy: Demise of Innocence, Book One: Time to Deceive, Book Two: The Price of Passion, Book Three. In Feb. 2018, I published the trilogy under one title, "Sweet Pea, Gift Set, Books 1, 2, and 3. These are now available e-books through Amazon Sweet Pea Description: Sweet Pea Gift Set: To one man she gave her virginity; to another, she gave her heart. One, she would mourn. With the other, she would share life's triumph and turmoil. With both, she would endure times of love, and passion and complete happiness as well as times of despair, confusion, and sorrow. One day at a time—each day, building unforgettable memories. Sweet Pea I: The Demise of Innocence (1968-70): At seventeen Johnie is no longer a child but still full of virgin innocence—and defiance. She quickly learns growing up involves a lot more than physical loss of her virginity. Sweet Pea II: Time to Deceive (1973-74) Johnie’s dream of happiness becomes a nightmare where Brenda cackles while Johnie boils naked in a cauldron of pea green soup. Sweet Pea III: The Price of Passion (1984-1990) A secret part of Johnie’s soul survives nurturing the memory of Jake. Fate strikes several more dramatic blows and once again, everything changes.
Booksonline : What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : 'Birds in Peril' began as the single story "Pigeon in a Snare'. Then it developed into the sequel (Roses for the Sparrow). Even then, the over-all story was not complete so I wrote #3 Plight of the Wren. Actually, Plight of the Wren was two stories that I put together because they involved the same characters. #4 Robin Unaware came from out of nowhere and still has not finished the entire story. #5 Wise Bold Eagle isn't going to tell ALL of the story either. So, there will probably be a #6--the final happy ending (I'm thinking 'Bluebird of Happiness'). So...my thoughts on a series...If a series is what it takes to tell 'all' of the story, then a series is what the author should write.
Booksonline : What is your favourite positive saying?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : Just do it. No one is going to be able to take that story out of your mind and write it on computer page or paper. You must do that all by yourself. So, just do it, even if you have to rewrite hundreds of times to make it sale-worthy. Just do it.
Booksonline : Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : A little white-haired retired grandma who spends her time at her computer writing whatever she wishes. Oh, and her family is so proud of her because she's finally made some 'nest egg' money with her publications.
Booksonline : What advice would you give to your younger self?
Mary Elizabeth Fricke : Learn the rules before you request publication (from anything).
Conversation By : Booksonline Team
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