Interview with Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford

When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

MA: I’d say I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was a pre-teen. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read just about anything I could get my hands on. As a child, I discovered Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys and was hooked on suspense. As a preteen, I found Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt and knew in my heart of hearts that romantic suspense was what I wanted to write.

I wrote my first book as a pre-teen, but didn’t really pursue writing seriously until about fourteen years ago. During that time period though, I fine-tuned my writing and found myself drawn to inspirational romantic suspense. Then, in 2012, I entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired Suspense and later received “the call” that I’d sold Forgotten Past, my first LIS book. I truly felt like a writer for the first time and it was a dream come true. It’s still hard to believe at times.

 

Your books seem to have a good sense of place. Are you familiar with the Rockies or with Maine? What made you choose these locations?

MA: I am very familiar with the Rockies. My husband and I took a trip there about fifteen years ago and fell in love with the mountains. We bought a small cabin at the foothills of the Southern Rockies. I love that the mountains have a way of creating their own weather. Both Rocky Mountain Pursuit and Deadly Memories take place in the mountains. In the mountains, the day can go from sunny a warm to dark and foreboding in a matter of no time. A great backdrop for a suspense book. In Forgotten Past well, I’ve never been to Maine before but have read about it and it is on my must see list. The rugged coastline of Maine made the perfect setting for a killer stalking his prey.

 

Fear and danger are integral parts of your books. Imagination or

experience?

MA: Imagination and probably too much time reading suspense books and watching ID TV. The fear and danger my characters face is the same challenges we as human’s deal with on a much lesser scale. We may not be facing a killer bent on ending our lives, but we each have things we’re afraid of and keep us awake at night. Our own set of monsters so to speak.

 

Another either/or question: Outliner or pantser?

MA: Pantser. I’ve tried being the outliner type, but I just don’t operate that way.

 

Do you have any favorite author(s) who have inspired you? MA: Along with Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt, I love inspirational romantic suspense authors such as Susan Sleeman and Shirlee McCoy. These women are great at weaving suspense, inspiration and an amazing love story into each of their books.

 

Everyone always asks, so we will, too: Are your characters based on people you know? Which ones? MA: Certain characteristics of people I know find their way into my books. For instance, most of my characters drink coffee. That’s all me. I love coffee, what can I say? But for the most part, my characters are totally made up.

 

Here’s another question that everyone asks: Where do you get your ideas?

MA: Most of my ideas start from something I’ve seen or read about. From there, the story begins to take fruition in my head. I let it simmer for a while until I’ve got a good outline worked out in my mind and then I grab my laptop and start writing. The idea for Deadly Memories and Rocky Mountain Pursuit came from my love of spy stories. I can’t get enough of espionage stories. I think it’s the danger, the drama, the intrigue attached to espionage that makes it so appealing to me. These people risk their lives daily to keep our country safe.

 

 

You write in Christian genres. What is the spiritual takeaway for your books? Is there a recurring theme? MA: I think in all my books the spiritual takeaway is that no matter what we’re facing in life, no matter how dark the world around us may seem, we are never alone. God is right there with us through it all.

 

How do you mold your villains? They are very frightening!

MA: I think we all have “worst fear” villains hidden deep down in our inner psyche. Some of us fear the unknown. Someone stalking us. A killer on the loose. I like to take those fears and create villains who hide in plain sight. Like the people we know and trust. In Forgotten Past, the villain was the cousin she loved and trusted to protect her. Faith never saw the monster lurking inside her cousin until it was too late. In Rocky Mountain Pursuit, the villain is a former teammate as well as the woman our hero Jase Bradford had once been in love with.

 

Would you characterize your books as romantic suspense? Are there any other genres that you’d like to tackle?

MA: Yes, I guess I would consider my books to be romantic suspense because they contain equal parts of each. In addition, I also write inspirational contemporary romance, another one of my favorite genres to read.

 

What are you working on now?

MA: I currently have a stand-alone inspirational suspense with my agent. It’s about two FBI agents searching for a serial killer. It is 85,000 words and delves into some interesting aspects of human nature. I am currently working on a second book featuring an FBI agent.

 

Do you enjoy research? Is there any research subject that you’ve found especially fascinating?

MA: I typically don’t go overboard on research, but it is something that is necessary to make the book believable. In Rocky Mountain Pursuit, well, loved researching the CIA and the spy angle of the book. It was fascinating for me.

 

Okay, just for fun. Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

MA: Hum, well, I’d say that my hubby and I used to raise Emus and Ostriches. I still can’t believe we did that. That I’m trying to teach myself the guitar, (It’s going very slowly…), and I’d love to do some gold panning on my next trip to Colorado. Oh, and I’d also love to write a children’s book one day.

 

What are your other interests besides writing?

MA: Music. I love playing the piano and as I’ve said, I’m learning the guitar very slowly. I also love gardening. I want to learn to make quilts as well. I also love doing crafts with my three granddaughters. They are very inspiring.

 

SS: Tell us about your current release. When is it available, and where?

Deadly Memories is available June 1st at:

https://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Memories-Love-Inspired-Suspense-ebook/dp/B01M3X4Q8Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496172115&sr=8-1&keywords=deadly+memories+by+mary+alford

https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780373457151_deadly-memories.html

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deadly-memories-mary-alford/1125051487;jsessionid=3DDD9DD765FECDAC95869500AFCABD1D.prodny_store01-atgap03?ean=9780373457151

 

 

And at most online booksellers.

 

WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST

 

Amnesia may be keeping Ella Weiss from remembering her past—but not from saving the little boy who’s been her fellow prisoner the last seven years. After managing to escape her cell, all she wants is to find where little Joseph is being kept. Instead she runs straight into CIA agent Kyle Jennings. Kyle isn’t sure if Ella is actually a kidnap victim or if she’s working for the gunrunner he’s been after. One thing he is certain of is her uncanny resemblance to the wife he thought he’d buried. To save a child’s life and stop a terrorist from slipping through his fingers, he’ll need to uncover the secrets of Ella’s past—and whether or not she’s really the woman he’s never stopped loving.

 

What inspired the idea for this book?

MA: My love for spies. I think if I could have chosen a different career path it would have been a spy. I admire them greatly and appreciate their work.

 

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