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Evening with Literary Legend Mary Monroe
Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe
Author of Mama Ruby and the God Don’t Like Ugly Series Hosted by the Ella Curry and the Sankofa Literary Society
How did Ruby and Othella Mae, from The Upper Room, come to be who they are today? Find out in the exciting prequel to The Upper Room, titled Mama Ruby. There’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare…
Mary Monroe is the author of Mama Ruby, The Upper Room and the God Don't Like Ugly series. When The Upper Room was published, Monroe had this to say: "This is my story -- these characters are people I know, it's my life," Mary Monroe laughs when asked what her inspiration was for her first novels, because most of her material is autobiographical.
SLS: Ms. Monroe, what is your daily writing schedule like? How long did it take you to complete the book? Did you write many drafts?
I don't set aside any particular time of the day to write but I do most of my writing in the middle of the night and sometimes very early in the morning--rarely during evening prime time because I watch a lot of TV. I write something every single day. Some days I only write a few sentences, some days I write over a hundred pages. It took me about four months to write Mama Ruby. I started with a detailed three-page outline and I wrote four drafts before I submitted the final version to my publisher.
SLS: What have you realized about yourself since becoming a published author?
I get story ideas from a variety of sources. Even more so now that I'm a published author. Since I base my stories on true life experiences, I am a lot more observant about things happening in my life and in the news than I was before I published my first book.
SLS: Do you have any advice for people seeking to publish a book?
Learn as much as you can about the business. There is a lot of basic information that every aspiring author needs to know. Set some realistic goals, be persistent, and try not to get discouraged. Disappointments and rejection slips are part of the game. But think of them as detours. And I think it’s very important for an aspiring author to read something as often as possible—especially books and newspapers. Reading provides creative nourishment. It also helps if you have a literary agent representing you.
SLS: Who are some of the authors you admire and why?
I love Toni Morrison, James Patterson, Stephen King, and Ernest Gaines. I was in my twenties when I discovered Toni Morrison and Ernest Gaines and that's when I knew for sure that writing books was my destiny. Their books are so insightful and thought-provoking that I re-read them at least once a year. I also love stories with a paranormal theme so when I discovered Stephen King I became a fan of his for life. James Patterson's books are more for light-weight entertainment and sometimes that is all I want in a story.
SLS: Where do you see yourself within the next several years?
I started making up stories before I even started elementary school. In junior and high school I wrote stories for some confession magazines. Since then I’ve written novels and a few non-fiction pieces. Mama Ruby will be my fourteenth published novel. Within the next few years I hope to do at least ten more novels, my autobiography, and a few screenplays.
SLS: Can you see Mama Ruby or any of your books from the God Don’t...Series being optioned for movies?
Yes! I watch TV for several hours a day and I go to a lot of movies so I know what the viewing public likes to watch. I feel that any one of my books would make a good big screen movie or TV mini-series. I write each book with specific actors and actresses in mind to play the roles. I’ve already written movie treatments for some of my books.
SLS: How did you come to create such strong main characters in Mama Ruby and your God Don’t Like Ugly series? Did you know that they would be so complex and exciting from the start?
I was raised by strong females. As a matter of fact, the main character, Mama Ruby, is a combination of my mother and two other females relatives. The more I worked on this story, the more complex and exciting the characters became. They have a lot of strong characteristics but they also have just as many weaknesses.
SLS: Share with us one thing most readers don’t know about you?
I didn’t attend college or take any writing courses so I learned how to write novels on my own.
SLS: How do you define success?
I think that being satisfied with your accomplishments is one way to define success. If you make a lot of money and attract a huge audience, that is icing on the cake. But there are different degrees of success. I know an author who has won several awards and made lots of money but she still complains about not being a "success" yet. I think of myself as a success in progress...
SLS: Share with us your latest news. How may our readers follow you online?
My latest news is that I recently completed the sixth book in my God Don’t Like Ugly Series, God Don’t Make No Mistakes. Readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter and they can visit my Web site www.Marymonroe.org. I also LOVE hearing from my fans by email at: [email protected] I answer my email personally.
SLS: Meet author Mary Monroe as she travels across the nation discussing Mama Ruby and her literary journey: http://www.marymonroe.org/tour2011.html
The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
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