Interview with Mary Carter, author of Accidentally Engaged

21 Aug 2015

Tell us a little bit about your new release, Accidentally Engaged

Accidentally Engaged is a quirky, romantic comedy, about Clair, a tarot card reader who has trouble predicting her own future, especially when it comes to love. When Rachel, a bride-to-be, gets cold feet she leaves her diamond engagement ring behind, and Clair is forced to return it to Jack Heron, the handsome vodka magnate who wants to marry Rachel. The Heron Estates is where the rest of the adventure plays out, with a demanding mother, a crazy grandmother, a suspicious butler, and of course, a second handsome man to complete the love triangle. Will Clair help this family untangle their conflicts and find love of her own, or is her future in big trouble?

I do need to state that I originally wrote Accidentally Engaged in 2007 and it did very well. This is a re-print edition, complete with a new cover. Oxygen Television once considered hiring me to rewrite this into a movie made for television, and although that deal did not go through, I would love to see that happen some day.

I hope it’s also okay if I give a little plug about my other new novel: London From My Windows. It was released at the end of July. It’s about Ava, a woman who suffers from severe agoraphobia until she inherits a flat in London, England and is required to stretch her comfort zone and get out into the world if she wants to keep it.

Where do you find inspiration for your books?

My imagination is always where it starts. When you write a novel, you end up living with these characters for a long time. I imagine characters that interest me enough to invest this kind of time, and I often play out adventures I wish I could have, or conflicts that need to be solved. There is a lot of practical work involved and then hopefully a little bit of creative magic as well. Accidentally Engaged was pure fun and it’s one of the things I love about it.

Pretend you qualified for the next Olympics. What sport would you compete in?

This is a fun question. Ever since I was a little girl it was the figure skating that captured my attention. I’d have to go for that! And, I love to compare figure skating to writing. Sometimes people say— it was an easy read— and they mean it a bit flippantly, as if there isn’t much to the book. What they don’t understand is how much work I do to make my books a smooth read. Just like figure skating. They make it look so easy, but years of practice and many falls are behind the polished performance. Do I get a gold medal?

Where is your happy place?

Sometimes I think I’m still trying to find it. I am happy when I finally “click” into a book and get to lose myself in the story. I’m happy walking my dog along the lakefront. I’m happy going to thrift and antique stores and looking for treasures. I’m happy looking at houses and properties and imagine owning them. I’m really happy traveling. That’s the ultimate adventure. So for me, it’s a place of mind rather than a specific place. That said, even though I have moved from the city three times, New York City is also one of my happy places.

What’s an average day like for you?

I write during the day. I walk the dog. And I teach writing workshops at night here in Chicago. This just happened a year ago. So it’s still a bit new, but its been a fun adventure so far. I move around a lot so my life is not completely predictable. I’m writing a good deal of the time, but I also have days where I wander around, watch television, read books, hang out. My characters’ lives are always a bit more exciting!

Who was your childhood hero?

These are fun questions. I think they would all be characters in books. Sam in Sam Bangs and Moonshine, Sylvester in Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, the children from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I think sometimes writers forget how powerful characters in stories can become, how much they can add to one’s life.

What’s the last book you read?

Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates, and The Martian by Andy Weir.

Author Photo

Mary Carter is the author of the new book Accidentally Engaged.

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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.