For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box
Mary Louise Davie taught herself to read at 3 and then shortly thereafter began devouring books at an incredible rate. At eight she wrote her first novella, at eleven she entered her poetry phase for which she obtained national recognition on the college circuit. In her early 20’s she had many songs recorded, but as her father was a famous musician she decided to leave the music to him and went back to her writing. Many years later with 20-some novels completed but just tossed on a shelf she finally attempted publication at a friend’s urging. She changed genres and everything fell into place. A SciFi author was born.
Part of what made Science Fiction, actually Hard Science Fiction; the perfect genre is Mary Louise’s background. After earning her Chemistry degree Mary Louise worked as a chemist for a year before realizing she wasn’t likely to be the research scientist she wanted to be. She quit her job and began following the path of IT. In addition she loved reading non-fiction about anything science. She had subscriptions to all the top science magazines and if a topic caught her eye, she would investigate, even run the numbers to prove her own theories. In fact if it weren’t for her disagreeing so much with a particular theory she read, Sanacion: The Black Hole Mission might not even exist, which was actually great as it began a new journey, one of discovery & joy. Her need for truth in the Science & Tech in her writing is organic – if it doesn’t work, her mind won’t allow her to write anymore until she finds out how it would really work!
Known as somewhat of a NASA Expert (in others words) besides being invited to play/visit NASA either in Florida for a launch or Maryland…Mary Louise gets to meet the brightest minds and run scenarios with them… She also gives NASA presentations – such as her NASA Takes on the Galaxy or Mars Impending which speaks of one of the most recent plans for Mars. These “workshops” are on CON TV as well.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
While I have been writing in one form or another since I was eight, it was just something I did, like breathing. When I decided to go the publishing route, I knew I was following something that I was always meant to do and taking it up a notch! I would have continued regardless, but kept placing completed novels on the shelf collecting dust while I moved on to write the next.
2) Can you tell us a little about your books and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?
In addition to my website; www.marylouisedavie.com which tells a bit about them and the other things I do (such as NASA presentations across the US) – my books are available at most in not all book stores. My publisher uses Ingram which is the world’s largest distributor. As a matter of fact I have quite a smattering of readers in England and Germany.
My current projects are rather varied and seem to require that I work around the clock! I am writing an awesome book working title Resurrecting Earth: The mission to save the Earth starts on Mars , I have another book all planned and outlined but am concentrating on the first one so not to blur the lines. I am also doing a script for a pilot based on my second book – We Are the Aliens but unfortunately I have placed that on the back burner as I am currently starting up a production company which also involves writing/story boards/filming & many business decisions. (My first project is a documentary on NASA’s Journey to Mars.) I’m quite busy and seem to be getting busier.
3) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
I think my most significant achievement as a writer is my relationship with NASA (heck its cool to even be able to say that!) From years ago when I first began doing presentations about them & they would be in the audience, fact checking, to being invited to launches (a dream since I was a kid) to being embraced by NASA as an ambassador of sorts, it is surreal. Science Fiction authors & NASA have always shared some common dreams and worked together, it is still true now and with the awesome plans they have, it’s great to be able to make my presentations so accurate!
Dealing with rejection; I was accepted (I am published by an Independent publisher) right out of the gate though I have no doubt that it was because I wrote maybe 20 books where I didn’t even try, so I’d like to think I just kept improving. BUT I have still received rejections since and I’ll admit that sometimes it gets under my skin. I just remind myself that it isn’t personal, and that the best revenge is to write something so good that they’ll be sorry. (I don’t think it actually works that way, but it makes me feel better!)
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
My preferred time to write is from 7am-2pm, sometimes a little longer if I’m in the zone/drifting, mostly cause I won’t know what time it is. I am partly an outliner and partly a ‘by the seat of my pants’ sort. The portions of a book where the tech or science requires delicate planning I’m all in, but often other times its as if my characters take over and sometimes they don’t follow the outline. I always stick with what ‘they’ come up with because I feel it is truer to the characters. You know how when you reach the end of a good book you feel a disconnect because of the friends/characters you now lose, well as the writer, I feel it too! AS to how long it takes to finish a novel, it varies. The actual writing probably 3-6 months; Oftentimes though if I have a particularly action oriented scene, I will take a break so that I watch it in my head, each time in more detail, then I out it to paper.
5) Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I’m at a crossroads right now. I don’t know if my production company will take off or not – at being a tad older than 20, its risky. Regardless I can say no matter what – whether it all works out, or it doesn’t, I will be writing more books, exploring more worlds in my head, and watching NASA put boots on the Moon again.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
It is never too late; James A Michener didn’t make until he was 40-something. And you never know when it’s your turn. I wrote other genres when I first began. Things didn’t click until I married what I love (Science & Space) to my other love (writing). SciFi for some reason never occurred to me but ever since we found each other…I think a late start instead of hindering their chances might make them better. Likely they have more knowledge accumulated be it to the topic or to writing in general. Plus they probably have thicker skin so they can actually write what is real instead of worrying about what a few people might think.
7) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that touched me emotionally was The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. My mother read it to me & my brother. I usually read Non-Fiction, even then, but we were home sick. I couldn’t believe how it plucked at my heart strings. As for the first book that made me think I could do it as a career, Sanacion: The Black Hole Mission, my first book. While I would do some things a tad different & perhaps expand on some areas, it definitely hit me that it was good.
I’m not reading a book currently though I have several on deck. I try to never read while I am writing as I am aware that subconsciously it might creep in to my writing and I don’t want that to happen.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
My most recent book, Target Earth: You Only See What You Want To See, I have read several times. When the editor first sent it to me to approve I was actually blown away as it had been almost a year since I had looked at it last. When I read it, it was as if someone else had written it. There was nothing, not even a little bit that I would have changed. I laughed at some parts, my heart raced at others, all the emotions you want your readers to feel, I felt. It made me think ahead to the next book and hope I could foster the same feelings in readers!
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?
It is all kind of confusing the way the industry is changing – some of it is quite sad. There seem to be less and less who actually read and yet more who write. Still, I prefer the normal route mostly because it seems so difficult the other way, so much more involved such as finding your own editor, distributing it…
As to e-book or traditional, I am a very quick reader, too quick as I wish I could slow it down. So for the novels, I buy e-books because it is so easy to carry a Nook and know you have 20 or 30 other books with you as well. BUT When I but science or mathematic books either for research or for fun, I usually get one in each format.
10) I feel like so many of us writers, us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
In a sense I almost think I have cheated. What I love about all the SciFI conventions & ComicCons I go around to both to give my NASA presentations and to give book signings is that it’s like preaching to the choir. I am around like minded people. None the less, I write mostly to make the characters happy, I’m happy if it comes out true to the science and true to the characters. It’s kind of nice if everybody else likes it but I can’t compromise, I don’t think anyone would like it then!
Honestly I think my father’s ‘business’ (he was famous in the music business in the 50’s) gave me a gift of being true to myself and then the work will be favorable to others.