Mary Greenwood has been an aspiring writer and hungry reader since her primary school years. She has a long-standing love of language, stories and art, leading her to study linguistics and ancient history, as well as to practice archery, fencing, drawing and embroidery. When she’s not at work or daydreaming about her next writing project, she may be plotting or participating in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Q&A with Author Mary Greenwood
What is your background in writing?
I’ve always been an aspiring wordsmith. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t engrossed in books and stories and wanted to write my own. As a primary school kid, I filled exercise books with writing ideas and my favourite subject at school was creative writing. I had a few of my short stories included in school anthologies, and I was so happy when I first saw my words in print.
Even when I’m not writing anything down, I think I always have a few characters, concepts, images and ideas bubbling away in the background.
How did the ideas for Moontide come to you?
I would break this up into ‘the seed’, ‘the premise’ and ‘the rest’.
‘The seed’ was a writing prompt in my high school English class. While writing the response to the prompt, I met the character who would become the central protagonist in Moontide. I liked her so much and thought her conflict was interesting enough that I wanted to explore her story further.
The formation of ‘the premise’ is harder to pin down – bits and pieces came together between writing the first concept and setting out to write it as a novel. A few elements that had been floating around in my ‘imaginative landscape’ attached themselves to this concept and the crux of the story started to take shape.
And then ‘the rest’ just sort of happened as the characters started coming to life on the page. When I got more familiar with their needs, wants and challenges, the plot and themes took shape, often in ways I didn’t expect!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Like every writer, I think, I enjoy reading, and consuming stories generally. I also sketch, practice some crafty hobbies, listen to podcasts, play Dungeons & Dragons, catch up with friends, and scroll nigh ceaselessly through Pinterest.
Are you writing more books?
I definitely have more ideas, plots, characters, disparate plot elements and enticing imagery simmering away, begging me for attention. So I’m trying to find time to work on them!
Why do you love writing?
There is so much rich history in creating and sharing stories. We love reimagining the familiar and exploring the strange. We collectively hone, critique, rediscover, reinvent and play with stories, settings, themes, motifs and characters, depending on our experiences, needs and contexts. And I love being a part of that.
What have your learnt about writing?
Sometimes the story loses some of the intangible grandeur it had in my head when I attempt to capture it with words. But having taken shape in the written word, others can experience some of what I did in the process of writing. And it can mean even more than I expected it to, living in another’s hands.
What types of genres do you enjoy reading?
The genre I’m most familiar with is fantasy in its myriad forms. A mystery will entice me and I love a good period piece or work of historical fiction.
Do you have any favourite authors/books?
While there’ve been a lot of authors I’ve admired and enjoyed through the years, my first favourite is Emily Rodda. Her books shaped so much of my early imaginative landscape. I always enjoy rereading them, and I think I get more out of them the older I get.
I can never peg down a favourite, but I can recommend pretty much all of Emily Rodda’s bibliography – the nearest and dearest to me are Rowan of Rin, Deltora Quest, Fairy Realm and Teen Power Inc/Raven Hill Mysteries.
The highlights of my reading list from the last couple of years are Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud and The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence.
As a Christian, the most important book in my life is the Bible.
Who/what inspires you?
See Why do you love to write?
Would you like readers to contact you?
Yes! (Via the Hawkeye contact page here.)
Mary Greenwood was featured on #LoveOzYA’s. Read the interview here.