Mary Greenwood

Mary Greenwood

Q&A with Author Mary Greenwood

What inspired you to be a writer?

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, themes and motifs, depending on our experiences, needs and contexts. And I love being a part of that.

I’ve always been an avid reader and a lover of language. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t engrossed in books and stories and wanted to write my own.

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 of Moontide. I was intrigued by her and her conflict and wanted to explore her story further.

‘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!

Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

Yes. I have a number of projects I want to work on. However, soon after finishing Moontide, I realised that there was more of the characters and their journey that I wanted to explore, so that’s what I’m currently focusing on.

What is your professional background?

I’ve dabbled in copyediting, but I am currently an office assistant for a local not-for-profit whose work I am very passionate about.

Any advice you’d like to give aspiring writers?

One thing I found especially helpful when writing Moontide was deciding not to edit a draft while I was still working on it. Instead of constantly rereading the sections I’d written and going back to tweak them, I’d make a note of changes I thought I’d like to make in the next draft and continued writing as if I’d already made the adjustment. This helped me keep moving forward when I might have been tempted to start again from the beginning before figuring out the rest of the story.

I’ve also found setting achievable word count goals helpful. When I wrote Moontide, my goal was 1000 words a day. When my schedule changed, I had to lower my goal. I think the key thing is setting a goal that helps you make progress while not being so large you get disheartened if you don’t reach it.

Who/what inspires you?

Stories, in any medium. I find other people’s creativity often sparks my own. 

What are your hobbies, interests and favourite books?

I enjoy sketching and have been getting into hand embroidery. I’m a fan of Dungeons & Dragons and listen to a couple of actual play podcasts (my favourite is Rolling with Difficulty).

A few of my favourite books include the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud, Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, and almost all of Emily Rodda’s bibliography. The most important book in my life is the Bible. 

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