Mary Elizabeth Fricke has lived her entire life within five miles of the Missouri River. She and her husband of 38 years have lived 35 of those years on a farm that has been consistently owned and operated by his family for five generations. They have two grown sons married to wonderful women and two beautiful grandchildren.
A graduate of the Writer’s Institute of America and a member of the Heartland Writers Guild, she has published a number of articles in various forums and magazines, as well as Dino, Godzilla and the Pigs, My Life on Our Missouri Hog Farm. She is also a prolific ghostwriter.
Her stories, based in rural mid-western areas, concern the unique but quickly vanishing way of life on the family farm as well as other mysterious intricacies that evolve life from generation to generation. Romance is her preferred genre.
Previously published in the Birds the Peril Series:
Pigeon in a Snare (Lisa’s story)
Roses for the Sparrow (Jani’s story)
Plight of the Wren (Susie’s story)
Robin Unaware (Stephanie’s story)
The Sweet Trilogy:
Demise of Innocence (Sweet Pea I)
Time to Deceive (Sweet Pea II)
The Price of Passion (Sweet Pea III)
‘Sweet Pea Gift Set—e-version of the trilogy
‘Sweet Pea Trilogy’—paperback version
All are available from Amazon
The only connection between The Sweet Pea Trilogy and the Birds in Peril Series is their central Missouri location. All characters and most places are fiction.
What inspires you to write?
I want to breathe. For me, writing is as essential as breathing even though it gets a bit difficult at times. Writing, in a nutshell, is a constant dilemma. A struggle every writer learns to endure as they succeed with whatever they write.
My first inspiration came from my mother, a published poetess. Mom never received a dime for her poems. Payment was not her concern. She just wanted to entertain people. And she did. From lymrics to serious poems, short poems, long poems, Mom made people laugh and sometimes cry with her written prose. I learned from my mother that writing is primarily entertainment.
There is also my rural upbringing and life on a family farm. I want to pay homage to the kind of life my grandparents, parents and my husband and I have lived because the day is fast approaching when corporations will eliminate the family farm from existence.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm a night owl. My most productive writing tends to come somewhere around midnight when my husband has gone to sleep, the television is off and it is not likely the phone will ring. In those hours I can concentrate on wherever the 'muse' leads me. Beyond that, I don't use official outlines. Sometimes scenes play out so quickly in my mind that I have to scramble to get them to written paper. Other times I stew on an idea for days. The closest I come to an outline is a list of sequences I believe must take place in the story. All items on that list are subject to change, even elimination. I tend to write scenes (sections) at random. I might do the middle or the end long before I write any beginning. I do try to keep separate files describing each character's physical and mental characteristics just so some blond doesn't develop red hair in the middle of the story. I have diagramed settings, especially homes or places primary events happen. There are so many minute details in creating a novel that about 80% of every story really must be described separately on paper in some way, if for no other reason than to keep that item, instance the same throughout the length of the story.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Of course. My characters can be contrary individuals. Sometimes they get really emotional too. It's fun to figure out how to calm them down. It's more fun to think up ways to have them just about explode with indignation, anger or laughter. Each character is different. Each demands their own form of respect. Or else, trust me, they'll make me wish I'd thought them through before I put them to written word.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite book of all time is Kathleen E. Woodiwiss's Ashes in the Wind because of her accurate description of people's emotions and the turmoil the Civil War created. She had a knack for drawing her readers into the story so that you feel as if you are right there watching it all happen. I also carry a deep respect for Erma Bombeck's unique ability to poke fun at herself while she also pointed out the more important things in life. Beyond these women, I am an eclectic reader of just about anything from romance to science fiction, to biographies and historicals. I even read my husband's farm magazines now and then.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
For years, I rode the gauntlet of sending my work off to publishing houses or editors and agents. Most book-length things I sent in were rejected. I had a lot more luck with articles so I stuck to non-fiction for a number of years. But my heart lies in fiction and eventually, I found a publishing house for the first two books of my Birds in Peril series. Then AKW Books closed their doors and I did not have the will or desire to start hunting for publishers again. Several in-house authors at AKW were going to try self-publishing, so I tried it too. So far the indie publishing world has worked for. That is subject to possible change in the future of course. Anything can happen in months to come.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am grateful to Amazon for creating the indie-publishing market as they have. Too many really good authors were crushed and rejected because they were not inclined to write material individual publishing houses wanted. It's given us with a different set of thinking a way to express ourselves and sell our material, or at least spread the words of what we write.
What genres do you write?
romance, romantic suspense, mystery
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.