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Mary Doyle (M L Doyle)

answers the Usual Questions

Mary Doyle (M L Doyle), photograph courtesy of the author; 400x369

Mary Doyle (M L Doyle)

introductory narrative

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Yes, in that I want to keep them happy! I've found most interactions with readers to be great fuel for my desire to keep at it. I absolutely love going to book club meetings and talking to people who have all read one of the books and hearing directly from them what they liked, what they didn't like, what they thought of this or that. It doesn't alter my writing directly, but it does make me want to write the best book I'm capable of writing. If a reader gets to the end of one of my books and feels satisfied, there's nothing better than hearing that.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

The central character in my Master Sergeant Harper mystery series is a female Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She's a good soldier who travels all over the world and stumbles upon bodies and mysteries she's forced to solve. The locations she travels are all places I visited while in uniform. It's a chance for me to revisit old experiences and memories, most of them fond ones.

I was at a book festival in St. Paul, Minnesota when a woman came up to me and said, "Do you remember me?" She was someone I'd met in Army basic training. She'd slept in the lower bunk to my top bunk and I hadn't seen her in forty years, but the recognition was immediate. It was an amazing experience to see her and to know my books are what drew her to the festival.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Francis was a British author who wrote mysteries centered on the British horse racing industry. I absolutely love his books and have read most of them multiple times. It was natural for his books to be huge influences on my mystery writing. I tried to take his method of introducing the reader to different aspects of the racing industry and turn it to my own purposes. I try to introduce readers to the military, to what it's really like to be a soldier. Not a hard charging, special operations, kill-'em-with-your-pinky kind of soldier, but the normal, regular life of the everyday soldier, the kind of life a majority of soldiers live.

Aside from mystery, I also love urban fantasy and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files are my favorites in that genre. I love the idea of there being magic, demons, and supernatural creatures in the everyday world. I try to make it all believable in my Desert Goddess series.

My mother loved mysteries and would recommend books to me. I credit her with telling me to read my first Dick Francis novel. He was one of my mother's favorites and quickly became my favorite as well.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Right now, I'd love to be trapped in a lift with my mom. She died before my first book was published and I've always wished she'd been there to see me take those beautiful, hardcover books out of the box for the first time and to see them in book stores. I think she would have been very happy and probably surprised that I'd actually done what I'd set out to do.

In a spaceship? That's a tough one, but I think I'd have to say one of my characters. Harry Fogg is a British Special Air Service soldier with a quick wit and an ability to get out of tough situations. If anyone could help me survive and keep me entertained while being trapped in space, it would be Harry.

book cover, The Peacekeeper's Photograph by Mary Doyle (M L Doyle) (M L Doyle); 220x330

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

I hate to get political, but if I were trapped in a lift with Donald Trump, one of us would not survive the experience! If we were in a spaceship, he'd be headed directly to the airlock.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

My Kindle loaded with a thousand books. I could float through space for many light years as long as I had something to read.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I just want to write the best book I'm capable of. I have no illusions of getting rich, or selling millions of copies. If I can write a good book and readers enjoy it and want to read more, I've done my job.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I love it when a character surprises me. I put them in a room with someone or some situation and they do something I didn't expect? There's nothing better than that. I usually work from a very rough outline so when they do surprise me, I'm perfectly happy to scrap previous plans and go with the flow. I can get lost in that experience for hours.

submitted by Mary Doyle (M L Doyle)

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Just the facts:
Born: grew up on a five-acre hobby farm in Excelsior, Minnesota, U.S. We had dogs, cats, horses, geese, turtles and even a bull.
Resides: Baltimore, Maryland, U. S.
Bibliography/Awards: See her web site

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