Sunday, October 7, 2012

ASK THE AUTHOR -- Mason's Daughter 

Q: How did you decide to write family sagas?

            A: With a degree in psychology, but a career in marketing, I’ve always been interested in what motivates people. Events or relationships that involved our grandparents reach down through the generations to have an impact on us. In my own family, it was the Great Depression and World War II. My parents carried a burden of needing to succeed in a scary world, an onus placed on them by their families and the times in which they lived.

            Unfortunately, I never met either of my grandmothers. They died before I was born, both in early middle age due to illness. I spent a lot of my younger years wondering what they were like. I still do, because not many memories were passed on by my parents, and I have no idea what we might have shared and enjoyed together.

            The other thing is, too, that I missed hearing from them what my parents were like as children. I have some old photographs, but they are sepia moments, and not whole colorful stories. I hear no voices from the past.

            Q: Why did you pick suicide for the family tragedy?

            Over the years, I’ve been surprised by the number of families, including mine, affected by suicide. People I’ve known from work, church, volunteer groups, and other venues have lost family members in this terrible, inexplicable way. It’s an awful basis to bond, and I hope that how I’ve written about it will be of some comfort.

            It’s never just one thing either. Scratch the surface a little, and you find depression, anxiety, narcissism, addictions, bi-polar disorder, and other family mental tics we prefer to keep hidden and not talk about. All of it reverberates down through the generations.

            Q: Why choose Mason’s Crossing for a setting?

            A fictional town is easier to write about. I don’t have to be accurate with the setting. Plus it’s important to have the small town feel, because everyone knows, or thinks they know, what’s really going on. They care because they’ve been acquainted with the Mason family for several generations.

            Placing it just outside Austin anchors it near my favorite city in Texas, my hometown.

            Q: We see how the lives of Sally’s parents had an impact on her. What caused Nate to become so detached and distant with his own daughter, especially after his wife died?

            A person growing up can only learn by what they see and what they’re taught. Nate turned out the way he did because … well, you’ll have to wait for the next book, Mason’s Warrior, to read his life story.

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