Mary Patrick Kavanaugh recently launched her first novel, Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion, at an outrageous public funeral event. A writer since the age of eight, Mary’s award winning creative non-fiction has been published in Alligator Juniper, Room of One’s Own, San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her professional writing has appeared in numerous trade journals. She is the recipient of the nonfiction award from the Soul Making Literary Competition sponsored by the American Pen Women and was awarded writing fellowships at The David and Julia White Artist Colony, Hedgebrook: Women Authoring Change, and The Vermont Studio Center. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of San Francisco.
NOTE: Mary’s altar ego, “Cemetery Mary,” will be hosting a lively Funeral Event and Resurrection Workshop on December 31, 2009, and January 2, 2010. Participants will bury dead dreams, dashed hopes, old habits and grudges to make room for all the good that’s coming in 2010. For information about attending, please visit her blog at www.crapintocompost.com.
Watch the Book Trailer:
Book can be purchased at all the online booksellers, including Amazon.
Mary’s blog can be found at www.CrapIntoCompost.com
Follow her on Twitter @marypatrick
Watch her funeral, or bury your own dead dreams at www.MyDreamIsDeadButImNot.com
Q: Thank you for this interview, Mary. Can you tell us what your latest book, Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion, is all about?
A: My book is a work of Pulp Faction, a term I coined to best describe a fictional story based on fact. It is about a young single mother and private investigator who falls in love with a criminal attorney, who, it turns out, is committing a few crimes of his own. In an effort to find love and security, she falls into a world of pseudonyms and unexplained cash. Secrets and stashes are revealed as family members make their way to the cemetery, for a permanent place in this family plot.
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A: Yes. This is my first novel.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
A: Giving birth to this creation was harder and maybe even more expensive than the one I raised and sent to college.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
A: People have been wonderful, supportive, rude, fascinating, funny, and everything in between. My most unusal experience was looking up at a reading and seeing a colorful local personality who also turned out to be someone I’d based a character on. I was mortified when she bought a few copies of the book, and then invited me to speak to her writers group. She is a lively character and I knew there was no way she wouldn’t recognize herself in the story, so I raced home, went to each scene she was in, worrying what I’d written would be interpreted as mean or cartoonish. She had a great sense of humor about the matter, and even dressed up exactly like I’d described her character when I arrived to speak to her group. She turned into one of my greatest fans and supporters. I love life’s coincidences.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
A: Because I am not currently working on a book-length work, my routine is sporatic. I am writing articles and short pieces and do that in spurts. My greatest muse these days is named THE DEADLINE.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
A: When I’m into my computer addition, it can be Facebook, one of the most insidious time sucks ever invented. But as a result of a recent mid-life crisis, I’ve also recently installed a stripper pole in my workspace and while I don’t undress, I do spin around the pole a few times, working on my moves. I also like to stretch and eat chocolate.
Q: What book changed your life?
A: Catcher in the Rye and Gone With the Wind. The former because I understood that depressed wise-ass narrators could capture existential angst better than any philosopher, and the latter because I experienced complete absorption into another time and place through good old fashioned melodrama and storytelling.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
A: Turning Life’s Crap Into Compost, and I believe I’m writing that book now.
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
A: I love spaghetti and meatballs almost as much as life itself, but I feel terrible about the loss of life involved. This internal conflict dogs me…
Thank you for this interview, Mary. I wish you much success on your latest release, Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion.