The Blog Studio band is playing "I Believe There are Angels Among Us" while the camera pans the studio audience. Everyone is singing along and all of them are smiling. As the band concludes, the audience stands and applauds. The band leader bows and raises his hands and the band begins to play the Blog Studio theme song. The curtain raises and Carol Ann Erhardt walks on stage.
"Welcome everyone! I'm so happy to be back with you again. The station has agreed to host The Blog Studio the first Monday of every month. We'll be having a lot of fun getting to know some newer authors, and some of your favorites as well. This morning I'm so happy to launch our new show with a fabulous author. She lives in the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains with her husband, Tim, her daughter Danni, and the cherished pets they've rescued from local animal shelters…dogs Molly and Abby, and cats Lucky and Gus.
She's active in her church, where she helps cook Wednesday night meals and work with the trustees on church construction and beautification projects. She's also active with the youth, and helps raise funds for mission projects through their breakfast table.
She also teaches 7th grade math and English at Seymour Middle School. She loves working with teenagers, and has been blessed to know many wonderful children and parents during her 25 years of teaching.
She enjoys the outdoors and is looking forward to cooler autumn weather. She enjoys cultivating flowers, taking long walks with her wonderful husband, and reading romance books while lying in a hammock beneath their century-old shade trees.
She's the author of Mended Heart, which she states is a testament to the power of grace and forgiveness. Ten percent of every book sold goes to charity. Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome, to a fabulous author, and wonderful human being, my friend...Mary Manners!"
The audience applauds loudly as Mary enters from the left hand side of the stage. The camera pans to a picture taken of Mary and a closeup of her book, Mended Heart.
Mary and Carol Ann embrace and then take seats in the two burgundy leather chairs center stage. There is a small coffee table in front with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and two glasses of lemon water.
CAROL ANN: Mary, I'm delighted that you could travel to Ohio to be with us today.
MARY: It's my pleasure! I was so excited about being interviewed today, that I didn't sleep much at all last night.
CAROL ANN: You look very rested, in spite of that. I'm really impressed with your new book, Mended Heart which released the end of July, right?
MARY: Yes, that's right.
CAROL ANN: Can you tell us a bit about the book?
MARY: Shane Calkin is a former bad-boy-wannabe fighting to raise his spunky niece and a rambunctious puppy.
Jade McAllister nurses a wounded heart as she struggles to escape her mother’s rejection…and Shane’s.
Nine years have passed since they last saw each other, and a terrible secret looms. Will the secret destroy them, or have the years taught them how to trust…and to love?
CAROL ANN: Oooh. Intriguing. The cover is gorgeous.
Carol Ann hands the book to Mary.
CAROL ANN: Would you mind reading an excerpt for us?
MARY: I wasn't expecting this, but sure.
Mary opens the book and turns to a page. Then she smiles at the audience, looks back at the page and begins to read.
MARY: “What are you doing here?”
Shane slid two English muffins into the toaster and pressed the lever to warm them. “Claire let me in an hour ago. She had to get to the hospital.”
Jade brushed fingers through long strands of wavy hair and tossed her head to work out the tangles. Her eyes glittered beneath sunlight that streamed through the window over the sink, and she pulled the edges of her powder-blue terrycloth robe tighter before cinching the belt. “I’m not a charity case. I don’t need a babysitter.”
He let the comment slide. “Nice slippers.”
She glanced down to see two fuzzy bunny heads staring back at her.
“Claire bought them for me--a gag gift last Christmas.” The pink of a blush crept up her neck. No matter she wasn’t wearing a lick of makeup and that her hair was matted and tangled--she still looked beautiful.”
“I made you breakfast.” He reached for the muffins as they popped from the toaster, nicely browned. He gave each a healthy slap of butter as Jade looked on. The aroma of eggs and crispy bacon filled the air.
“I’m not hungry.” Like a traitor, her stomach chose just that time to let loose a rumble that could have rivaled an earthquake.
“Your belly begs to differ. Did you eat anything at all last night?”
She crossed her arms over her stomach and ignored the question.
Mary closes the book.
CAROL ANN: Wow, just enough to make us want to know more. And, I understand you are going to give away a copy of Mended Heart to one of the lucky Blog Studio audience today. Everyone who comments will get their name entered in a drawing and the winner will be announced on Friday. Also, a reminder that every comment will also get your name entered twice in my monthly drawing for a free $10 Bath and Body Works gift certificate.
MARY: The person who wins the book can have either an autographed copy if they provide their snail mail address upon winning, or an e-book which can be emailed.
CAROL ANN: Thanks. Now, I'd like to ask a few questions so the audience can get to know you a bit better.
MARY: Gives a nervous laugh. Okay, I think.
CAROL ANN: Besides books, do you have any collections?
MARY: I really don’t collect anything except favorite books and artwork and such that my daughter has done throughout her school years. She’s getting ready to graduate high school, so it’s a bit of an emotional time for me.
CAROL ANN: Oh, I understand. I have eight children, all of them now out of the home. It was a rough period of adjustment, especially when the last one moved. Okay, another question. You are in a restaurant having lunch, when a reporter shoves a microphone at you and you have one minute to tell the world something very important. What would you say?
MARY: I would tell him what I tell my kids at school…learn as much as you can, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t, and don’t let the past dictate your future. Life’s too short to miss out on opportunities, so believe in yourself and go for it!
CAROL ANN: Wonderful advice. A dream cannot be realized unless one believes and goes after it. Author to author, have you ever experienced writer’s block?
MARY: Yes, I've had writer's block.
CAROL ANN: How did you overcome it?
MARY: When it hits I…MOW. I mean, I mow my yard. I have two acres, and I push mow the whole thing. And I live on a hill, to boot. For me, mowing is like taking a sledgehammer to a dam—it gets things moving again.
CAROL ANN: Physical activity is a good way to get the creative juices flowing again. Who can make you laugh?
MARY: My husband makes me laugh. Oh, he is sooo funny! We have times that we laugh so hard that I cannot breathe. We like to walk together around our neighborhood, and sometimes he’ll say something that gets me laughing so hard I think the neighbors must think I’m off my rocker!
CAROL ANN: That's wonderful, Mary. And it speaks volumes on what a perfect couple you are and what a great marriage you have. Laughter is so good for the soul. So, tell me, are you an introvert or an extravert and how does that play into your writing life?
MARY: I am basically an introvert, which is weird because I teach middle school and am surrounded by people all day long. But I’m really OK with alone time, too. And always joke that I’m comfortable talking in front of people who are shorter than me, which limits me because I’m only 5’2’’. As for writing, I am happiest when I have long stretches of quiet time to write, which works best for introverts like me.
CAROL ANN: I can relate. I'm an introvert, too. I'm much happier with my family and being at home than being at a party. Here's a question that I've thought a lot about. If you knew you only had 30 days to live, what would you do with the remaining days?
MARY: I’d write the most amazing story, and I’d walk with my husband and sing with my daughter. I’d do all the things I’ve put off…eat ice cream and éclairs until I popped, too.
CAROL ANN: Do you have any phobias? Afraid of heights, spiders?
MARY: I am deathly afraid of heights. I get nervous climbing a ladder! I hiked Mount LeConte a few weeks ago, and I thought my husband would have to blindfold and lead me to get me through one section. We were 6,200 feet up and had to hug a rock face on a ledge about a foot wide, holding onto a cable for dear life. Once I got up, I wasn’t sure I’d get down. This fear just gets worse as I age. YIKES!!
CAROL ANN: I'm the same way. Maybe worse, because I wouldn't have attempted that hike you took. I get dizzy climbing bleachers!
MARY: You, too? I guess a lot of people are afraid of heights.
CAROL ANN: Oh, no! The producer is giving me the sign that our time is up. I can't believe how fast this time together has gone. Thank you again, Mary, for sharing so much with us. I wish you the best of luck with your book.
Ladies and gentlemen, please visit MaryMannersRomance.com to learn more about Mary and her books. You can purchase Mended Heart from her publisher WhiteRosePublishing.com.