Mary Deal is an award-winning multi-genre author, the latter not by intention. The first book she wrote but did not publish for years left her without knowing to which genre it belonged. Her next book was a trilogy of novellas. That one book pointed her toward mysteries which she then went on to write. However, her stories contain elements of several genres, including romance. “All characters have lives apart from the plot,” she said. “It’s what makes them real.”
Mary presently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Prior to that, she spent twenty years on Kauai in Hawaii, then over two years in Honolulu on Oahu. She has lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in the Upper Midlands in England. Having a background of varied traveling has given her material for stories she could write into perpetuity. Kauai is her most favorite place. She calls the island her second hometown, replacing San Francisco which held the distinction for decades. Mary’s childhood hometown area was the Sacramento River Delta in California which features prominently in her Sara Mason Mystery series.
Among her travels, she always took photographs and cherishes the memories. She also sees her experiences as fodder for her novels. Even now, thanks to digital cameras, she maintains two online galleries and sells prints and personal and household products made from her best images. Still, her first love is telling a great story.
She has written a feature screenplay, adapted from “Promises,” a story in her trilogy, “Legacy of the Tropics.” The screenplay, titled, “Sea Storm,” made the Semi-Finals in a Moondance International Film Festival Competition. “Not bad for a first effort at screenwriting,” she said. Her intention is to write other screenplays from her books and short stories but for the time being she needs to write all the stories for which she has made copious notes and outlines.
Her writing projects extend beyond just novels. She writes short stories and flash fiction in any genre. She says, “When a short story appears in my mind, I don’t think about genre. I simply write the story. The story dictates the genre.” One of her flash fiction pieces titled “The Last Thing I Do” was nominated for the coveted Pushcart Prize.
Mary currently has six novels and one short story collection published. Two nonfiction books are in the process of being rewritten and republished. Mary occasionally writes poetry. Eventually, she will publish a book of poetry along with some of her art.
The first book published was a trilogy of sea and island life novellas and has been rewritten, lengthened and dramatized. “Legacy of the Tropics” offers stories that shatter the myths of stereotypical islands of paradise.
“The Ka” is a paranormal Egyptian suspense, but so much more. It’s time travel. It’s slip-stream fantasy. It is an Amazon bestseller! Archaeologists discover a tomb in Valley of the Queens, Egypt that is haunted by the Ka, the spirit of the entombed mummy.
“River Bones, Sara Mason Mysteries Book One,” takes place in Mary’s childhood hometown area of the Sacramento River Delta. Sara Mason discovers a knack for solving cold cases, but not before falling into the clutches of a serial killer. This story contains a strong subplot for Sara’s love interest, Huxley Keane, who searches for his MIA brother in Vietnam.
“The Howling Cliffs, Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two,” opens deep in the Vietnam jungle following Huxley’s search for his brother’s remains and those of other MIAs. Later Sara remains on Kauai becoming involved in a missing child cold case.
“Down to the Needle” opens with Abi Fisher having searched decades for her abducted child. She learns about a woman inmate who has no family and who faces lethal injection for a crime she didn’t commit. Abi fears the inmate is her long lost daughter and strives to get the conviction overturned.
“Off Center in the Attic – Over the Top Stories” is a collection of short stories and flash fiction including humor and nonsense, flights of fancy into other realms, fright, disgust and disappointment, silliness and wonderment, and the sadness of reality and heartache.
“Legacy of the Tropics” includes three entwined novellas that began as three separate novels. Mary said, “The stories wrote themselves and finished when they needed to. Novellas weren’t popular as stand-alone format at the time. I simply went back and rewrote, tying the characters and the plots together.”
“Sea Cliff – A Love Story” is a rewrite of a novel written in 1991 and not published. Rewriting and updating added urgency to the plot. A woman emotionally scarred by childhood abuse struggles to take control of her life.
In addition to writing and photography, Mary is also an oil painter. Many people say her flower canvasses resemble Georgia O’Keefe productions. “I consider that an honor,” Mary says. “But I just paint until I have the look I strive for.” While she says she has more stories to write than she can produce in a short period, so too, does she have many images she wishes to paint. She has stopped taking commissions so she can paint the pieces she finds enjoyable. “Painting is my relaxation,” she says. “It’s not the same when trying to produce something another person wants. I’m not being selfish. Painting is my private time. Writing is my purpose.”