I first heard of Mary when I fell inlove with her Jenna Fox Trilogy. I found her on one of her social media sites and left her a message telling her how much I enjoyed her book. I was so happy when she replied back.

Mary graciously accepted my invitation to be featured on my Spotlight Week and I’m very excited to have her hear today.

Here’s a bit more about Mary, from her author bio on marypearson.com.

Mary E. Pearson is the award-winning author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles, The Miles Between, A Room on Lorelei, and Scribbler of Dreams.  She writes full-time from her home office in California where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Without further ado, I present the amazing Mary E. Pearson!



 The Amazing Mary E. Pearson

1. Tell us three random, unique, or weird facts about yourself. 

  1. I look all the way under my sheets for spiders every night since I once found out the hard way I was sharing my bed with a black widow.
  2. I can roll my tongue into an O but can’t roll my R’s.
  3. I sometimes tell my wrong age because I REALLY am bad at remembering numbers.


2. What inspired you to write THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX?

Two questions fueled the story. How far will medicine advance in fifty years? And, how far would a parent go to save their child?

I asked myself both of these questions when my own daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and I witnessed not just what we went through, but what other parents with hospitalized children were going through and the tough decisions they had to face.

Luckily, my daughter had a choice of treatment with a good success rate. Just fifty years earlier she would have died of this cancer. I was infinitely grateful for the time and place we lived.

Of course, I didn’t know that these questions would be the impetus for a story years later, but they niggled at me long after my daughter was well.

When my second daughter was diagnosed with the same illness 3/4 of the way through writing this story, it at first turned my world upside down as it would any parent, but then, I think, deepened the story–especially the secondary characters.

(Note: Both of my daughters are well and healthy, and have agreed, under the threat of eternal-mother hovering, not to give me any more inspiration.)

3. Did you always know it would be a trilogy?

No. The Adoration of Jenna Fox was written as a standalone to explore the questions I had. But as it turned out, my questions weren’t fully answered with one book and the second one, The Fox Inheritance, was born from it. In Adoration the technology basically went really well—what if it went really bad?  What if there were people who used it for their own gain? And maybe especially I wondered, did Jenna really have the right to destroy “something” in Book 1.

The Fox Inheritance was also intended to be a standalone!  But this time mid-way through I already heard the third and final book come knocking which became Fox Forever.  Now it truly feels complete to me and that’s what I hear from readers too.

4. THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, THE FOX INHERITANCE and FOX FOREVER are all wonderful character-driven novels. Which of the three books did you most enjoy writing? Which one gave you the most trouble?

 I enjoyed them all for different reasons but maybe the most challenging one was the last one, Fox Forever—trying to address all the threads of the prior book and create something satisfying.  And perhaps the last scene that I had envisioned way back in the first book was one of the most satisfying ones I’ve ever written.

5. The JENNA FOX series features characters with altered bodies and minds stored in computers. How did you come up with such cool scientific bio-engineering concepts?  Did you have to do a lot of research?

LOTS of research because I am not a science whiz by any means.  But research is a great procrastination tool too! If you’re a writer you know about procrastination. We are geniuses at it. And who doesn’t love to go to the library?  It was challenging though—basically I reviewed tons of science research journals, learned what was on the cutting edge and being experimented with in labs, then bumped it up several notches.

6. Aside from the JENNA FOX trilogy, you also wrote DAVID vs. GOD, A ROOM ON LORELEI STREET, THE MILES BETWEEN, and SCRIBBLER OF DREAMS. All of these books feature such amazing YA voices. Why do you love writing Young Adult, and how did you go about developing such a great YA voice?

I love writing YA for so many reasons but especially the freshness of the conflict.  I like writing about teens who are encountering choices for the first time and all that entails.  When I am writing about a character I try to “listen” to their voice.  It takes me about fifty pages in to really get in their heads and then I just try to be true to the things they would say and do.

7. If you could spend a day with any character in any of your books, who would you hang out with?

Zoe from A Room on Lorelei Street because she needs a friend, and Lily from The Adoration of Jenna Fox because I think she’s my fave secondary character I’ve eve written.  Maybe I should get Zoe and Lily together.

8. If the JENNA FOX trilogy were to be made into a movie, which scene would you be most interested in seeing live on the big screen?

Oh, the final scene in Fox Forever!

9. Tell us about your path to publication. What is the coolest thing about being a published author?

I submitted my first book to the slush pile.  It was rejected many many times but I did get some rejections that were “nice.” One of those editors invited me to submit another manuscript to her. I did and she bought it!

The coolest thing about being an author is I get to do what I love.  (I get to work in my jammies too : ) which is a nice fringe benefit.)

10. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I work long days, beginning with answering a few emails while I have my coffee.  Then I begin writing off and on, all day, usually until about 7:30 or 8.  I take breaks, go to lunch, run occasional errands, but when I am in draft mode, I am pretty religious about writing EVERY day. I keep a chart of word counts which keeps on target.  It is really easy to come to a hard part in a story (usually in the middle) and walk away, but I find the more I am away from a story, the harder it is to get back into it.  Discipline works for me.

11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  Any hobbies, sports, or crafts you like to spend time on?

Spend time with my family, read, travel, walk, shower ; )  Seriously, when I am in cave writing mode, I don’t get out much.

12. Are you a plotter or pantser? Are there any specific writing tools (books, software, a specific pen J ) you use to work on your novels?

I am both.  I have dabbled with every method on earth—I love writing process books and have just about every single one.  Then I mold them to fit my brain.  I use parts of Save the Cat, but I find if I try to follow any one method too closely it just won’t work for me. I think we all need to try things out of our comfort zone to add crafting tools to our repertoire, but then we need to settle in use the ones that click with our creative brains.

13. Are you currently working on any other projects?

Yes! I have a new series coming out July 8, 2014, The Remnant Chronicles. The first title in the series is called, The Kiss of Deception. I am very excited!

14.  What advice would you like to give to writers on the road to publication?

I will already assume they are reading widely and also writing regularly, which are essential, so one thing I would recommend is moving on if one book is not getting anywhere.  I have several unpublished novels.  They were not a wasted effort by any means.  I learned so much from writing them, but they didn’t have the *umph* they needed to get published.  One in particular, I loved, but if I had continued to rewrite it over and over, I wouldn’t have grown in the way I needed to from attempting new kinds of books. No writing effort is wasted as long as you learn from it! Stretch those wings.

 Thank you for having me at your blog Nutschell!








Come back this Friday for the final part of the Spotlight Week, where I give away a copy of THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX.

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4 Responses to “Spotlight Week Author Interview: Mary E. Pearson”

  1. Shelly says:

    This was a lovely interview!

    Hugs and chocolate to you both!

  2. What a scary way to get inspiration Mary, but I’m glad it turned out OK.

  3. Julie Luek says:

    What a great interview. Having gone through cancer with a child, I can relate to some of the emotions– makes me want to read the book. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, I sometimes forget my age too and have to calculate. But I think it may just be denial. 😉

  4. I can’t imagine hearing a diagnosis like that for my child, but how amazing she was for turning those emotions into a story for others to read and draw strength from.
    Thanks for featuring her, Nutschell.

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