Who’s Got Character with Mary Connealy

by | Nov 9, 2009 | Fiction Book Reviews, Writing Tips | 10 comments

Where do you go for brave cowboys, strong-willed women, Mary pic smallestside-splitting humor, and sassy male-female banter? None other than Award winning novelist, Mary Connealy. She’s producing novels at record speeds, so to check out her blog and get more info about her books, visit her site at www.maryconnealy.com

 Known for her delightful books like Petticoat Ranch, Montana Rose, and most recently Cowboy Christmas, Mary is a queen at transporting readers into a fast-paced adventure of lassos, laces, and laughter…actually, a whole bunch of laughter and adventure, where no one is sure to survive, especially the menfolk 😉

So, it’s with great curiosity that I resort to my questions about character to her, because…it’s tough for me to pick out my favorite heroine and hero from her books. How much harder must it be for the author? Let’s see. 

wildflower-bride_lrg1. Who is your favorite heroine & hero you’ve ever written and why?

I’m not happy about having to choose a hero and heroine, Pepper, that’s just mean!  I’m going to make an unconventional pick. If you read Montana Rose, you’ll know Wade Sawyer is a nasty piece of business. I spend the three book series doing my best to show him coming from a terrible place of sin in that book to being a hero in book three of this series, Wildflower Bride.

When I told Rebecca Germany, my editor at Barbour, I wanted to write Wade’s story for Wildflower Bride, she said she couldn’t image ever liking him and thinking of him as a hero. I told her she was going to LOVE Wade and be completely on his side before I was done with him. 

As for heroines, I’ve never had more fun than writing Belle Tannerhusband-tree_lrg in The Husband Tree. She’s a real pill in Montana Rose. What I went through trying to find the right man for her was a real challenge. I think The Husband Tree is the strongest hero/heroine combos I’ve ever created. And yes, that sounds like a fight not a love story, but trust me, it’s both.

2. What is the ‘behind the scenes story’ for the creation of that hero & heroine? 

            The ‘behind the scenes story’ for Wade is really about his father. I wanted to try and deal montana_rosewith how an incredibly strong man, fiercely self-sufficient, powerful, rich, could be brought to the Lord. That’s Mort Sawyer. Wade is a broken man in Montana Rose. But a broken man is much more likely to know he needs help, needs God.

Wade is a gentle soul and his father’s tyranny twisted him. Having Wade reach out for God was easy, even obvious. But what about Mort? How could I convince a  man who dominates everyone he gets near that he needs to bend his knee and submit to God. I used Wade’s brokenness and faith as an example of true strength to Mort.cowboy-christmas_lrg

That’s right, I used twisted, weak willed Wade as an example of true strength, rooted in faith.

Mort was a hard, hard character and I’m not going to say just how successful I was bringing change to his life. You’ll have to read the book for that.

 Belle Tanner is possibly my favorite character woman or man, of all time. I just love her. I wanted her to be so strong she blows everyone who gets in her way, straight out of her path. But I wanted Belle to realize she used hostility to protect her heart and she had to allow herself to be vulnerable to have a chance at love. And Belle being vulnerable was almost impossible. But while I wanted that vulnerability, I didn’t want to lose any of her strength. Faith in God changes the focus of our lives but it doesn’t change who we are. Our basic cover_petticoatranch_smpersonalities are there but now we’re using them for God’s work.

That’s a recurring theme in my books. I imagine a mirror, how it can be a simple looking glass or, if you aim it at the sun, can be blinding. It can send a signal, warn of danger, glitter and be beautiful in the light, contact someone miles away. The mirror doesn’t change just as a personality doesn’t change, but the focus can be huge.

(To read a review of Cowboy Christmas go here: http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/09/)

For Montana Rose, click here: http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/07/

Pepper: See why I like her so much. Fantastic author, beautiful answers, and a wonderful heart. Go Mary!

And even if she tries to disguise her sweetness underneath a wagontrain of sarcasm, believe me, the sweetness is under there. 😉 Just mention her granddaughter and you’ll see 😉 Not only that, but she’s an excellent encouragement to aspiring authors, who need all the encouragement they can get ;-). 

I can’t wait to read Belle’s story, AND find out how Mary redeems the rascal Wade.

Character Creation Tip for the Day:

What is one thing that ignites a character? Eccentricity. (I picked this one just for you, Mary)

Yep, that’s right. A little bit of crazy goes a long way.

Actually, what I mean is pushing that character’s personality ‘beyond the norm’.

In Cowboy Christmas, Mary’s heroine has a lovely voice, but what really draws us through the story is her desire to prove herself – even to life-threatening ends (a hint of eccentricity).

In Montana Rose, Cassie is a naïve young woman with a low self-esteem. Why do we want to keep reading? Her extreme naiveté and insecurity hides a passionate character. She stifles her inner passion with self-doubt of eccentric proportions. As a reader, we want to find out if the fighter on the inside finally topples outside. Read it and see.


Join me and award winning novelist, Angela Hunt, to find out what is her favorite character and why? Yes, I wrote ‘what’, not who. Check in tomorrow for the answer 😉


  1. Renee

    I’m jumping up and down waiting for these two books!! They sound sooooo good! I really want to read about Wade now and his redemption story! I just loved Montana Rose and Mary’s Lassoed in Texas series before that! Bring on those cowboys!!!! 😉

    xoxo~ Renee

  2. Mary Connealy

    I Renee. I’m still up. Why does your comment say 4:52 a.m., Renee? It’s 11:45 here. You’re from…Australia…maybe?
    Anyway, hello from around the world. 🙂

    Hey, I just finished Missy Tippens Christmas romance. I just loved it. A Forever Christmas. I’m still smiling. The happiest ending ever in a romance novel. I’d’ve cried over it but I’m not a crier.

    Wonderful work, Missy. I see she was on your blog last week, Pepper.

  3. Myra Johnson

    I am really looking forward to seeing Wade redeemed. I sensed from the beginning of Montana Rose that he was a very tortured soul. What a mean, mean daddy he had!!! So you’re working on Mort, too, Mary? Can’t wait to see how that works out! I know Belle’s story will be a good one as well. Keep up the great writing, Mary!

  4. Janet Dean

    Mary, your characters aren’t cookie cutter, that’s for sure! I cannot wait to read Belle’s and Wade’s stories! It’s hard to make a villain into a hero. That your publisher let you is proof of your ability to write inspirational fiction.

    I absolutely love the mirror analogy!! Please talk about that in Seekerville.


  5. Missy Tippens

    Ah, come on, Mary. Admit it. You shed at least ONE tear at my ending scene. You’ve got to admit it so I can brag about it on my website! 🙂

    Pepper, I loved the interview! I’m behind on my reading and can’t wait to read these characters!!

    • pepperbasham

      I truly think Seekers are the best people in the world 🙂 Thanks, Missy. This set of interviews has been great. I can’t wait to line up some for December. I’ve learned a lot and I think it’s great for authors to share about their work with each other. For some reason (as a learner) I don’t feel so alone in my world of imaginary friends ;0)

  6. Mary Connealy

    No tears, Missy, but I THOUGHT about crying…so for me…that’s sayign something. Fantastic book, Missy. Wonderful Christmas love story. ah…a tear? Maybe? Maybe????


    False alarm.

  7. Tina

    I like that whole mirror theme thing, Mary. Don’t let it go to your head or anything, but it really is brilliant.

  8. Audra

    Mary, for as much as you know about the character’s backstory, and their entire family’s backstory, are you sure you don’t know these folks personally?

    I love the way your mind works. Keep writing them Mary! We never get tired of reading them!

  9. Mary Connealy

    Most of the people I know are far to sane to earn a place in my novels.


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